Construction managers have a range of responsibilities. They serve as a central communication point for various groups of workers on the jobsite; provide detailed direction to complete projects; and report progress, unexpected problems, or substantial successes. Pursuing a path as a construction manager can be both fulfilling and financially worthwhile—but before someone can dive into a new career, they will want to complete a relevant degree.
Selecting a top construction management program isn’t something that should be left to a coin flip. Future students will want to look into the application process, testing requirements, tuition costs, program accreditation, and more before deciding. It’s wise to research the colleges and universities that offer construction management programs to find the best construction management schools.
- BEST OVERALL: Louisiana State University
- RUNNER-UP: Virginia Tech
- BEST FOR POSTGRADS: Clemson University
- BEST FOR SUSTAINABILITY: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- BEST DUAL-DEGREE PROGRAM: Stevens Institute of Technology
- ALSO CONSIDER: Columbia University
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Construction Management Schools
Before packing up life to head across the country for school, it’s necessary to consider several key factors. These factors include the institution’s accreditation, tuition costs, and graduation requirements. When choosing among the best construction management schools and the immersive education programs they offer, here’s what students will want to keep in mind.
The location of a school is a common roadblock that many prospective students face: If a student wants to pursue in-person learning, they need to move to where the school is located. However, if a student cannot afford to uproot their life to move to a new city, get a new job, and find a new place to live, then the school selection pool can be relatively limited, depending on a student’s current location.
While finances aren’t always a problem, students may have more preferential concerns, such as not wanting to move to a city that experiences frigid winters if they are used to living somewhere warm all year long. Students will also want to consider the cost of living, which fluctuates significantly from state to state and will likely help influence the final decision.
Online vs. In-Person Learning
Location doesn’t need to be a determining factor, especially if a student’s top construction management program is offered online. Students will want to research the options to find out if they need to move or if they can study remotely. In-person learning can be beneficial, especially in the construction industry, because students can have the opportunity to get their hands on physical samples of various materials. Students can also benefit from face-to-face conversations with professors and camaraderie with classmates. But not everyone learns in the same way. Some students can find it incredibly challenging to study in an online learning environment, while other individuals may prefer remote learning over sitting in a crowded classroom.
When a student is researching top construction management schools, it’s essential to pay attention to the program accreditation to ensure that the material they will be learning is regularly reviewed, updated, and approved by a governing body.
The most common accreditations for construction management programs in America are the ABET and ACCE accreditations. The ABET accreditation program is developed and upheld by more than 2,200 experts from industry positions, academia, and government. It provides standards for college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology, including construction management and engineering programs. The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) accreditation program works to promote, improve, and maintain construction education and research standards.
A wide range of degrees, certificates, and diplomas can help students move into the construction industry, so it’s recommended to research the course catalog and degree offerings before choosing a construction management school. A Bachelor of Science degree may be enough to get a job as a construction manager. Still, a student may want to consider obtaining a higher-level degree to raise their earning potential or land a more prestigious job.
Application Process and Testing Requirements
Even if a student finds a construction management program they like, the school still needs to accept them as a student. Each school has a different application process. When researching potential schools, it’s imperative to look into the application process and determine what the school requires prospective students to submit, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores. It’s also worth noting whether the school has a rolling application deadline or not.
Typically, undergrad students submit SAT or ACT scores during the application process. Grad students are often required to provide GRE or GMAT scores, but not always.
Tuition and Additional Costs
Cost has always been closely associated with higher education in America, so before deciding on a construction management program, students will want to research the tuition costs, cost per credit hour, and any additional fees. Additional charges may include enrollment fees, housing reservation fees, residence fees, meal plan fees, or simple cost-of-living expenses if the student lives off campus.
If a student doesn’t think that they can afford the cost of full-time tuition, part-time learning is an alternative. Although a part-time student won’t be able to complete the program at the same rate as a full-time student, they can still take manageable steps toward their goals.
Researching prospective schools before applying is essential so students can create a cohesive plan for education. This plan takes into account the school’s location, degrees offered, tuition costs, and graduation requirements. Students will want to find out how many credits are required for successful completion of the program and any other conditions, such as a specific grade point average or internship hours.
Students need a clear idea of what they need to accomplish to successfully complete the program and then stay on track post-graduation. Given that construction management often deals with complex, overlapping projects, having an organized schedule is just the first step toward a successful career.
Hands-on learning is often one of the best ways to acquire new skills. Internships are an excellent way for students to immerse themselves in the construction industry. Students can get a better idea of what will be expected from them in a professional environment and get one-on-one time with people that work in the field. Internships are required for some degrees. At other schools, internships may be encouraged but not required.
Study Abroad Opportunities
Degree-specific study abroad programs let students authentically dive into the construction industry in a new and exciting environment. Traveling to a different country to learn about construction practices, standards, and international developments can enhance a student’s education. Not every school will offer a specific study abroad program for construction management, and opting for a non-degree-specific study abroad program may require students to make sacrifices regarding courses they want to take. Students will want to weigh the pros and cons of a study abroad program if this is something they’re interested in.
Post-Graduation Job Offers and Employment Rates
While internships and study abroad programs provide a glimpse into what a student’s future may hold, a more critical factor is the hiring rate for their chosen career. Construction management and engineering are great fields to get into because many companies require trained, educated professionals to fill these jobs. Colleges will often publish their students’ post-graduation employment rates so applicants have an idea of what their prospects will look like.
Our Top Picks
Looking to embark on the path of becoming a construction manager? Potential students will want to take a look at this list of the best construction management schools based on location, costs, internship opportunities, hire rates, and degree offerings.
* Note: The cost per credit hour reflects information found on each institution’s website at the time of this article’s most recent update. For institutions where cost per credit hour was not listed, the number was calculated from the available tuition information.
Why It Made the Cut: The relatively affordable cost per credit hour, flexible learning options, and a wide range of degree programs makes Louisiana State University stand out.
Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Louisiana State University (LSU) is a pre-eminent school for construction management. Students can attend classes for bachelor, master, doctorate, or post-baccalaureate programs in person, or they can complete the B.S., M.S., or post-baccalaureate programs entirely online.
Students may want to note a relatively high 22-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio at LSU, which may mean less individualized attention. However, LSU’s construction management program is one of the largest in the country, meaning students will start their careers with a leg up. One of the benefits of LSU’s program is the Construction Student Association, an on-campus organization for construction management students to gain access to ongoing networking and career development opportunities. Plus, LSU’s relatively affordable cost per credit hour makes higher education more accessible to students.
- Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Online vs. in-person learning: Online or in person for all degrees except Ph.D.
- Accreditation: ACCE
- Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, post-baccalaureate certificate in Construction Management
- Cost per credit hour: $383 for in-state B.S. students; $916 for out-of-state B.S. students
- Relatively affordable cost per credit hour
- Online and in-person options
- B.S., M.S., and Ph.D degrees and post-baccalaureate certificate program offered
- Exclusive on-campus organization offering networking and career development opportunities
- Relatively high 22-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio
Why It Made the Cut: Prospective students can feel confident investing in an education from Virginia Tech with its 100 percent job placement rate for program graduates.
Jobs can be hard to find, but with the right education in a growing field—like construction management and engineering—students can line up jobs before they are even out of school. Virginia Tech boasts outstanding job placement stats that allow students to feel more confident with their education investment. Virginia Tech construction engineering and management students receive an average of three to six job offers by graduation and have a 100 percent job placement rate within 3 months of graduation.
Prospective Hokies may want to note that student diversity at Virginia Tech is low: 90 percent of construction management students are male, and 76 percent are white. This may make the program feel somewhat insular.
Virginia Tech also has a variety of construction-related extracurricular organizations, like the International Construction Honor Society, the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), and the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition team. These organizations can provide extra enrichment and learning opportunities for students pursuing a degree at Virginia Tech.
- Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
- Online vs. in-person learning:In person
- Accreditation: ABET
- Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering and Management, Master of Science in Building Construction and Science Management
- Cost per credit hour: $436 for in-state B.S. students; $1,042 for out-of-state B.S. students
- Average of 3 to 6 jobs offered to each student by graduation
- 100 percent job placement within 3 months of graduation
- Wide array of construction-related extracurricular organizations
- Relatively low student diversity
Why It Made the Cut: Clemson University offers a wide range of program options for postgrads so that students can focus on the subjects that matter most to them.
After completing an undergraduate degree, many students leave college to pursue full-time jobs in gainful employment opportunities. However, postgraduate education is an option that can help improve industry understanding, further personal learning goals, or foster growth in a new area of study. Clemson University offers a range of postgraduate degree programs in the construction industry, including a Master of Construction Science and Management; Master of City and Regional Planning; Master of Real Estate Development; and Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment. This variety of degrees allows students to hone in on specific areas of construction to become subject matter experts.
Clemson also has a standout Bachelor of Science in Construction Science and Management program. B.S. students must complete 800 hours of career-specific internship training to further their real-world skills and knowledge. Students can enroll in in-person classes, though they will have to request information from the admissions office if they are interested in online learning.
- Location: Clemson, South Carolina
- Online vs. in-person learning: In person; online for master’s programs
- Accreditation: ACCE
- Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science in Construction Science and Management; Master of Construction Science and Management; Master of City and Regional Planning; Master of Real Estate Development; Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment
- Cost per credit hour: $655 for in-state B.S. students; $1,698 for out-of-state B.S. students
- Relatively wide variety of postgraduate degrees
- Opportunity to earn career-specific certifications
- 800 hours of career-specific internship for B.S. students completed by graduation
- Little information readily available about online learning opportunities
Why It Made the Cut: Students at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will learn how to bring sustainability to the forefront of the construction management field.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, located in Syracuse, New York, offers a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management with a unique emphasis on sustainability. The school specializes in teaching environmentally responsible building principles and practices and allows students to graduate as LEED Green Associates with a thorough comprehension of sustainable construction management guidelines. The LEED certification can also benefit students professionally upon graduation. Students can also sign up for degree-specific study abroad programs in China or Denmark. While the construction management program is relatively small (eight students graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management in 2020), this small program size may appeal to some students and also fosters a tight-knit, collaborative learning environment.
- Location: Syracuse, New York
- Online vs. in-person learning: In person
- Accreditation: ACCE
- Degrees offered: Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
- Cost per credit hour: $295 for in-state students; $743 for out-of-state students
- Relatively affordable cost per credit hour
- Construction-specific study abroad opportunities
- Opportunity to graduate as a LEED Green Associate with a professional commitment to sustainability
- Relatively small program size
Why It Made the Cut: Stevens Institute of Technology allows students to complete a master’s degree online or opt for a dual Master of Science and Master of Business Administration program in person.
Students who want to complete a dual-degree program to cut down on the amount of time spent in school can enroll in the dual Master of Science in Construction Engineering and Management and Master of Business Administration program offered at the Stevens Institute of Technology. This dual-degree program must be taken in person at the Hoboken, New Jersey, campus, which is right across the river from New York City. However, students who are only interested in a Master of Science degree can enroll in the program entirely online. The M.S. thesis component is optional for students who don’t want to take on the challenge or if it doesn’t align with their goals. There’s no information readily available about the program’s accreditation status, so students may want to speak with an admissions counselor before applying if that information is important to them.
- Location: Hoboken, New Jersey
- Online vs. in-person learning: Online, in person
- Accreditation: Not specified
- Degrees offered: Master of Science in Construction Engineering and Management
- Cost per credit hour: $1,776
- Dual M.S. and MBA program
- Flexible thesis and non-thesis options
- Dual-degree program only available in person
- Accreditation information not readily accessible
Why It Made the Cut: Optional GRE and GMAT score submissions can help insecure test-takers gain acceptance to Columbia University’s Master of Science in Construction Administration program.
Prospective students who don’t test well or who need a more flexible learning option can find a way to achieve their career goals at Columbia University. The school offers full-time and part-time degree options, as well as making it optional to submit GRE or GMAT scores upon application. Columbia’s faculty comprises knowledgeable industry experts to help guide students along their chosen career paths.
The program’s accreditation status is not readily available, and the school has a relatively high cost per credit hour. But if in-person learning in New York City led by high-profile professors is appealing, prospective students will want to check out Columbia University.
- Location: New York, New York
- Online vs. in-person learning: In person
- Accreditation: Not specified
- Degrees offered: Master of Science in Construction Administration
- Cost per credit hour: $2,428
- Part-time and full-time degree options
- Optional GRE and GMAT score submission
- Faculty of high-profile industry experts
- Relatively high cost per credit hour
- Accreditation information not readily accessible
Our top choice, Louisiana State University, allows students to complete a degree online or in person. Students can also take advantage of the exclusive on-campus organization that offers networking and career development opportunities. Students who study at our runner-up choice, Virginia Tech, can take steps to invest in their futures with the university’s 100 percent job placement rate.
How We Chose the Best Construction Management Schools
The best construction management schools selected for this list were not chosen based on the school’s reputation. Instead, these schools made the list because of the quality of their construction management programs. Universities and colleges that offered construction management, construction engineering management, or construction science management degrees were of primary interest.
During the selection process, schools that offered more than one type of degree were seen more favorably than those with a limited selection of programs. Similarly, it was important for a school to be highly transparent about its construction management program, curriculum, the application process, admission standards, and tuition details. Specific features, such as a high hire rate, online education options, or dual-degree programs, also helped schools stand out.
Before You Enroll at One of the Best Construction Management Schools
Selecting one of the best construction management colleges is a great choice if a student has weighed their options and found this path to be the most appealing. However, before a student enrolls, it’s necessary to consider the location of the school, costs associated with attending school, and any short-term or long-term career goals.
The best construction colleges are not localized to one state, so if the cost to move is too high or it would impact the student’s current employment, it may be better to consider finding a program within a short driving distance. Education costs can be unreasonably high, but students may be able to find a scholarship, depending on the school and specific program of study.
Cost of Enrolling at One of the Best Construction Management Schools
Education is an expensive pursuit. One of the most important factors to consider before enrolling in one of the best schools for construction management is the cost. On average, the tuition and fees for private colleges are about $38,200 per year. Students can expect to pay about $22,700 for out-of-state public colleges or $10,350 per year for in-state public colleges.
For students who are interested in part-time education, it’s essential to research the top construction management colleges to find out the cost per credit hour. Students can compare this rate between the top choices, but they won’t want to forget to factor in the cost of books, supplies, enrollment fees, meal plans, housing reservation fees, and residence or off-site housing costs.
The Advantages of Enrolling at One of the Best Construction Management Schools
Deciding on where to attend school and what program to enroll in can be difficult. Still, there are several advantages to pursuing a career in construction management. The most prominent benefit is job security. Even when finding a stable position in many employment fields can be challenging, construction management is a haven. Many top construction management programs have internships and high placement rates at professional companies to help students find jobs.
Additionally, the average salary for a construction management position is just shy of six figures, at about $95,000 per year, with benefits. Students may not start at this wage, but with diligent work and experience, a construction manager could earn above six figures. Beyond financial factors, construction management jobs are interesting. Construction managers get to work in a variety of locations, completing different tasks while managing one or more crews of skilled workers. Choose one of the best colleges for construction management if the job security, income, and work seem appealing.
- A career in construction management offers excellent job security.
- Competitive salaries allow individuals to earn a six-figure income.
- Construction managers have a range of exciting and varied job duties.
Find out more about the best construction management programs, construction degrees, and pursuing a career in the construction industry with these commonly asked questions and the answers below.
Q. What are the best degrees for a career in construction?
If you are interested in a construction career, the best degrees you can attain to achieve this goal include a construction management degree, a land and property management degree, a building surveying degree, a civil engineering degree, or an architecture degree. You can also opt for a certificate program, like one of the best home inspector training programs, if you do not want to commit to a 4-year program.
Q. Is construction management hard?
Like any job, construction management has its difficulties. Construction managers need to take on a lot of responsibility to manage a construction project from the beginning to the end. They also have to be able to handle a variety of workers, understand health and safety risks, work directly with customers, manage project finances, prepare reports, and more.
Q. Is being a construction manager stressful?
Studying at one of the top-ranked construction management schools, then taking on the role of a construction manager at a professional company, can be stressful. Construction managers work long, irregular hours and are often required to handle more than one project at a time. Also, if you are interested in construction management as a career, be prepared to deal with tight deadlines, supply chain disruptions, and shifting shipping timelines.
Q. What are the disadvantages of a career in construction management?
Some disadvantages of taking on a job as a construction manager include stress, ongoing training, and potential health risks. When you are working on various projects, each with different deadlines, crews, and goals, it can be difficult to stay on schedule—especially when many of the environments can be hazardous to you and your workers.
Q. Are construction jobs healthy?
Before enrolling in one of the best universities for construction management in the USA, a factor to consider is that construction jobs are dangerous. Asbestosis, falls from heights, trips, slips, and machinery accidents are prevalent in the construction industry. Even with the best construction management education, you can still encounter dangerous conditions and unexpected situations.
Q. Is a degree in construction management worth it?
The decision to study at one of the best construction management schools in America should seem easy. Still, there are many different career paths, schools, education programs, and life goals to pursue. A degree in construction management is just one path. These programs typically have high placement rates; the average salary is about $95,000 annually with benefits. However, only you can decide whether a degree in construction management is worth it.