Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Managing Editor

The field of engineering management is a very interesting and specialized type of management. It is vital in the field of technical and engineering projects, particularly with regards to managing the business and its resources, including people. This can focus specifically on project management or it can focus on functional management.

Typically, to become involved in the field of engineering management, you will require extensive training and experience. You will focus on engineering disciplines, and also on general management. Put together, this will enable you to head an engineering team, managing it to successful completion. To be an engineering manager, you need to be a mentor, a coach, and a motivator, encouraging others to perform their roles properly. This is what sets it apart from simply focusing on engineering. Indeed, an engineering manager generally no longer has a hands on role when it comes to designing new engineering projects or tools. Rather, the emphasis is on motivating the people behind those designs and projects to create things efficiently and effectively.

Opportunity

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies engineering managers as architectural and engineering managers. The BLS has reported that the average salary for this group was $132,800 per year as of May 2015, at the bachelor’s degree level. The BLS has also projected that there will only be a 2% growth in demand for engineering managers from 2014 to 2024, which is significantly slower than the national average. This will translate into 3,700 new jobs. One of the reasons why growth is slow, is because most people remain in the career for a long time, as it is such a specialized skill. This means very few new jobs will be created, and that most demand will come through succession planning as existing engineering managers retire. This means that if you want this kind of career, you will need to start at the basic level and gradually work your way up.

Career Paths

According to the BLS, architectural and engineering managers can be found in a variety of fields. Specifically, they have reported that:

  • Those working in scientific research and development services earned $155,600 per year on average. 5% of all architectural and engineering managers worked in this field.
  • Those working in management of companies and enterprises earned $136,990 per year on average. 5% of all architectural and engineering managers worked in this field.
  • Those working in manufacturing earned $133,190 per year on average. 36% of all architectural and engineering managers worked in this field.
  • Those working in architectural, engineering, and related services earned $129,940 per year on average. 25% of all architectural and engineering managers worked in this field.
  • Those working for the government earned $125,090 per year on average. 10% of all architectural and engineering managers worked in this field.

Salaries

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for architectural and engineering managers as of May 2015 was $132,800. The bottom 10% earned $84,710 or less, while the top 10% earned $187,200 or more. Additionally, most engineering managers can enjoy various bonuses, including profit sharing and commissions, which can significantly change their overall income.

As geographical location is a significant influencing factor on salaries, the BLS has also reported on the top five states to work in. An important caveat, however, is that the states with the highest salaries also often have substantially high costs of living. The BLS report states that those working in:

  • Texas earned $167,230 per year on average.
  • California earned $166,580 per year on average.
  • Colorado earned $162,100 per year on average.
  • Oregon earned $159,740 per year on average.
  • New Jersey earned $159,540 per year on average.

Payscale.com has reported on average salaries for those with a master’s in engineering management in different cities. This showed that those working in:

  • San Antonio, Texas, earned $67,300 per year on average.
  • Boston, Massachusetts, earned $113,948 per year on average.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, earned $100,000 per year on average.

Employers

While geographical location is an important driving factor in terms of average annual earnings, so is the company for which someone works. Indeed.com has collected data from companies across the country to determine average salaries. They found that:

  • Facebook paid $193,111 per year on average.
  • Pure Storage paid $177,814 per year on average.
  • Intel paid $163,020 per year on average.
  • Bechtel paid $153,484 per year on average.
  • Tesla Motors paid $146,920 per year on average.
  • Cisco paid $140,563 per year on average.
  • Qualcomm paid $140,761 per year on average.
  • Ericsson paid $136,905 per year on average.
  • Microsoft paid $138,198 per year on average.
  • Medtronic paid $137,223 per year on average.

Bachelor’s Degree

In order to obtain a good career in engineering management, you must have the right education. This starts with a bachelor’s degree. Various universities across the country offer this degree, some of which are even available online, either in full or in part. A good example of such a degree is the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management offered by the University of Arizona, College of Engineering, Systems & Industrial Engineering. Their curriculum includes:

  • Math
  • Chemistry
  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Computer Programming for Engineer Applications
  • Introductory Mechanics
  • Engineering Management
  • Statics
  • Elements of Chemical Engineering
  • Introductory Electricity and Magnetism
  • Systems & Industrial Engineering
  • Introduction to Engineering Probability and Statistics
  • Deterministic Operations Research
  • Elements of Electrical Engineering
  • Simulation Modeling and Analysis
  • Production Systems Analysis
  • Technical Sales and Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Applied Organizational Communication
  • Law for Engineers and Scientists
  • Cost Estimation
  • Quality Engineering

Master’s Degree

In order to really advance your career to the next level, you should consider completing a master’s degree. Various schools now offer this degree, and some even offer it online, either partially or in full. With a master’s degree, you can really set yourself apart in the workplace, demonstrating that you have advanced skills and knowledge required for this type of profession. One example of a graduate degree is the Master of Science in Engineering Management offered by the University of Kansas, School of Engineering. This offers three areas of concentrations: Consulting Engineering Services, Manufacturing/Process Industry, and Systems and Information Technology. Furthermore, this degree can be completed online through the school’s e-learning system.

Admission Requirements

Each school is entitled to set its own admission requirements. However, they are usually quite similar across the board due to the fact that these requirements will need to demonstrate whether or not the applicant has the academic capacity to finish a program at graduate degree level. The admissions requirements for the master’s degree at the University of Kansas, School of Engineering, are:

  • Bachelor of science in engineering or related science from an accredited institution
  • A GPA of 3.0 minimum
  • Two years of relevant working experience
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume

Many schools will also require GMAT/GRE schools, as well as proof of English proficiency for non-native English speakers.

Curriculum

Schools are allowed to set a curriculum as they see fit. This is why it is very important to study with an accredited university,  as this guarantees prospective employers that your degree included courses that meet the minimum requirements for the profession.

The curriculum set by the University of Kansas, School of Engineering, for example, includes:

  • Statistical Analysis and Prediction of Engineering Systems
  • Finance for Engineers
  • Personal Development for Engineering Managers
  • Strategic Analysis of Technology Projects
  • Case Studies in Engineering Management
  • Applications of Quantitative Analysis in Decision Making
  • Engineering Systems Simulation
  • Design Project Management
  • Management of Internal Engineering Projects
  • Field Project
  • Management Theory and Practice for Engineering Managers
  • Leadership Techniques and Methods for the Engineering Manager
  • Case Studies & Project with Oral Exam
  • Management Theory and Practice for Engineering Managers
  • Statistical Analysis and Prediction of Engineering Systems
  • Technological Forecasting and Assessment
  • Business Development and Marketing of Professional Services
  • Management of Innovation
  • Labor and Employee Relations for the Engineering Manager
  • Quality Management
  • Law and the Design Professional
  • Leadership Techniques and Methods for the Engineering Manager
  • Business Relationships and Selling Skills
  • Energy Management
  • Product Marketing for Engineering Managers
  • Systems Approach to Engineering
  • Environmental Issues for Engineering Managers
  • Special Problems in Engineering Management
  • Manufacturing Systems Integration
  • Advanced Operations Management

Financial Assistance

Pursuing a higher education, particularly the master’s degree, is very expensive. Firstly, you have to invest a substantial amount of time. While this can be reduced to a certain degree by studying online, it will still require a large amount of time. The second major investment is, of course, money. The university or college of your choosing will be able to signpost you to financial aid, and they may also have scholarships and grants available that you can apply for. At the same time, there are a number of external scholarships that you may want to consider. These include the:

  • A.V. Stout Fund Research Grant, to the value of $3,000.
  • AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellows Program, with varying values.
  • AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship, with varying values.
  • AACC Undergraduate Scholarship Program, to the value of $1,000.
  • AACE International Competitive Scholarships, to the value of $2,500.
  • ACF Barnes W. Rose, Jr. and Eva Rose Nichol Scholarship Program, to the value of $700.
  • ACF Woodcock Family Education Scholarship Program, with varying values.
  • ACIL Academic Scholarships, to the value of $5,000.
  • AEMP Foundation Scholarships, to the value of $2,000.
  • African American Network – Carolinas Scholarship Fund, with varying values.

Generally speaking, applying for scholarships means that you have to meet certain requirements. For instance, you may need to study at a certain school, take on a certain concentration, aim to work in a certain field, demonstrate financial need, hold a minimum GPA, belong to a certain minority group, be a member of a professional organization, or be of a certain gender.

Certifications

It is not required to become certified in the field of engineering management, but it is recommended. Through certification, you are able to demonstrate that you are committed to your own professional development, and to the advancement of the field in general. That said, obtaining a certification does require a further investment of time and money, and you often have to maintain certification through continuous education credits. Nevertheless, most people agree that this is a very worthy investment, as it opens interesting career doors. Some certifications that you may want to consider in the field of engineering management include the:

  • Associate Engineering Manager (AEM) Certification
  • Professional Engineering Manager
  • Engineering Manager Professional Certification (EMPC)
  • Professional Certificate in Engineering Management and Leadership
  • Professional Certificate in Engineering Management

Associations

It is also advisable that you become a member of certain professional organizations as soon as you decide to study towards an engineering management degree, even at the bachelor’s level. This is because professional associations and organizations often offer scholarships and grants that you could then become eligible for. More importantly, by being a member of those associations, you will always be at the forefront of new developments within your field, ensuring that your skills and knowledge are always up to date. Additionally, you may be able to complete certifications and continuous education credits. Perhaps the greatest benefit of being a member of a professional association or organization, however, is the fact that you can build a professional network that will serve to further career.

Some of the professional associations you may want to consider in the field of engineering management are the:

  • American Society for Engineering Management
  • Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering
  • IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society
  • Society for Engineering and Management Systems
  • Architectural Engineering Management Association
  • Association for Facilities Engineering
  • Construction Engineering Management Association

References

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