Engineering managers oversee all aspects of a project. Designing plans to meet technical specifications, engineering managers frequently have to create new products and methods in order to reach project goals. As managers, these professionals are responsible for ensuring all work is accurate and sound. As leaders and mediators, these managers are responsible for coordinating with all stakeholders in a project. As budget officers, engineering managers must create budgets and control costs, while ensuring sufficient staff, materials, and equipment are on-site.
Students enrolled in online master’s degree programs in engineering management can expect to spend about two years obtaining the degree. Commonly, a number of courses in design, quality control, and safety will be required. Many of the best programs require course work from the business field. Most programs do not require a master thesis, although some require either a capstone project or paper.
Why a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management?
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those who continue their education and obtain a master’s degree are rewarded with nearly full employment. For example, in 2012, master’s degree holders had unemployment rates of only 3.5%, far below the national average of 6.8%. Higher education pays better, too; according to the same survey, those with a master’s degree earned roughly 20% more than their colleagues with a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, as found in a recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, master’s degree holders will earn $400,000 more over their lifetimes than those who stopped their education with a bachelor’s degree, and $1,250,000 more than those whose highest credential is a high school diploma.
Getting Into an Engineering Management Master’s Program
The admission requirements of programs offering a master’s degree in engineering management can vary; however, some common prerequisites include the following:
- Bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited program
- Sufficient grade point average (GPA) in the previous program – typically at least 3.0
- Sufficient scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Letter of intent or a statement of interest
Inside an Engineering Management Master’s Degree Program
With this management degree, students can expect to take courses in marketing, law, intellectual property and finance, as well as management. Depending on the specialty, students may also choose to take courses in high tech industries, entrepreneurship and financial engineering. Operations and supply chain management are frequently offered. Of course, project management is almost universally required.
Students should also expect to take at least one research methods course. Quantitative and statistical methods will typically be required. Although many programs do not require a master’s thesis prior to graduation, some do. Others may require completion of a capstone project. Some only students to pass a comprehensive examination.
What’s Next for Engineering Management Master’s Degree Holders?
Graduates from engineering management programs have a number of opportunities as managers, marketers, salesmen and entrepreneurs; although the master’s degree in engineering management salary varies by sector, most professionals earn an above average annual income. Those who work in industrial production earn a median salary of $87,160; however, the median salary for those with a master’s degree in engineering management is $119,260. Those with a background in the natural sciences can also take management positions; these professionals earn a median salary of $116,020.
Still others choose to continue their education and earn a Ph.D. Engineering management doctoral degrees require roughly three years of education, and graduates are highly sought after for positions of even greater responsibility in management, development, and design. Some choose to conduct and publish their research in peer-reviewed journals. Many take positions teaching at top colleges and universities; according to the BLS, these post secondary teachers can expect salaries of at least $60,000 annually.