Any building project team will find construction project managers a valuable asset. They are, in essence, the owner’s representative who will make sure that the architects, engineers and even the construction company is working together harmoniously on schedule and according to plan. There are actually many ways to become a construction manager – you could either be a multi-specialist or an expert in construction management. The multi-specialist becomes a construction manager by specializing in architecture, construction, or project management. The expert usually has a degree in construction management.
As varied as the ways of becoming a construction manager, the process on how to get a degree in construction management is also diverse. You have to consider the following issues:
- Type of degree. If you are currently working in construction or have practical experience in supervision and quality control, your employer might consider subsidizing you for an associates degree. Usually this 2-year program is readily available in community colleges or special vocational establishments. If you have little or no experience in building and construction, focus on getting a Bachelor's degree. This will give you the badly needed edge for employment. It will take you 4 years if you have not taken any other classes in a Bachelor’s degree of another field.
- Kind of study program. There are the online programs which involve getting yourself to study online at your own pace after work. Traditionally, you could also go to actual classes in school. That means you have to look for class schedules that will fit your timetable after working hours. The associate and Bachelor's degree are available in either type of study program
- Establishment. You have to look at which type of school you intend to enroll in. Popular choices away from the stuffy universities are the technical institutes. These are the type of establishments that specialize in skilled education. They often offer reduced, expert instruction in this field. They can also increase your chances of getting a job after graduation as most companies link up with them to supply skilled personnel. The downside is that they may be a little expensive. Cheaper alternatives would be community colleges that specialize in technical degrees.
- Budget. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have your employer subsidize your education, you still have to check the cost of tuition to your probable salary increase. After all, education is an investment for future career advancement. Usually, the starting salary median for such degree holders is around US$83,000 per year and could be as high as US$125,000 annually for managers. Some employers may offer free education for a certain number of years of service.
- Certification. A degree in construction management would also look great on your resume with a certification from the CMAA or AIC, a group of reputable construction professionals.
Construction management has increasing projected employment demands. Highly qualified construction managers are badly needed to facilitate firms in maintaining stringent legal requirements and facilitating complicated machinery as well as advances in building materials and construction technology.