The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that from 2020 to 2030, the employment rate of construction managers is expected to grow 11% -- faster than the average for all occupations. Population growth and urbanization will continue to drive the position into higher demand.
In a top-paying position, a thorough and respectable education is necessary to secure a job upon graduating. As of May 2021, the average yearly salary for construction managers was $98,890. Higher demand comes with increased competition, so it's important to take the time to choose which institute is the right match.
In the US alone, there are over 70 schools that offer construction management degree programs. However, there are quite a few that shine above the rest for more reasons than one. We dug in to see which academies currently have the best success with graduates and job placement.
Nationally renowned as an institute with many accreditations, Virginia Tech is a public school on the larger side. The motto of the school is "Ut prosim" -- "That I may serve." The college is often recommended for those seeking a degree in construction management, and for good reason.
Students coming out of VT are in a better position than most for finding higher-paying work early on. The university's history and vast network of connections place graduates in a fortuitous spot as long as they try to make ties while still in school.
Another appeal of Virginia Tech is its hands-on learning approach in many classes, immersing students early on in their chosen fields. Through their College of Engineering, construction management students will experience situations where they can test their acumen before setting off on a career path.
Tuition: $24k in-state / $44k out of state
San Louis Obispo, CA
Located in sunny Southern California, the public college California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo has a steady track record for turning out successful graduates in their construction management degree program.
Cal Poly San Louis Obispo enjoys a higher than the national average of women graduating with a bachelor's degree in their construction management program. They have been named the best public, master's level university for the 29th year straight by the US Best Colleges Guidebook.
Tuition for Cal Poly San Louis Obispo is also relatively low when compared with some of the other institutions on this list. In-state tuition drops so significantly, that it makes it a top choice for anyone living on or planning on relocating to the West coast.
Tuition: $6k in-state / $18k out of state
For a not-for-profit private academy, Brigham Young University has a thriving student population. Their construction management bachelor's degree program is rated one of the highest in the country. Although a larger school, the construction management program is by contrast a smaller and more specialized department.
Students are provided with ample early career opportunities upon graduation from BYU. They sit in the top 10% nationally for construction management schools in the US, and it is the best option in the Midwest. The mean starting salary for graduates is over $60k.
There is no discount on tuition provided for in-state students, however, LDS members do benefit from greatly reduced rates due to the church's sponsorship of the school.
Wentworth boasts great statistics, with 97% of the graduating Class of 2019 being employed or in graduate school within 6 months. Graduates from WIT's construction management degree program earn nearly $10k on average above their colleagues. There is a faster growth rate for jobs acquired by those with Wentworth degrees as well.
The construction management degree is part of the College of Architecture at Wentworth, and as such receives the department's support. WIT even has the flexibility of online options in its construction management degree program, which is rare for the field.
Costs per credit at WIT are higher than most on this list, sitting at an average of $1.1k. That being said, they are a respected institution and accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. Current President Thompson has even pledged to create an even more open and inclusive environment for the campus throughout his tenure.
With a smaller pool of annual graduates, students of the construction management degree program at the UMN Twin Cities can focus. The school offers an extensive amount of internship and research opportunities for undergraduate students. Some of their coursework focuses on environmental health and safety through construction.
Its national reputation as a leading college in many sectors can open the door for graduates early on in their career paths. Their degree program is trusted and accredited by ABET through the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC) criteria.
UMN also offers a unique perk for students taking lots of credits -- per semester, everything after the 13th credit is free.
Tuition: $29k in-state / $49k out of state
One of the best budget-friendly options on the East Coast, Clemson University graduates of the construction management degree program see early-career salaries similar to those of other schools on this list. With lower than average student debt, college has many benefits for the initial stages of the career path.
Job placement for graduates is extremely lucrative, with 100% of students landing work out of school. The program training is extensive, with labs and 800 hours of internship required. Students can even earn certifications from organizations like the AIC Constructor Certification Commission while still enrolled.
For those living in or willing to relocate to South Carolina, tuition rates are significantly lower for students in-state. This makes the school (conditionally) one of the most affordable options on our list.
Tuition: $14k in-state / $37k out of state
Construction managers are involved in the entire process of the projects they're assigned, and wholly responsible for their success. This challenging yet rewarding position provides opportunities for growth within the industry and lucrative career advancements.
There are certainly different pathways to becoming a construction manager, but having a bachelor's degree in the field is entirely necessary for the current market. Firms generally hire new-to-the-field managers with degrees and then train them in their way of doing things.
Many varied career paths open up with a construction management degree: residential and non-residential building construction, specialty trade contractor, civil engineering construction, and plenty others.
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