dcsimg
Table of Contents

Construction is often thought of as a trade mastered on the job or through apprenticeships. However, many construction managers and developers opt for formal training as well -- especially those that take on major projects or specialize in an area like sustainable design. Here is a quick overview of construction degree programs and the careers they might lead to.

Construction Degrees: What to Expect

Construction majors typically learn how to manage and coordinate construction projects with a mind for cost, efficiency and regulatory compliance. According to The College Board, some degree programs emphasize the management aspect of construction work, focusing on scheduling, budgeting and leadership, while others prepare students to work in a specialized segment of the industry. Engineering and construction programs might also cover construction technology, preparing students to assist engineers and supervise technical teams in the field.

Courses vary from program to program, but generally touch on the following topics:

Construction
  • Construction estimating
  • Electrical and mechanical systems
  • Labor law
  • Blueprint reading
  • Sustainable design
  • Site surveying, planning and design
  • Computer-integrated construction
  • Technical report writing

The College Board reports that while many construction majors earn an associate or bachelor's, credentials run the gamut from certificates to master's degrees. To learn more about specific programs, students should contact prospective schools directly.

Jobs for Construction Majors

Not all construction professionals need or want formal degrees. However, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, earnings and employment opportunities tend to improve with education. The following are some examples of positions construction majors might pursue after graduation, plus a few industry trends from the BLS.

  • Construction managers - As the title suggests, construction managers oversee construction sites, coordinating, budgeting and supervising projects from development to completion. While managers with smaller firms may get by with a high school diploma and several years of professional experience, the BLS reports that larger employers increasingly prefer to hire candidates with construction degrees. The BLS projects demand for construction managers to grow by 16 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Prospects should be best for those with bachelor's degrees in construction or a related field, like civil engineering, as well as solid work experience.
  • Construction and building inspectors - Construction and building inspectors ensure projects and structures meet all local and national building codes, zoning regulations and contract specifications. Some construction and building inspectors have high school diplomas plus several years of on-the-job experience, but according to the BLS, many states and local jurisdictions require certification or licensure before entering the field. Employment of these professionals is expected to rise 12 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.
  • Cost estimators - Cost estimators collect and analyze data so that they can estimate how much time, money and labor are required to complete a project. Though cost estimators can work in a number of industries, the BLS notes they usually specialize in a particular field, such as construction. Cost estimators typically must possess a bachelor's degree before entering the field, but according to the BLS, some employers will consider candidates with a great deal of construction experience or professional certificates. Demand for cost estimators is projected to grow 26 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2022.

The construction industry comprises a major portion of the U.S. economy, and the jobs above are just a small sampling. Many positions -- including construction equipment operators, laborers and carpenters -- do not necessarily require formal training, but even a certificate can help in a competitive job market. Those who hope to advance to managerial positions or establish their own companies should consider investing in a construction degree. Prospective construction majors can learn more about their options by contacting a school representative, visiting the BLS online, or reaching out to an organization like the American Council for Construction Education.

Sources:
"Major: Construction Management," The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/business-construction-management
"Major: Construction Technology," The College Board, https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/engineering-technologies-construction-technology
"Cost Estimators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/cost-estimators.htm
"Construction Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm
"Construction and Building Inspectors," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/construction-and-building-inspectors.htm
American Council for Construction Education, http://www.acce-hq.org/

Pursue your Construction major today…

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
 
Matching School Ads
3 Program(s) Found
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
Show more [+]
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found

• Morning, afternoon, evening and weekend classes are available.
• Offers lifetime career assistance services to graduates, including resume and cover letter assistance, employer networking, and one-on-one employment counseling.
• Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
• 8 campuses located across California, with 3 additional campuses in New Hampshire and Maine and online options.

Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
  • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
  • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
  • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
UEI College , Gardena
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Designated as a 2016 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Offers several aviation maintenance programs, including engineering, electronics, helicopter, and avionics technology.
  • Tutoring and advising services are available to students at no additional cost.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 11 campuses across the United States, with locations in California, Virginia, Texas, Indianapolis, Florida, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits