While experience on the job in construction is helpful, it rarely prepares someone to become a good contractor. Because construction is a business it deals with costing, buying, cash flow, financing, ect. In order to become a good contractor you need to strike a balance between the construction expertise needed to get the job done with good business sense to manage your workers and cash flow.
Construction management is incredibly helpful for aspiring contractors because it teaches the kinds of things that you can’t learn on the job as a construction worker. The degree will prepare you to do good project control and development as well as teach you the basics of value analysis and financial management. Learning these types of things will often make the difference between a profitable contracting company and a contractor just making ends meet. Nowadays construction management degrees include coursework on computers so that a contractor can use them as tools for estimating, planning, scheduling, and communicating effectively with customers and potential customers.
If you get your construction management degree it also looks good if you choose to target mid-sized to large companies. Mid-sized companies especially are looking for professionally trained contractors that can deliver within budget and on time because they typically don’t have a lot of extra money to spare. As a contractor if you share with your client that you are formally educated in building codes and standards, inspection procedures, and accounting they are far more likely to trust your advice, and believe your estimate.
Ultimately there is no real disadvantage for a contractor to learn more about management and business. And if for some reason you need to shut down your contracting business the degree will make you much more attractive to possible future employers.