Earning a degree in engineering management will give you the knowledge and skills of business management to apply them to the engineering field. Rather than just working as an engineer on various projects, you will be able to lead and manage engineering teams to ensure that projects are successful and on budget.
Earning an engineering management degree will generally result in a higher salary. But to understand what that salary will be, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Whether you earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering
- The type of engineering career you choose
- Years of work experience
- Geographic location
With this information, you can better understand the salary that you can earn with an engineering management degree.
Level of Engineering Management Degree
Research over the years has shown that earning a master’s degree will get you a higher salary over time than just a bachelor’s degree. The degree to which this is true will depend upon the profession and degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that on average, you will earn a salary of $56,000 with a bachelor’s degree and $68,000 with a master’s degree. This is a wage difference of $12,000, and that type of salary increase can mean a lot over your entire career. Also, BLS notes that these related occupations have the following salary differences with a master’s degree:
- Mathematician: $60,000 wage for a bachelor’s degree and $80,000 for a master’s degree
- Environmental scientist: $62,000 with a bachelor’s degree and $80,000 for a master’s degree
- Chemist and materials scientist: $60,000 with a bachelor’s degree and $71,000 with a master’s degree
Payscale.com also reports the following salaries for those with a Bachelor of Engineering:
- Software engineer: $82,800
- Civil engineer: $63,200
- Project engineer: $66,300
- Electrical engineer: $71,000
- Process engineer: $71,400
- Mechanical engineer: $67,600
For a Master of Engineering, Payscale.com reports these salaries:
- Electrical engineer: $79,200
- Mechanical engineer: $74,900
- Software engineer: $92,400
- Project engineer: $72,400
- Structural engineer: $66,500
- Process engineer: $74,300
Generally, you will earn a higher salary and have more responsibility with a master’s degree in engineering management.
Type of Engineering Management Career
The type of engineering career that you choose will also affect your salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states overall that all engineering occupations have a median salary of $79,100, while the median wage for all occupations in the US is only $37,600. Below are some of the most common options:
An engineering manager is a supervisor who oversees the engineering and technical teams in an organization. The engineering manager will usually guide engineering design decisions as well as how engineering projects are implemented. The manager oversees the engineering work performed and helps to keep everyone on schedule and meet deadlines. The manager usually also deals with customers directly or through the customer service department. The engineering manager also generates progress reports for top level managers, and submits problem resolution reports to detail how the project is progressing.
Payscale.com reports the median salary for an engineering manager is $111,000 with a range between $77,000 and $150,000.
Director of Engineering
A director of engineering manages and coordinates the entire engineering team in an organization. The director of engineering usually supervises projects and also may do hands on work on engineering projects, too. They often work with engineering staff and do not have a high level of interaction with clients and customers. The director of engineering usually works in an office but may travel to project sites to oversee the project directly. Most directors of engineering have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, many years of engineering work experience, and a master’s degree in business and engineering, such as an MBA in engineering.
Payscale.com reports the median salary for a director of engineering is $136,000 per year with a range between $89,000 and $180,000.
A mechanical engineer researches, designs, develops and builds mechanical and thermal sensors and devices, such as tools, engines and machines. This is one of the broadest engineering fields, and mechanical engineers design and oversee the manufacture of many types of products from medical devices to new batteries. Some of the common types of mechanical engineers are:
- Auto research engineers: Seek to enhance the performance of cars.
- Heating and cooling systems engineers: Work to maintain and create the environmental systems that are needed when temperature and humidity need to be kept in certain limits
- Robotic engineers: Responsible for planning, building and maintaining robots
BLS reports the median salary for mechanical engineers in 2017 was $85,800, with the top 10% earning more than $133,000 per year. Salaries varied by industry as follows:
- Scientific research and development services: $98,500
- Computer and electronic product manufacturing: $91,400
- Architectural, engineering and related services: $89,100
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: $86,600
- Machinery manufacturing: $77,400
Engineering Management Work Experience
The level of experience you have in engineering will also affect your salary to a certain degree. For example, if you have less than five years of experience, you will earn total compensation of $91,000. If you have five to 10 years of experience, you will earn a salary of $111,000, while with 10 to 20 years of experience you will earn a salary of $119,000. Note however that once you have more than 20 years of work experience, your salary average is only $115,000.
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technician
An electrical and electronics engineering technician assists electrical and electronics engineers to develop communications equipment, computers and medical monitoring devices. They frequently work in product evaluation and testing and also use measuring and diagnostic devices to adjust, test and repair electrical equipment.
These technicians also install and maintain electrical control systems and equipment and modify electrical prototypes, parts and assemblies to correct engineering problems.
These professionals earn a median salary of $63,600, with the top 10% earning more than $93,800 per year. Top industries are as follows in terms of salary:
- Federal government: $68,200
- Engineering services: $62,200
- Merchant wholesalers: $60,300
- Semiconductor and other types of electronic component manufacturing: $59,600
The last aspect that will affect your salary with an engineering management degree is where you live. Payscale.com reports the national average salary for a mechanical engineer is $69,400, but the level of salary will vary based upon where you live:
- San Francisco: +17%
- Houston: +12%
- Seattle: +12%
- Detroit: +7%
- San Diego: +6%
- Los Angeles: +5%
- Boston: +3%
- New York: 0%
- Denver: 0%
With an engineering management degree, you will be able to work in many types of engineering and provide oversight and supervision of many types of engineering projects. Generally, a management level engineering degree will be a master’s degree that covers both business management and engineering concepts. The most common option is to earn an MBA with a focus on engineering or engineering management. With this type of degree, you will have many lucrative engineering work opportunities.
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm
- Mechanical Engineers. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineers.htm