The topic of a construction degree can start quite the heated debate. It seems you're either #TeamDegree or #TeamExperience. While there isn't a right or wrong side of the fence to be on when it comes to this debate, you should be informed as to what the pros and cons of each side are.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011-2012 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of construction managers is projected to increase by 17 percent, faster than average for all occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that prospects will be best for people who have a bachelor’s (or higher) degree in construction science, construction management, or civil engineering, plus practical work experience in construction.
While experience is great (and needed), education is key. Many construction companies are offering internal programs to help those who have experience but no formal education. The reason why experience is great is simple; practical knowledge to deal with on-the-job challenges. Not everything construction-related can be taught. Season veterans within the industry can tell you what works, what doesn't work, and what inspector is going to approve one way of doing things vs. another who might be more particular. Yet, even the most seasoned of construction worker needs to be current within his (or her) industry.
Any type of education (even an internal program) is a plus. The only negative we find is the time it takes to gain a certificate or degree. But, with online classes becoming so available, it seems this negative is a small bump in the road versus the big picture. There are several options available when it comes to construction management programs. Most focus on building codes and inspection, estimating, construction law and contracts, planning and scheduling, project management, construction surveying and leadership and managerial decision making. Some even provide green building courses that prepare students for the LEED Green Associate certification, which is valuable today’s job market.
The most sure-way to keep yourself competitive within the construction industry is to be on both #TeamDegree and #TeamExperience. Use what you know and gain further education to expand upon it. The job market is growing at a steady pace. You don't want to lose a lead because you have experience but no education- and visa versa.