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Anyone who’s seen a building going up, a bridge being put together, or a road being completed can attest: There’s a lot of planning that goes into construction. As with any major project, things get done better—and faster—when there’s one person or firm in charge of telling everyone else where they should be and when. Construction Managers are just the people to do this, organizing and directing a project from start to finish. Along the way, they keep work on schedule and under budget to make sure the client stays happy.
If this sounds like something you want to do for a living, read on to find out what to expect.
To get into this field, you need a degree in construction management. While in school, you’ll learn things like construction processes and techniques, organization and scheduling, site safety, facilities management, and budgeting. You’ll take classes that teach you how to handle labor issues, give you the basics on building codes, and let you practice making construction timelines and schedules.
Construction management programs offer everything from certificate programs to master’s degrees. To figure out what fits best, consider future job opportunities, cost, and time.
A certificate will take the least amount of time, usually only a year, though it’s not viewed as highly as a four- or two-year degree. Get a certificate if you’re already working for a construction agency, and want to increase your understanding of the field or grow your managerial skills.
There are online construction management degree programs for those who want to gain the skills offered through a master’s, bachelor’s, or certificate, but don’t have the time to sit through classes on campus.
Your first job after completing your degree will probably be something like an assistant to a Project Manager, Field Engineer, or Scheduler. This on-the-job training allows you to add experience to your degree, which is what most employers search for when hiring new employees.