Construction Engineering Careers Start at UIC

University of Illinois at Chicago
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By Oshitha Narangoda
Last updated on August 9, 2023

International students, if you are interested in construction engineering, consider the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). Earn your degree with their competitive STEM-certified programs, then build around the world!

University of Illinois at Chicago

Two international students wearing hard hats and reflective vests stand on a construction site

To support an expected population growth of 10 billion people worldwide by 2050, 13,000 buildings have to be constructed each day, along with new roads, highways, railways, airports, and more. Spending on construction is expected to reach $17.5 trillion worldwide by 2030 — with China, the US, and India leading the way.  

When you pursue a career in construction engineering, you are directly involved in designing, planning, and creating structures that cater to public needs across multiple regions. If you are an international student who wants to learn technical and leadership skills to pursue a successful career in construction engineering, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) offers a unique master’s program to set you up for success.

UIC’s Construction Engineering Management Degree (CEM)

Established in 2019 to address industry demand, UIC CEM is Shorelight’s only construction engineering management program and the only one of its kind at a public university in the Chicago area. Your degree will give you amazing connections and opportunities: More than 500 organizations have hired 25,000 UIC engineering students in the past two years.

“The newly established program will provide students with an interdisciplinary, focused, and practical education, combined with the advantages of attending a tier-one public research university in the Chicago metropolitan area,” says Program Director Hossein Ataei, PhD.

As a STEM-certified master’s degree, the UIC CEM program helps students understand core concepts like construction budgeting, construction equipment, engineering entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and more. Many courses focus on problem-based learning formats, applicable to real-world working situations, in addition to lectures, projects, and exams.

The UIC CEM program is suitable for recent graduates of undergraduate programs in civil engineering, construction management, or a related discipline; mid-career or construction management professionals with prior experience; or engineering professionals who expect to work with bigger responsibilities in construction project management and engineering leadership. 

With UIC CEM, you will:

  • Build an extensive professional network—Connect with experts from companies and agencies in and around Chicago during your studies. You will also have the opportunity to develop your professional skills through site visits, seminars, and networking sessions.

  • Leverage Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) industry connectionsCMAA sets the standard for managing capital construction projects in the US. Through the UIC-based chapter of the CMAA, you will benefit from valuable networking opportunities and educational resources to gain leadership skills and learn best practices to thrive in the industry.

  • Develop project portfolios—Add your completed coursework and projects to your portfolio and show employers your knowledge base, skill sets, and certifications.

  • Be eligible for OPT and STEM OPT—By earning a STEM-certified degree, you can apply for 12 months of OPT to work in the US and are also able to request a 24-month STEM extension.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics mentions New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida as the top five states in the US in terms of job opportunities in construction management. Our UIC graduates will network and have the opportunity to work in the Chicago metro region, with some of the highest-paid positions in the nation.” —UIC CEM Program Director Hossein Ataei, PhD

Career Prospects in the Construction Engineering Industry

The number of construction jobs is expected to increase from 7.2 million in 2018 to 7.5 million by 2026. According to PayScale, the average salary for a graduate with a master’s in engineering management is $77,670. 

A master’s degree in construction engineering or engineering management will qualify graduates for a wide range of jobs including:

  • Construction Management Engineer

  • Construction Project Manager

  • Cost Systems Analyst

  • Engineering Project Manager

  • Industrial Management Engineer

  • Project Manager — Demolition

  • Senior Lead Analyst

  • Senior Mechanical Engineer

Next Steps for Future Construction Engineers

Wherever you want to work in the world, pursuing a career in construction engineering is highly rewarding. With UIC CEM, you will be on your way to success with countless opportunities ahead of you.

Learn more about studying engineering at UIC >