Positions in engineering management are highly desirable, and there is a strong competitive advantage for candidates with the right education and experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Those with technical knowledge, strong communication skills, and years of related work experience, especially working on complex projects, will likely be in the best position to become managers. In addition, because architectural and engineering managers are involved in the financial, production, and marketing activities of their firm, business management skills can be beneficial for those seeking management positions."
Civil engineering services, including the construction of buildings, roads and other infrastructure projects, are cited as the largest subsection of engineering management. Demand for these services is expected to rise. Mechanical and electrical engineering services constitute the next largest subsection.
In Arkansas, 11,480 people are employed in architecture and engineering occupations. There are currently 630 employed architectural and engineering managers, according to the BLS. Another 1,700 industrial production managers work in the state, a field for which the expertise gained in an MEM degree program is highly relevant. Many of these jobs are in the following cities:
- Little Rock.
- Hot Springs.
- Fort Smith.
In what has been a male-majority field, women in two key engineering management roles in Arkansas now outnumber men. 51 percent of engineering program managers and engineering supervisors are women, according to Salary Genius.
Most professionals in this field have at least a bachelor's degree, but many gain business management skills in a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Technology Management, or a Master of Business Administration program. Some managers earn their degree before advancing to management, while others earn it while they work in their management roles.
Those who prefer to manage in technical areas typically earn a technically oriented management degree. These degree programs, including MEM and MSTM (Master of Science in Technology Management), typically provide courses in production and operations management, project management, computer applications, quality control, safety and health issues, statistics, and general management principles.
Salary.com data shows that 41 percent of engineering managers across the U.S. have a master's degree. Seven percent have a doctorate, and 45 percent have a bachelor's degree. The high prevalence of bachelor's degree holders among engineering managers makes sense considering that 43 percent of engineering managers have 15+ years of experience and 25 percent have 10-15 years of experience. Experience is a good substitute for education, but if you are in your first 10 years in the industry, an MEM would likely accelerate your progress to management, based on this data.
Salary.com data reveals that an engineering manager in Little Rock earns an average annual base salary of $120,581, with the top 25 percentile earning $133,865 or more. With bonuses, those figures rise to $131,318 and $148,762, respectively.
Salary.com defines an engineering manager's responsibilities as follows:
"Manages all engineering activities within a department including design, development, production and testing. Implements and maintains overall engineering objectives and initiatives. Confronts and solves performance/operational issues to improve development efficiency. Leads and develops the engineering team. Oversees a robust project management process and delivery timelines to keep projects on schedule and on budget."
The site provides salary data for a range of similar job titles, for which an MEM program graduate may be qualified, depending on previous experience. All but one of these salaries is in the six figures. Note, these salaries do not include bonuses, which resulted in an 8 percent increase in total pay for engineering managers.
|Title||Expected Media Annual Base Salary|
Engineering Manager I
Engineering Manager II
Health & Safety Engineering Mgr.
Engineering Manager - Construction
Learn more about the A-State online Master of Engineering Management program.
Sources:Salary Genius: Engineering Program Manager Salary in Arkansas