An online master's degree in construction management is perfect for those with well-rounded project management skills who are interested in a career in architecture, civil engineering, or construction science. The Bureau of Labor Statistic projects that jobs in construction management will grow by 5% by the year 2024, which is on pace with the national average. The average annual salary for construction managers is $89,300. Earning a master's in construction management online can provide you with advanced planning and budgeting skills and prepare you for a variety of managerial positions in the field.
What are the best construction management programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA|
|2||University of Washington||Seattle, WA|
|3||Clemson University||Clemson, SC|
|4||Worcester Polytechnic Institute||Worcester, MA|
|5||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL|
|6||Stevens Institute of Technology||Hoboken, NJ|
|7||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|8||Arizona State University||Scottsdale, AZ|
|9||Louisiana State University and A&M College||Baton Rouge, LA|
|10||Purdue University||West Lafayette, IN|
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER'S IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS?
University of Southern California
|Los Angeles, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 92%||
USC's master's in construction management program accepts full-time and part-time students. The program's 32-credit curriculum emphasizes construction practices, construction business, and project controls. Learners also select four electives that align with their personal interests and career goals. Students usually take four semesters to graduate.
USC provides distance learners with access to virtual career fairs. The school also oversees a unique mentorship program for first-generation college students.
Prospective students can apply for the fall or spring semester. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering, GRE scores, and a personal statement. Financial aid opportunities for online graduate students include Stafford Loans.
University of Washington
|Seattle, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
UW's 42-credit online master's degree in construction management uses a quarter system and includes coursework in construction materials, environmental regulations, and temporary structures. Full-time students can complete the program within one year.
Nearly 80% of UW alumni report a positive career or education outcome within six months of earning a degree. The university hosts a career and internship center that offers numerous resources for online learners, including Skype sessions with a counselor and virtual workshops.
UW admits new learners throughout the year. Admission requirements include a bachelor's in construction management or engineering, two recommendation letters, and GRE scores. The university charges the same tuition and fees to all online learners in this program, regardless of residency.
|Clemson, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Distance learners who want to participate in synchronous online courses can enroll in Clemson's master's in construction science and management program. The curriculum requires 21-30 credits and includes thesis and non-thesis tracks. All students take courses in advanced planning and scheduling, project management, and emerging technologies. Learners can supplement the degree with a certificate in integrated project delivery.
Clemson's Center for Career and Professional Development features virtual workshops delivered through Zoom and a career planning guide. These services help over 80% of alumni find employment or earn admission into another graduate program.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, an engineering degree, three recommendation letters, and GRE scores. Applicants must also have relevant work experience.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
|Worcester, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
WPI's 33-credit online master's degree in construction project management features coursework in advanced project management, financial decision-making for value creation, and advanced cost estimating. The curriculum does not include a thesis requirement.
Over the past three years, 100% of WPI's construction management alumni have found employment soon after earning a degree. Current students can speak with a career advisor through Skype and research the latest job openings through the university's website.
Prospective students should hold a bachelor's in architecture, management engineering, or civil engineering. Applicants with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA may qualify for the Gateway Scholarship. Students may also be able to set up a monthly payment plan.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Champaign, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
U of I's master's in construction management online program includes a 12-course, 36-credit curriculum that emphasizes construction cost analysis, construction case studies, and virtual sensing for civil infrastructure engineering. Students can select between thesis and non-thesis tracks. Some learners can graduate within one year.
Career resources for engineering students include Handshake software, a career readiness guide, and an internship board. Degree-seekers can also review network tips and use VMock — an online platform that provides detailed resume critiques.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, and three recommendation letters. U of I does not charge out-of-state students a higher tuition rate for this online program. The university considers all incoming learners for institutional fellowships.
Stevens Institute of Technology
|Hoboken, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
Stevens' online master's degree in construction management delivers coursework asynchronously and features three focus areas: management, experiential opportunities, and technical skills in the built environment. The program focuses on practical learning through case studies and projects.
More than 95% of Stevens alumni start a job immediately after graduation and enjoy an average $76,400 per year salary. Students can research job openings on the university's website and hone their interviewing skills through InterviewStream software.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, GMAT or GRE scores, and two recommendation letters. Stevens waives the standardized test score requirement for part-time learners. Full-time students pay a per-semester tuition rate, which can save them thousands of dollars compared to part-time learners.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
FIU's master's in construction management program requires 30-36 credits. Notable courses include productivity in construction, construction information systems, and construction claims. Additionally, students planning to enter a doctoral program can pursue a thesis track.
FIU offers learners online handouts that cover resume writing, interviewing tips, and internship opportunities. Over 33% of learners who complete one or more internships while studying at FIU receive a job offer before graduating.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA, a resume, and an essay. However, applicants need not submit standardized test scores. Florida residents save approximately 20% on tuition compared to non-residents.
Arizona State University
|Scottsdale, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
ASU's online master's degree in construction management and technology features full-time and accelerated options. The 30-credit curriculum includes required courses in the principles of leadership for project managers, facilities operations and maintenance, and construction company financial control. Students can customize the degree by selecting three electives.
ASU offers multiple resources for online learners, including virtual advising sessions and Handshake software. These resources help more than 90% of graduates receive at least one job offer within three months of earning their degree.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in any field and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also submit a resume and a personal statement. ASU charges all online learners the same tuition rate.
Louisiana State University and A&M College
|Baton Rouge, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
The master of science in construction management at LSU can be completed entirely online. This program blends concepts related to business, engineering, and construction management. Online students follow a non-thesis professional pathway, completing 36 credits of coursework: nine credits of core courses and 27 credits of guided electives.
LSU's construction management alumni enjoy an average salary of $110,500, finding work as estimators, materials managers, and code inspectors. Students can research career opportunities and receive personal statement and resume reviews on the university's website.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA and GRE scores. LSU waives the GRE requirement for applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in construction management or a similar field. LSU's Department of Construction Management awards a limited number of scholarships to online graduate students.
|West Lafayette, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
Purdue's online master's degree in construction management uses a synchronous delivery method in which courses meet in the evenings. As such, the program is a good fit for students who work full time. During the program, students analyze risk management in construction, sustainable site development, and construction leadership and marketing. Most learners can earn their degree in two years.
Purdue's online job search toolkit provides students with guides that cover resumes, networking, and salary negotiation. The university also maintains a global internship board, which is an excellent resource for construction management students planning to work abroad.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's in construction management, three recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. Indiana residents save approximately 33% on tuition.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Construction Management Program?
Construction management master's degrees typically offer a variety of optional concentrations. Likewise, construction management is sometimes offered as its own concentration within a dedicated graduate program in civil engineering or business administration. Most master's programs in this discipline include core coursework in fundamental concepts and require a capstone course or final project of some sort.
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER'S DEGREE IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
The curriculum for a master's degree in construction management can vary widely from program to program according to a student's chosen concentration. Common concentrations include real estate, construction project management, and green construction. However, all programs emphasize the same core skills, such as advanced leadership, accounting, and project management. Below is a sample curriculum that includes courses that you can find in any master's in construction program.
- Building Systems: Materials and Construction: This course explores the development of building systems in the context of architecture, providing students with a foundational architectural background. Coursework covers topics like selection, integration, and innovation of materials.
- Construction Accounting and Finance: This course explores accounting and financial methods, which are among the most important skills for construction managers. Coursework covers topics such as cost control and engineering economy issues.
- Project Controls: Budgeting and Estimating: In this course, students review case studies and complete practice software exercises to become familiar with cost-estimating, budgeting, and cost control methods and technology commonly used in the industry.
- Project Controls: Planning and Scheduling: Students in this course are trained in the fundamental principles of planning, CPM scheduling, and resource management using current and emerging project scheduling software and applications.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER'S IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT?
The amount of time it takes to earn a master's in construction management online depends on several factors, including whether you plan on studying part- or full-time, whether classes are delivered synchronously or asynchronously, and a program's individual degree requirements. Many construction management programs may expect students to already have some experience during admission but not include an internship requirement, which can reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a degree. Others offer an accelerated track that is only available to online students.
While the total number of credits needed to graduate will vary from program to program, a typical online master's in construction management can be completed in 15-24 months.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Construction Management Degrees
When searching for the right online master's in construction management program, be sure to choose programs that are accredited. Any legitimate college or university on your short list of prospects should be accredited by an agency such as the Higher Learning Commission, Middle States Commission on Higher Education, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. There are two main types of accreditation: regional and national. Regional accreditation is considered more prestigious and is pursued by nonprofit public colleges and universities. On the other hand, national accreditation is typically earned by for-profit colleges and trade or vocational schools. Construction management programs may also receive programmatic accreditation through The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE).
These agencies are overseen by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The ED and CHEA each maintain a complete list of accredited institutions on their websites.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Construction Management Graduates
Graduates with a master's in construction management online are eligible for advanced positions as contractors in specialty trades, residential and non-residential building, and engineering construction. Some graduates also choose to become self-employed. In construction management, extensive field experience is highly valued alongside an advanced education. Generally, employers prefer candidates who have at least a few years of experience in construction paired with a degree. Below are a few common careers for graduates with a construction management degree.
- Construction Manager
Construction managers are responsible for all facets of project management for construction projects from start to finish, including coordinating budgets, scheduling, and handling human resources tasks. While a master's degree is not the minimum requirement for the field, employers are increasingly requiring candidates to have a specialized degree in construction management, construction science, architecture, or engineering to be considered for top jobs.
- Cost Estimator
Cost estimators who specialize in construction are responsible for providing detailed estimates of the time, money, materials, and labor required to construct a building, residence, or commercial space. Employers typically require at least a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience for entry-level jobs, while some may prefer additional industry certification.
- Architectural and Engineering Manager
Similar to a project manager for a construction team or project, architectural and engineering managers coordinate all aspects of production and building activities for architecture and engineering firms. While many candidates have a master's in engineering management or an MBA, some employers will pay employees to go back to school and obtain such credentials if they have a closely related degree in a field like construction management.
MASTER'S IN CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT SALARY
Salaries for construction managers can vary depending on each employee's level of education, years of professional experience, and additional industry certifications. Professionals with a construction management master's degree can expect their earnings to be higher than their colleagues who have a lesser degree and fewer years of experience in the industry. This industry values experience alongside education, as most construction managers with 20 years or more of experience enjoy a significantly higher salary late in their careers. The table below outlines median salaries of construction management professionals throughout their careers.
Median Salary by Experience Level
|Occupation||Entry Level||Mid-Level||Late Career|
|Construction Project Manager||$61,759||$74,200||$85,674|
Membership in a professional organization can offer a variety of opportunities for current and aspiring construction managers at all stages of their careers. These professionals have access to in-person and online networking opportunities, such as conventions, seminars, and guest speaking engagements. They also have access to job boards, continuing education webinars, and more. The following are some of the premier national organizations for construction managers.
Construction Management Association of America
CMAA promotes quality-focused, cost-effective, dispute- and injury-free project delivery within the industry through services like publications, professional development, and certification opportunities.
American Institute of Constructors
AIC helps to facilitate certification examinations for aspiring associate constructors (ACs) and certified professional constructors (CPCs). The organization also offers various individual and corporate membership opportunities, including online education events, an interactive job board, a newsletter and journal, construction ethics resources, and more.
American Builders and Contractors
The ABC is a well-known national construction industry trade association. ABC represents more than 21,000 members and is the most visible voice for workers in the industry. This organization regularly communes with the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government, state and local governments, and the news media to advocate for construction workers.
Associated General Contractors of America
AGC of America facilitates better business practices throughout the construction industry, creating opportunities for employees to improve their working conditions and for employers to optimize growth and future prospects. Membership provides professionals with a variety of continuing education and networking opportunities, as well as unique discount programs for vehicles, machinery, tools and more.
Financing Your Online Master's in Construction Management Program
When it comes to financing your education, the first step for all students should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This allows you to apply for federal financial aid, including work study programs and federal student loans with payment deferment and reasonable interest rates. Filling out the FAFSA is also a common requirement at most colleges and universities if you want to take advantage of the school's financial aid opportunities as well. Financial aid opportunities in a career-oriented field like construction management are typically plentiful, as many employers are happy to offer scholarships to students who could potentially contribute to their businesses as employees after graduation. Others offer paid work opportunities or employee-reimbursement programs to those seeking hands-on experience in the industry while earning their degree online.
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