Construction is a booming business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction jobs will see a significant uptick in the coming decades. As America’s cities, small towns, and local and national infrastructure grow, many new projects will increase employment opportunities. Because of their ability to boost productivity and safety, construction managers are often in high demand.
Dr. Charles Berryman, Chair of the LSU Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management has worked to prepare students to enter the construction management field for years. He feels that the current business environment is prime to start a construction management career.
"Graduates from the LSU Bert S. Turner Department of Construction Management are some of the most in-demand professionals, with many receiving job offers before graduation. The demand for construction management graduates remains high and I don't see this changing anytime soon,” said Dr. Berryman.
In general, people with a degree in construction management can become construction managers. However, the degree also provides a wide range of alternative opportunities and a positive job outlook.
At the most basic level, construction managers work with their teams to manage building projects. As managers, they may be responsible for all aspects of a project, from the blueprint to the final walk-through. Construction management combines fields such as architecture, business, and engineering, and it offers plenty of opportunities for visionary leaders.
Residential construction managers supervise and plan the construction process of homes. They interact with subcontractors, developers, clients, and municipal governments to ensure everyone on the job site is safe, buildings meet all codes, and projects stay on time and within budget. Residential construction management offers professionals the satisfaction of leading the creation of beautiful, functional, and well-made homes. Working on a relatively small project scale, residential construction managers can enjoy variety in their work and shorter project timelines.
Commercial construction is a good fit for professional individuals with the proper education and experience in construction management. Commercial construction involves building new business structures and renovating existing ones. These construction managers have a lot of project choices—from stand-alone stores to shopping complexes, office buildings, and movie theaters.
They typically handle the finances and make bids for new projects. These professionals are also responsible for understanding and using high-tech 3D building information modeling software. They must have excellent communication skills to maintain relationships with shareholders, subcontractors, and local government, and to ensure projects run smoothly.
In the construction field, an inspector's job is to examine every phase of a construction project. Other duties include planning and directing projects, analyzing materials, and guaranteeing that the structure meets all appropriate standards. Inspectors are also responsible for evaluating zoning laws, building codes, blueprints, and local ordinances. Many inspectors also choose a specific area of work such as electrical, HVAC, plan examinations, or plumbing. Construction inspectors may also be responsible for inspecting streets and water systems.
Estimators are the people responsible for calculating the total cost of a construction project. Cost estimators prepare estimates for buildings, roadwork, commercial construction, or residential projects. These professionals may calculate the cost of an entire project, such as a retail center. Or, they may estimate the cost of just a portion of the project. Cost estimators are often required to compile a list of materials and required labor. They are also responsible for deciding on a timeline for the project.
Field engineers plan, design, and manage the repair or building of construction projects. Responsibilities include overseeing large projects, performing construction work, and conforming to environmental standards. Field engineers have a highly technical job that requires an advanced skill level. Additionally, these professionals spend time in the office and the construction site, so they should have strong communication and management skills. They can find jobs with engineering consulting companies and construction firms. Field engineers can also be self-employed.
Sustainability consultants advise companies on being more environmentally friendly as they conduct their operations. Sustainability consultants help companies develop and implement plans to go green when the companies need outside assistance to do it well. Consultants may be hired for long-term or short-term projects. They also typically specialize in a particular area or industry.
Sustainability consultants can offer many services to improve sustainable business practices. Such services may include conducting company evaluations of environmental impacts, creating strategic sustainability plans, guiding businesses on reducing vital resources, managing environmental compliance, and planning for waste reduction.
General contractors are the direct point of contact between a client and a construction team. As such, they typically supervise all parts of a building or remodeling project. Licensed general contractors are qualified project managers responsible for making sure all work is done correctly. Responsibilities could include anything from acquiring permits and managing subcontractors to maintaining a timeline for the project.
Industrial construction managers handle large, complex projects in the petrochemical sector. They oversee everything from plant maintenance to operations. Additionally, they monitor compliance with government regulations and environmental hazards.
Industrial construction managers also work closely with design engineers to complete projects quickly and safely. These types of projects are high risk and require close supervision to ensure worker safety while maintaining related contracts and budgets.
Heavy highway construction, also called heavy civil construction, relates to designing and executing large municipal projects. Managers of these projects may find themselves working on bridges, roads, train tracks, courthouses, and water treatment facilities. For those interested in making a difference, a successful career in this field can directly impact communities. Overall job duties include negotiating contracts with subcontractors, managing bids for projects, handling finances, communicating with stakeholders, and creating ambitious but flexible project timelines.
For someone interested in building, designing, and managing complex projects, construction management is an excellent professional path to pursue. Studying at an accredited university, students can learn to exercise communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills in a construction environment. They can also learn leadership strategies, ways to prioritize project components, and how to consider the needs and abilities of a team.
When you are ready to build your knowledge to enter this dynamic field, we can help. LSU offers several online construction management programs for aspiring leaders in this field.
The undergraduate construction management degree program provides a focus on teaching the latest billing and scheduling software in the industry. Our Master of Science in Construction Management deepens students’ foundational understanding while helping them support their career goals. Ready to get started? Get in touch with us or apply today.
Note: Updated from an article originally published Oct. 31, 2019
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