Is a certification necessary to get into construction management? Well, it’s not, but its importance is steadily growing. Just like field experience isn’t considered a must have, but it can still make quite an impact when it comes to the job opportunities available to you.
However, if the recent trends are anything to go by, a construction management degree or certification have almost become a requirement. Especially if you’re aiming for anything beyond a job as a subcontractor.
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Online Certification in Construction – An Overview
But many times, going for a college degree or certification isn’t an option for many. Or, some may already be having a degree, but looking for something “extra” that can help enhance their career.
An online certification in construction can be ideal in such cases. It usually focuses on some of the core concepts of construction management, that you would need to get well versed with before going for higher education or advancing in your career.
A good online construction certification program would bring to the table the two most important skills most employers in the industry look for: industry knowledge and professionalism.
Who Should Consider an Online Certification?
Well, this is a broad question. To put simply, though, anyone who’s looking to get into the industry, or advance their career, can consider the wide range of options online certifications in construction offer.
For instance, if you’re someone who has never been able to go beyond working as a master carpenter, but wish to work as a project manager in the near future, can consider taking up an online certification in construction.
It will not only boost your career prospects, but also help you fetch a considerably higher salary than you currently do. And as you may be working full-time already (and even have a family to take care of), you need not rush through the certification program.
An online certification doesn’t increase the burden on your shoulders, as it provides you the freedom to work at your own pace.
Similarly, there are often employees in the construction industry who may feel that their career has become stagnant or isn’t offering the growth they expected. They may have the required experience under their belt to make the shift to a more rewarding career option, but not the right education.
This is exactly where an online certification can come in and change it all for them. They would be able to enhance their resume with the additional education, and it, along with their experience, may help them change their career.
Types of Online Certifications in Construction
Basically, there are three main types of online certifications in construction to choose from: online Associate’s degree, online bachelor’s degree and online master’s degree. Let us take a look at what can you expect from them and other important details you may want to know before you pull the trigger.
Online Associate’s Degree
While most employers usually prefer a bachelor’s degree for entry-level work, many students decide to begin with an Associate’s degree. It’s the most affordable option out there, and allows students to gain knowledge of a wide range of concepts in the construction industry, including the most basic (and important) concepts of construction management.
It also allows them to transfer themselves into a four-year degree, which helps them get more rewarding opportunities once they are out seeking a job.
Some of the important concepts of construction management this certification focuses on include cost estimation, understanding supply chains, and creating and understanding blueprints.
The online associate’s degree often turns out to be the best bet for students who want to develop a firm foundation before going for a bachelor’s degree or other related certification.
But many students may even be able to get jobs just on the basis on their online associate’s degree and some work experience, especially if they are fine with working on smaller projects.
Typically, an associate’s degree can be obtained in around two years, though some are able to complete the degree in just 18 months with the help of some accelerated courses.
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Online Bachelor’s Degree
This is what employers typically look for while searching for a construction project manager. This degree program begins with some general education courses that include English, mathematics, social studies and more.
Students also have the option to choose from a wide range of core courses, such as building codes, statics and strength, construction and management, safety management and many more.
This degree program usually takes around four years to complete, but going for an online certification allows students the freedom to take longer if need be.
Online Master’s Degree
This degree covers some of the most advanced concepts of construction management, such as construction operation, leadership, management techniques and skills and the like. It’s ideal for those who want to advance further in their careers after obtaining the bachelor’s degree and some work experience.
Some of the courses a master’s degree would usually cover include cost estimation and bidding strategies, control techniques, risk management in construction and more.
The time-frame for a master’s degree may vary quite a bit. Some students without any professional obligations may be able to complete in as less as one year while working professionals may take over two years, sometimes around three years.
How to Choose the Right Online Program
Well, these online degrees tend to take a lot of time, money and efforts. Hence, you need to make sure that you’re making the right decision while going with an online degree program so that at the end of the day, your efforts and financial contributions turn out to be worthwhile.
Keeping that in mind, here are some of the important factors to look for while choosing an online degree program.
Accreditation: You would only want to choose from accredited courses, as they mean that they have been reviewed by an impartial party and are believed to be in line with what other reputed colleges offer.
Faculty: The faculty must be very knowledgeable about construction management, with the professors having a good deal of experience themselves of working in the industry.
Internships: In an industry like construction, there perhaps aren’t many things that matter more than work experience. So you would want to go with a college that has a relationship with construction companies and would be able to get you internships and some hands-on training.
Things to Keep in Mind
After what we discussed above, we can easily conclude that an online certification in construction can very well be worth it if you’re looking for that extra boost in your career or enter the construction industry. But you would need to do quite a bit of research to make sure you’re having the right approach, so that you don’t just end up wasting a lot of time and efforts.
You also need to understand that not all certification programs are created equal, and what may work for someone else may not help achieve the same results for you. The certification costs vary quite a bit as well, and so does the timeline.
But you usually still get the freedom to advance at your own pace, which is certainly something relieving for those who are already working full-time in the industry.