Construction management trains people to plan and direct building projects.
Sometimes called construction engineering, it is usually taken under a civil
engineering program. That means grads will be professional engineers as well.
If you don't want to go for an engineering degree, you may also consider
some of the shorter programs available at two-year colleges. Programs in civil
or construction engineering technology will prepare you for jobs assisting
construction managers. Some of these programs even offer a management specialization.
Programs leading to a bachelor's degree are typically designed to last
four years, but many students find that it takes them up to five years.
If you enroll in a program that leads to a civil engineering degree,
make sure it's accredited -- otherwise, you may not be able to register
as a professional engineer. Registration requires a degree from a school whose
program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
(ABET). Four years of work experience and passing a state exam are also requirements.
Some states will not register people with two-year degrees in engineering
technology, so when you're deciding whether to do a four-year engineering
degree or a two-year technology program, you should check the rules in your
Construction management students need to be able to communicate. "The
number one requirement is written and oral communication skills," says
construction management professor Thomas Rogers of Northern Arizona University.
He adds that students will also need to study math, chemistry and physics.
"You don't need to be a genius to succeed in construction. However, you
must be willing to work beyond the bounds of lectures and homework. You must
be willing to work in teams with other students. This is true in the construction
industry, both in management and trade."
Choose extracurricular activities that emphasize teamwork. "You
can learn that getting things done requires planning and diplomacy," says
It's important to be computer-literate.
"We assume that students are computer-literate to some degree and then
add more knowledge and skills," Rogers says. "I require all my students to
submit most homework electronically, including written papers and technical
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Construction
Construction Management Association of America
For more information on certification
National Center for Construction Education and Research
Develops training programs for the construction industry