Aerial view of the LSU Campus

Newsroom | Articles

A Construction Management Certificate vs. Degree: Two Paths to Building the Future

Aug. 2, 2019

Construction manager looks at architectural model of project site.

No matter the scope of a construction project, completing it in a timely and safe manner always requires coordination, planning, and determination. This high-level leadership is the realm of a construction manager.

Construction management includes detailed planning, foresight, and communication. In this key management position, individuals lead projects of all kinds — from large-scale commercial builds to smaller residential ones — toward success by estimating costs, creating budgets, setting timelines, and reporting progress to clients along the way. Construction managers handle logistics, from paperwork to hiring subcontractors. With all these moving parts, they often use complex computer programs to track different tasks and make sure the goals of all parties are being met.

Construction managers ensure things get done. For young professionals who enjoy a challenge, are exceptionally organized, and have a strong interest in construction projects both large and small, construction management is an exciting and highly in-demand career path. As students consider entering this field, they may be looking at the differences in a construction management certificate vs. a degree to determine which education track is best for their goals.

Certificate and Degree Programs: What They Offer Tomorrow’s Construction Managers

At their core, all construction management education programs strive to teach the foundational skills for success. They aim to equip students with management and leadership abilities, as well as expertise in the technical aspects of residential and commercial construction.

A Bachelor of Science in Construction Management is a four-year program with coursework in management techniques, construction materials, surveying, and business law. In addition to completing these courses with direct application in the field, students explore math, science, and leadership. The diverse curriculum boosts confidence, creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills.

A Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Construction Management is for students with an undergraduate degree or, alternatively, on-the-job experience in construction or a closely related field. A certificate program offers flexible coursework in a two-year period. The curriculum emphasizes vital components of construction management—sustainability, project delivery, modeling, and leadership, for example—to prepare students for professional advancement.

Key Similarities and Differences

The choice of construction management certificate vs. degree program is largely dependent on factors unique to the individual, such as current career status, the amount of time one can commit to education, and whether the individual wants to develop complementary skills while continuing to work.

One of the most important differences in a construction management certificate vs. degree is the amount of time the program requires. Like most undergraduate degrees, a bachelor’s typically takes four years to complete and requires students to enhance their learning in supplementary disciplines such as math, science, and language arts. Alternatively, certificate programs are more streamlined, with an emphasis on leadership and technical skills for effective management on the construction site, as well as future certifications.

While certification is not always a requirement for employment, many construction managers find holding certificates from accredited organizations boost their job prospects. Like in a degree program, students pursuing a certificate gain expertise in building information modeling, project delivery, and decision-making. Because students in certificate programs often already have a degree, or years of experience in the field, the programs generally last around two years, without additional or complementary coursework in other disciplines.

Despite some key differences in construction management certificate vs. degree programs, both provide the groundwork for success in the field, boost industry knowledge, and move aspiring construction managers in the direction of their goals.

Career Paths: Where Degrees and Certificates Can Take You

Within the broader field of construction management, there are multiple areas of specialty. Future construction managers might consider their interests and aspirations as they complete their undergraduate coursework or weigh the options as they look for entry-level jobs. Construction managers might decide to work on civil engineering projects or residential or commercial construction. Many of these management experts are self-employed, while others work at specialty contractor businesses.

Within the broader field of construction management, there are multiple areas of specialty. Future construction managers might consider their interests and aspirations as they complete their undergraduate coursework or weigh the options as they look for entry-level jobs. Construction managers might decide to work on civil engineering projects or residential or commercial construction. Many of these management experts are self-employed, while others work at specialty contractor businesses.

When looking at construction management certificate vs. degree programs, each path has the potential to lead to an increased understanding of construction management and new professional opportunities. Find out more about how LSU Online’s Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Construction Management or Bachelor of Science in Construction Management can help lay the foundation for success in this dynamic field.

Discover LSU Online's Construction Management programs.

Sources