Construction managers oversee all aspects of a building project. Construction managers are involved in every aspect of the building process, from estimating costs and developing budgets to negotiating price and overseeing the execution. They collaborate with architects and engineers and choose methods and materials. As supervisors, they hire qualified workers and manage their productivity, activities, and on-the-job conduct. As budget managers, they ensure all changes are reduced to paper, and as responsible leaders, they ensure all laws and codes are followed.

Students who seek an online master’s degree in construction project management can expect to spend about two years completing a program. Some of the core courses include management, finance, and law. In this hands-on field, a master’s thesis is not usually required; however, some programs do require either a capstone project or paper, prior to graduation. Many of the best programs will offer internships, so students have an opportunity to gain real world experience in a supervised setting.

Why a Master’s Degree in Construction Management?

According to a 2012 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with a master’s degree were more than 20% likelier to be employed in comparison to those with a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree holders also had 20% greater earnings than their bachelor’s degree holding neighbors. According to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, those with master’s degrees will earn (throughout their careers) roughly $400,000 more than those with a bachelor’s degree and $1,000,000 more than those who do not pursue education beyond high school.

Getting Into a Construction Management Master’s Program

The requirements of master’s degree in construction management programs vary, but most share a few basic prerequisites:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Sufficient grade point average (GPA) in the previous program – typically at least 3.0
  • Sufficient scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Letter of intent or a statement of interest

Inside a Construction Management Master’s Degree Program

Construction management graduate programs usually offer courses in a number of disciplines. Finance, accounting, and economics are often required. Depending on the student’s specialty, real estate and land use may also be taken. Some students take courses in sustainability, as well. Most students take at least one course pertaining to law and/or policy.

The best programs also offer course work in entrepreneurship. Venture management and capital are typically covered. Market and systems research are also frequently offered. Many programs are tailored for larger projects, and some require classes in heavy construction operations and methods. Depending upon the school, international construction and engineering may be available, as well.

What’s Next for Construction Management Master’s Degree Holders?

Graduates of construction management master’s programs can expect to find work in the building industry. According to BLS data, work in the field is expected to grow more than 15%. Those who take jobs as construction managers earn a median salary of $83,860. Other professionals who work in analysis estimating costs earn a median salary of $57,860. Those who have built on an undergraduate engineering degree may take a position as an engineering manager and earn a median salary of $119,260.

Many who graduate with a construction management master’s degree choose to continue their education and obtain a Ph.D. Those with doctoral degrees in construction management can further expand their opportunities by working as consultants on projects and expert witnesses in lawsuits. Many choose to work as researchers in industry. Others choose to conduct unique research in the field and publish it in scholarly journals. Those who choose to teach in colleges and universities can expect, according to the BLS, median annual salaries of approximately $62,050.