College students are showing more interest in the construction trades, with a 26.4 percent increase in enrollment, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes education data.
Construction trades include many subjects, such as carpentry and management, and many four-year schools offer a bachelor’s degree in the latter.
“They’re not learning how to drive a nail or twist wires or dig a hole,” says Michael Holland, president of the American Council for Construction Education, according to a report by U.S. News. “They’re learning how to manage that process from a business perspective.”
There were just 7,659 undergrads enrolled in a construction trade major in spring 2016, says Jason DeWitt, a research manager at the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the news agency reports. The number of students seeking a bachelor’s degree in construction trades jumped to almost 10,000 by the spring of 2017, so colleges and universities are increasing their commitment to teaching about construction. The number of baccalaureate degree programs for construction management accredited by the ACCE jumped from 60 in 2006 to 73 in the 2015-2016 school year.
“Construction management’s a blend of architecture, business, and engineering,” says Bill Bender, professor and department chair for construction management at the University of Washington, according to the news agency. “A lot of the students are drawn because there’s a sense of accomplishment when you’re on a project team and you build something,” he adds.
“You have to track your budget, and your schedule, and your quality and your safety,” says Albert Bleakley, construction management program chairman at the Florida Institute of Technology, according to U.S. News. “You have to manage your subcontractors and your workers,” he says, adding that part of the draw is that it offers variety. “Every project is unique.”