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Arkansas State University

Learn About A Master of Engineering Management Degree

Engineering management is a comparatively new discipline. Schools recognized the specialized skills it takes to lead a team of engineers, so today programs award the engineering management degree to those who hold a bachelor’s of engineering degree and have completed requisite post-graduate business courses. These post-graduate courses focus on engineering leadership — techniques and skills that leaders use to guide complex engineering projects to completion. What exactly does this work entail, and how are engineering managers compensated?

The Job

At the most basic level, engineering management professionals guide engineering projects to completion. They oversee the day-to-day operation of engineering and architectural firms, and “may direct and coordinate production, operations, quality assurance, testing, or maintenance at manufacturing sites, industrial plants, engineering services firms, and research and development laboratories” (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Engineering managers staff job sites with qualified workers and guarantee that they receive adequate training.

On the business side, engineering managers make budgets and coordinate engineers’ efforts with other staff members. These managers may conduct routine safety inspections and guide their employees’ professional development. Beyond knowing engineering principles, professionals with master’s degrees in engineering management also understand the business side of the job. This is why many call the engineering management degree an MBA for engineers.

However, the Master of Engineering Management degree is different from an MBA in that the degree is primarily for those who want to lead engineers — not businesses. The MEM is designed specifically for engineers and their specific skill sets. Students in the program are able to enhance their existing skills and knowledge while also building new ones.

The Pay

Although the BLS reports a slower-than-average job growth for engineering managers over the next decade, the compensation and rewarding nature of the work ensures that competition for these jobs will be stiff. According to the BLS, engineering management jobs will grow by 2 percent through 2024, below the 7 percent overall average for other jobs.

However, engineering managers earn an average of $132,800 per year, and “the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200″ (BLS). Given the lucrative salary, many with bachelor’s degrees in engineering consider the extra time and money involved in earning an engineering management degree well worth it.

Engineering management is relatively new as a profession, but its lucrative compensation and exciting work draw more and more engineers. Further, some programs offer engineering management degrees online with flexible schedules to accommodate working engineers. Because it provides a salary boost and focuses specifically on engineering leadership skills, a post-graduate degree in this field appeals to engineers looking to expand their career opportunities.

Learn more about the A-State online MEM program.


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