Building construction is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies, new regulations, new materials, and new methods arriving every year. Whether you already work in construction or you are looking for a change in occupation, online programs that focus on construction management can give you the skills to compete in the modern construction industry. The best part is that you don’t have to quit your current job or move to complete these programs, so you can learn the latest in the field from anywhere in the world! Without location restrictions, these online construction management degree programs offer the very best education while offering the highest level of flexibility.
Who Needs Credentials in Construction Management?
You work in the construction industry, facilities management, or architecture, but want to get further education to keep up with the latest advances in the field. Perhaps you want to make it to the next level and really shine in the industry, or perhaps you are looking to switch fields entirely. In any of these cases, you could advance your career and expand your knowledge by taking an online construction management certificate, bachelor, or master degree program. In this article, we will highlight the many options out there for getting a leg up on the construction site and in the management office. Based on your experience, education and goals, there are programs for all levels.
If you have an undergraduate degree in construction management, civil engineering, architecture, or a related field, you may be eligible to pursue a master’s degree or certificate in many of the programs out there. Most will allow you to continue working while you study. These programs can advance and update your knowledge and skills, give you a new specialty, fill in areas you are less familiar with, and help you climb the corporate ladder. If you have a specialty in mind, say sustainability or project management, look for programs with the strongest emphasis and broadest range of classes in your interest.
If your undergraduate degree is in a different field, but have been working in the building industry, you may still be able to take a master’s degree or graduate certificate program. Most programs will want you to complete some engineering, math, or other subject prerequisites before you enter the program, or while you are starting your studies. Some will waive prerequisites with equivalency testing or proof of experience. Some programs will also welcome students who are looking to change careers, but you will certainly have to finish up some applicable courses first to make sure you are up to speed.
For people with some college, perhaps an associate’s degree, there are many programs that will allow you to transfer your college credits into a bachelor’s program in construction management. If you are starting your college career but know that you want to work in an area of construction management, you should look for a school that will allow you to start your general education and continue on to the major that will help you fulfill your dreams.
Many of the programs in construction management will prepare you to sit for one of the related exams so you can be licensed in a particular area or specialty. Before you choose a program, look around to see what licensure you might need for the type of job you would like to get, be it scheduling, safety, project management, or finance.
How Does It Work?
Online degrees in construction management work much like other online education. Many of your classes would be asynchronous, which means that you can sign on any time during the week to see your assignments, interact with teachers and students on a chat forum, and complete your work for the week. Some courses may also have a synchronous portion, where you will need to be available at a specific time to sign on to a “live” class, usually in some sort of video-casting format. Most programs will have you complete the course in a specified time period, along with a class of your peers. A few programs have self-paced options where you can progress quickly or slowly through a course depending on your time available. Many programs will have a project component, often called a capstone experience, where you will work in your community on a special hands-on project. In some programs, you can complete a more research-oriented thesis as your final project instead. In certificate programs, these are not usually required.
Before you pick a school to apply to, consider the time you have available to study, the format, the special courses available, and what style of studying will suit you best. When you study online, you need a good deal of self-motivation to keep you on track. Some programs will also have extra help available, both tutoring and technical help, if you think you might need it. Many schools offer tuition discounts for military members and their families, people who are members of the trade unions, and others. To help make education affordable, check all of your options. Federal student loans and other financial assistance is normally available if you are registered for a minimum of 6-12 credits, depending on the type of aid. Make this a good investment by checking all your options so that your degree or certificate will help you get a job that will make you happy and also pay you well.
What is ACCE Accreditation?
The ACCE is The American Council for Construction Education, an organization that accredits specific construction industry programs that uphold quality standards in education for the building industry. The ACCE has specific guidelines for programs that want to apply for accreditation. Once a program decides to apply for accreditation, they prepare a comprehensive study of the program, and if this is accepted, they will receive a site visit by qualified educators and industry representatives to determine whether the program meets the standards for education to prepare students for the industry. If the program is approved, they receive the accreditation.
The metrics that the ACCE looks at in programs are: stable organizational structure for the school, educational autonomy, faculty involvement, curriculum quality and applicability, faculty quality and work load, administrative support, physical and financial resources, and student policies. The ACCE is looking for programs that are continuously improving and staying up-to-date with the industry, have industry contacts and involvement, and treat students fairly. The education provided must be valuable to the industry and students must have adequate resources to learn and thrive.
Who Needs ACCE Accreditation?
There are two main types of accreditation that you will see: programmatic accreditation, like the ACCE, which is specific to the subject matter taught in a particular program; and regular or regional accreditation, which looks at the university as a whole. Regular accreditation is often done by a regional or national association, and looks at the finances, quality, policies, and administration of the whole school, including the many programs you may find at the university. The ACCE accreditation is done for special programs in the construction fields and is carried out by educators who specialize in these areas. Programmatic accreditation will guarantee that the courses and curriculum from the particular program will meet industry standards and therefore offer a sound education that can advance your career.
So, do you need to attend an ACCE accredited program in construction management? The short answer is: not necessarily. It is up to each program to invest the time and energy in the process of becoming accredited by the ACCE. The schools that choose to apply for accreditation and are approved will uphold high standards of quality and you can be assured that your education is up to industry standards.
Some schools have not yet applied for accreditation and may have excellent programs as well. Some school may have had one program accredited, but not bothered, as yet, to get the other programs in the field through the process of accreditation. Programs without ACCE accreditation could still be excellent, but you don’t have the ACCE’s assurance that they are. You will need to do more investigating yourself.
All online programs range in price, so you might find a non-accredited program that costs less than an ACCE accredited construction management program, or vice versa. Some employers will prefer to hire people who complete an ACCE accredited program, while others may not care as much. There is no downside to a program that is ACCE accredited, and there are many upsides. But it is still worth looking at all the programs out there to determine which is the best to meet your educational and professional goals, regardless of the programmatic accreditation.
Licensing in the construction industry is done by states, countries, specific trade unions, and others. The ACCE does not provide licensure for individuals in the building trades, but many of the programs with accreditation do offer preparation for various licensing exams. Because the field is broad, there are different types of licensure available for different specialties. As you look at your career goals, make sure to research what licensure requirements you will need to meet to work in your dream job.
Online Construction Manangement Programs with ACCE Accreditation
Below you will find a list of the online construction management programs that hold ACCE accreditation. Click on any program to find out more information including tuition, admission requirements, and more.
1. Clemson University
2. Eastern Michigan University
3. Indiana State University
4. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
5. University of Southern Mississippi
6. East Carolina University
Top Construction Management Online Schools
Here are the schools that offer construction management programs online, and a little bit of information about each program. Be sure to fully research your top choices, as sometimes programs and policies change.