What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Construction Management Program?

When you study construction management, you can expect to find a program that covers all aspects of the building trade and helps you become a leader in the field. This advanced degree prepares you for a variety of managerial positions in construction. Whether you work in residential, commercial, industrial, or other construction, an online master’s program provides the flexibility to enhance your professional knowledge while organizing your coursework around your busy work schedule. Because online master’s in construction management programs vary greatly, you will want to compare curriculum, concentrations, delivery format, and cost to find a degree program that fits your career goals.

Available concentrations

Some colleges and universities offer construction management as its own concentration within a graduate program in civil engineering or business administration. However, some schools have graduate programs dedicated to construction management that typically offer several concentrations within the field.

  • Architecture, engineering, and construction technology: An online master’s program in construction management with a concentration in architecture, engineering, and construction technology focuses on modeling and design. It equips graduates for positions as architectural designers, civil engineers, building inspectors, or construction managers.
  • Real estate development: A real estate concentration emphasizes feasibility studies, real estate finance, legal issues in real estate, sales and marketing, and advanced real estate investment analysis. Graduates may become commercial or residential real estate developers, home builders, or asset managers.
  • Construction project management: A concentration in construction project management focuses on contract administration, strategic management in construction, and quality construction practices. This concentration may lead to jobs as construction managers or project managers.
  • Sustainability and green construction: A concentration in sustainability and green construction covers community impact analysis and sustainability, specialty courses on LEED concepts and sustainable principles, practices, and technologies. Graduates may become green builders, green building specialists, green building designers, or urban planners.

Common degree curriculum

Curricula for an online master’s degree in construction management vary widely. Still, core courses typically cover fundamental concepts in construction materials, site logistics, structural integrity, safety management, project scheduling, labor relations, and construction estimating. Many programs require a capstone project to finish your degree and allow you to customize your coursework based on your career goals. Some core courses you might encounter in your curriculum include:

  • Cost Estimating and Bidding Strategies: Competitive bidding strategies, estimating construction costs and profit objectives.
  • Risk Management in Construction: Explores risk management techniques and practices relating to construction projects.
  • Leadership in Construction: Introduces leadership principles, practices, and styles relating to the construction industry.
  • Construction Control Techniques: Delves into the knowledge and skills required to plan and control complex construction projects, including bidding, budgets, contracts, cash flow, and case studies.
  • Construction Methods and Materials: Covers the fundamentals of building construction, including materials and construction methods for residential and commercial properties.
  • Land Development: Planning, design, and construction phases in the land development process.
  • Preconstruction Management: Covers the entire construction management process, including how construction professionals interact and collaborate and the administrative, estimating, and scheduling functions of a project.
  • Electrical and Mechanical Construction: Design and construction procedures used in electrical and mechanical systems, including building code requirements.
  • Construction Organization Processes: Teaches critical construction management skills, including planning, leadership, and organizational management.

Certification and license preparation

There are several certifications that an online construction management degree may lead to. Some states require licensure for general contractors and construction managers, which may include passing an exam. Contact your local licensing board to learn the specific requirements for your state. Some options include the following:

  • Certified Construction Manager: Earning your online master’s in construction management may help you qualify for a Certified Construction Manager credential administered through the Construction Manager Certification Institute. It’s the only credentialing program accredited by the American National Standards Institute under the International Organization for Standardization.
  • Associate Constructor Certification: Earning your online master’s in construction management prepares you to sit for the Associate Constructor Certification exam, the first certification level administered by the American Institute of Constructors.
  • Certified Professional Constructor: Earning your online master’s in construction management may also prepare you to sit for the Certified Professional Constructor exam, the highest level of certification administered by the American Institute of Constructors.

Program accreditation

When comparing online master’s in construction management programs, choose an accredited college or university to ensure eligibility for financial aid and high standards of educational excellence. Schools are accredited through an agency recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Construction management master’s programs may also receive programmatic accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission or the American Council for Construction Education.

Program completion timeframe

The length of time it takes to complete an online master’s degree in construction management depends on numerous factors, including whether you enroll full-time or part-time and whether classes are delivered asynchronously, which are self-paced, or synchronously, which are cohort-based and require taking courses at set times with other students. An online program’s degree requirements, especially the number of credit hours required, also impact completion time. Online master’s in construction management programs typically require between 30 and 45 credit hours that can be completed in 15 to 24 months. Some online programs may be offered on an accelerated track, which allows you to finish much sooner than traditional programs held on campus.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Construction Management Graduates

Construction managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and learn management techniques through on-the-job training, but earning your master’s degree in construction management can help fast-track your advancement. As construction processes become more complex, many employers prefer applicants with specialized education and advanced degrees in construction.

Earning your master’s in construction management with a concentration in civil engineering can also boost your salary. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, civil engineering professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary of $83,000, while those with a master’s earn $101,000. An online degree program offers the same upward mobility and salary perks as a similar program completed on-campus.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an increasing need for individuals with training in construction management. For example, the job outlook for construction managers is expected to grow by five percent, faster than the economy overall, over the next decade. The median salary for a construction manager is $101,480 per year.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)
Construction Managers Construction managers are responsible for all aspects of construction project management from start to finish, including budgeting, scheduling, and personnel management. Construction managers may simultaneously work on several projects, including residential, commercial, and industrial properties, roads, bridges, or other structures. Top-level construction managers may collaborate and coordinate with lower-level construction managers on large projects. $101,480 per year 5%
Construction and Building Inspector Construction and building inspectors ensure construction meets local building codes, ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. They check a building’s structural quality, integrity, and general safety through every construction phase and may specialize in specific types of structures. $64,480 per year -2%
Civil Engineer Civil engineers design, build, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sectors. Many hold supervisory positions ranging from a construction site supervisor to a city manager or city engineer. Supervisors are also responsible for ensuring that safe work practices are followed at construction sites, including the safety of temporary structures used during construction. $89,940 per year 5%

Professional organizations

Membership in professional organizations offers a variety of networking and educational opportunities, which are important for construction managers at every stage of their careers. Many organizations also provide professional publications, job boards, and certification opportunities. Some notable organizations for construction managers include:

  • Construction Management Association of America: This national association promotes the construction management profession and offers its members the latest industry information and numerous education, training, professional development, and networking opportunities. The CMAA also provides valuable articles, white papers, achievement awards, job postings, and other professional resources.
  • American Institute of Constructors: AIC helps construction practitioners achieve their desired professional status. It connects members to exchange ideas with others within the profession and keep current with the latest technical developments. It also offers online education opportunities, an interactive job board, a professional journal and newsletter, constructor recognition awards, and other professional resources.
  • Associated General Contractors of America: Members of AGC of America have access to various continuing education and networking opportunities, discount programs, valuable news and industry information, a career center, and other industry-specific resources.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Construction Management Degree

While online master’s programs in construction management are often cheaper than identical on-campus programs, if you need help financing your education, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA allows you to apply for financial aid, including grants, loans, work-study programs, and other financial assistance through the federal government. It’s also a common requirement for financial aid opportunities offered through the college or university you’re attending, and may be required to apply for state aid. Financial aid opportunities for construction management majors are typically plentiful, even for master’s programs. Start your search for financial assistance with the resources below.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

You’re not alone in your search for financial assistance to pay for your online degree in construction management. There are several online resources available to help you negotiate the world of grants, loans, and other financial aid sources, including the following websites:

Online Master’s Degree Scholarship Database

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