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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Construction management: a guide for international students

What is construction management? What construction management degrees are there and why should you choose to study it? Find out the answers to these questions plus information about jobs and salaries.

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The future is looking bright for construction managers all around the world. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an eight percent rise in construction management jobs between 2021-2031. The Australian Government’s JSA Employment Projections forecasts a 10.2% growth in this profession in the next five years. A similar situation can be found in the UK, Canada and other destinations worldwide. The demand exists for construction managers now and into the future. Let’s find out more about the profession.


What is construction management?

Construction management involves coordinating the construction of buildings and infrastructure. The construction manager is responsible for designing, planning, budgeting, scheduling and organising the build itself. At each stage, there can be complications, so problem-solving skills are a must as a construction manager. Every building you can think of will have had a construction manager to oversee the project. This could be a house, bridge, dam, airport, or even a shopping centre.



If you’re organised, efficient and have an interest in building and construction, a career as a construction manager might be for you. In this profession, you can expect to work closely with architects, surveyors, and other professionals within the building trade. As a construction manager, you will carry a great deal of responsibility to ensure that all construction is conducted safely, within budget and completed within a specific timeframe. Construction managers must be comfortable giving instructions to large teams, and therefore need to possess excellent communication and project management skills. 


What does a construction manager do?

The duties of a construction manager can vary depending on the scale of the project and the choice of industry. For example, there are several routes you can take within construction management such as residential, industrial, commercial, infrastructure and environmental. However, no matter what area you work in, common responsibilities include:

  • planning and managing construction projects from start to finish
  • managing the budget, timeframe, and logistics of the build
  • checking materials and hiring necessary equipment 
  • recruiting staff to work on the project
  • delegating tasks to different teams
  • setting targets and objectives 
  • regularly reviewing risk, safety, and construction guidelines
  • handling contracts
  • meeting clients and other stakeholders such as consultants or subcontractors to discuss progress
  • writing reports
  • supervising construction teams, providing feedback and guidance.


How can I become a construction manager?

There are a few ways of becoming a construction manager including gaining a university degree or completing an apprenticeship with a construction company. At the undergraduate level, you could study one of the following subjects for relevant training and skills to prepare you for a career as a construction manager:


A degree in one of the above programmes will generally take three to four years to complete depending on the study destination. 


During an undergraduate degree in construction management you can expect to learn about the following topics:

  • Building design
  • Construction and technology
  • Construction science
  • Economics
  • Building services
  • Structural design
  • Contracting
  • Surveying
  • Building information modelling
  • Project planning and analysis
  • Sustainable construction
  • Construction law


Some construction degrees will also offer a placement year where you can gain real-world experience of the industry. This gives students the opportunity to network, develop their skills and boost employment prospects. Global leaders in construction include Balfour Beatty, Bechtel, Vinci and Kiewit Corporation.


Your university may have well-established links to leading construction companies that you could take advantage of.


Where can I study construction management?

Many universities around the world offer courses related to construction management. There are various factors to consider when deciding on a country for your studies such as university rankings, scholarships on offer, the cost of living, etc.


You can study at undergraduate level but if you already have an unrelated undergraduate degree but still wish to become a construction manager, there’s no need to worry. You can still apply to study at the postgraduate level to gain the necessary knowledge which will qualify you for the field.


A master’s degree in construction management tends to take one year on a full-time basis and two years on a part-time basis. If you want to stand a good chance of being accepted, do some related work experience as this will be highly regarded by the admissions team and lecturers, particularly if you haven’t studied a related degree before applying.


Let’s now take a look at some universities offering construction management degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate level:


Construction Management Courses around the world
University Course Length Fees

University of Reading UK

BSc Construction Management 3 years GBP 24,500
University of Birmingham, UK MSc Construction Project Management 18 months GBP 18,557
Northern Arizona University, USA BSc Construction Management 120 credits USD 27,536
Florida International University, USA MSc Construction Management 1 year USD 32,202
Deakin University Australia  Bachelor of Construction Management 4 years AUD 35,600 per year
Griffith University, Australia    Bachelor of Construction Management 4 years AUD 38,000 per year





What is the salary of a construction manager?

As a qualified construction manager your average salary could be: GBP 52,589 in the UK; USD 83,411 in the US and AUD 174,315 in Australia) (Data taken from Indeed.com and correct at time of writing.)


Remember that your salary as a construction manager will vary according to the sector, country, and scale of the projects you work on, so this is just a guide for your reference.


What skills will I learn in construction management?

Whether you study civil engineering, architecture, construction management or surveying you will gain the skills that are in high demand with employers and relevant across a wide range of professions. For example:

  • Problem-solving 
  • Analysis
  • Communication 
  • Planning and organisation 
  • Numeracy and IT 
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Use of modelling computer programs
  • Leadership 


If you choose to study for a construction management degree, you will have a range of skills that can be applied to almost any career making it easy to move into a different field if you change your mind. 


If you feel that construction management is for you, use our course matcher tool to find the course you want in the country you want. 

Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

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