Construction Science Degrees by Degree Program Level
Construction science degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's level. These programs are designed to prepare individuals for future careers in the construction industry and focus primarily on the technical skills and tools, although advanced programs also touch on management skills.
Associate of Applied Science in Construction Science
A 2-year associate degree program in construction science can go by many names, including construction technology and construction engineering technology. These programs focus primarily on the technical knowledge necessary to work in the construction field, such as building principles and technical mathematics.
Students enrolled in an associate degree program related to construction science learn the basics of building codes, electrical and mechanical systems, construction planning, site work and heavy machines. Many programs also include field experience or internship programs that allow students to test out their knowledge first-hand on residential, commercial or industrial projects.
Associate degree programs in construction science are typically offered through community colleges, junior colleges and trade schools. These schools usually require incoming students have completed a high school education or the equivalent GED program before beginning courses. Additional educational prerequisites are rarely necessary, although students interested in construction science should be in good physical shape.
An associate degree program in construction science combines general courses with technical courses related specifically to the construction and building industry. Some examples of these include:
- Building codes
- Exterior coverings
- Technical mathematics
- Elementary chemistry
- Computer aided design (CAD)
- Rural sociology
- Technical physics
- Estimating and building
Popular Career Options
Construction science graduates are eligible for careers both on the job site and behind a desk. Some of the job titles available to graduates of an associate degree program in construction science include:
- Construction inspector
- Project manager
- Project consultant
- Interior demolition laborer
- Exterior demolition laborer
- Construction laborer
- Construction foreman
Bachelor of Science in Construction Science
The 4-year degree program related to construction science is most often a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science. Such a program often spends its first two years acquainting students with the basics of the construction industries and its systems, including many of those covered in an associate degree program in the subject. Students also learn the basics of construction layout, logistics, materials, design and more.
Other topics covered in a bachelor's degree program in construction science deal with issues related to management and business. These courses prepare students to lead construction teams at private and public sites or start their own construction company.
The most common educational prerequisite for 4-year universities is a high school diploma, although many schools also require the completion of standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. Entrance into a construction science program does not usually require further entrance exams or essays.
In addition to construction techniques and skills, a 4-year program in construction science also covers management concepts and general education courses. Some examples include:
- Construction project management
- Construction internship
- Green building trends
- Construction technology
- Safety measures
- Construction accounting
- Management principles
- Building codes and inspection
- Construction estimating
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), construction managers held about 551,000 jobs in the United States in 2008, with over 60% of these workers being self employed. This field is expected to grow by 17%, which is faster than average, from 2008-2018. The median earned salary for these professionals was about $79,860 in that year.
Master of Science in Construction Management
The most common degree program available for individuals interested in studying construction science at the graduate level is a Master of Science in Construction Management. This 2-year program combines the fundamental elements of both project management and business management. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of the construction field, but in a master's degree program they gain the additional business sense and skills necessary to gain leadership positions in the industry.
In order to enter into a master's degree programs in construction management, students must first complete an undergraduate degree program in a construction or management-related field. Some professional-level programs require that applicants have two years of construction experience before applying.
Some examples of coursework found in a master's degree program related to construction science include:
- Construction cost estimating
- Real estate accounting
- Construction cost control
- Project management and planning
- Construction safety measures
- Operating a construction organization
- Dispute Resolution
Popular Career Options
The career options available to a graduate of a master's degree program in construction management are usually higher up the organizational chain and are often positions of management. Some popular job titles include:
- Construction operations manager
- Construction operations consultant
- Municipal contracts manager
- Green building consultant
- Manager of infrastructure projects
- Claims manager
- Construction accountant
- Building inspector
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