Best Online Construction Management Programs 2021
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% growth rate for the construction management field between 2016 and 2026.
As the nation continues to construct buildings and improve infrastructure, the demand for qualified construction managers will continue to grow. With an online construction management degree, you position yourself to compete for these lucrative jobs. According to BLS, the top 10% of construction managers make nearly $160,000, 320% more than the median average salary for all occupations. The lowest 10%, meanwhile, made $54,810 as of May 2017, which is 45% more than the national average.
The Best Online Construction Management Programs
Online Construction Management Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
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Featured Online Construction Management Programs
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Construction Management Program?
Example Courses for an Online Construction Management Bachelor’s Program
- Introduction to the Construction Industry: : This course, which is typically the first of a construction management degree online program, provides a general overview of the construction process. Students learn about industry standards and contracts, as well as procurement methods, terminology, and career paths a degree holder can take.
- Construction Materials and Methods: Students review the basic materials used in construction, learning about their properties, sizes, and uses. This online construction management degree course also looks at building methods, including analyzing methods for both structural and non-structural design. Topics include temporary structures, specialty trades, and construction equipment.
- Estimating and Bid Preparation: This course teaches learners about construction software and how to apply cost. Topics include the principles of contract bids, techniques in estimating cost, and the fundamentals of quantity take-off. Students leave the course with the ability to calculate and prepare an official bid document.
Example Courses for an Online Construction Management Master’s Program
- Construction Accounting and Finance: This accounting course provides a follow-up to the basic estimating courses offered in a construction management bachelor’s degree online program. In it, students study topics like cost control, financial statements, and job cost as it pertains to construction projects.
- Real Estate Analysis: This concentration course for students enrolled in a master’s in construction management online program covers such real estate topics as asset valuation and management, ownership structure, appraisal, and advanced financial modeling. Students also learn how to negotiate, manage a portfolio, and account for affordable housing.
- Sustainable Design: This online construction management degree course explores building sustainable structures, including those that account for energy efficiency and alternative energy. Online learners examine topics like Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED), carbon footprinting, and green building. They also study management issues related to cost and the cyclical process.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Construction Management Degree?
Those in construction management typically hold a bachelor’s degree, which is 120 credits and takes an average of four years to complete. In addition to what students learn in school, they also gain valuable training on the job. According to the BLS, most firms prefer to hire individuals who hold real-world experience.
Program length of an undergraduate online construction management degree varies. While full-time students with no transfer credits can graduate in four years, part-time students may take up to six. Meanwhile, master’s in construction management online students usually spend two years earning their credentials. Master’s programs generally require 30-36 credits.
Program lengths vary depending on transfer credit, start dates, and learning format. If competency-based or self-paced, a student can move through course material at a quicker pace. With a cohort, however, a student stays with the same group through graduation. Programs with more than three start dates per year can also affect how long it takes a student to complete program requirements. Some schools, for example, offer five or six terms a year.
Transferring to a Master’s Program With a Bachelor’s Degree
The projected 11% growth for construction managers, according to the BLS, will increasingly include jobs where firms are looking for individuals with specialized education and who can help immediately with complex projects. In 2017, more than 100 colleges and universities offered an accredited bachelor’s degree in a construction-related major. While there are fewer institutions that offer a master’s in construction management today, look for this number to grow over the next decade as well.
Given this, a student with an online construction management degree should look at pursuing a master’s in construction management online. While it typically takes an additional two years of schooling, the career benefits may well be worth it. Many firms look for relevant experience, and in a master’s program, one can choose to focus on an area of emphasis, like real estate development or sustainability, which would stand out to a hiring company. The median salary for construction managers in May 2017 was $91,370.
Accreditation for Bachelor’s and Master’s Programs
Those looking at online construction management degrees and schools should always check for accreditation. Accreditation provides prospective students with the assurance that a school or program meets or exceeds established standards of quality. Independent agencies, some recognized by ED and some not, grant accreditation following a voluntary evaluation by the school or department.
There are two types of institutional accreditation: national and regional. Six recognized accreditors (MSCHE, NEASC, HLC, NCCU, SACS, and WASC) grant regional accreditation across the nation and for several American territories. National accreditors, which are not all recognized by ED, typically evaluate for-profit and technical or vocational schools.
To qualify for federal financial aid and in many instances, to transfer course credit, you must attend a regionally accredited school or enroll in a recognized program.
Financing Your Online Construction Management Program
Students looking for ways to finance their online construction management degree should start by making sure they get their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted on time. This application will check your eligibility for scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. A FAFSA is a requirement to qualify for many private-sector financial awards as well. Be sure to research scholarships, contests, and other programs at the local, state, and national levels, and look for offers from your industry’s professional organizations. Construction students should check out offers from the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE), the American Institute for Constructors (AIC), and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
What Can I Do With a Construction Management Degree?
Today, one needs a bachelor’s degree in construction management to enter the field. While less common, holding a master’s degree in construction management will help you stand out in a competitive market, as an advanced degree allows you to specialize in an area like real estate development, building and design, or architectural engineering. The BLS notes the top industries for construction managers as of May 2017 were heavy and civil engineering construction, nonresidential building construction, and specialty trade contractors.
Career Paths for Graduates of Construction Management Programs
Holding a construction management master’s or bachelor’s degree prepares you for career paths in design and project management. All fields look for individuals with not only educational credentials and relevant experience but also the soft skills that make them promising team leaders. Construction managers tend to possess analytical skills, business skills, and initiative, along with technical, speaking, and time-management skills. What’s more, many construction managers work for themselves, meaning they rely solely on themselves to land a job, negotiate a bid, and oversee a project. The BLS reports that in 2016, 38% of construction managers were self-employed.
Construction managers are responsible for planning the budgets, execution of projections, and organization of workers for construction jobs.
Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinat projects and activities. An engineering manager supervises staff, provides quality assurance of a staff’s work, and ensures the methods used by the company are sound. They primarily work in offices, though they also find opportunities in production facilities and construction sites.
Landscape architects work on the design and planning of new spaces. Landscape architects work on the development of or upgrade to parks and outdoor spaces for residential areas, campuses, and recreational facilities.
Surveyors provide engineering, mapmaking, and construction companies with the measurements needed to determine property boundaries and where building can begin and stop. The BLS reports 71% of surveyors in 2016 worked for the private sector, specifically architectural, engineering, and related services companies.
Header Image Credit: kali9 | Getty Images
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