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What is Engineering Management?
Engineering management is the area of study that specializes in fusing business management acumen with technical know-how to lead engineering professionals or engineering-based projects. In its simplest terms, engineering management is the interface between engineering and business. The term engineering manager can be used as a functional specialist, project manager, or both in an organization setting. Students earning a degree in engineering management will be technically adept with the conceptual and interpersonal skills to lead, coach, and mentor small and large groups of engineers towards the successful completion of a project or activity.
An engineering manager is a professional problem-solver and translator. As a problem solver, professionals analyze and synthesize information to arrive at optimal solutions for a given situation. Solutions may range from technical problems to interpersonal issues to conceptual complications with a project. A professional engineering manager will also be an effective translator by taking complex jargon or abstract data and make technical issues a business reality for subordinates and executive management. In reality, an engineering manager can sit around a drafting table and discuss technical issues with a group of engineers and quickly switch hats to then sit at the conference room table to discuss business objectives with upper management.
Specialties in Engineering Management
At many accredited colleges and universities, an engineering management student can elect to be a generalist or specialist in the field. Below you will find a quick list of specialties within the engineering management field to help you better understand the options in the field of study.
- Quality Sciences – The quality sciences applied to engineering management focus on overall quality improvement, business strategy, and value creation.
- Commercialization – Specializations in engineering management related to commercialization teaches students to take products to market. From product development and innovation to marketing and entrepreneurship, students learn the life cycle of product creation through completion.
- Research Methods – The concentration of research methods teaches engineering managers statistical acumen and data analysis from multiple perspectives. This unique way to think helps professionals solve real-world problems by blending technical and business expertise in a seamless fashion.
- Project Management – The most popular path for engineering managers is via project management. Project management courses utilizing advanced software and cutting-edge industry tools combine with systems engineering to arrive at unique business solutions.
- Leadership – The field of leadership within the context of engineering management teaches students to effectively mix technical and conceptual knowledge with the personal touch required of leaders. Engineering management students will learn about discourse, empathy, active listening, and ethical considerations of leading a group of engineers in an organization.
Top Degrees in Engineering Management
For students considering a future in engineering management, you will need to understand the degree options and details around each program type. A summary is provided below to help you better understand the different degree types and associated details in engineering management. Programs span from certificate programs through doctorate degrees.
Bachelor Degrees in Engineering Management
An online bachelor’s degree in engineering management is a 4-year program conferred as a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) at most accredited colleges and universities. The bachelor’s degree melds liberal arts classes such as philosophy, English, and sociology with core courses to help students effectively process information. Core classes include engineering projects, chemistry, math, managing engineering & technology, physics, quality management, project management, design & integration, operations management, marketing, complex systems, accounting, and financial management. A BS degree in engineering management can include specializations that include:
- General Emphasis focusing on the convergence of business, technology, engineering, and innovation.
- Industrial Engineering with a focus on productivity and optimization in both service and manufacturing companies.
- Technology Management is the specialization of managing budgeting, scheduling, systems design, logistics, marketing, sales, and information systems.
Master Degrees in Engineering Management
A master degree in engineering management is a one to two-year program for full-time students and is conferred as a Master of Science or MS degree. Upper level coursed include advanced classes such as: management for engineers, management of scientists, project management, financial management, and operations management. Most MS degree programs allow students to choose to complete a thesis project or offset a thesis project with additional approved classes. Thesis projects must be approved and may be in areas of study such as Six Sigma, technical analysis, automated simulation systems, strategic inventory analysis, and web-integrated designs.
Doctorate Degrees in Engineering Management
The doctorate degree track in engineering management is a 4-6 year program after meeting all lower level degree requirements. The doctorate degree in engineering management is conferred as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at most schools. Students may be allowed to choose their unique area of emphasis in the PhD program and associated courses towards degree completion. In addition to work experience and residency requirements, students will need to complete a board-approved dissertation to help advance the field of study in engineering management.
Certificate Programs in Engineering Management
The certificate programs for engineering managers are graduate programs designed to help working professionals and students in the field advance their knowledge in the industry. Certificate programs can include an array of tracks to help propel students in their existing career track or help prepare for a pending career transition. Online certificates in engineering management can include: financial engineering, engineering management, human systems integration, leadership in engineering companies, military construction management, Six Sigma, project management, safety engineering, or construction management.
Educational Requirements in Engineering Management
A degree in engineering and industrial management provides students with the skills and education necessary to design, test, implement and maintain the means of production in an industrial setting. Individuals will learn about the methods used to design such production lines, the various costs associated, the obtaining of material used in manufacturing a given product, the use of computers to aid in design, and the measurement of overall efficiency in a given line. Students will utilize various studies in order to better understand the various aspects of production, developing practical skills necessary in order to apply the knowledge gained in a real world setting. A bachelor's degree will provide students with an education in engineering, production and management, with a master's degree providing greater depth in the design of a production line, including the use of computers to design model productions and test their efficiency prior to implementation.
A curriculum in engineering and industrial management:
- Principles of Management
- Supply Chain
Top Engineering Management Colleges
To find a top college in engineering management, you will need to first establish a personal priority list of what is important to you. Without a priority list, you will spend hours chasing best school lists and top school ranking reports from companies looking to sell magazine subscriptions and far-flung websites hawking discount timeshares in Monaco. To help you establish a working priority list, take the time to read our Complete Guide to the College Admissions Process followed by our guide on How to Reduce the Cost of College. Both guides, read in tandem, will help you understand how to effectively navigate the college admissions process and keep your investment in school in check. Once you have read both resources, simply visit the schools located on this page to request information or use our proprietary matching portal to find the best college degree in engineering management for you.
Employment Opportunities for Engineer Managers
An individual pursuing a career in engineering and industrial management will be responsible for determining the needs to produce a given product, identify the most cost efficient materials for production, develop a production system that proves to be the most efficient, and develop the methods for testing and maintenance of a given system. As a manger, individuals will also be responsible for employees related to production, educating them on the various aspects of the production line, and ensuring they operate within given parameters. Managers will also be responsible for keeping costs low, while maintaining the expected level of quality as provided by the product being produced. Entry level positions, often working under a more experienced manager typically require a bachelor's degree. A master's degree will have an individual working more closely with the design and implementation of production techniques, and the overall management of a given production line or system.
Where Do Engineering Managers Work?
Engineering managers can work for a number of institutions and organizations around the country. The most popular type of employer is and architectural and engineering firm which employs approximately 35% of engineering managers nationwide. The next largest employers are management consultants followed by scientific research organizations, instrumentation manufacturers, and the federal government. Given the size and scope of each organization, it is easy to see the job functions of an engineering manager will vary greatly from organization to organization.
Salary Outlook in Engineering
Engineering and industrial managers are expected to experience limited job growth in the United States due to foreign competition and more efficient automation. Though some industries will continue to operate in the use, a large number will have moved overseas resulting in a highly competitive US market for such position. The average salary is approximately $143,870 per year with the top 10% earning $207,400 on average and the bottom ten percent making $86,000 a year on average.
States with the Highest Employment of Engineering Managers
Top Paying States for Engineering Managers
Individuals interested in engineering and industrial management may also be interested in engineering, mechanical engineering, or robotics technology. In addition, trade organizations can help students and experienced professionals advance their careers in a variety of ways. Consider researching organizations like the NASP, IEEE and AEA to learn more about how non-profit associations may be a great fit for you.