Construction Management Vs Civil Engineering: What Is The Difference?

Most students get easily confused between civil engineering and construction management because in a broad sense both deal with the construction industry. However, there are some key differences which separates the two professions. They require different levels of education, the jobs require different areas of expertise, and the career paths are different.

Civil engineering deals more with the design, planning and analysis of a construction project, while construction management is primarily on-site management of the actual construction. These two degrees also qualify a person for different positions in a company which is why it is important to know the job role, academic background and the pay difference between construction management and civil engineering.


Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, such as private homes, office buildings, apartments and also includes public works such as roads, bridges, airports, and railways. Majority of their work involves conceiving, designing, building, supervising, operating, constructing and maintaining infrastructure projects and systems in the public and the private sector.

Duties of a Civil Engineer-

  • Analyze long range plans, survey reports, maps, and other data to plan and design projects
  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages of a project
  • Compile and submit permit applications to local, state, and federal agencies, verifying that projects comply with various regulations
  • Oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations to establish building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Salary Information:

According to PayScale, the average salary of a civil engineer ranges from 3 to 4 lakhs/pa depending on the area of expertise and years of experience with maximum pay going up to 9 lakhs/pa. It is to be noted that this excludes bonus, commission and profit sharing.


Construction management is a professional service that uses specialized, project management techniques to oversee the planning, design, and construction of a project, from its beginning to its end. The purpose of construction management is to control a project’s time / delivery, cost and quality. A major part of their work involves overseeing the construction of buildings, roads, and other structures and making sure that the work is running efficiently.

Duties of Construction Managers-

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Salary Information:

According to PayScale, the average salary of a construction manager ranges from 9 to 10 lakhs/pa depending on the years of experience but has huge growth opportunities with maximum pay going up to 22 lakhs/pa. It is to be noted that this excludes bonus, commission and profit sharing.

Construction Management Vs Civil Engineering: The Biggest Difference

The biggest difference between construction management and civil engineering has to be the pay. The average salary of a civil engineer is 3 lakh/pa whereas a construction manager earns anywhere between 9 to 22 lakhs/pa depending on their years of experience. This pay difference is primarily due to one reason- a construction management degree is a 1-2 year professional course that specializes the student in industry specific management and helps them develop skills in project estimation, scheduling & managing key business concepts. Whereas, civil engineering is a 4 year graduate degree which provides knowledge about the construction industry in general.

Therefore, most students pursue a management degree after completion of their civil engineering course to master industry specific skills and grow their career in construction.

A management degree for civil engineers have become an obvious choice and nowadays, professionals with 1-2 years of experience are leaning towards 1 year specialization programmes in construction management that are more effective and focuses on industry specific learning which is ultimately more helpful.

XIME’s 1 year postgraduate programme in construction management is a similar course that has helped students and young professionals to build a career in the construction industry. If you are interested in pursuing Construction Management, you can try XIME’s one year postgraduate programme.

Learn more about it here-

Check out our other blog: Construction Management: The Most Rewarding Job In The Industry!

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