What You'll Do
By Jennifer Wegerer
Construction management engineering professionals plan, budget, and direct construction projects, including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and residential and commercial structures. Construction management engineers typically do not do any actual construction work themselves but are responsible for selecting, hiring and overseeing specialty trade contractors, such as carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Focused on delivering construction projects on time and within budget, construction managers are involved with a project from conceptual development to final construction. Their breadth of construction knowledge and project management expertise make them essential to getting projects off the ground and employing contractors who can produce the highest quality work within the specified timeline.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many construction managers are self-employed, earning their living as owners of construction management or contracting firms. Others might work under contract as a salaried employee for a construction company, a property owner or a developer. Construction managers perform their duties at a main office or on the job site, usually remaining on call 24 hours a day.
A growing emphasis on improving energy efficiency in new and existing structures, upgrading the country's infrastructure, and increasing energy supply lines will contribute to the many new job opportunities in construction management engineering.
The Future of Construction Management Engineering
Construction management engineering is at the forefront of devising practices and methods for developing twenty-first century building designs that incorporate cost-effective innovations in energy efficiency and sustainability.
The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) describes how sustainable development in the construction industry will soon become a part of the mainstream—for both its environmental benefits and its cost-effectiveness. And construction managers who engage in sustainable practices, and accurately identify for clients which methods will deliver the strongest return on investment, will see an increased demand for their expertise.
Schools & Degrees
A bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, building science or civil engineering is the most common credential for construction management jobs. Just as important as a four-year degree, however, is practical experience. From internships and cooperative education programs to work in one of the many construction trades, gaining experience in the field is essential to obtaining a construction management engineering position.
Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer bachelor's programs in construction-related sciences and engineering. Students should expect their undergraduate course work to include project control and development, site planning, design, construction methods, cost estimating, building codes and standards, and information technology.
Although not required, many construction managers obtain professional certification to demonstrate advanced competence in their field. The CMAA and the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) offer voluntary certification exams to candidates who meet experience and education requirements.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for construction managers is $89,300. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.