Should You Get a Construction Management Degree?

Evelyn Long

Oct 19, 2020

should you get a construction management degree

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Choosing what kind of degree is best for you — or if you need one at all — shapes your future career path and opportunities to do something you love. Maybe you’ve thought about getting a construction management degree but haven’t finalized your next move yet. This guide will help you decide whether that educational option fits with your aspirations, personality, and goals. 

Familiarize Yourself with the Job Duties

Construction managers oversee all the aspects of a project from start to finish. They assess and uphold safety standards, budgetary needs, personnel requirements, and other elements that must go smoothly for an effort to succeed. Those things mean you must be a detail-oriented individual who feels comfortable juggling several responsibilities at once. 

Excellent communication and leadership skills are also essential, especially since you direct a diverse team of people, including designers, tradespeople, and architects. A primary benefit of pursuing a degree in the field is that your program of study typically includes a blend of formal coursework and real-world experience. You then have opportunities to see textbook concepts in action at job sites. 

Most construction degree programs require students to take project management and statistics classes, along with courses related to safety and engineering. That educational makeup creates well-rounded people who are ready to tackle the challenges of the work. 

job duties in construction management

Consider the Full Assortment of Educational Options

The institutions typically offering construction management programs are four-year colleges and universities. A degree from one of those places can often set you apart in a competitive marketplace. However, that kind of education often comes at a price that’s too steep for many. A degree program can cost nearly or even more than $100,000 in total. Out-of-state students usually pay more, also. 

Some people also prefer to start working sooner than those degree programs allow. If you relate to these concerns, view the options offered by vocational and trade schools. Those are often less expensive and offer certificates you can earn in two years or less. Many facilities have been particularly in demand as students respond to pandemic-related market changes. 

If you want to get into the construction industry but not aim for a managerial position immediately, many employers offer laborer jobs to people with no experience. In those cases, all or most of what you learn occurs under an experienced worker’s guidance. The combination of hands-on job training and observation lets you get your first glimpses of the construction field. You can then decide whether to adjust your path to eventually earn a construction management degree. 

Review the Market Outlook

The expected changes in the market over the coming years should also factor into whether you get a construction management degree. United States’ labor data expects the construction manager job market to grow 8% from 2019-2029. That source also indicates people with a bachelor’s degree and construction experience have the best managerial job prospects in the field. 

The increased demand within the job market is an undoubtedly positive thing. You may conclude that getting a degree is the ideal way for you to seize the available chances to accelerate your career.

However, no single path is right for every individual. Taking the time to examine your overall goals and existing knowledge of the industry — if applicable — should help you finalize whether to apply for a degree program. 

stress from construction degree

Examine How You Cope with Stress

Any job can cause stress. However, the amount of responsibility held by construction managers can put them at an increased risk of negative stress levels. A related issue is the silence surrounding the stress felt by people in this role. Many of these professionals don’t know how to adequately express that they’re under too much pressure at work. Alternatively, some believe admitting to feeling stressed shows weakness.

Becoming more aware of how you deal with stress now will help you determine if you’d thrive in the workplace after earning a construction management degree. When people have several stress management techniques they use regularly, they’re often better able to cope with the demands of their careers. 

Some construction managers hire colleagues to help them handle day-to-day duties. That approach could reduce your anxiety by allowing more task delegation. What you should do now, however, is recall intense periods of your life and how well you stayed balanced then. Remembering those will make it easier to figure out if you’re well suited for this kind of degree program. 

Explore Related Degrees in Construction and Engineering

Perhaps you read the information above, did some thinking of your own, and believe another degree might be a better choice for you. There are plenty of choices to consider, and keeping your options open is a great idea. 

Architecture and engineering degrees are two examples of options that relate to construction but in a broader sense. A construction project management degree is arguably the closest alternative to a construction management degree, but you could also pursue a construction science program. In that case, surveying, structural systems, and site safety would comprise your course time.

If you’re particularly interested in keeping people safe in and beyond construction jobs, think about an occupational health and safety degree. It’ll prepare you to reduce physical risks, monitor for environmental threats, and apply mitigation measures to protect today’s workers. 

Remember, too, that the construction field is increasingly high tech, with many companies using modeling software, virtual reality, and robots on worksites. Perhaps those technological applications fascinate you, and you’re curious about what’s on the horizon. If so, earning a degree in construction technology could be a smart choice. 

Is a Construction Management Degree The Right Move for You?

This guide should give you some valuable food for thought as you progress down your educational path. As you finalize your decision to earn a construction management degree or focus on something else, try not to rush the progress or feel overly pressured by internal or external factors.

Giving yourself enough time to make a well-informed choice is one of the best things you can do to improve the chances of feeling satisfied by the outcome. 

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