UNI’s construction management program aligns with community college degrees

UNI’s construction management program aligns with community college degrees


An ongoing national construction boom, $60-70,000 starting salaries and a curriculum change that makes it easier for community college students to earn their four-year construction management degree at UNI have contributed to the technology-driven program’s doubling in size in the last five years. It’s also the first program in the state to be accredited, earning that distinction in 2010. UNI is the sole university in Iowa that offers a four-year degree in construction management.


UNI’s curriculum has been aligned with community colleges so that Associate’s in Applied Science (AAS) degrees that some universities consider non-transferable degrees are welcomed. UNI’s construction management curriculum combines lectures with hands-on lab work. It includes topics such as cost estimating, mechanical and electrical systems, and scheduling the intricacies of the work. 

UNI ITC Building


“I travel to every community college district in the state,” said Chris Shaw, recruitment coordinator and academic advisor for UNI’s Department of Technology, under whose aegis the construction management program operates. “Students are seeing that they can go to a two-year program and make a $40,000 to $45,000 starting salary or continue at UNI and start with a $60,000 or higher starting salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting an 8 percent increase in construction management jobs over the next 10 years.”


“I’ve had 15 to 20 recent job opportunities that I can’t fill because students already have jobs lined up nine months before they graduate,” said Shaw. “UNI’s construction management program is booming, doubling in size in the last five years, but is still growing to meet workforce demands.”


UNI’s timeless value lies in its small classes and students’ ability to build relationships with their professors. How do you get along? How do you work with people who are generally like-minded, but not? How do you socialize an idea and develop boardroom savvy? How do you approach an issue to get the best outcome you’d like? This is an extremely valuable experience as students work through the curriculum. 


The UNI Technology Department is also set for a huge upgrade when it moves into a renovated and expanded Industrial Technology Center building — a $42 million project projected to open in August of 2024.