According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction management is set to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is a much faster rate compared to most industries. While having a formal degree from a construction management school or a certification is not a requirement to enter the field, it can set you apart from other candidates and help you advance in your career more quickly.
To find the best construction management schools, we looked at 30 different programs before choosing our top picks. We examined costs, curriculum, accreditations, reputation, and alumni employers to find the leader in each category.
The 5 Best Construction Management Schools of 2021
Best Overall: Arizona State University Tempe
The Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) was originally founded in 1954 and is one of the largest engineering schools in the US. For over 50 years, the school’s Bachelor of Science Program in Construction Management at ASU’s Tempe campus has been one of the highest regarded in the industry. With a commitment to cutting-edge techniques, real-world experience, a powerful alumni network, a relatively affordable price tag, and a high job placement rate, ASU Tempe is the clear winner for best construction management schools.
The four-year ACCE (American Council for Construction Education) accredited program is 60% engineering classes and 40% business classes. The curriculum is designed to teach foundational principles in construction and management, as well as new technologies and developments in the industry. Students have the option to focus on a specific area of construction, such as building construction, heavy construction, residential construction, and specialty construction. To graduate, students must complete two mandatory summer internships: one managerial internship and one fieldwork internship. This requirement gives them solid work experience before they even graduate.
Prospective students who meet ASU’s admission and aptitude requirements can apply for admission online through the Coalition Application, Common Application, or ASU Application. Full tuition and fees for non-Arizona resident students for the 2020–2021 academic year is $31,228 and $12,338 for Arizona residents.
Graduates of ASU’s Construction Management program go on to become project managers, project engineers, construction cost estimators, and planners. The school’s job placement rate is perfect, with 100% of 2020 graduates finding jobs within six months of graduation. Students can also opt to earn a master’s in Construction Management alongside their undergraduate degree with ASU’s 4+1 program.
Best Online School: Indiana State University
Indiana State University (ISU) is a public school institution founded in 1865; it offers over 100 undergraduate degree programs and serves more than 10,000 online students per semester. We chose ISU’s online Construction Management program as the best online school because of its well-rounded curriculum and internship requirement, lower tuition costs, and impressive alumni employer list.
ISU’s online BS in Construction Management is a 120-credit hour program that can be completed part or full time. Its extensive curriculum covers crucial topics such as architectural graphics, building and design management, scheduling, inspection, budgeting, and more. Completing an internship is also required for graduation. The program is fully ACCE accredited and transfer-friendly, allowing students to transfer up to 90 credits from another institution. Some of the software required for classes only run on Windows, so students will need to have either a Windows computer or a Mac with Windows installed in order to complete coursework.
Prospective students based in the U.S. and Canada, as well as U.S. military and State Department state members based elsewhere, can apply for admission. Applicants are required to have a high school GPA of at least 2.5, or a 2.5 college GPA if they’re transferring from another institution. For the 2020-21 academic year, tuition is $9,186 for Indiana residents and $11,942 for non-residents for 12-18 online credit hours. It will cost $10,678 for Indiana residents and $13,822 for non-residents for 18+ credit hours in the 2020-21 academic year.
While ISU doesn’t provide an exact job placement rate, it claims that a high percentage of graduates find entry-level positions as project engineers, project managers, safety managers, schedulers, and estimators within one to three months of graduation. Graduates have landed positions at high-profile firms including but not limited to CDI, C.P. Morgan, and Keymark Construction.
Best Certificate Program: UCLA Extension
For over a century, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension has prepared students to lead better lives through education. Whether you’re looking to switch careers or further your existing construction career, UCLA Extension’s certificate in Construction Management can help you achieve your goals. We chose UCLA’s certificate in Construction Management program as the best certificate due to its reputation, quality of instruction, and positive impact on graduates.
The certificate program provides students with an up-to-date look at the construction industry and construction management. Students must take four core courses in the fundamentals of construction management, construction technology, planning, and estimating, as well as four electives of their choice. The program is also designed to prepare students for the state exam to become a licensed contractor. Coursework can be completed online or in person at the Westwood and Downtown Los Angeles campuses, and is led by Dan McAuliffe. Dan was a recipient of a 2019 Distinguished Instructor Award for his positive contributions to the construction management certificate program.
Interested students can apply for admission through the UCLA Extension website after paying a $150 application fee. The estimated cost for courses is $8,000, while books and other materials are $350. International students are welcome to apply as well, so long as they submit TOEFL, IELTS or iTEP scores. Unlike a traditional undergraduate program, UCLA Extension students cannot apply for federal financial aid.
According to UCLA’s graduate survey, 66% of students received a pay raise after completing the program and 92% would recommend the course to a friend. Upon completion of the certificate, students earn 12 credits that can be applied to a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Most Affordable Four-Year School: Sacramento State
California State University at Sacramento (commonly abbreviated as Sacramento State or Sac State), is a public institution founded in 1947. Today, it has one of the largest campuses in the CSU system and enrolls over 30,000 students annually. We selected Sacramento State as our most affordable four-year school because its tuition rates are the most affordable out of any four-year construction management school we reviewed.
Sac State’s Bachelor of Science in Construction Management prepares students to thrive in construction management positions. To accomplish this, the program has four focuses: general education, engineering, construction management courses, and business administration. Each focus is designed to teach fundamental management skills, technical skills, as well as the socio-political and economic issues that the construction industry faces today. In addition to completing coursework in the classroom, students participate in a co-op to gain valuable work experience before graduation. The program is accredited by the ACCE.
Students can apply for admission online via Sac State’s website. For first-time freshmen, a high school diploma, ACT or SAT test scores, and good grades in certain high school courses are required for admission. Transfer students must meet the same requirements as well as hold at least a 2.00 GPA from their current institution. Sacramento State’s tuition and fees for the 2020-21 academic year come out to $7,418 for California residents and $19,793 per year for non-residents, which are well below the national averages for public school tuition, which are $9,308 and $26,427, respectively.
The program has held a job placement rate of 100% for the past 15 years. Graduates go on to work in commercial, industrial, and residential construction for both national and international firms. The average starting salary for the 2018 graduating class was $72,500.
Best for Continuing Education: CMAA PCM
The Construction Management Association of America (CMMA) was created in 1982 with the goal of standardizing construction management projects. CMAA is responsible for issuing Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT) and Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credentials, both of which are the gold standard of construction management certifications. In order to become a CCM, you must study for and pass the CCM exam. Since CMAA provides online construction management courses specifically designed to help you prepare for the exam and sharpen your skills, we chose its Professional Construction Management (PCM) course as the best choice for continuing education.
CMAA’s PCM Course gives you 18 days of access to online modules, 11 of which are self-paced. The modules focus on the core tenets of construction management, including but not limited to: project management, contracts, quality management, safety, and sustainability. Each module contains video presentations, quizzes, and online discussion boards to interact with other students and expert instructors. Similar to a four-year course, students can contact the instructors during Office Hours to go over any questions on the course material.
CMAA’s PCM course ranges from $725–$1,025, depending on whether you’re already a CMAA member. Registration covers the cost of the course, as well as the CMAA study kit, a practice exam, and the CM eGlossary.
What Is a Construction Management School?
A construction management school refers to a degree or certification program in the construction management field. Construction management students learn the basics of construction management, as well as foundational skills in business, architecture, and engineering.
Construction management programs can be found at universities across the country, and many schools offer degree or certification programs online.
What Are the Benefits of a Construction Management School?
Students who graduate from a construction management school may have access to more job opportunities and higher starting salaries than their non-degree counterparts. Many four-year institutions and certification programs also have strong alumni networks, so it may be easier to network for opportunities both immediately after graduation and later in on your career.
Those with significant work experience in construction management wouldn’t benefit as much from a traditional four-year degree as those who are new to the field. A certification or continuing education program is a solid alternative.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Construction Management School?
Tuition rates vary widely depending on the type and length of the program. Tuition for a four-year degree can range anywhere from $7,000 to upwards of $25,000, whereas books and materials are usually a few hundred dollars total. Some schools also charge application fees, which can be $100–$200.
Total costs vary depending on if the school is private vs. public and if instruction is online vs. in person. Scholarships, employer sponsorships, or financial aid can also significantly reduce the cost of attending a construction management school.
How We Chose the Best Construction Management Schools
We researched 30 different construction management programs before choosing the top ones. To narrow down our choices, we looked at each school’s costs, curriculum, accreditations, reputation, and alumni employers. All of our top choices have a history of providing quality education, high job placement numbers, offer affordable tuition, and are accessible in person and online, making them more widely available to potential students.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Managers." Accessed November 19, 2020.
Educationdata.org. "Average Cost of College & Tuition." Accessed November 20, 2020.
California State University at Sacramento. "Construction Management Program: Accredidation and Assessment." Accessed November 20, 2020.