The Ultimate Guide for a Construction Management Degree

Insight - 86 Min read

April 16, 2024

Being a construction manager is a rewarding, yet challenging position. If you're ready to start a new career in construction management, this guide will outline each step to get you started. Construction is a great career path for those who want a versatile job that offers more variety than sitting behind a desk all day long. If you'd like to spend some time outdoors, enjoy a well-paying position, and feel accomplished and fulfilled with your work, a degree in construction management may be just the right job for you!

No matter the state of the economy, construction managers will always be in demand. After all, the construction industry employs over 8 million people in the United States! They are highly educated and are in charge of overseeing projects to ensure that they are completed on time and within the budget.

As with any other big career jump, getting started can feel overwhelming and daunting. You might be thinking what skills do I need? Where do I begin? Is this industry right for me? It's true that there are certain qualities that would make you a great fit for a job in construction management. This guide will go over what a construction management degree is, what you can do with a construction management degree, the salary range you can expect, and how to begin your journey toward a new career.

The first step in working toward a job in construction management is to further your education by completing a degree in construction management. This training will teach you important details about building codes, coordination, procedures, and the leadership skills you will need to be a successful construction manager. Since this career is in such high demand, there are a variety of programs and schools that offer construction management degrees, so it's important to know what to look for in a training program to make sure it is the right fit for you.

How to Choose the Right Construction Management Degree School or Program

A construction manager is responsible for overseeing construction projects, managing employees, acting as a liaison between builders and developers, and ensuring that each project is completed on time and within budget. To do all of this successfully, a construction manager must have a thorough understanding of the industry, as well as knowledge of how to run an office on the back end. Most construction management training programs offer a wide range of courses that include marketing, financial management, and business contracts to provide a well-rounded education to set you up for success as a construction manager.

During your time in school, as you work toward your construction management degree, you will learn the ins and outs of the industry, and learn how to manage a project from its conception all the way through to its completion. This process can be complex, so a good education is invaluable to succeeding as a construction manager.

Some people think that since they have on-the-job training, they will be able to use that to work their way up to being a construction manager. The truth is that most employers require at least a bachelor's degree to help them choose the right candidate. A degree in construction management will help set you apart from other candidates in a competitive job market, and not having one could put you at an automatic disadvantage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that construction managers must typically hold a bachelor's degree, along with on-the-job training. If your goal is to work for a large construction firm, a degree in construction management or a related field is even more important.

Some aspiring construction managers wonder what they should do if they plan to run their own businesses. In many cases, it is more appealing for customers if you have proof of the appropriate credentials. Without them, you might find it difficult to attract your ideal clients.

If you are already working in the construction industry, you may feel that your on-the-job experience will suffice in lieu of a degree. The truth is that many employers and customers favor tangible evidence of your expertise over on-the-job experience. Additionally, there is a chance that your current experience has not provided you with the same knowledge that a construction management program will offer. Even if you have a long resume filled with relevant experience, you may find that brushing up on your skills and knowledge will benefit you in your pursuit of a career in construction management.

As you work toward your construction management degree, joining an apprenticeship during your schooling is a great way to gain practical experience while getting paid, which can help make ends meet and fund your training until you earn your degree and can work full-time as a construction manager. Combining classroom training with practical experience on a construction site will maximize your skill set and set you up for a successful career.

Your college courses will teach you about the systems and techniques required to successfully run and complete a project, and how to do so in an orderly, efficient, and organized manner. Having a degree in your back pocket while searching for jobs gives you an advantage, and can help get you where you want to be more quickly. Relying solely on your on-the-job training will slow down your progress, and while trial and error can be a useful learning tool, it will keep you spinning your wheels for a longer period of time. A construction management degree will help you hit the ground running, and elevate your knowledge and experience more quickly than you would by relying on your field training.

Whether or not a degree in construction management is right for you depends entirely on your personal circumstances. Some people don't have the time or resources to work all day and then go to school or study all night. If you do have the means to temporarily accomplish both so you can make ends meet while pursuing a new career, it's important to take care of yourself through the process. Carving out plenty of time for quality sleep and healthy meals will help improve your ability to retain new information, and will give you the energy you need to accomplish your goals.

Having the extra education is always a bonus, and the challenges that come along with working and going to school at the same time will pay off in no time. Once you've completed your degree, you'll be ready to begin your new career. Let's talk more about what you can expect in a career as a construction manager.

Beginning Your Career in Construction Management

A successful construction manager will be a sort of jack-of-all-trades. It's important to have a thorough understanding of all the different trades that are required to complete a project so that you can effectively oversee each site. Let's look at all of the jobs that are affected by a construction manager. There are several construction equipment available in the market including loaders, bulldozers, and motor graders.


Architectural design and construction management both play an integral role in building projects. A construction manager will be responsible for coordinating and scheduling the design and construction process for a variety of projects including residential homes, industrial complexes, apartment buildings, and office complexes. They also assist in the construction of bridges, schools, highways, hospitals, and other urbanization projects.

Their job is usually to find, approve, and hire the specialists who will need to work on the framing, plumbing, and electrical wiring inside of a building. From conception to delivery, construction managers oversee each phase of the project and have their hand in bringing the architectural design to life.


A construction project is only as good as its foundation. The foundation is the first, and one of the most important, steps in the construction process. Laying down a solid foundation is the key to building a durable, functional, long-lasting structure. The goal is to ensure that it can stand the test of time while being able to withstand both man-made and natural disasters. A construction manager will need to have an understanding of the different types of foundations, retaining walls, soil mechanics, and other foundation-related basics to set the project and team up for success.


Masonry is the art of laying down concrete, bricks, cement, and other materials that are bound together using mortar. Construction managers work closely with stonemasons to coordinate a building plan that accomplishes the client's goals while remaining under budget.


Nearly every structure that is used for working or living purposes will require plumbing. Plumbing systems can be complex and must be durable enough to last for decades with minimal issues. Most construction projects require a licensed plumber, and in many cases, they are overseen by a construction manager. Although it is not a requirement, a plumbing license may be useful in starting your career as a construction manager in a competitive job market.


Just as with plumbing, electricity is essential to virtually every structure. Electrical work is also complex, and sometimes even dangerous, so licensed electricians are required for wiring new builds. A construction manager will work directly with the electricians to ensure that all wiring is done to code and will meet all of the required safety standards. Each state has its own unique requirements for licensed electricians, and once again, holding a license will give you a boost when it comes to working as a construction manager.


Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units are essential for a comfortable work or living environment. Most structures require an HVAC unit, whether big or small and a skilled ENR future technician is required to install it correctly and safely. Not all construction management training courses offer HVAC training, so you may need supplemental training to help you familiarize yourself with this niche in the construction industry.

How to Become a Successful Construction Manager

With the increased demand for construction managers, more schools and universities are offering construction management degrees. However, just having a degree does not guarantee that you will get a job. There are many factors that go into being a successful construction manager, and it is in your best interest to be as prepared as possible to secure a new job so you can start your career in construction management!

Have a Portfolio

When you begin interviewing for positions in construction management, potential employers will want to have a way to assess your previous work. This is a way to prove to them that you can be a valuable asset to their team and that you have tangible evidence of successfully completing projects in the past. With a portfolio in hand, potential employers can visualize your skills and experience, and compare it to other candidates who are interviewing for the same position. The more proof and experience you have, the more appealing you will be to employers. Many employers also appreciate candidates who have on-the-job experience in addition to a degree in construction management, so be sure to include all relevant experience in your portfolio to showcase your expertise. 

Include References

No matter what job you are looking for, references are an invaluable resource. The best way to accumulate reputable references that can really boost your chances of being hired is to get a degree in construction management and network with teachers and fellow students. College is often an adult's first real opportunity to meet colleagues who have similar goals and interests, and to make connections that you would otherwise struggle to find. Even if you choose to get your construction management degree through an online program, you can still network using email, Zoom meetings, and other digital communication outlets. Once it comes time to provide references to a potential employer or to join an apprenticeship, you will be able to walk in confidently knowing that you have a variety of credible sources to vouch for your experience and skills.

Gain Experience

Most employers look for some level of experience prior to hiring a candidate. Interviewing for construction management jobs is much more difficult if you don't have prior experience in the field. Earning a construction management degree is a great way to enhance your resume, gain knowledge and experience, and improve your skills to give you a leg up on the competition.

In some cases, employers will require formal education, trade-skill development, and certification by a professional construction manager organization such as the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). It is not legally mandated, but these licenses may be required privately to prove that a firm can deliver the quality of work that they are promising to potential customers.

In addition to education and trade-skill development, some firms may require their employees to be certified by a professional organization of construction managers. While these licenses are not legally mandated, they may be privately required to ensure the quality of work that a firm can deliver. These are two organizations that offer construction management certifications

Here's a structured table summarizing "The Ultimate Guide for a Construction Management Degree":

This table provides a structured overview of the key points covered in "The Ultimate Guide for a Construction Management Degree," organizing them into sections for easy reference and understanding.

The Bottom Line

Construction management is a challenging, rewarding, and well-paying career that will require you to be persistent and dedicated to your craft.

The best way to find out how you will fare as a construction manager is to accept a short-term construction job to see if it is a good fit for you and interview some people in the industry to get their perspectives and advice. Find out what their experience has been like throughout their career, and whether or not they would recommend it. Once you know for sure that this is the right career path for you, you'll be ready to dive in and further your education in construction management.

Labor and management skills will go a long way in ensuring that you have a successful career in construction management. The more you learn, the greater the chances of seeing growth opportunities and pay raises.

There are many schools that offer construction management degrees, as it has become a very in-demand job in the United States. You'll want to choose your school based on the courses they offer, how much it costs, and if the curriculum fits into your current lifestyle. Although higher education may require sacrifices in the short term, you will enjoy long-term benefits for many years to come with a successful construction management career.

Learning additional trade skills such as architecture, foundation, masonry, plumbing, electrical, equipment operator, and HVAC will enhance your qualifications, and help you become a more successful construction manager.

Once you've developed your skill set and received your degree, you'll be ready to hit the ground running and begin interviewing for construction management jobs. Presenting potential employers with a robust portfolio, great references, and plenty of experience to review will help you stand out from the competition in this increasingly competitive job market.

Choosing a new career path is a fun and exciting experience. Ensuring that you have all the right resources is essential to starting off on the right foot. With some time, training, and dedication, you will be well on your way to a rewarding new career in construction management!

Join our inventory mailing list to get early access to our best deals