What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Construction Management Program?

An online master’s in construction management program covers all aspects of the building trade and helps you become a leader in the field. Make the most of your career and advancement opportunities with an advanced degree that prepares you for a variety of managerial positions in construction. Whether you work in residential, commercial, industrial or another type of construction, an online master’s program provides the flexibility you need to enhance your professional knowledge while organizing your coursework around your busy work schedule. Because online master’s in construction management programs greatly vary, compare curriculum, concentrations, delivery format and cost to find a degree program that fits your career goals.

Degrees Offered for an Online Master’s in Construction Management

Some colleges and universities offer construction management as its own concentration within a graduate program in civil engineering or business administration. However, some schools offer graduate programs dedicated to construction management that typically offer several concentrations within the field.

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Architecture, Engineering and Construction Technology An online master’s program in construction management with a concentration in architecture, engineering and construction technology focuses on modeling and design. Architectural designer, civil engineer, building inspector, construction manager
Real Estate Development A real estate concentration in construction management emphasizes feasibility studies, real estate finance, legal issues in real estate, sales and marketing, and advanced real estate investment analysis. Commercial or residential real estate developer, home builder, real estate asset manager
Construction Project Management Online construction management master’s programs with a concentration in construction project management focuses on contract administration, strategic management in construction and quality construction practices. Construction manager, project manager
Sustainability and Green Construction Online construction manager master’s programs with a concentration in sustainability and green construction covers community impact analysis and sustainability, specialty courses on LEED concepts, and sustainable principles, practices and technologies. Green builder, green building specialist, green building designer, urban planner

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Construction Management

Curricula for an online master’s degree in construction management widely vary, but core courses typically cover fundamental concepts in construction materials, site logistics, structural integrity, safety management, project scheduling, labor relations and construction estimating. Many programs require a capstone project to finish your degree and allow you to customize your coursework based on your career goals. Some core courses you might encounter in your curriculum include:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Cost Estimating and Bidding Strategies Competitive bidding strategies, estimating construction costs and profit objectives.
Risk Management in Construction Explores risk management techniques and practices relating to construction projects.
Leadership in Construction Introduces leadership principles, practices and styles relating to the construction industry.
Construction Control Techniques Delves into the knowledge and skills required to plan and control complex construction projects, including bidding, budgets, contracts, cash flow and case studies.
Construction Methods and Materials Fundamentals of building construction, including materials and methods of construction for residential and commercial properties.
Land Development Planning, design and construction phases in the land development process.
Preconstruction Management Covers the entire construction management process, including how construction professionals interact and collaborate with each other, and the administrative, estimating and scheduling functions of a project.
Electrical and Mechanical Construction Design and construction procedures used in electrical and mechanical systems, including building code requirements.
Construction Organization Processes Teaches critical construction management skills, including planning, leadership and organizational management.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Construction Management?

The length of time it takes to complete an online master’s degree in construction management depends on numerous factors, including whether you enroll full-time or part-time and whether classes are delivered asynchronously, which are self-paced, or synchronously, which are cohort-based and require taking classes at set times with other students. An online program’s degree requirements, especially the number of credit hours required, also impact completion time. Online master’s in construction management programs typically require between 30 and 45 credit hours that can be completed in 15 to 24 months. Some online courses are offered on an accelerated track, which allows you to finish even sooner and much sooner than traditional programs held on campus.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Construction Management Prepares For

CONCENTRATION CERTIFICATION
Licensed General Contractor/Construction Manager Some states require licensure for general contractors and construction managers, which may include passing an exam. Your online master’s in construction management helps prepare you for the licensing process, which varies by state. Contact your local licensing board to learn the specific requirements in your state.
Certified Construction Manager Earning your online master’s in construction management may help you qualify for a Certified Construction Manager credential administered through the Construction Manager Certification Institute. It’s the only credentialing program accredited by the American National Standards Institute under the International Organization for Standardization.
Associate Constructor Certification Earning your online master’s in construction management prepares you to sit for the Associate Constructor Certification exam, which is the first level of certification administered by the American Institute of Constructors.
Certified Professional Constructor Earning your online master’s in construction management prepares you to sit for the Certified Professional Constructor exam, which is the highest level of certification administered by the American Institute of Constructors.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Construction Management Degrees

When comparing online master’s in construction management programs, choose an accredited college or university to ensure eligibility for financial aid and high standards of educational excellence. Schools are accredited through an agency recognized by the Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Construction management master’s programs may also receive programmatic accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission or the American Council for Construction Education

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Employment Outlook for Master’s in Construction Management Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Construction managers typically have a bachelor’s degree and learn management techniques through on-the-job training, but earning your master’s degree in construction management can help fast-track your advancement. As construction processes become more complex, many employers show preference for applicants with specialized education and advanced degrees in construction.

Earning your master’s in construction management with a concentration in civil engineering can also give your salary a boost. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, civil engineering professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary of $83,000, while those with a master’s earn $101,000. An online degree program offers the same upward mobility and salary perks as a similar program completed on-campus.

Expected Salary

Public relations is one of the fastest growing media fields, but the most coveted positions are highly competitive. Completing your online master’s in public relations degree qualifies you for numerous jobs that vary depending on your degree specialization and experience in the field. As you gain experience and move up the professional public relations ladder, your salary increases along with your title.

Job Title Salary Range
General Contractor $33,459–$124,456
Construction Project Manager $50,153–$110,030
Construction Manager $48,886–$118,117
General Contractor with Construction Estimating Skills $35,049–$126,302
Construction Estimator $40,193–$86,489

Source: PayScale.com

Large construction firms increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a degree in a construction-related field. Because equal emphasis is put on education and experience, after earning your advanced degree, each year you work in the trade should result in a higher expected salary, as the table below demonstrates.

Average Salary of Construction Manager Based on Years of Experience

Source: PayScale.com

Career Opportunities

Graduates with an online master’s in construction management are attractive candidates for advanced positions as contractors in specialty trades and construction managers with varying levels of responsibility. You may choose to work for a large construction firm or work as an independent contractor. Below are a few common careers for graduates with a master’s in construction management.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Construction Managers Construction Managers are responsible for all aspects of construction project management from start to finish, including budgeting, scheduling and personnel management. Construction managers may work on several projects simultaneously, including residential, commercial and industrial properties, and roads, bridges or other structures. Top-level construction managers may also collaborate and coordinate with lower-level construction managers on very large projects. $91,370 per year 11%
Construction and Building Inspector Construction and Building Inspectors ensure construction meets local building codes, ordinances, zoning regulations and contract specifications. They check a building’s structural quality, integrity and general safety through every phase of construction and may specialize in specific types of structures. $59,090 per year 10%
Civil Engineer Civil Engineers design, build and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector. Many hold supervisory positions ranging from the supervisor of a construction site to a city manager or city engineer. As supervisors, they’re also responsible for ensuring safe work practices are followed at construction sites, including the safety of temporary structures used during construction. $84,770 per year 11%

Professional Organizations

Membership in professional organizations offers a variety of networking and educational opportunities, which are important for construction managers at every stage of their careers. Many organizations also offer professional publications, job boards and certification opportunities. Some notable organizations for construction managers include:

Construction Management Association of America: This national association promotes the construction management profession and offers its members the latest industry information and numerous education, training, professional development and networking opportunities. The CMAA also provides valuable articles and white papers, achievement awards, job postings and other professional resources.

American Institute of Constructors: AIC helps construction practitioners achieve the professional status they desire. It helps members connect and exchange ideas with others within the profession and keep current with the latest technical developments. It also offers online education opportunities, an interactive job board, a professional journal and newsletter, constructor recognition awards and other professional resources.

Associated General Contractors of America: Members of AGC of America have access to a variety of continuing education and networking opportunities, discount programs, valuable news and industry information, a career center and other industry specific resources.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Construction Management Degree

While online master’s programs in construction management are often cheaper than identical on-campus programs, if you need help financing your education, start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA allows you to apply for financial aid, including grants, loans, work study programs and other financial assistance through the federal government. It’s also a common requirement for financial aid opportunities offered through the college or university you’re attending and may be required to apply for state aid. Financial aid opportunities for construction management majors are typically plentiful, even for master’s programs. Start your financial aid search with the resources below.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

AGC Education and Research Foundation Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships

Award: Up to $7,500

Deadline: November

Eligibility: Students enrolled or planning to enroll as a part-time or full-time student in an accredited master’s construction management or construction engineering program.

Hershel Trimm Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Award: Varies

Deadline: December

Eligibility: Full-time or part-time graduate students attending the University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies with preference given to those in the home-building field.

American Galvanizers Association’s Richard L. Brooks Memorial Scholarship

Award: $2,500

Deadline: March

Eligibility: Full-time or part-time graduate students enrolled in any accredited college or university studying architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management, material science or a related field.

ACCE Dupree Construction Education Fund/National Housing Endowment Scholarship

Award: $5,000

Deadline: May

Eligibility: Students enrolled in an ACCE-accredited construction-related master’s program with a residential construction emphasis.