What’s the Difference Between Construction Management vs. Civil Engineering?

The two professions have a lot of overlap as far as the duties and education required. However, civil engineering requires more in-depth planning, knowledge, and oversight of projects, while construction management is usually contained to managing only the construction process of a single site.

Despite what some may think, engineers, do not work alone. Numerous departments that make up project development do not all speak the same language. A project’s builder and marketer may not always be the person who came up with the idea and raised the money for it, and vice versa. Working in teams is necessary to get the best results, and teams need leaders. That is where engineering management and construction management are useful.

Construction management is a specific type of project management that controls every stage of a construction project from start to finish. Construction managers serve as a liaison between the owner, architect, and general contractor for any type of property, including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. A construction manager is responsible for supervising all components and making sure cost and time budgets are met while being completely fluent in the fundamental and occasionally siloed processes of building projects.

Project management that is less closely tied to a particular discipline is known as engineering management. Although engineering managers may focus on a specific area, such as biomedical, mechanical, or structural engineering, the fundamental business and management skills are applicable to the engineering industry as a whole. These are engineers with management training. They frequently serve as intermediaries between the engineering and business worlds, guiding projects from conception to rollout.

Both disciplines offer numerous different degree options. Students interested in the field of construction management have the option of earning a bachelor of science (BS) or bachelor of arts (BA) in the subject or continuing their education at the graduate level by pursuing a master’s degree in construction management (MCM), a master of engineering (MEng) with a construction management concentration, or a master’s degree in construction management (MS).

Construction Management VS Engineering

What is civil engineering?

Building and designing structures that contribute to a safe environment for civilizations is known as civil engineering. Civil engineers use structures like bridges, shelters, dams, and others to ensure the growth and survival of a society. In order to help build infrastructures and ensure that they are secure and long-lasting, civil engineers may collaborate with other construction specialists, such as architects and construction managers.

What is construction management?

Construction management is a service provided by skilled workers who use their expertise to support all duties associated with construction and building projects. A construction management laborer’s day might include budget balancing and maintenance, client communication and update-giving, and teamwork with other construction professionals like architects and civil engineers. To ensure that a construction site is productive and efficient, construction managers use specific skills and techniques while working directly with materials.

Construction management vs. civil engineering

The following is a list of key distinctions between the civil engineering and construction management fields:

Salary

Education

Both undergraduate and graduate programs offer courses that students can take to acquire the knowledge and skills required for each position, but each degree still offers a variety of specialties or skill sets.

For instance, if a student wanted to major in construction management, their course of study would frequently be heavily geared toward construction science as well as the abilities and methods needed to work on construction sites. To assist them in carrying out their engineering responsibilities, students who pursue a degree in civil engineering frequently focus their studies on engineering systems, math, and statistics.

Requirements

It’s possible that some construction sites will accept work experience in lieu of a bachelor’s degree for certain positions as construction managers. This means that a construction worker could obtain a promotion without having the required undergraduate degree if they had sufficient experience working on construction sites and understood the daily schedules, safety procedures, and financial requirements.

However, it can still be advantageous to earn at least an Associate Degree in Construction Management to show your commitment to the position and acquire practical skills for it.

For entry-level jobs as a civil engineer, a bachelor’s degree is almost always required. They can also pursue higher education, such as master’s degrees or even doctorates, which can help them advance their careers in civil engineering by enhancing their knowledge and expertise in the field. The majority of masters programs offer electives that let civil engineers keep their full-time jobs while they pursue their degrees.

Certificates

To practice as a civil engineer, one must obtain a professional engineer (PE) license. Professional engineers have the authority to approve projects, give their seal of approval to crucial design plans, and supervise the work of other engineers in their specialty. Additionally, civil engineers may pursue certification in other fields, such as geotechnical engineering, water resources engineering, and sustainable building practices. Most civil engineers must: in order to obtain a professional engineer license.

Construction managers who seek certification as certified professional constructors (CPC) or associate constructors (AC) frequently need to finish a self-study course on management, safety, and legal issues related to construction. They can pass a certification exam after completing the course to obtain the desired designation.

However, not all states demand that construction managers possess specific licenses or credentials. Consider contacting your state licensing board for more information if you’re unsure whether your state mandates a certification for construction managers.

Job responsibilities

Civil engineers’ and construction managers’ duties can differ in a number of ways. Here are two lists to help explain their various main responsibilities:

Civil engineers job responsibilities include:

Construction managers job responsibilities include:

Career paths

The job roles and job paths for civil engineers and construction managers can also differ greatly. Most frequently, construction managers will be employed in positions that involve supervising construction sites and helping workers complete structures and buildings. Over the course of their careers, construction managers may hold a variety of positions and titles, such as construction project manager and construction engineer manager.

Due to their education and professional background, civil engineers frequently hold different jobs and positions than construction managers. City managers, structural engineers, city planners, and other professionals can work in these fields. Civil engineers have the chance to work in specialized engineering fields like environmental engineering, transportation engineering, or material engineering by applying their advanced engineering knowledge and obtaining higher education degrees.

FAQ

What is better civil engineering or construction management?

First of all, the degree that deals with the construction industry is shared by civil engineering and construction management. While construction management primarily oversees on-site construction work, civil engineering focuses more on the design, planning, and analysis of construction projects.

Do engineers make more than construction managers?

The salaries of a construction manager and a civil engineer are comparable, according to Indeed’s salary statistics. In the United States, the average yearly salary for a construction manager is $80,139, while that of a civil engineer is $87,277.

Is a degree in construction management worth it?

Construction management bachelor’s degree holders make an average salary of $95,000 annually, plus benefits. The demand for construction managers is expected to increase by 8% through 2029, making it a more sought-after position than the national average.

What are the highest paying construction management jobs?

Other well-paying positions in construction management include building equipment contractors, who as of May 2020 earned average yearly salaries of $109,800, and professionals in the utility system construction sector, who made average yearly salaries of $110,640.

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