What Degree Do I Need to Work in Construction Management?

If you are preparing to head off to college and considering work in the field of construction management, you may be wondering what degree is best to pursue. There isn’t a specific degree needed for work in construction management, but there are standard majors that include construction management, science, and administration. Other popular degrees that lead to work in construction management include architecture and civil engineering (please see: Can I Get an Engineering Degree Online?). Some students elect to pursue a dual degree in business and construction management.

Construction Management

A construction management degree will introduce students to general topics such as construction law, accounting and project management. Common classes include construction contracts, estimating, loss control, technical writing and marketing. Students will be exposed to the principles of green building, hazard management, project scheduling and blue print reading. Students will learn to safely manage and control the project process through proper communication and organizational techniques. Classes help students to understand the building environment and associated safety, quality and financial risks. Students will learn to understand and effectively manage stakeholder interests by promoting ethical behavior and decision making. Courses train students on how to manage everything from building systems to facility operations to maintenance services.

Construction Management Specializations

There are standard specializations with a construction management degree. These include civil, commercial, highway, residential and facility management. A commercial specialization will cover mapping, surveying, building energy systems and structural frames. Students will learn about building diagnostics, renewable energy technologies and applicable building codes. Civil engineering will cover soil and fluid mechanics, pavement analysis and design and environmental engineering. A residential specialization will teach students about landscape construction, sediment control, real estate development and architectural ecology. Facility management includes classes on quality assessments, facility cost accounting, preventative maintenance and human resources. Most programs encourage students to take advanced courses in lean construction, building inspections and creative contracting.

Construction Science

A bachelor of science in construction science includes mathematics courses, such as physics and calculus, and business courses, such as economics and management. Students take classes in elementary statistics, construction processes and architectural problem solving. Construction science classes include building systems, environmental design and soils and foundations. All classes focus on the current processes and functions that are used by construction industry professionals, so students learn about estimating, scheduling, structures, contract documents, materials and methods, safety programs and project management. Common theoretical concepts and industry practices are reinforced through lab work and internships. Some programs encourage students to earn certifications from national organizations associated with the construction industry, such as the AIC Constructor Certification Commission.

Architecture

If you want to advance your construction management career, you can pursue a bachelor of science in architecture. The program’s curriculum produces competent graduates who can conceptualize and implement safe, innovative, and quality building designs. Many architecture degree programs work with local or foreign colleges to provide study abroad opportunities so that students can be exposed to different styles and designs. Students learn the fundamentals of building design and construction, which lays the groundwork for expressing unique creativity in design projects. There are courses in design, drawing, math, science and computer technology.

The degree needed for work in construction management will depend on the student and his or her interests. Reviewing the various options and seeing what is required of each, should ultimately help you decide which degree is right for you. In general, construction science or construction management majors tend to be the best options for a future career in construction management.