Salary and Career Info for a Master of Engineering Management

Engineering management professionals combine technical engineering expertise and experience with general administrative skills to control, troubleshoot and quantify various complex engineering projects. They must be adroit communicators with both technical subordinate staff and non-technical top management. Although many engineers have bachelor's degrees, those wishing to work in management typically earn master's degrees.

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Master's Degree in Engineering Management

Engineers who pursue management positions generally do so after many years of employment as technical staff. Some may already possess master's degrees in engineering, but lack the management skills necessary to lead. It is not uncommon for employers to help potential engineering managers go back to school to earn a Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree at the company's expense. Courses covered in an MEM degree include corporate finance, marketing, statistics and accounting, along with courses in operations management and risk analysis. Due to the ever-changing nature of engineering, these managers must also remain open to pursuing additional coursework to stay current with developing technologies.

Salary and Employment Outlook Info

According to the May 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment statistics, engineering managers accounted for about 178,110 jobs across the nation. Although salaries varied by expertise and seniority, the annual median salary for these workers was $117,000 in May 2012. Job opportunities for architectural and engineering managers are expected to grow by around nine percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the government statistics (www.bls.gov). However, due to outsourcing, many engineering jobs are expected to be sent abroad, leaving fewer employees to be managed, thus increasing competition for management positions. Those with excellent technical, communication and business skills should find the best management job opportunities.

Career Information for Engineering Managers

The primary job of an engineering manager is to determine and execute the technical objectives set forth by top company executives or government leaders. These objectives can include conducting scientific research, developing emergent technologies and seeking to improve existing processes. They achieve their goals by preparing detailed engineering plans that identify troublesome technical areas and possible solutions. They then employ their management skills to guide and supervise subordinate technicians, engineers and scientists to achieve company or governmental objectives.

Responsibilities

The principle duties of an engineering manager are to prepare, organize and oversee various research and manufacturing pursuits. They establish project policies, guidelines, quality assurance and testing procedures. To be effective, engineering managers must be excellent coordinators, administrators, communicators and budgeters. Their duties may also include hiring appropriate employees and overseeing the accuracy and reliability of their technical methods. In addition, engineering managers must work as liaisons to facilitate communications between upper management and production teams, contractors and materials suppliers.

Advancement Opportunities

Engineering managers typically find advancement opportunities within their given field of expertise. However, some may move to non-technical positions such as sales, marketing or human resources. Those working for high-tech industries may be able to excel as marketers or sales personnel due to their specialized knowledge of complex engineering issues.

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