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Engineering teams have the potential to develop massively complex and powerful technologies, and those teams tend to have the best chances of success when they unite behind a capable leader.

Graduates with engineering management degrees are often the best prepared to take on those leadership roles and bring important projects to completion.

The duties of engineering managers are as diverse as the projects they manage, but there are a few general responsibilities common to a majority of engineering management positions:

General Engineering
  • Organizing research and development teams to develop new projects
  • Making plans and schedules to cover each stage of a project's lifecycle
  • Determining equipment, training and staffing needs to help draw up project budgets
  • Hiring, allocating and overseeing labor resources
  • Coordinating efforts among several specialized engineering teams
  • Ensuring that engineers' results are accurate and their methods technically sound

Although professional engineers with a great deal of experience in the field and at least a bachelor's level of education might qualify for jobs in management, employers may favor candidates who have gained business administration skills within a dedicated engineering management program.

Degrees may be available at either the bachelor's or master's level, depending on the institution.

Coursework in engineering management degree programs

No two engineering management degrees are exactly alike, but the fundamental engineering and management subject matter tends to be fairly consistent from institution to institution. Here are a few of the concepts that students are likely to see in engineering management programs:

  • Principles of engineering
  • Project management
  • Engineering and ethics
  • Computer programming
  • Financial accounting
  • Engineering administration
  • Production control
  • Macroeconomics

Students seeking management degree programs in engineering at the graduate level can choose among several concentrations.

A Master of Science in Technology Management (MSTM) or Master of Engineering Management (MEM or MsEM) degree typically works best for those planning to manage in more technical areas of the profession, while a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) tends to be preferable for those seeking more general management skills.

Engineering management degrees at the bachelor's level usually include a significant component of science and engineering principles along with the managerial education.

Career outlook for professionals with engineering management degrees

Employment opportunities for architectural and engineering managers are projected to grow by 7 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Growth in the field should largely reflect growth in industries such as engineering services, which is expected to increase 21 percent by 2022.

Engineering and architectural managers earned a median annual salary of $128,170- in 2013, according to current BLS numbers, with the top 10 percent of earners taking home approximately $187,200 or more and the lowest 10 percent earning less than $80,300. Oil and gas extraction industries paid the highest wages to engineering managers in 2013, averaging $179,020.

Graduates with engineering management degrees can also find work in related industries, with salary expectations that change based on workforce demand and geographical location. Here are the annual 2013 median salaries for roles in some of those related industries:

  • Construction Manager: $84,410
  • Chemical Engineer: $95,730
  • Industrial Production Manager: $90,790
  • Natural Sciences Manager: $116,840

Engineering teams have the potential to develop massively complex and powerful technologies, and those teams tend to have the best chances of success when they unite behind a capable leader.

Graduates with engineering management degrees are often the best prepared to take on those leadership roles and bring important projects to completion.

The duties of engineering managers are as diverse as the projects they manage, but there are a few general responsibilities common to a majority of engineering management positions:

  • Organizing research and development teams to develop new projects
  • Making plans and schedules to cover each stage of a project's lifecycle
  • Determining equipment, training and staffing needs to help draw up project budgets
  • Hiring, allocating and overseeing labor resources
  • Coordinating efforts among several specialized engineering teams
  • Ensuring that engineers' results are accurate and their methods technically sound

Although professional engineers with a great deal of experience in the field and at least a bachelor's level of education might qualify for jobs in management, employers may favor candidates who have gained business administration skills within a dedicated engineering management program.

Degrees may be available at either the bachelor's or master's level, depending on the institution.

Sources:

"Architectural and Engineering Managers : Occupational Outlook Handbook" U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Architectural-and-engineering-managers.htm
"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: 11-9041 Architectural and Engineering Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119041.htm
"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: 11-9021 Construction Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119021.htm
"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: 17-2041 Chemical Engineers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172041.htm
"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: 11-3051 Industrial Production Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113051.htm
"Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: 11-9121 Natural Sciences Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119121.htm

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