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Engineering Manager

Education and Training: Engineering school, MBA
Average Salary: $115,000 per year
Job Outlook: Very Good

Engineering managers supervise and lead technicians, engineers, and scientists in their day to day activities. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, job opportunities for engineering managers are expected to grow at an increasing rate especially in the fields of environmental and biomedical engineering.
The duties of Engineering Managers will mainly depend on the organization or company they are working for. They are mainly in charge of overseeing scientists, engineers, and technicians who design civil projects or machinery, coordinate quality control/production and the development and research of improved procedures or products. Communicating staff issues to the HR department, hiring staff, and preparing performance reviews also comes under their purview. Skilled engineers who love to interact with others can find this type of work rewarding. This position also involves some amount of guidance or instruction which may be a new skill for most engineers. Preference would be given to those who have strong oral and interpersonal skills while appointing new candidates. Engineering managers may also have to manage or supervise teams of engineers, engineering technologists, or related professionals. The spectrum of areas they are responsible for and the number of individuals needed may differ by industry. For instance, an engineering manager in the civil field may be responsible for support staff, drafts persons, architectural drawing teams, etc.

Education and Training Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in an engineering field such as mechanical, civil or aviation is essential to work as an engineering manager. Since business knowledge is also a prerequisite for engineering management, many managers have a master’s in engineering management (MEM) or business administration (MBA). Engineering Managers can easily get employment provided they have some years of experience in a related field. Important skills that are essential for engineering managers include sharing experience and information with staff, quick problem solving skills, and the ability to work well with a wide range of people. Engineering managers can take up courses in effective communication, team building, and mentoring which can turn out to be very advantageous in their role. This is because the dynamics of any team will mainly depend on the attitude and nature of their team leader.

Getting the Job

Incumbents to the job must have a degree in Engineering or Technology from an accredited school. Preferably they must also have a qualification in Management. You can also think of getting into one of the organizations or societies that concentrate on engineering management, such as IEEE or the Engineering Management Society. In this way you can gain sufficient experience to get ahead in your career.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job prospects for Engineering Managers are good. Employment for Engineering Managers is expected to grow very strongly till 2015. Employment in this medium sized occupation has also risen quite strongly in the past five years. There are a number of industries that offer employment growth prospects for engineering managers.

Working Conditions and Environment

The Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that about 36 percent of all engineering management jobs are in manufacturing and 33 percent are in technical and professional services. The remaining managers are employed in government agencies and engineering firms. Engineering managers have to spend the most part of their day within their offices in front of a computer.

Salary and Benefits

The Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that the average salary for engineering managers was $115,270 per year in 2008. Depending on the firm or employer the pay can vary widely. While those who work for non-profits earn an average pay of $78,000 per year, those engaged in research can get up to $141,030 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

College of Engineering and Computing
The Engineering Center
Florida International University
10555 W Flagler St.
Miami, Florida 33174
(305 )348-2522

Washington State University
PO Box 641030
Pullman WA 99164-1030
FAX: (509) 335-1949

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEngineering, Science, Technology, and Social Sciences