What Is the Best Degree Path to Becoming a Construction Project Manager?

Construction project managerIf you are business-minded and have strong leadership skills, you might have already decided to pursue a career in business. Yet you may still be surprised at some of the opportunities that exist for candidates who decide to major in business or a related field. If you have an interest in construction as well as business, a career as a construction project manager might be right for you. Though it’s probably not a position you imagine when you envision your career in the field of business, construction project manager ranks as the second top-paying job for business majors. Experienced professionals earn a median salary of $81,700 per year.

Educational Path

If you have no experience or interest in construction, this job is probably not for you. Even though developing solid business skills is essential for achieving success in this career field, so is having a strong understanding of the construction process. In this role, professionals:

  • plan constructions projects
  • coordinate schedules

They organize the team of contractors, architects and engineers necessary for completing the project. They work with clients to develop a timeline and a budget for the project. They work with construction workers to stick to the schedule and budget. To do this, it’s important that the construction project manager develops skills and knowledge from disciplines of both business management and construction.

Instead of a traditional business degree, aspiring construction project managers often earn bachelor’s degrees in fields that combine construction knowledge with business management skills. You can enroll in bachelor’s degree programs in subjects like:

  • building science
  • construction engineering
  • architecture and construction science.

These are offered at more than 100 different colleges, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Some junior colleges offer associate’s degrees in construction technology or construction management.  However, bachelor’s degrees are becoming popular with employers. Courses in bachelor’s degree programs will cover a wide range of topics such as:

  • mathematics
  • statistics
  • design
  • building codes
  • construction methods
  • cost estimation
  • project management

Gaining Experience

Aspiring construction project managers must typically work their way up into this management position. They often have at least some work experience in construction. They build on this background by working as an assistant for months or even years. Some states require construction managers to hold a license to be allowed to work on public projects. To improve their career opportunities, construction project managers may also seek certification from organizations such as:

  • the Construction Management Association of America
  • the American Institute of Constructors

Becoming a construction manager requires a combination of work experience and an education that combines study in both business and construction science. Preparation for this career takes time and hard work. It’s a great choice if you enjoy both the hands-on work of construction and the upper-level responsibilities of a manager.

Considering the high median salary for experience professionals, work as a construction manager can be very rewarding.

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief