The construction of a structure or a building requires the synergized work integration of various agencies such as an architect, structural designer, project management consultant, contractor etc. Along with the yardstick of the timeline, it is of utmost significance to complete the particular project within the stipulated budget. The sub-discipline of civil engineering that emphasizes on these agendas right from the project planning to its complete execution is called Construction Management. It is the most sought after stream for graduate education in Civil Engineering in universities all over the world as every project is in need of a professional service that regulates the planning, design and construction of a project from the time of its commencement till its completion. This area of study has also gained importance as a major course in architecture. Hence, along with undergraduate civil engineers, many architects too apply to such programs.

The graduate program has a coursework that constitutes of: Building Information Modelling, Construction Finance, Construction Planning and Scheduling, Sustainability and Facility Lifecycle Management etc.. Students sometimes opt for research in one of these areas. Based on their interests, they apply for internships, RAs and TAs during the program tenure. The general trend is that students join the industry by taking up plum jobs, while few opt for a career in research.

With the exponential growth in good infrastructure and housing development projects to cater to the burgeoning population, Construction Management graduates are very much in demand. General Construction Contractors, Construction Management firms, Real Estate Firms and sometimes even General Consulting firms hire out fresh CM graduates. Sometimes even large institutions such as universities, factories and other large-scale structural facilities require a construction manager of their own to oversee their construction activities. Having a firm hold over BIM, Planning and tools such as AutoCAD, Bluebeam, Office and Primavera is very crucial for the student aspiring to venture into such firms. The job profiles a CM graduate engineer and in most of the cases placed in overseeing a particular construction activity, HR and project management, reviewing the project timeline and estimated costs and also analyzing and mitigating potential risks. Most commonly employed positions at the firm are Project Engineer, Site Engineer, and Assistant Project Manager and so on. The pay scale of a Construction Management engineer is the highest as compared to all other sub-disciplines of civil engineering, with salaries being higher than $60K per annum. After gaining substantial professional experience, students also have a viable option of pursuing an MBA to climb the corporate ladder later on. That being said, placing the right internship, having a good network, decent academic grades and suitable coursework will ensure a good job for a CM graduate.

Licensure is an important aspect of a professional engineer. Upon graduation, he/she will be designated generally as E-I-T (Engineer in Training). After that, obtaining the P.E (Professional Engineer) license is crucial to start our own practice as an independent engineer. Between EIT and PE, there is also an FE (Fundamental Engineering) license, which is mandatory. Both of these licenses have their own exams and requirements subject to the state/area you are in. For example, all over the US, the PE license normally requires 4 years of professional training under a certified PE engineer.

Students who wish to pursue a PhD after their masters, opt for a thesis program. Research areas differ from university to university and it is best to check the department website of each university and identify a suitable one based on their interests. Students who intend to pursue a Doctorate are preferred for RA positions. Also, sometimes a master’s level thesis forms the background for the student to work on the same during his PhD. After completing their PhD, students can try working at a postdoctoral level at a university, a research fellow at a private institution, a professor at the university or even get placed in the industry.

The salary for each post differs substantially:

Designation Salary
Project Engineer $70,000
Project Manager $70,000
Cost Estimator $60,000
Quantity Surveyor $60,000
Postdoctoral Fellow $60,000
Assistant Professor $90,000

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