How to Find a Construction Management Certificate Program in Alabama
Now that you have chosen to obtain a degree in construction management in Alabama, the second step is to begin looking for the right school and program. There are numerous points to think about when selecting a college or trade school, so it’s vital to have your list of criteria ready before initiating the process. Often potential students first look for schools that are nearby their home. Then, out of those colleges they focus on the ones that have the lowest tuition. Although tuition and location are 2 very important factors when choosing a construction management school, they are not the only ones. Others, including reputation and accreditation can be equally as important. The main point is that you must assess and compare all of the credentials of each school you are reviewing so that you select the ideal one for your goals and career path. Toward that end, we will examine what several of those qualifications are. But to start with, let’s talk about what is included in training to become a construction manager.
Construction Management Degree Options
Construction management, as defined, is to plan, coordinate and control a construction project from start to finish. There are several options offered to earn a construction management degree. Specialty instruction at the graduate and undergraduate levels is also provided with certificate programs. The more advanced the degree, the more the student will progress into the financial and business side of construction. Below are a few brief summaries of the different kinds of credentials that are obtainable in Alabama.
- Certificate Programs are normally completed in a single year and furnish specialty training. They can be helpful for those with either experience or a degree who are interested in a credential to boost their career in a particular area.
- Associate Degrees are two year programs that provide a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts of construction. A high school diploma or equivalent is needed to apply. The credits can generally be applied to an undergraduate degree at a later date.
- Bachelor’s Degrees continue from the foundational studies of the Associate Degree to the managing of more complex construction projects. Typically they are four year programs that call for both general education in addition to construction management courses.
- Master’s Degrees are two year programs requiring a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field. They provide more detailed skill sets and knowledge than the less advanced degrees. Master’s Degrees will help prepare managers for upper level or management positions, focusing on such subjects as marketing, financial planning, and the development of real estate.
Many Alabama employers usually require a Bachelor’s Degree or higher when recruiting for a construction management job. That does not suggest that the Associate Degree is not a practical credential. Acquiring an Associate Degree is a great way to receive a foundational education that can help establish your career in such areas as construction contracting and cost estimation. Once your career is established you can always go back to college to obtain a higher degree later.
Construction Management Certification and Licensing Prerequisites
There are a number of agencies that provide construction management certifications, which assess the knowledge and experience of individuals applying. Numerous Alabama employers not only require a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited program, but in addition certification from a respected agency, for instance the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). Some of the things that certification can substantiate are
- Formal training
- Field experience
- Proven ability
- Practical knowledge
Many states have licensing prerequisites for construction managers or contractors. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for specific types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Alabama employers that you are exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in your field. So be sure to check the licensing and certification prerequisites for your state or region prior to choosing a construction management college in Alabama.
Online Construction Management Degree Programs
Individuals who don’t have locally available Alabama construction management schools or who just prefer the flexibility and convenience of acquiring their degree online will discover that there are fully accredited alternatives available. Institutions are located throughout the United States providing online degree programs similar to their traditional counterparts. The online approach to learning can be a more accommodating option for those with busy work schedules or family responsibilities. Being able to attend classes on any computer and learn at your own pace makes it the only option for some students. Plus online schools are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. But just as with any school or college, make certain that the online school you choose is accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE). Accreditation helps ensure that the school and instructors are of the highest caliber and that the curriculum is both current and comprehensive. So if you are motivated and can dedicate yourself to this style of learning, acquiring your construction management degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Construction Management Programs
After you have selected what kind of degree or certificate you want to earn, you can begin to compare colleges. There are numerous schools and colleges in Alabama that make available construction management degree programs. With so many options offered, it’s imperative to establish in advance which qualifications are important when comparing schools. We have previously covered the first 2 that frequently come to mind, location and cost. Although they are important qualifiers, there are others that are equally important and must be taken into consideration as well. So following are a few additional factors that may help with the development of your due diligence check-list for construction manager degree programs.
Are the Schools Accredited? The construction management school and degree program you choose should be accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. The school itself can earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of its programs. However, the program you choose should be accredited as well, which is known as Programmatic Accreditation. Accrediting organizations such as The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) help ensure that you receive a quality education. Accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, often not available in Alabama for non-accredited schools. Many employers require a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited school. And accreditation may also be required for obtaining a license or professional certifications as well.
Do they have Job Placement Programs? Many construction management colleges have job placement programs that will help you find employment upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering provide job placement. They should have relationships with local Alabama unions, construction companies and contractors to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a large network of graduates that they can refer students to. One thing to keep in mind is that the schools’ job placement networks may be within their local areas. If that is the case, be sure that the school is in a location where you will ultimately want to work.
What are their Completion and Job Placement Rates? The construction management program you choose should have a high completion rate. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in and complete an educational degree. A low rate may indicate that many students were unhappy with the course material or instructors and dropped out. The job placement rate, which is the percentage of students placed in a job by the school, is a good indicator of the quality of the education. A high rate will help confirm that the school and program has a good reputation within the Alabama construction industry. It also indicates that the school has a large network of professional contacts to refer students to upon graduation.
Where are the Schools Located? The location of the school is important, particularly if it needs to be within driving distance of your Alabama residence. If you should decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs you may have to pay a higher tuition as an out-of-state resident. Some schools, such as community colleges, even have lower tuition for those living within their districts. As we have previously discussed, if the construction management school offers a job placement program, their placements are probably within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately want to work.
Are the Classes Small? Smaller classes allow for more interaction between students and instructors, as well as more individual instruction. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personal attention. Find out what the average size is for the construction management classes you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their construction experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Are Classes Offered that Fit Your Schedule? Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Find out if the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends in Alabama, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what their policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Construction Management Education in Alabama
The most important decision that you will make to start your new career in construction management is to choose the right school. As we have discussed in this article, it’s important to know what you‘re looking for before you begin your search for a quality program. One of the best ways to research the schools you’re considering is to visit them in person and speak with the faculty and students. Sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Be confident that the school you ultimately select is the right one for you. With a proper education, hard work and discipline, the end result will be a successful career as a construction manager in Alabama.