Earning a Master’s in Construction Management Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Construction Management Online?

Construction managers help keep projects on track, organizing permits, scheduling supply shipments, hiring subcontractors, and inspecting work. While individuals with many years of construction experience may work their way into this position, a master's in construction management online degree provides quick entry to the field and ensures that individuals possess a comprehensive understanding of the construction process, laws, and finances.

The advanced degree also prepares construction managers to integrate new building methods and technology into construction projects, like energy-efficient building materials and sustainable site preparation. The expertise of the construction professionals remains invaluable in building renovations and retrofits. While employment in the construction industry may fluctuate with the economy, individuals with specialized education can expect continued job growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects an 11% increase in employment through 2026 for construction managers. Below, you can learn more about the careers available to construction managers and what students study in an accredited master's in construction management program.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Construction Management Graduates

Master's in Construction Management Salary

A knowledgeable and skilled construction manager can save companies millions of dollars on complex construction projects just by providing proper scheduling; ensuring quality control processes; and maintaining a safe, productive work environment. In return, companies compensate their construction managers well, with a national mean salary of $101,000. Construction managers may see much higher compensation in areas with a higher cost of living, more construction activity, or more heavily regulated construction projects. Since online students can continue to work full time, an online master's degree in construction management may help individuals command a higher salary, combining the advanced degree with continuing on-the-job experience.

Top Paying States for Construction Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New Jersey 5,720 $138,980
Alaska 1,060 $120,840
New York 12,150 $120,670
Georgia 6,350 $113,930
California 32,780 $111,940
United States 263,480 $101,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Construction Managers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $59,362
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $73,370
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $80,375
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $86,181

Source: PayScale

Master's in Construction Management Careers

Construction management encompasses many specialization areas, each with unique career opportunities. The critical thinking and data analysis skills gained through a construction management master's degree combine with practical working knowledge of engineering and construction to create well-rounded employees who are proficient in the business office, at the work site, and with interacting with clients. The job descriptions below offer a sampling of available careers.

Construction Managers

Annual Median Salary: $91,370
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Construction managers oversee the construction process. They work on public, commercial, and industrial projects as well as infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges. They work closely with engineers and architects. While individuals complete some work in an office, this role requires frequent site visits in various weather conditions.

Cost Estimators

Annual Median Salary: $63,110
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Cost estimators evaluate project plans to provide projections on material costs, necessary labor, and time requirements. This information helps prepare competitive bids for projects, ensuring the company can meet its construction obligations. They often draw on their construction expertise, records of prior similar projects, and material pricing forecasts.

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Annual Median Salary: $137,720
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

Engineering managers use their knowledge of technical fields to develop overall concepts for a new project or overcome technical difficulties that may threaten project completion. Most of their work takes place in an office, but frequent site visits may help them to develop solutions to projects.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Construction Management Program?

A master's in construction management online program requires applicants to possess an undergraduate degree, ideally in a related field, such as construction, business, engineering, or architecture. Students may choose concentrations in areas of sustainability, workforce development, or policy and planning. While some programs require the completion of a thesis, most rely on a practical capstone project that demonstrates a student's ability to manage all aspects of a construction project.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Construction Management

  1. Sustainable Design and Construction: Sustainable development and design considers the impact of a construction project on the surrounding environment. Students evaluate the effects on ecology, local economy, social, and historical resources. The course also evaluates new building technologies and requirements to meet sustainable development certifications and how to assess long-term savings from these green building methods.
  2. Construction Accounting and Financial Management: Successful construction projects require proper estimating, budgeting, and expense tracking. Construction accounting also considers principles of the time value of money, depreciation, equipment costs, and payment methods. Students learn various techniques for cost estimating, completing bidding documents, and creating proposals for prospective clients.
  3. Law for Construction Managers: Construction managers must understand local, state, and federal laws and regulations for construction projects, such as environmental regulations or current building codes. Students also discuss various aspects of employment law, such as hiring practices, workers compensation, and workplace safety.
  4. Comprehensive Construction Project Management: Project management offers a process to plan and organize construction projects before work crews arrive on the scene. Project managers organize work tasks, develop timelines, oversee purchasing and delivery of materials and supplies, and ensure quality control process remain in place throughout the project.
  5. Construction Leadership and Marketing: Students apply leadership concepts and theories to their work in the construction industry and related fields. Students learn about value based decision making, ethics management, and team building. The marketing portion covers how to effectively communicate the value of a construction manager to prospective employers or clients and strategies in emerging marketing fields, such as digital or content marketing, as well as traditional marketing methods.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Construction Management Prepares For

  • Certified Construction Manager: The only professional certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute, the CCM designates professionals with demonstrated experience, education, and understanding of construction management principles. While not required, a master's in construction management online degree may substitute some of the experience necessary to sit for the exam.