If you want to have an outstanding career in engineering management, one of the best choices you can make is to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in engineering. An MBA with a concentration in engineering will give you the advanced engineering and business management skills to qualify for upper level engineering management roles that will put you in charge of large engineering project teams.
Earning your MBA in engineering will put you in line to earn a very high salary for years to come, but how much can you earn with this type of engineering degree? 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
- How many years of engineering and managerial work experience you have
- Geographic location
Level of Engineering Degree
One of the biggest factors that will determine your long term salary in engineering is whether you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree or MBA degree. Evidence shows that earning a MBA or master’s degree generally will result in a higher salary year after year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that on average, professionals with only a bachelor’s degree will earn $56,000 per year, while those with a master’s degree or MBA will earn $68,000 per year. This is a difference of $12,000 that can add up to a lot of money over a 30 year career.
However, earning a master’s degree or MBA in engineering will often make an even larger difference for many professionals. For example, Payscale.com reports that with an MBA in engineering, you can earn these types of salaries, depending upon your actual job title:
- Program manager of engineering: $110,000
- Senior project manager of engineering: $121,400
- Marketing director: $90,900
- Engineering project manager: $85,300
- Senior staff engineer: $117,700
- Solutions architect: $135,900
- Facilities director: $126,700
If you have only a bachelor’s degree in engineering, Payscale.com reports the following salary information:
- Civil engineer: $63,400
- Electrical engineer: $71,200
- Process engineer: $71,300
- Mechanical engineer: $67,600
- Structural engineer: $65,900
- Project manager: $84,600
- Chemical engineer: $71,500
An MBA in engineering will give you the business management skills that are often needed in engineering companies and departments to lead teams and get projects done on time and budget.
Type of Engineering Career
With an MBA in engineering, you can earn a very good salary, but the career that you choose will often dictate just how much money you will make.
These are some of the most common career options for professionals with this degree:
An engineering manager is a professional with an MBA degree that serves as a supervisor of engineering teams in a company. The engineering manager will assist in the making of engineering design decisions, as well as oversight of engineering projects. The manager is responsible for overseeing all work that is performed and helps to keep the project in budget and deadline. Many engineering managers also communicate with the customer, and also generates progress reports and problem resolution reports to higher level managers.
One of the major job functions of the engineering manager is similar to a product manager. The manager will work with design engineers to establish how the project will be implemented and then will come up with deadlines and schedules. Then, the manger will monitor the progress of the project and will move engineering and administrative resources around as needed.
Payscale.com reports the median salary for an engineering manager is $112,300, with a range between $77,000 and $150,000.
Director of Engineering
The director of engineering with an MBA manages and coordinates the entire engineering operations in an organization. The director’s major duties usually involve supervising projects, but they may also do hands-on work for the engineering project as well. Directors mostly work with the engineering staff and usually have less interaction with clients and customers, but there are exceptions to the rule.
Other major duties of the MBA director of engineering include:
- Coordinating and directing engineering projects
- Offer professional and technical staff assistance to junior level engineers
- Direct integration of technical and engineering activities in various engineering projects
- Provide direction and supervision of engineering departments
Payscale.com reports the median salary for directors of engineering is $138,800, with a range between $89,000 and $180,000.
An electrical engineer is in charge of developing, designing, testing and supervising how electrical equipment is manufactured, including such things as electric motors, radar and navigation systems. Others will design communications systems and power generation equipment. Many electrical engineers also specialize in designing electrical systems for aircraft and automobiles.
Many electrical engineers work for private companies, but others work with the federal government as they research, develop and evaluate electronic devices that are used in many areas, including aviation, computing, manufacturing and transportation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports the median salary for electrical engineers in 2017 was $95,000, and the top 10% usually in managerial positions with an MBA or related degree earned more than $150,000 per year. Top industries for salary were:
- Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences: $110,000
- Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing: $99,000
- Navigational, measuring and control instruments manufacturing: $96,900
- Engineering services: $92,300
MBA in Engineering Work Experience
Earning an MBA in engineering will give you the skills to work in upper level management positions. But over time, you should expect to earn more money as you gain more experience. Professionals with more work experience tend to make more money as they develop more advanced skills. For example, Payscale.com reports the following pay for engineering managers with various levels of work experience:
- Engineering managers with less than five years of experience earn a salary of $91,000.
- Managers with five to 10 years of experience earn $111,000.
- Managers with 10 to 20 years of experience earn $119,000 per year
- Engineering managers with more than 20 years of experience earn a salary of $115,000
This date indicates that engineering managers will earn a higher salary up to a certain point, but pay tends to level out after more than two decades of experience.
For a director of engineering, you can earn $109,000 per year with less than five years of experience; $127,000 with five to 10 years of experience; $150,000 with 10 to 20 years of experience; and $154,000 with more than 20 years of experience.
MBA in Engineering Geographic Location
As with most jobs in America, the level of your salary is also dependent upon the city in which you live. According to Payscale.com, the national average salary for a director of engineering is $148,700. This salary can vary depending upon if you live in the following areas:
- Houston TX: +31%
- San Jose CA: +29%
- San Francisco CA: +25%
- San Diego CA: +21%
- Seattle WA: +12%
- Chicago IL: +9%
- Dallas TX: -4%
- Portland OR: -5%
- Austin TX: -11%
Earning your MBA in engineering is the best path for the experienced engineer who desires a higher level management position in engineering. Most engineers in management level positions worked as project engineers for several years, and then earned their advanced degree to move into management.
- Should I Get a Master’s Degree? (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm