A career in construction opens many doors in Australia and overseas and often attracts great money. So, where could a construction management degree take you?
The construction industry can involve challenging, rewarding work and present lucrative career possibilities, especially if you gain the right qualifications.
With a construction management degree under your belt, you could find yourself overseeing a large crew on a commercial project or working on a residential site and helping to build someone’s dream home.
You could also find yourself in one of many related but slightly more niche construction industry roles. Let’s take a look at some of your options and what each role involves.
Is a construction management degree worth it?
A degree in construction management will open a lot of doors within the construction field, both in Australia and overseas.
If you already have some experience working on a building site, you may be wondering if it’s worth studying within the construction field. The short answer is, studying a construction management degree will help accelerate your skills and lead to better, higher-paid opportunities within the industry.
Depending on your circumstances, you may choose to study at the undergraduate level, such as a Bachelor of Construction Management, or take on a postgraduate degree, like a Graduate Diploma or Master of Construction Management.
Construction management roles
After graduating from your construction management degree, you’ll gain transferable, in-demand skills that can take you in numerous directions. Here are just a few of the roles you may end up taking on in your construction career.
As a construction manager, you’ll be the main point of contact on a building site and responsible for overseeing your crew to make sure they get the job done safely. You’ll also keep track of the materials being used in the project and the timeline and budget.
In this role, it helps if you have great people skills as you’ll also liaise with other people involved in the project—from engineers to developers or homeowners to local council officials—to make sure things stay on track.
The average salary for a construction manager in Australia is currently $112,500, according to Payscale at the time of publication.
Estimators are responsible for calculating the cost of a construction project. As an estimator, you’ll most likely come in at the bidding or tender stage of a project to work out the material and labour required as well as determine the estimated project timeline.
You may work on residential buildings, public infrastructure and roads, or commercial building projects. To be successful in this role, it helps if you’re a numbers person, but you’ll learn the skills you need for the job in your construction management studies.
The average salary for a construction estimator in Australia is currently $71,400, according to Payscale at the time of publication.
Construction project manager
Construction project managers work on a building project from the ground up—all the way from blueprint through to launch.
Whereas a construction manager is involved on site during the building stage, a construction project manager oversees all phases of the project at a higher level. Your responsibilities may also extend to aspects such as marketing and administration.
It helps if you’re a big-picture thinker and good negotiator to be successful this challenging yet rewarding construction industry role.
The average salary for a construction project manager in Australia is currently $101,700, according to Payscale at the time of publication.
Similar to construction estimators, quantity surveyors are responsible for calculating the costs and materials that a project will need. However, the scope of the role of a quantity surveyor can be broader and more comprehensive than an estimator.
Whereas an estimator’s services are typically called upon before construction begins, as a quantity surveyor, you may provide support during and even after the construction period has ended. For example, when the project is complete, you may provide guidance on things like tax or insurance requirements.
To be successful in this job, it helps if you are detail-oriented and comfortable working with numbers.
The average salary for a quantity surveyor in Australia is currently $73,600 according to Payscale at the time of publication.
Where to study construction management
If you’re interested in a career in the construction industry, you may like to explore courses available to study online with leading Australian universities through Open Universities Australia.
Choose to study online, and you can continue your work and family commitments while setting the building blocks in place for the next stage of your career. Better yet, you'll graduate with the same degree as if you had studied on-campus. It's a win-win.