Online Master’s Programs in Engineering Management Overview

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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.

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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.


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.

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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.

Fundamentals of Engineering License


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.

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Professional Engineering License


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.

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Structural Engineering License


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.

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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



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