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What is Construction Management?
Construction management is the area of study and practice responsible for the upkeep and organization of construction sites, including building, negotiating cost estimates, resource management, establish timetables, maintaining a construction budget, work alongside architects, and ensure the safety and accurately communicating progress on a given project. Individuals in this position supervise a team of trade professionals who are capable and qualified to complete specific construction jobs.
Given the breadth of skills required of a construction manager, it is easy to see how this vocation blends trade-knowledge of the construction industry with engineering and business. A construction manager must have a solid grasp on construction materials, reading blueprints, design, safety management, business moxie, project management, and a host of engineering fundamentals.
Soft skills such as communication and time management are essential skills for any construction manager. They work closely with architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, city planners, developers, mechanical engineers, electricians, painters, and plumbers to construct a variety of projects. From residential homes to commercial office buildings and schools to bridges, a construction manager helps ensure the project moves smoothly from start to finish on-time and on-budget by communicating with all relevant stakeholders.
Top Construction Management Degrees
There are a number of different types of college degrees you can explore within construction management. While a certificate is not the same as a associate's degree or bachelor's degree, it can lead you to a degree. The most common type of degree earned from an accredited college or university in construction management is a bachelor degree.
Specifically, more students earn a Bachelor's of Science (BS) in construction management than any other degree type. A BS degree combines business principles with construction and engineering instruction along with general education courses. An overview of four of the most common types of construction management degrees are:
Management: The management cluster includes the Construction Management degree program along with Construction and Construction Science Management tracks. Each of these degrees bend towards construction, business management, and project management principles.
Administration: The Construction Administration grouping is focused on providing students with more project management and work-site safety measures.
Building: The Building Construction set of programs emphasizes the technical aspects of constructing a building. These disciplines may vary depending on the program and trade association but generally focus on resource management, project planning, scheduling, building techniques, demolition, and drafting.
Engineering: The final grouping of degree focus on blending industrial and engineering methods of building construction necessary for large-scale, high-value projects.
What Do Construction Managers Learn in College?
Most employers currently require construction managers to have a bachelor's degree in construction management or construction science. The required education is a response to growing complexity in construction projects and the need for educated persons to be able to oversee such complexity. Individuals will study building codes, costs, construction methods, as well as managerial techniques and other related subjects.
A curriculum may include:
- Resource and Operations
- Managerial Techniques
- Codes and Laws
- Construction and Methods
- Construction Technology
Individuals should seek out schools that explicitly provide education in construction management, as such programs may not be available at all schools. Specific program provides opportunities related to local, state and federal codes in addition to other applicable laws relevant to one's career and can assist greatly in getting an initial leg up. If programs are not readily available, students may work to create a degree program to provide a mixture of courses to emulate a construction management program through a more traditional management program.
Employment in Construction Management
Employment in this field is expected to increase steadily over the next decade. Solid growth is achieved through increase construction projects that will require educated and capable individuals in order to successfully be completed. Maintenance, retrofitting, and renovation are also responsible for continued work. As the industry for construction changes, individuals in this position should also be able to successfully navigate and organize crews in order to be more cost effective.
The Construction Managers Association of America is the only such organization dedicated solely to the interests of professional construction managers in the United State. The organization also promotes career development and research, as well as offer scholarships for students seeking an education in the field.