What You'll Do
Engineering Management is a career that brings together the technological problem-solving savvy of engineering and the organizational, administrative, and planning abilities of management in order to oversee complex enterprises from conception to completion. Engineering managers possess the practical experience as engineers that enables them to apply technical expertise to a project, but it's equally critical that they have the skills to organize and direct projects, as well as manage a variety of personnel, such as scientists, other engineers and support staff.
Engineering managers plan, coordinate, and supervise research, development, and production in a variety of engineering fields. Engineering management job duties may include:
- overseeing the design of machinery, equipment, products or systems
- directing production, quality assurance or maintenance
- designing and assessing the feasibility of new products or processes
- coordinating with other units, such as management, financial or marketing
In order to take advantage of the job opportunities available in engineering management, an engineer needs to have excellent communication and business management skills in addition to technical expertise in their specific field of engineering. A large percentage of jobs—36 percent—are in manufacturing industries, while 33 percent are in scientific, professional and technical services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Future of Engineering Management
The rapidly growing fields of biomedical and environmental engineering present the most promising job prospects for future engineering managers. Environmental engineering managers focus on applying engineering skills to solving environmental problems in areas such as pollution control, waste management, recycling, or vehicle emissions. Engineering management in the biomedical field involves supervising research and development to address medical and health-related problems, whether it's designing new devices and imaging systems or assessing procedures such as care delivery and medical information systems.
Schools & Degrees
Engineering management degrees are currently available for the following degree types:
- Associate's Degree in Engineering Management: One early step on the road to an engineering management career is an associate's degree in an engineering-related discipline. An associate's degree usually prepares you for a job as a technician, but it can also lead to further education such as a bachelor's or master's degree.
- Bachelor's Degree in Engineering Management: There are a couple of options for undergraduates interested in becoming engineering managers: bachelor of science or bachelor of engineering degrees in a specific field such as mechanical engineering, or bachelor of science degrees specializing in management science or engineering management. In either case, prospective engineering managers will need to follow up their bachelor's degree with on-the-job experience in both engineering and management.
- Master's and Doctoral Degrees in Engineering Management: Bachelor's degree holders may also opt to continue their education and pursue a master's degree in engineering management (MEM), a master of business administration (MBA), or a master's degree in a related field such as operations research. Some doctoral degrees are also available in these areas.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for architectual and engineering managers is $134,730. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.