How Much Can You Make in an Engineering Management Career?
An online engineering management degree provides the necessary education and training for a variety of careers. While this degree does not guarantee employment, it does open the door to entry-level employment, and experience and specialization can lead to career advancement. This work is well-compensated, with median salaries ranging from $87,000 to $140,000. Job growth varies among careers, with some growing rapidly while others only grow at or below the national average.
Day-to-day work in these careers involves supervisory and managerial responsibilities in addition to engineering-related tasks, and experienced engineering managers can work their way up to executive positions. Communication skills are essential when updating clients and collaborating with other professionals.
- Engineering Manager
Engineering managers have substantial responsibilities, including hiring, training, and supervising personnel. They draft budget proposals and plan schedules, determining staff and equipment needs. Engineering managers maintain compliance standards and create and apply administrative procedures.
Median Annual Salary: $140,760
Job Growth: 6%
- Construction Manager
Construction managers, also known as project managers or general contractors, oversee construction projects from start to finish. They write schedules, prepare budgets, and oversee building and safety code compliance. Construction managers collaborate with engineers, specialists, and trade workers to solve problems, deal with emergencies, and update clients on progress. This career requires a bachelor's degree and provides on-the-job management skills training.
Median Annual Salary: $93,370
Job Growth: 11%
- Environmental Engineer
Environmental engineers design environmental projects and prepare, review, and update investigative reports. They apply engineering principles to environmental problems, collaborating with other professionals to address environmental sustainability. They also monitor programs and inspect facilities for compliance. Entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree. Environmental engineers must complete chemistry, biology, and physics coursework.
Median Annual Salary: $87,620
Job Growth: 8%
- Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers supervise daily operations and address problems in manufacturing plants. They are responsible for keeping operations on schedule, within budget, and in accordance with performance and safety standards. This career requires a bachelor's degree and years of experience. Entry-level positions are typically lower-level supervisory roles and additional training may be necessary for advancement to management.
Median Annual Salary: $103,380
Job Growth: -1%
- Materials Engineer
Materials engineers are tasked with managerial responsibilities, including planning and evaluating projects, preparing budgets, analyzing labor costs, and writing reports. They supervise other engineers, technicians, and scientists, and identify product-failure causes and solutions. Specializations include metallurgy, composites, plastics, and semiconductor processors. Internships and cooperative engineering programs are recommended additions to the bachelor's degree required for entry-level positions.
Median Annual Salary: $92,390
Job Growth: 2%
Job growth data helps graduates make informed career decisions. Average or higher job growth percentages are preferred because they indicate potential career opportunities. Engineering managers typically enjoy six-digit salaries, second only to company and enterprise managers. Cost-of-living expenses and local demand are major factors when determining salary, so keep that in mind when researching potential career moves.
What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Engineering Management Degree?
Earning an engineering management bachelor degree online means taking management, leadership, organizational, and project-oriented courses in addition to engineering, mathematics, and science courses. This distinguishes engineering management from other engineering concentrations, which may not offer much in the way of business skills.
Courses, electives, and core degree requirement differences between schools highlight the importance of researching your chosen program in advance to ensure it offers the courses that interest you the most. A few standard courses are listed in the table below, though offerings vary by school.
How to Choose the Best Online Engineering Management Program
Choosing the best online engineering management program requires online research. An institution's reputation is important to consider: If the school has a good reputation for on-campus programs, it must protect that reputation in its online offerings. Accreditation is the fastest way to tell if a school or program meets high quality standards. If program costs are similar, classes and faculty can be deciding factors, but a low price doesn't necessarily mean it's a deal. Below are a few important questions to consider when choosing an online program.
Q. Why is program accreditation important?
A. Accreditation is a concrete assurance of program quality. Prestigious colleges and universities are usually regionally accredited, while trade schools use national accreditation. Individual programs can be accredited, too. For example, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree programs. A degree from an ABET-accredited program is something employers look for when hiring engineering managers.
Q. What strategies should I follow in choosing my engineering management courses?
A. Degree programs and course descriptions are available online. Most required courses are standard between schools, but electives vary, making them a major factor when selecting a program. Electives empower students to specialize in areas that interest them, putting them in a more advantageous situation in the job market after graduation.
Q. What should I pay attention to when looking at faculty?
A. Class schedules often list faculty names for individual courses. Before enrollment, students can research instructor experience, accomplishments, reputation, and whether or not they teach on the regular campus. Look for faculty who have previous experience teaching the subject and who either publish research or work in the area they are teaching. Online teaching presents unique challenges and requires training, so instructors willing to take on these challenges are often quite dedicated.
Q. How will this degree help me reach my goals?
A. Earning an engineering management bachelor degree online is essential for graduates who want to become construction or engineering managers, as it is required for entry-level positions. This degree is also the first step for students pursuing advanced engineering management degrees, which mean more career options in the future and can lead to professorships.
Q. How does tuition work for an online engineering management bachelor degree?
A. Tuition costs and additional fees vary widely between schools. Some universities charge lower tuition rates for in-state students, while other institutions make no distinction between in-state and out-of-state students. Online students often have their own tuition rates as well, and your final cost will depend on whether you attend school full time or part time. Public universities also tend to have lower tuition rates than private colleges.
Scholarships & Financial Aid for Engineering Management Programs
Undergraduate students have many ways to pay for their engineering management bachelor's degrees. Student loans are convenient but costly over the long term due to interest rates. Paying off school debt can be stressful and take years. Scholarships and grants help offset tuition costs and, most importantly, the money does not have to be repaid, so researching such opportunities is recommended. Many students also pay for college out of pocket by taking on jobs or drawing on their savings, and some universities offer student jobs in exchange for lowered tuition rates.
- American Society for Engineering Management Undergraduate and Graduate Student Scholarships
The American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) awards $500 to full-time students who are current ASEM members each academic year. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA for eligibility. The scholarship requires a completed application, personal essay, transcript, and a letter of recommendation from a professor. ASEM notifies awardees in September and recognizes them at the October awards banquet, though attendance is not required to receive the scholarship.
- National Society of Professional Engineers Auxiliary Legacy Scholarship
The National Society of Professional Engineers (NPSE) awards $2,500 to a female undergraduate beginning her junior year in an ABET-accredited engineering program. The applicant must be an NSPE member and a U.S. citizen. The scholarship requires a completed application, a current transcript, resume or summary of experience, recommendation letters from two professors, and a 500-word essay.
- National Society of Professional Engineers Steinman Scholarship
NPSE also awards $5,000 to an undergraduate NPSE member who is a U.S. citizen and entering their junior year in an ABET-accredited engineering program. The scholarship requires a completed application, current transcripts, resume or summary of experience, a recommendation letter from a professor (additional letters will be considered), and a 500-word essay.
- Society of Hispanic Engineers Undergraduate Scholarship
Founded in 1974, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) empowers the Hispanic community to realize its potential through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) access and professional development. This undergraduate scholarship awards $2,000 to a full-time student who is a member of SHPE and maintains a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants must be enrolled in a STEM undergraduate program in the United States or Puerto Rico. The scholarship is awarded based on academic performance and financial need.
- BHW Women in STEM Scholarship
The BHW Group researches and develops mobile apps. The BHW Women in STEM Scholarship awards $3,000 to women pursuing an undergraduate or master's degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at a U.S. school. The scholarship requires a 500-800 word essay detailing the applicant's favorite app or identifying an experience where an app had a significant impact on their daily life. Applications open in January, the deadline is April 15th, and the winner is announced in May for payment in the fall. International students are eligible.