The Difference Between an Associate & a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management

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A degree in construction management can prepare you for a number of supervisory roles in construction, such as foreman, project manager, contractor or superintendent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that most construction managers need at least a bachelor's degree, though some may be able to work their way up with just an associate degree or several years of experience. An associate degree provides the introductory skills and knowledge to get started, but a bachelor's degree offers more advanced and comprehensive training to qualify graduates for more jobs, as well as larger or more complex projects.

Associate Degree Overview

  • Associate degree programs are typically offered by community colleges and technical schools, and the programs typically result in an Associate of Science degree or an Associate of Applied Science degree. Both degree types focus on practical skills rather than theoretical knowledge. Full-time associate degree programs in construction management typically last two years, but the program takes longer to complete if students wish to attend part-time.

Specific Requirements of the Associate Degree

  • Associate degree programs in construction management typically focus on course work alone and do not have requirements for internships or practicums. Most programs require 60 credit hours of course work. At Cosumnes River College, students have to take classes such as Construction Safety, Materials of Construction, Computer Estimating for Construction and Legal Aspects of Construction. At UAA Community and Technical College, students must take courses such as Methods of Building Construction, Codes and Standards, Mechanical & Electrical Technology, Structural Technology and Building Construction Cost Estimating.

Bachelor's Degree Overview

  • Bachelor's degree programs in construction management cover much of the same information as associate's degree programs in addition to more advanced topics and training. Bachelor's degree programs also include more general education courses, such as English, math and the sciences. Most bachelor's degree programs result in either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. These programs typically take four years to complete if enrolled full-time.

Specific Requirements of the Bachelor's Degree

  • Bachelor's degree programs in construction management typically require 120 credit hours of course work. Since students take more courses in the program, they get a more thorough and advanced understanding of construction management. Courses at the University of Minnesota include AutoCAD for Construction Managers, Management and Human Resources Practices, Construction Safety and Loss Control and Sustainability for Construction Managers. Examples of courses at UAA Community and Technical College include Construction Surveying, Professional Ethics, Civil Construction Cost Estimating, Soils in Construction and Construction Equipment Management & Methods. Many bachelor's degree programs in construction management also require an internship. At the University of Minnesota, a minimum of three internship credits is required, which is the equivalent of 360 working hours, or nine weeks of employment. Students can complete up to 12 credits. At Lamar University, students must complete a summer internship before their senior year. The college helps students find placement.

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