Construction management salaries in the US are typically between $95,000 and $126,000 a year with an average of approximately $110,000 annually (Salary.com), but top earners make more than $160,000 a year.
Though salaries vary by region, experience, and certification (among other factors), the growing demand for construction managers is likely to drive salaries even higher for the foreseeable future — the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts more than 46,000 construction management jobs will have been added by 2028, a 10% increase.
Here’s how construction management education and degrees can affect how much you make and how experience and certifications can improve your prospects for even better pay. For a breakdown of construction manager salaries by location, check out the best states for construction management jobs.
Getting a degree in construction management
A degree in construction management pays for itself — the highest construction management salaries go to those with formal education and additional certifications. And as construction continues to become more complex and automated, learning the latest technologies will definitely set you apart.
You can earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in construction management or related field like engineering or architecture. The average cost of a bachelor program in construction management is about $141,000 for four years.
A master’s degree can earn you even more, as construction managers with advanced degrees make as much as 10% more than those without.
Courses related to construction management - business services engineering
- construction law
- construction methods and materials
- construction project management
- contract administration
- cost estimation
- estimating and bidding
- international construction management
- project management
Trade schools for construction management
College isn’t the only place to get a construction management education. Trade schools for construction management provide future construction managers opportunities to learn the latest practices and tech without costing as much as a 4-year degree. And trade school grads are likelier to earn more than the average college grad in their first 10 years in the workplace.
If you’re looking into trade school for an associate’s degree in construction management, make sure they have specialized, accredited programs in various construction fields.
Top three trade school construction programs, according to Learn.org - Florida State College (Jacksonville) - Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale) - Portland Community College (Portland, OR)
Construction management certifications
Getting certified in construction management and related fields is another way to max your earning potential. Not only do employers favor certified candidates for construction management jobs, you can earn an additional 10%, on average.
The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) awards the title Certified Construction Manager to those who fulfill the experience requirements and pass a technical exam; certification fees range from $325 and $425 with a $275 exam fee for a total of $600 (for CMAA members) or $700 (non-members). Recertification every three years is $200.
The American Institute of Constructors has certifications for Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor, both of which have education or experience requirements for taking the qualifying exams. The AC exam fee is $165; the application fee for Certified Professional Constructor certification is $575 (for ACs) or $675 (non-ACs), renewable yearly for $75.
Keep in mind, there are many other specialized certifications and licenses you can earn; occasionally, these are required by employers depending on the job or location.
Construction management starting salary
On average, an entry-level construction manager makes about $55,000 a year, or nearly $20/hour, according to CollegeGrad.com. That’s nearly twice the average entry-level salary in the US, $28,000.
Even better, experience relates to more money quickly for construction managers. A construction manager with one-to-four years of experience averages $61,500 a year while a construction manager with between five and nine years of experience averages $74,000 a year (Payscale.com).
It’s a good time to be in construction management!
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