5 Things to Consider Before Getting a Construction Management Degree
As construction explodes so does construction management. Whether you’re a high school student or a construction pro wanting to take the next step, a construction management degree can be useful. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that construction management has an 11% growth rate, meaning it’s a growing profession with numerous opportunities. And construction managers make almost double the national average, making it a big draw. With any big life decision, there are many things to consider before you consider this profession.
What is a Construction Manager?
Construction managers supervise construction work for a company. That includes preparing cost estimates, budgets, work timetables, reporting work progress to clients, and collaborating with all stakeholders involved in the project. Also, the construction manager interprets and explains contracts, hires subcontractors and coordinates schedules, handles crises, and ensures everything is up to code. It’s a big job, and sometimes construction managers will hire other construction managers to help with all the work. Construction managers often use software and other tools to help them with the various facets of their job. For the most part, though, it’s on them to make sure a project is on time and budget.
With construction management, it’s important to have construction experience as well as management experience. The best construction managers can draw from their experience to make crucial decisions throughout the entire construction project lifecycle.
Do You Need a Construction Management Degree?
Not every construction manager has a bachelor’s degree; however, it is becoming a requirement. Even then not every college has a construction management degree or major. Many construction managers get their degree in construction science, architecture, or engineering. And they’ll take classes in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, building codes and standards, contract administration, and cost estimation.
If a four-year college doesn’t offer these courses, many students will take these classes through a two-year college to get a certificate in construction management or construction technology as well as their four-year degree. These classes can help people pass the Construction Management Association of America’s Construction Manager Certificate. For people who have a high school diploma and several years of construction experience, taking the construction management or construction technology program at a two-year college is a good way to enter into construction management.
The cost of college is something to consider if you want to get a construction management degree. The average tuition for a four-year degree depends on whether you go to a public or private school. The average tuition for four years at a private school is $130,000. If you go to an in-state public school, the average is $40,000, but if you’re out of state, it is closer to $100,000.
Tuition doesn’t cover room and board, or books, or even transit and personal expenses. Those expenses will depend on where you go to college, but the College Board reports national averages.
-Four years of room and board is around $46,000.
-Books and supplies are around $5,192 for four years.
-Four years of Personal expenses and Transit is roughly $12,000.
As cliche as it sounds, college is an investment in your future. And knowing the costs up front allows you time to prepare and budget appropriately for college.
Choosing a major is a big decision. With highly specialize majors like construction management, it’s hard to move into a different field after college if you realize the field isn’t for you. Before declaring a major, it’s important to do your research on the degree and other available career options. With a construction management degree, the expectation is that you will enter into the construction industry. So it’s important to know that it’s what you want to do when you graduate.
Before declaring a construction management major see if you can interview construction managers in your area. Get their input on how they got the started, their recommendations, and see what they do in a day. This gives you a chance to hear first hand from professionals and possibly make connections in the industry.
Another great way to determine whether it’s the right field for you and gain work experience is through an internship. Some colleges with construction management majors also have internship programs, or connections to help students get an internship. Internships provide students with valuable work experience while also being informative. Since internships count as experience, it can help the construction management graduate gain the necessary experience to apply for jobs. It also creates professional connections which graduates can leverage.
Construction management is one of the fastest growing careers in America. With the rise in construction starts and investment means an increased need for labor. High school students or construction professionals looking for their next step should seriously consider a construction management degree.