Earning a master's in engineering management online weds the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills engineers must possess with the administrative and planning know-how of organizational leaders. This degree prepares learners to address the challenges engineering-driven enterprises face, sharpening the techniques and strategies graduates must know to oversee technical projects and the people who execute them. Graduates of top engineering management master's programs find themselves in demand because they can serve in functional or project management roles.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a career in engineering management can prove financially rewarding. Annual median pay for these professionals tops $140,000, and the BLS projects a 6% growth in the occupation by between 2016-2026.
What to Know About Online Master's in Engineering Management Coursework
Enrollment in studies for a master of science in engineering management online builds leadership, business, and management capabilities, so that students learn to successfully lead technology-oriented organizations. Classes sharpen communication, design, analytical, and collaboration skills, which employers value in their workplaces.
Students also deepen their understanding of operations research, product development, and industrial engineering. The latter works to reduce investments of time, manpower, materials, and money that fail to drive value. This can prove essential to an organization's fiscal wellbeing.
Most online master's degrees in engineering management require 30 credits, which students typically complete in approximately two years. Enrolling in school online permits greater flexibility than on-campus classes when it comes to where and when you attend class. Online students often continue working while in school, as well. However, this may mean enrolling in fewer credits each term and taking longer than two years to complete the program.
- Common Courses
What Common Courses are Offered in a Master's in Engineering Management Program?
The classes for a master's in engineering management online program vary by school, but most follow a similar curriculum. The following describes common classes you might encounter when pursuing this degree. It also provides information on the skills learners acquire in each course.
- Product Management: Students learn product management fundamentals like identifying customer needs and designing and deploying a product across the product lifecycle. This course helps prepare them for success in one of the fastest-growing careers in the engineering and technology sectors. Learners also complete a project using the sprint model, like product teams in the workplace do.
- Finance and Economics for Engineering Management: This class relies on a case study approach to explore how to use economic models and methods to analyze, compare, and determine sound decisions. It focuses on mathematical calculations and what it means to understand, articulate, and report risks, findings, and assumptions in light of external factors and situations.
- Entrepreneurship and Private Equity: Learners explore concepts in entrepreneurship and private equity investment. This includes planning and evaluating how to start a business, financing this kind of undertaking, and understanding the ins and outs of mergers and acquisitions. In addition, students deepen their knowledge of leveraged buy-outs and cashing out alternatives. This class uses case method approaches.
- Risk Analysis and Management: This course familiarizes students with reliability engineering and risk terminology, along with the models and tools needed to evaluate environmental risks. It also equips them to consider the technological, psychological, and social risks that create complications. In addition, students discuss life risks like pollution and natural hazards.
- Decision Analysis: Learners examine a framework that facilitates how they think about decision-making when complexities, uncertainties, and competing objectives make it difficult. They consider tools and concepts that support how they make choices, including utility theory and decision trees, sensitivity analysis, and value of information. Projects allow them to work in teams to analyze real-world scenarios.
What Specializations are Available in a Master's in Engineering Management Program?
The best programs for an online master's degree in engineering management allow you to specialize in an area of interest to increase your expertise and marketability to employers. Available specializations vary by school, but the following provides insight about a few potential areas of study in which you might concentrate studies.
- Project Management: You oversee an organization's projects to ensure they adhere to the scope, timeline, and schedule decided at the outset. You rely on the project management phases (initiate, plan, execute, and control) to ensure you fulfill project objectives, and remain agile enough in the process to make any mid-course revisions.
- Supply Chain Engineering: You coordinate the flow of services and goods from start to finish. This includes moving and storing raw materials, overseeing works in progress, and making certain finished goods arrive to the point of consumption. Your understanding of how business networks and channels operate allows consumers to receive what they need.
- Management Information Systems: You use information to drive an organization's activities and operationalize technology so that it positively affects people's lives. In addition to managing an array of systems on which staff and customers rely, you develop these systems and oversee data storage in them. You also help monitor computer security.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
Course requirements for a master's in engineering management online frequently include group projects since the program emphasizes leadership and teamwork. You may work with peers to analyze case studies and better understand how your decisions would affect real-world circumstances. You may also work with classmates to construct plans that support the creation of complex engineering projects.
In addition, your program may require an integrative capstone project near the end of your studies that draws on all lessons learned. The capstone may be both project- and discussion-based, including research, a report of findings, and a presentation on key takeaways.
How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Engineering Management Program?
Only consider accredited schools for your online engineering management master's program. Accreditation indicates that an external agency validates the quality of an institution's academia, rigor, and research. Employers prefer to recruit graduates from accredited schools, knowing these candidates possess the skills needed to help drive organizational success. Also look for an engineering program recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which works to ensure your knowledge and career preparation.
Statistics like graduation rates, the number of faculty with Ph.D. diplomas, and alumni job placement rates also signal a program's quality and trustworthiness. When schools do not make this information available or demonstrate poor findings, consider it a red flag. Moreover, compare course content and student support services like tutoring and writing assistance to determine which institution provides the most in-depth support.
Career Opportunities With a Master's in Engineering Management Degree
An online master's degree in engineering management allows you to pursue a career in a for-profit or nonprofit organization. Given the administrative and hands-on aspects of the engineering field, your work may take place in offices or construction sites. Responsibilities typically include overseeing others to make sure they fulfill the technical and operational mandates of the projects you lead. Engineering managers also write reports, develop budgets, and help design and execute strategic plans.
Architectural and Engineering Manager
These professionals plan new products and ensure the necessary staff, equipment, and training resources are available. Their work entails creating and overseeing budgets and making sure staff produce technically sound, accurate work. They also oversee research that informs product, process, and design development. This role overlaps with professionals in marketing, finance, and production.
- Median Salary: $140,760 per year
- Currently Employed: 180,100
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +6%
Professionals in these roles conceive, design, and construct an array of infrastructure projects that affect public and private systems. These projects may include roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, and water supply systems. Civil engineers perform cost analysis, pay attention to government regulations, and complete permit paperwork. They also examine which reports are required for public and private infrastructure.
- Median Salary: $86,640 per year
- Currently Employed: 303,500
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +11%
These experts plan, organize, and oversee construction projects from beginning to end. They develop cost estimates and work timetables, and they also explain technical information to colleagues and report project progress to clients. Construction managers hire subcontractors and ensure compliance with building safety codes and regulations.
- Median Salary: $93,370 per year
- Currently Employed: 403,800
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +11%
Urban and Regional Planner
In this role, responsibilities include creating land use plans to design communities, revitalize facilities in cities and counties, and accommodate growing populations. These professionals must meet with public officials to make plans and gather data to inform decisions based on environmental studies and market research. They must also present projects to various stakeholders.
- Median Salary: $73,050 per year
- Currently Employed: 36,000
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +13%
This career specializes in waste reduction throughout the production process. Duties include developing systems to efficiently integrate materials, machines, energy, and workers to ensure product and service delivery. Industrial engineers must also meet with clients to make sure they comply with product specifications, and they provide status updates on progress as it occurs.
- Median Salary: $87,040 per year
- Currently Employed: 257,900
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +10%
What's the Expected Job Growth for Engineering Management Careers?
The BLS projects employment in engineering management to grow by 6% between 2016-2026. Your industry of choice largely affects anticipated growth. For example, the BLS expects employment in engineering services to surge by 13% due to infrastructure projects to replace and repair buildings, roads, and bridges. Engineering services also include consulting firms that support an array of industries. They also provide electrical and mechanical engineering services.
Professional Organizations for Careers in Engineering Management
Professional organizations allow you to network with like-minded individuals, learn about emerging trends in the field, continue your education through workshops and symposia, and hear from experts at annual conferences that bring members together. You can also access job boards through these organizations.
- Project Management Institute: With more than 500,000 members and 300 chapters globally, PMI offers several benefits as the world's leading association for project managers. Benefits include certifications, global conferences, and tools and templates for professionals.
- American Society for Engineering Management: ASEM offers membership to professionals and students. They receive access to publications such as A Guide to the Engineering Management Body of Knowledge, along with professional certification opportunities and an invitation to ASEM's international conference.
- IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society: IEEE members participate in collaborative projects, join discussions based on technical interests, and attend events hosted worldwide.
- Society for Engineering Management Systems: SEMS attracts members who work in the industrial engineering, ergonomics, and healthcare fields. Benefits include discounted conference attendance, training courses, and access to award-winning publications and presentations.
- The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering: ATMAE members include students and professionals representing more than 500 colleges and companies. They can access the organization's career center, learn salary trends, and earn certification. In addition, ATMAE hosts an annual conference.
How to Pay for a Master's in Engineering Management Degree
Federal financial aid can help pay for your degree through loans and grants. Make sure to check with your school about scholarship offerings and how to apply for them, as well. Moreover, your school might offer paid research and assistantship opportunities.
Federal Financial Aid
Complete the FAFSA, which the U.S. Department of Education makes available for those seeking support to attend school. FAFSA applicants learn about which kinds of federal loans and grants they qualify for, including eligibility for the federal work-study program, through which they can work part-time and receive income for education expenses.
IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society
IEEE offers an array of scholarships, fellowships, and grants to its student members. These include research and travel grants, funds to pursue specific fields of study, and fellowships for advanced learners like master's and Ph.D. candidates. The organization's website details eligibility criteria and application instructions for each.
American Society for Engineering Management
Graduate students may apply for a $500 scholarship if they hold ASEM membership and maintain full-time status with their program. They must demonstrate a minimum 3.5 GPA. ASEM determines recipients based on their campus and community service, academic achievement, and relevance of career goals to the engineering management profession.
Project Management Institute
PMI's educational foundation awards an array of scholarships to prepare tomorrow's workforce and build practitioners' skills. Students attending accredited institutions may apply for academic scholarships. Completing one application allows students to concurrently apply for approximately 40 scholarships, ranging from $1,000-$7,500. The organization automatically matches students' applications to the scholarships for which they qualify.