Construction sites are an ever-present reality of the modern world. Thus, knowledge and experience in this field are always in demand, making construction management degrees a path that could open up a range of career opportunities in the construction industry.
The field of construction combines project management, engineering, and business skills to oversee and execute construction projects. Not only can managing construction projects prove meaningful and fulfilling, but the employment prospect is also promising: As of 2022, the median annual salary for construction managers exceeded $100,000, with the job outlook projecting a 5 percent growth rate from 2022 to 2023.
College degree programs cover every aspect of the construction process, including finances, contracting, codes and regulations, and the latest technology. Ultimately, a construction management degree prepares you to lead construction projects, crews, and related tasks. These days, many entry-level positions even require a bachelor’s degree (or at least sufficient experience within the field). The value and versatility of a degree in the construction management industry should not be understated.
Below, we explore 15 different roles you could pursue with a construction management degree.
1. Construction Manager
One of the most common positions for someone with a construction management degree, the construction manager’s overarching duty is to oversee construction projects from inception to completion. Construction managers are responsible for planning, budgeting, and project coordination and supervision from start to finish. They ensure projects are completed on time, are within budget, and meet quality standards. This involves collaborating with owners, architects, engineers, and regulatory stakeholders, along with ordering materials and managing teams. Additionally, construction managers help enforce Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and local guidelines.
2. Project Estimator
Construction project cost estimators analyze project plans, specifications and timelines to calculate the costs associated with labor, materials, equipment, expenses, and resources needed for construction projects. They typically specialize in certain industries or products and perform estimates for public roadwork, residential homes, commercial buildings, and more. Project estimators also play a crucial role in helping companies bid on projects and determine their profitability, using software and digital tools for accuracy.
3. Site Engineer
Site engineers represent essential personnel on construction projects, overseeing site activities and ensuring they align with outlined plans and drawings, with guidance from the project superintendent. They must collaborate with the on-site workforce, architects, civil engineers, and land surveyors, as well as resolve technical issues and monitor regulations and safety specifications. This role merges project management skills with technical knowledge.
4. Contract Administrator
Contract administrators manage and review contracts between a construction company and clients, subcontractors, and suppliers related to construction projects. They ensure all parties adhere to and comply with the contractual obligations, terms, and conditions, addressing any discrepancies that might arise. A contract administrator might deal with risk assessment, negotiating contracts, and educating leadership or employees on details of a contract.
5. Health and Safety Manager
Health and safety managers are responsible for enforcing safety protocols, OSHA regulations, and similar standards on construction sites. They work to create a safe working environment, reduce accidents, and ensure compliance with safety standards. This might involve conducting inspection reports, risk assessment, safety audits, or safety training for staff.
6. Sustainability Consultant
Sustainability consultants provide guidance on green building practices and sustainable construction techniques, as they are informed and up-to-date on environmental regulations and certifications. Environmental experts are qualified to suggest environmentally friendly building designs and materials, either for the short or long term.
For instance, following the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines for designers and construction workers, LEED certification promotes energy-efficient buildings made of eco-friendly materials. One example of this role is a green building specialist. Considering the growing interest in sustainable construction, some professionals now specialize in green building standards and practices and work on projects that prioritize environmental sustainability.
7. Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Specialist
Quality control or assurance specialists and managers oversee the quality of work and materials used in construction projects. They develop and implement quality control processes to ensure the finished product meets or exceeds specified standards. This could combine inspection reports, material testing, or monitoring construction processes and materials to ensure quality standards are met, along with implementing corrective actions when deviations are identified.
8. Construction Consultant
Construction management consultants provide expertise and guidance to construction companies or project owners. They may be hired to troubleshoot issues, identify potential risks and efficiency improvements, or advise clients and companies on construction best practices and building strategy. A construction consultant might specialize in a specific area, like infrastructure, commercial, or residential buildings. Their project advisory services help streamline and manage construction projects and provide transparency for the benefit of all stakeholders.
9. Facility Manager
Overseeing building maintenance and operations, plus ensuring their longevity and functionality, facility managers are tasked with the upkeep and operation of completed structures. Facility management operations optimization is pivotal to properly maintaining an establishment. This strategy incorporates a systematic approach to improving performance, efficiency, facility health and safety, and operational cost-effectiveness.
10. Preconstruction Services
The realm of preconstruction services includes design coordination, scheduling, financial projections, entitlements, permitting, and many other required steps preceding a construction project in order to ensure it meets project goals, deadlines, and budget. This role is involved early in the project lifecycle to determine its scope and feasibility; assess site conditions, potential risks, and necessary resources; and engage with architects and designers to finalize construction plans.
11. Owner's Project Management Representative
An owner’s project management representative ensures the best interests of the owner are represented throughout the duration of a construction project. They serve as the bridge between the project owner and the construction team as well as oversee project timelines, budgets, and quality while reporting directly to the owner. Owner's representatives act on behalf of the client (e.g., property owner or developer) to complete the construction project to their satisfaction.
12. Building Information Modeler
Building information modeling (BIM) managers collaborate with designers, architects, engineers, client teams, and contractors to produce models with information that includes three-dimensional visualizations of construction project data. Professionals in this position often use software like Autodesk Revit to create detailed 3D models of construction projects that help ensure model accuracy. This plays a critical role in the visualization, simulation, and analysis of a project's design, performance, sequencing, and logistics.
13. Scheduler and Logistics Coordinator
Dealing with construction scheduling, project coordination, and the logistics of material deliveries, machinery, and manpower, construction schedulers and logistics coordinators direct various teams to ensure smooth project progress. These individuals plan, oversee, and update construction timelines and deadlines as well as coordinate activities, allocate resources, and make adjustments to keep projects on track.
14. Construction Finance and Accounting
Accountants or finance professionals within the construction field manage and analyze the financial aspects of projects like invoices, reports, budgeting, recordkeeping, and compliance. They collaborate with project managers to plan budgets, review vendor contracts, and make sure project costs are tracked. This role is key to maintaining financial health and viability for construction projects and the company as a whole.
15. Site Superintendent
Construction site superintendents serve as on-site leaders who monitor daily construction activities and ensure work is executed reliably, on time, and adherent to safety standards and specifications. Someone in this role supervises day-to-day operations and oversees building tasks, sequencing, and project coordination. A superintendent coordinates with subcontractors, workers, inspectors, and stakeholders for the sake of improving site efficiencies and operations optimization. They may also provide cost or time estimates and “look-ahead” schedule updates on job progress.
Learn More, Today
Considering furthering your qualifications and education in the construction industry? At the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies, our construction management degree program offers multiple specialized tracks—such as commercial, residential, and highway heavy/civil works—as well as a certificate program. Core courses cover topics like construction contracts, scheduling, estimating, safety, sustainability, and more. Earning a bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management could deepen your knowledge and expertise in the field, equip you with industry insights necessary to succeed, and help form valuable academic and professional connections.