Engineering managers coordinate and direct a team of engineers. Their responsibilities may include planning the development of new products, hiring and supervising staff, managing budgets, checking the technical accuracy of the team's work, and collaborating with other departments or organizations. Engineering managers may work in an engineering firm, or be responsible for managing a team of engineers within a larger company or organization, such as the government or the army.
To become an engineering manager, employers typically require a bachelor's degree in an engineering field and sometimes a master's degree in a business or management related degree, such as a master's in engineering management. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineering managers earned a median annual income of $149,530 in 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions About Engineering Management
Q. What do engineering managers do?
Engineering managers utilize their knowledge of engineering to supervise a variety of activities. They may direct or coordinate operations related to production, quality assurance, or maintenance.
Q. What do you study in engineering management?
Engineering management master's programs are designed to help students with an engineering background develop business-related skills, such as planning, project management, and negotiation strategies.
Q. Is engineering management in demand?
According to the BLS, engineering management positions are projected to grow by 3% between 2019 and 2029, which is an average rate of growth.
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Why Get a Degree in Engineering Management?
Earning a master's degree in engineering management can help professionals with an engineering background qualify for high-level executive positions. These programs prepare students for leadership roles and provide them foundational knowledge and skills in business analytics, negotiation strategies, and decision-making. Graduates may be eligible for a raise or promotion after supplementing their knowledge in engineering with business acumen.
Engineering professionals have the option to pursue a master's in engineering management online. An online format allows students the flexibility to complete assignments at their own pace. Students may also maintain their current positions as engineers while they pursue an advanced degree in engineering management.
How Much Does an Engineering Management Degree Cost?
A master's in engineering management degree's cost varies depending on the institution and program, a student's residency status, specific course requirements, and other factors. Tuition can cost anywhere between $400-$1,200 per credit hour. Students who qualify for in-state or resident tuition generally pay less, while out-of-state students pay more.
However, pursuing a degree in engineering management online may offset some of these costs. Many online programs offer a standard, often more affordable, tuition rate for both in-state and out-of-state students. In addition, taking online courses helps ameliorate the cost of living near campus. Online learners can also save time since they do not need to commute to class.
Some online engineering management programs offer an accelerated program where students may complete their degree more quickly. This, in turn, may allow students to save on tuition because they do not need to pay for as many credit hours as other programs.
Additional Online Student Fees for Engineering Management
Online engineering management master's programs may require additional fees. These fees may cover technology costs, tech support, books and supplies, access to library databases, and the cost of any in-residence portions of the program. For instance, some programs may require students to complete a week of intensive courses on campus during the summer or to attend an orientation in-person before online courses begin.
Students should consider potential costs after graduating as well. Graduates may choose to obtain a Certified Manager (CM) certification or advanced engineering certification. These certifications require a fee to take the examination.
How Much Do Engineering Management Majors Make?
Graduates with a master's in engineering management are eligible for positions as engineering managers, operations managers, systems analysts, process improvement consultants, and management analysts. According to the BLS, engineering managers earned a median annual salary of $149,530 in 2020. Similarly, management analysts earn a median annual salary of $87,660, and employment opportunities in the field are projected to grow 11% from 2019-2029.
Engineering professionals also have the opportunity to increase their salaries or earn promotions based on their certification level. While engineering licensure is not required for all engineering management positions, certification can lead to increased employment opportunities and higher earning potential. Holding a degree and certification can assure potential employers of candidates' competency.
Courses in Engineering Management
An online master's degree in engineering management aims to help students synthesize their previous engineering knowledge with business management skills. Courses focus on topics including economics of engineering systems, engineering management control systems, service and operations management, and engineering management planning. Most engineering management master's programs emphasize professional preparation and therefore do not require a thesis.
In some programs, students may choose a concentration or specialization, such as analytics, supply chain, or systems development. Listed below are a few courses students may encounter in an engineering management program. Not all the courses listed are available in every program; they provide a representative sample of an engineering management curriculum.
Systems Engineering Economics
This course teaches students to consider engineering problems from a systems perspective, covering topics such as model building, linear programming, critical path management, network flow problems, life cycle analysis, resource leveling, and decisions theory. Upon completing the course, students should be able to develop and use engineering economics and systems analysis tools to solve engineering problems.
Engineering Project Management
This course provides students with an understanding of the challenges engineering managers face and various strategies for managing them. Students will gain the knowledge and skills to oversee the life cycle of a project, learn to apply the principles of project management to the engineering field, and apply methods for overcoming management difficulties.
Legal Issues in Engineering Management
This course introduces students to the legal considerations they might have to make as engineering managers. Students will learn about warranty law, deceptive trade practices law, product liability, and class action concepts. After completing the course, students should have an understanding of legal issues in the field and how to evaluate risk related to the cost and impact of litigation.
Certifications and Licensure for Engineering Management
Certifications and licensure indicate a level of proficiency that meets state or nationwide standards. Some professions require individuals to be licensed in their state of residence in order to practice. While this is not the case for engineers, obtaining certification and licensure may be required for specific positions. For example, in the construction industry, professional engineering licensure is required for management positions and an Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification is necessary for entry-level roles.
The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) license is the first step individuals must take in order to become licensed as a professional engineer. To obtain FE licensure, individuals must pass the FE exam, which is a 5.5 hour, 110 question long multiple choice test. Those who pass the FE exam are considered Engineers-in-Training.
To be eligible to take the PE exam, individuals must pass the FE exam and then work for four years in the industry. After passing the PE exam, the individual becomes a licensed professional engineer. This means they possess the legal right to stamp and seal engineering documents.
A structural engineering license recognizes structural engineers separately from professional engineers. The licensing requirement for structural engineers varies by state. Some states require a structural engineering license to practice structural engineering while others do not. The structural engineering PE exam is a 16-hour test to evaluate minimal competencies in the field.
How to Become an Engineering Manager
To become an engineering manager, individuals must hold a bachelor's degree in an engineering field, such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or petroleum engineering. After receiving their bachelor's, learners need to obtain business management skills to qualify for leadership roles. This is often accomplished through earning a master's degree in engineering management or technology management.
Engineering management programs typically focus on topics such as financial management, quality control, and industrial and human resources management relevant in the engineering field. Some individuals may qualify for engineering management positions through experience and working their way up through a company. Obtaining a master's degree allows engineers to gain business qualifications and experience more quickly.
Online Master's Programs in Engineering Management Overview
University of South Florida-Main Campus
Tampa-based USF offers a master's in engineering management. Enrollees with technical backgrounds develop leadership skills. Learners study topics such as quality safety and engineering analytics.
The program includes courses in three core areas. These areas include general, quantitative, and workforce management. Classes cover technological change and engineering management. Students can choose from several elective courses. Degree-seekers can also earn graduate certificates in specialized areas such as total quality management.
Applicants need a bachelor's in engineering and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also need a score of 156 on quantitative and 146 on verbal on the GRE. Accelerated program applicants may not need to take the GRE. Prospective students submit a resume and recommendation letter. Applicants need at least two years of work experience in engineering or management.
USF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Central Florida
Orlando-based UCF offers a master's in engineering management that comprises 30 credits. The program gives students practical tools and insights to lead in the engineering field.
The program includes required courses such as project engineering and systems engineering.
Students can choose to complete a thesis. Non-thesis learners must complete a capstone course and pass an oral exam. All enrollees take six elective credits.
Applicants need an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field. Students with an unrelated bachelor's may need to take additional prerequisites. Prospective enrollees must submit an official transcript from each previous college and two recommendation letters. They also submit a resume, a goal statement, and an explanation of their thesis research area.
UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
California State University-Northridge
CSUN's master's in engineering management prepares students to manage teams, projects, and resources in engineering settings. Enrollees learn how to manage projects and lead technical teams.
This two-year program requires students to complete 33 semester units of approved graduate courses, including 21 in residence. Students take courses such as engineering economics and financial analysis. Learners develop entrepreneurial skills through innovation and entrepreneurship courses. They also explore sustainability and supply chain management techniques. Degree-seekers complete a culminating project.
Applicants need a bachelor's in engineering from a regionally accredited institution. CSUN may consider credentials from a nontechnical program. Students without a technical degree must complete coursework in engineering economics and writing. Applicants need a 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA.
CSUN is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Louisiana Tech University
Ruston-based Louisiana Tech offers an online master's in engineering and technology management. The program focuses on systems design, engineering management, and financial analysis. Students prepare for technical, managerial, and leadership roles.
Enrollees can choose an engineering management or management of technology concentration. Both tracks require students to complete 33 credits. Degree-seekers study topics such as engineering administration and engineering finance.
Applicants with less than two years of work experience and a GPA lower than 2.8 must take the GRE. Prospective students with a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, or engineering technology must also take the GRE if their GPA is lower than 3.0.
Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
A-State offers an online master's in engineering management. Learners can earn the degree in 12 months. The program requires 30 semester credits. Enrollees complete 10 online courses that last seven weeks each. Students complete 15 core credits and 15 elective credits.
Degree-seekers learn how to solve technical problems and communicate effectively. Courses cover engineering statistics and project management. Learners complete an engineering capstone. Applicants need a bachelor's degree and a 2.75 cumulative GPA. Prospective students must submit official transcripts.
A-State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Purdue University-Main Campus
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue is a public land grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana. The school offers an online master's in engineering management and leadership. Students take business classes through a partnership with Indiana University, Kelley School of Business.
Students complete 33 credits, which include 21 from Purdue and 12 from a partner business school. Courses include multidisciplinary design optimization and practical systems thinking. Applicants include a statement of purpose. They also submit official transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a resume. Prospective students with a non-engineering bachelor's must meet specific college-level calculus requirements.
Purdue is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of New Orleans
UNO's online master's in engineering management trains students to manage multiple projects and organizations. The program comprises 30 credits and incorporates core and elective coursework. Enrollees also complete a required capstone. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis track.
Enrollees can also select a concentration in systems innovation engineering. Courses cover topics such as engineering management and technology entrepreneurship.
Applicants need a 3.0 GPA. They also need a GRE score of 300 in the verbal and quantitative sections. Prospective students need a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, or a related applied science. Students without an engineering degree must complete a core foundation of general engineering courses.
UNO is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
UHCL offers an online master's in engineering. The program serves students with an engineering background who want to develop business and management skills.
Students can choose a capstone or thesis option. The capstone track requires 18 core credits, 15 elective credits, and three capstone credits. The thesis track requires 18 core credits, 12 elective credits, and six credits of thesis work. Required courses include new business development and engineering management planning. Electives cover topics such as systems engineering processes.
Students with a bachelor's degree in science, engineering, or related disciplines may apply. Applicants with an unrelated bachelor's need at least one year of work experience in a technical field. Prospective enrollees need a minimum 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credits of their bachelor's degree. Applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher do not need to take the GRE or GMAT. Application materials include a resume and two reference letters.
UHCL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Arkansas
U of A is a public institution in Fayetteville. Learners who enroll in the school's master's in engineering management program gain leadership and business skills. Students complete 30 credit hours to graduate. Courses cover technical, problem-solving, and management skills in engineering organizations. Degree-seekers study subjects such as systems thinking and risk management.
Learners can begin the program in the spring, fall, or summer. The online program takes 1-2 years to complete. Applicants need a bachelor's in engineering from an accredited engineering program. They also need a 3.0 GPA. Applicants with a GPA higher than 3.0 do not need to take the GRE.
U of A regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Kentucky-based UofL offers an online master's in engineering management. The program trains enrollees how to manage complex engineering projects. The curriculum also prepares students for leadership roles. To graduate, enrollees take 30 credits.
Degree-seekers complete two core courses and eight electives. Courses cover topics such as operations management and safety management.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related scientific field from an accredited institution. Prospective students need a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. Students with lower GPAs can gain admission by meeting more criteria. Applicants submit recommendation letters, a resume, and a personal statement.
UofL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Johns Hopkins is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. The school's master's in engineering management prepares learners for many technical and managerial positions.
Students can choose from one of 16 tracks, including applied biomedical engineering and technical leadership. Learners can take many courses online. The technical leadership track requires some face-to-face or virtual live components. Enrollees learn how to analyze and interpret data. They also study how to apply scientific, engineering, and leadership principles.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. Or, they must hold a graduate degree in a technical field. Candidates need a 3.0 GPA in the latter half of their undergraduate studies.
Johns Hopkins is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Tucson-based UofA offers an online master's in engineering management. The program teaches experienced engineers how to lead the business side of the field and advance into leadership positions. Enrollees examine the decision-making and technical elements that go into technology-based ventures.
Core courses cover topics such as cost estimation and technical sales and marketing. Students can customize their degree through electives in engineering, mathematics, and business. The program offers two annual start dates.
UofA requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students need a bachelor's in engineering or a related field from an accredited school. Applicants must submit three recommendation letters and unofficial transcripts. They must also submit a resume and statement of intent.
UofA is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
NJIT is a polytechnic public university in Newark, New Jersey. The school's online master's in engineering management teaches students engineering principles related to planning, organizing, directing, and allocating resources.
The degree requires 30 credits total. Core curriculum covers topics such as people management and systems management. Elective courses relate to students' specializations. Degree-seekers complete a three-credit project or a six-credit thesis.
Applicants need a bachelor's from an accredited school. Students must also show strong academic achievement in an appropriate field. All applicants must take the GRE or GMAT.
NJIT is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
California-based Stanford offers an online master's in management science and engineering. The program prepares engineers to address organizations' technical and managerial needs.
The 45-unit degree includes courses tailored to meet both the short- and long-term needs of professionals working in various industries. Degree-seekers study topics such as financial analytics and technology management. Full-time enrollees can complete the degree in 12 months.
Applicants need an engineering degree or a degree in a related field. They need experience in differential calculus and linear algebra. Stanford prefers applicants to have taken general programming, statistics, and economics courses.
Stanford is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
The University of Texas at Arlington
UTA offers a master's in engineering management for students who aspire to move into leadership positions in product development, planning, and technology. The program includes two core courses. These courses are advanced engineering economy and introduction to statistics. Engineering management students can take business electives. Topics include enterprise analysis and design and technology development.
Applicants need a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or science. They also need a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits of their bachelor's program. Prospective enrollees need strong math skills. Students also need a minimum GRE of 301 (quantitative of 155 and verbal of 146).
UTA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Melissa Brock worked in college admission for 12 years and writes for numerous publications, including "The Journal of College Admission." Her website, College Money Tips, helps families smoothly navigate the college search process. She currently works as a freelance writer and financial editor, covering higher education, college savings and personal finance.