For careers in the Construction industry, new graduates can take two routes: you can get a more technical role as a Project Engineer, or a more administrative role as an Assistant Project Manager. Salaries can also differ, as well as the responsibilities in either path.
As of 2018, graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management get $69,000 annually on average, for those with 3 to 5 years’ experience. For the new graduates, $53,000 is the annual median pay.
A Project Engineer, considered as an entry-level position, gets paid $55,000 annually. Another entry-level position is the Assistant Project Manager for construction companies. While they are typically paid less at $51,000, they have many opportunities to eventually land lucrative managerial positions.
A Construction Project Manager, usually with four years experience and industry certifications like the CCM (Certified Construction manager), earns around $75,000.
Project Engineers are a viable career path if you prefer a more technical role with hands-on responsibilities. A good route for project engineers would be the Quality Control Manager position, which earns around $88,000 per year. They usually have five years experience tucked in their belt and certifications from the American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America.
The prevailing median pay may differ depending on the company and the state. The rates can be lower or higher depending on the labor environment. Overall, however, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management does pay quite handsomely, and job growth is expected to be around 11% which translates to job stability.
An important thing to note is that while industry certifications are a plus, they are not strictly necessary for employment. They are not required by law but because these certifications are a credible proof of skills, a lot of professionals are certified. A good entry-level certification would be the Associate Constructor (AC) from the American Institute of Instructors. Unlike certifications, construction management licenses are required in some states, particularly for a top-level role like Construction Manager.
The different industry niches are a factor for determining pay and benefits, as well as challenges and growth rate in construction sector jobs. Nonresidential building focuses mostly on commercial establishments and has a higher premium. The best paying sector is also the more specialized and technical one: heavy and civil engineering construction projects that require licenses and permits from the state and the governing body. Construction of factories and oil wells, as well as even government projects like highways and roads need not only expertise but years of experience and a credible name. Needless to say, industry leaders and large institutional clients are expected to give the green light only to construction management experts with a solid reputation for unmatched work quality.
Interestingly, around 38% of individuals in the construction management industry are self-employed. A big majority of professionals work for residential and commercial construction titans.
With more clients turning to construction managers as problem solvers in the areas of energy inefficiency and design, work in the industry is abundant and can be demanding. While getting your Bachelor’s degree can get your foot in the door, your passion and experience will lay down the foundations of a stable career in construction management.