Engineering projects are massive undertakings that require the skills and knowledge of a whole collection of professionals and a well-organized team with good communication. Someone has to pull the strings that bring it all together and keep engineering operations running smoothly…that’s where engineering managers come in. Peruse online engineering management programs if you want to turn your technical expertise into a business career. An advanced degree can also move you out of a strictly technical role and into an administrative position. Engineering management degrees offered by business schools usually focus on project management skills, research design and resource allocation. For any type of engineer, earning an advanced degree pays off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that engineering managers make a median wage of $135,000—nearly 20% more than other management positions. With such high pay, competition for these positions is strong. Experience and a solid degree will help you stand apart.
THE CAREER PATH
Engineering management can be found in any place where there are engineers. Most engineering professionals will work with supervisors that are engineering managers. Many ambitious engineering professionals will also look to be engineering managers at some point in their own career. Simply put, engineering managers combine the application of management skills to the practice of engineering. They use their knowledge of various engineering concepts and problem-solving skills to oversee the administrative, planning, and organization of departmental and project management.
Engineering management can be a promising and rewarding career for engineering professionals. On average, management professionals make an annual salary of almost $135,000. As engineering continues to be a growing field, there will be an increasing demand for qualified professionals to oversee the work and training of developing professionals. It may be a great time to consider a career in engineering management.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
Engineering management is the perfect career for those who’ve been on the job a while and want to move on and up into administration. The online master's degree is the most popular engineering management degree online. Engineering management programs are designed for professional engineers who want to keep working while they advance their education. Many online degree programs are project-based with capstone work projects required rather than a traditional research thesis.
Engineering managers develop, organize and handle various projects in their field. They must understand the nuances of complicated engineering work as well as the ability to work with a variety of people in different settings as they typically direct employees and oversee the goals of a project. This may take them out to the field or keep them in an office setting. Regardless, this degree prepares engineers for the business of engineering, such as meetings, managing employees and budgeting. Professionals considering a career in engineering management should be prepared for the math, science, and analytical skills that are absolute requirements for these positions.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
To enter management, you need years of experience—but a hefty dose of post-graduate education doesn't hurt. Engineering management programs are usually offered at the master's or doctoral level however some programs offer students the opportunity to gain both a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree jointly in just five years. Popular online engineering management degrees include civil engineering, industrial engineering, quality and construction management. Degree programs offered through a business school typically balance practical management theories with technical training. Look at an engineering school's management degree if you want advanced scientific or mathematical courses.
Consider an engineering management master's degree if you seek to move into a leadership spot. You'll learn ways to increase team productivity, rework inefficient administrative systems and implement decision-making methodology. Engineering management students may even take business, finance and budgeting classes. In fact, some experts even consider the online engineering management degree as an alternative to an MBA. However, this online management degree has one major plus that an MBA doesn't—it's actually designed with engineers in mind. If you already in a management position, consider a certificate for additional training. Doctoral programs require more in-depth management research studies and often lead to academic careers.
While the courses you’ll take (regardless of program level) don't cover thermodynamics and machine design, your critical thinking skills will still receive a nice workout. Take a research methodology course to hone your experimental design skills, and use your findings to improve your company's product. Courses in quantitative and qualitative research should be available.
Expect a heavy dose of project management—managers must efficiently plan, organize and direct many different operations. Also expect an online degree in engineering management to teach you how to increase your team's productivity through rewards, goal-setting and guidelines. Improve your company's efficiency through technology optimization. You'll discover ways to implement new software or hardware to improve distribution or manufacturing.
Programmatic accreditation for engineering management degrees is provided by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and adds an additional seal of quality to your degree credential. Keep in mind, however, that these programs may be more expensive. Certifications available to competitive professionals through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, which can also help to validate your skills.
Our rankings reveal that the average cost of an online master's degree program in engineering costs $28,000. More affordable programs are available, however. The cost estimated includes all fees but does not include additional funds for textbooks, etc. Keep this number in mind as you research programs. Consult GetEducated's rankings to find the most affordable programs. Click on a program below to view tuition, accreditation, and admission information.