As a construction manager, you will be involved in various administrative, business and managerial aspects of building projects. This can include selecting a crew of workers and architects, choosing building materials and making sure that your project stays within its budget and schedule. There are several different educational pathways including a certificate, a two-year associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree and even a two-year master’s degree. Although the specific curriculum for each type of program differs, common core courses cover topics like construction site safety and project management.
The construction manager is often the key leadership figure in a building project, both on the ground and in the office. They are typically responsible for project budgets, payrolls, construction methods, collaboration with engineers and architects, compliance with building codes and much more.
As a construction manager, you will have to select a team of architects, contractors and trade workers for your projects. You must also coordinate the activities of these different types of workers and ensure that progress on your projects stays on schedule. This often requires you to recognize and eliminate any factors that might slow the project time.
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Some of the most common classes that you can expect to have in an associate or bachelor’s degree construction management program include:
These education programs are usually for students who already have some hands-on experience in construction management. In addition to certificate programs that are available through traditional construction management schools, professional associations like the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) also offer certificate programs.
You will find most construction management associate degree programs at two-year community colleges and technical colleges. Although there are many schools that still offer an associate in construction management, you should be aware that an increasing number of employers now view a bachelor’s degree in construction management as the entry-level degree for this profession.
Schools that offer a four-year bachelor’s degree in construction management train students for effective leadership on a construction site.
Junior construction managers who already have several years of work experience are some of the most common students who pursue construction management training at the masters level.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the construction management field will continue to grow in the coming years. The most competitive candidates for construction management jobs frequently possess a combination of formal education and hands-on experience. The BLS reports that the total number of construction management jobs in the U.S. is expected to grow by about 17 percent or more than 86,000 jobs by 2020. This is about the same as the average growth rate for all job sectors.
The two factors that have the greatest influence on a construction management salary are experience and education. Construction managers who have demonstrated that they can stay within a budget and finish a project on time can look forward to career advancement and higher salaries.