Job opportunities for construction managers in Arizona are expected to grow 24.8% by 2028, according to a 2019 report by Burning Glass Technologies. To help meet the demand, the University of Arizona Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Mechanics is now offering an undergraduate certificate in construction engineering management. The certificate program is available to students outside the department in other engineering majors and in areas such as architecture, real estate, business, public administration and planning.
“The construction industry has been growing in Arizona and nationwide over the last few years, and the need for construction professionals is not keeping up with demand,” said Dean Papajohn, associate professor of practice in CAEM and head of the construction engineering management focus. “Our construction classes and internships offer a perspective that students really like learning about, and our industry partners are thrilled to be a part of the program that connects them with a pipeline of bright, motivated students."
Much of the certificate program revolves around interaction with industry. Students in the 12-unit program will build a broad base of skills through taking an array of courses, touring construction sites, interacting with industry guest speakers, handling plans and documents from industry projects, and completing internships.
CAEM has offered a construction engineering management emphasis to students within the department since 2015. Wesley Skelley, who earned his civil engineering degree in 2018 and works as a field engineer at Sundt Construction, said courses in scheduling, cost estimating and construction management helped him understand what contractors do.
“I definitely feel that the construction courses offered at the UA prepared me for a career in construction,” he said. “Construction is a very collaborative industry, and you coordinate with architecture firms, businesses and government entities on a regular basis. Taking courses related to construction management would be useful to people working in many industries.”