Study Building Technology: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Degree Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in building technology? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and building technology degree programs.
View available schools

Building Technology Associate and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

Building technology is a broad field of study that focuses on various aspects of construction, including building materials, sustainable design, lighting and electricity, plumbing systems and structural design. With an associate's degree, you could pursue any of a range of careers, such as in building inspection or heating ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technology. A bachelor's degree could lead to an upper-level position as a construction manager. If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you could go on become a contractor. Keep in mind that, in addition to formal training, some of these professionals often need to become certified or licensed to practice their trade.

Job prospects for this field vary by job title. The BLS reports that HVACR technicians were projected have excellent employment growth of 34% from 2010-2020. Building inspectors and construction managers, on the other hand, were expected to have average growth at rates of 18% and 17%, respectively.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in entry-level building technology positions Individuals who desire upper-level or management opportunities in building technology
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary)
- Construction representative assistant ($35,000)*
- HVACR technician ($43,000)**
- Architectural drafter ($47,000)**
- Building inspector ($59,000)*
- Independent construction contractor - (salary unavailable)
- HVACR supervisor ($64,000)*
- Construction manager ($84,000)**
- Facilities manager - ($80,000)*
- Construction management director ($110,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Internship
- Capstone project
- Internship
- Capstone project
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma or associate degree
Online Availability Yes Available but uncommon

Sources: *Salary.com (September 2012 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate Degrees in Building Technology

Associate's degree programs in this subject are commonly offered in the architectural, building, climate control, environmental services or construction technology majors. These programs are often available through 2- or 4-year colleges and proprietary schools. You could learn about estimating, aspects of design and construction management/development as well as materials and mechanical systems. Depending on the specific program you choose, you'll prepare for an entry-level, technician career in or related to the construction industry. You may want to choose a program that prepares you for certification, which is often standard or mandatory for a career in this field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Prepares you for a wide variety of careers in the construction, architecture and engineering fields
  • Can lead to entry-level employment after only 2 years of study
  • Opportunity to help you improve the built and natural environments

Cons

  • Some technical degrees may be terminal and do not transfer to a bachelor's program
  • Construction industry often requires long and unusual hours
  • High risk of injury for some workers, such as HVACR technicians

Courses and Requirements

Your coursework can vary depending on the specific major you choose, though these programs commonly lay strong emphasis on the role of technology in the business of designing, erecting and maintaining buildings. For example, you'll likely take courses in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and computer modeling/rendering. Your curriculum will also focus on math, physics and material sciences related to construction. Before graduating, you may be required to complete an internship or capstone course that allows you to apply your studies to real-life situations. Other courses can include:

  • Construction methods
  • Building codes and inspection
  • Construction estimating
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
  • Construction management

Online Degree Options

A few fully online degrees in this subject are available, mostly through technical and proprietary schools. Virtual programs through traditional colleges are rare to non-existent, although some individual courses may be available to those interested in home study. It's important to choose an online program accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and that upholds the same education standards as on-campus programs.

Stand Out with This Degree

Since technical expertise is so essential for working in building technology, you may benefit from taking supplementary courses in computer usage during college. Doing so can give you an advantage in class, since you'll already be familiar with common, operating systems, software and computer usage in general.

Along with education, experience is a determining factor of employment in this field. Having practical experience in the construction industry can help you stand out among competition who have only education. If your degree program doesn't require an internship, you may want to pursue one independently through a trade organization or construction company. Part-time employment or apprenticeship training may also be beneficial.

Bachelor's Degrees in Building Technology

You can enter a bachelor's program in building technology directly after high school, or you could enter this program after earning a related associate degree. Such a program provides you with advanced technical skills and business training in finance and marketing. These programs are often available in the form of building or construction technology or engineering majors; however, this subject is also the focus of bachelor's programs in majors like HVACR engineering technology or facilities management.

You may be able to choose from a range of concentrations, like building systems or architectural visualization. Such concentrations can lead to specialized careers. For example, an architectural focus could prepare you to work alongside architects and builders translating design concepts into working drawings and specifications, while a building systems track could prepare you for the professional sector of the HVACR industry.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Prepares you for higher-paying supervisory positions
  • Programs offer a broader overview of industry opportunities that can lead to more flexible career options
  • Curricula may allow you to gear your studies toward a specialty

Cons

  • Employment is sensitive to the economic climate; construction managers, for example, may face unemployment when the economy dips
  • Employers might prefer candidates with professional degrees in engineering or architecture for some positions
  • Work experience in the construction industry is still required for advanced positions

Courses and Requirements

These bachelor's programs generally require math and business courses in addition to the core curricula, which often include coursework in project management, building materials mechanics, architectural environmental systems and CADD for architecture/engineering. You'll also be able to choose electives according to your career objectives. These electives could, for example, focus on mechanical, physical and ecological aspects of materials and products used in construction and maintenance. Toward the end of your baccalaureate studies, you'll likely be required to complete an internship, a senior project or both.

Online Degree Options

Building technology bachelor's degrees that are completely online are uncommon and may not be available in all specialty areas of building technology. Traditional schools can offer some lower-level or core courses virtually, but the hands-on nature of some of these subjects can make remote study difficult. Distance-learning options may be desirable for students already working in the field who are interested in career development.

Stand Out with This Degree

During college, you might participate in student industry organizations in order to make professionals contacts. For example, you could join a student chapter of the National Association of Home Builders or other relevant professional association. Since sustainability plays an increasing role in building technology, you may also benefit from taking electives and gaining training in green construction concepts, such as the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Certification is common in the building technology and construction industry. Many professional organizations offer certifications specific to an area of the field. For example, the Association of Construction inspectors offers credentialing for inspectors, project managers and consultants. The American Design Drafting Association awards the Certified Drafter designation to applicants who can demonstrate sufficient CADD skills. If you work as a construction manager, you may benefit from earning the Certified Construction Manager designation through the Construction Management Association of America.

Popular Schools

Featured Schools

Excelsior College

  • BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology (Nuclear Leadership)
  • BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology (Without Concentration)
  • BS in Technology (Nuclear Technologies)

What is your highest level of education completed?