What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Engineering Management?

Online programs in engineering management are an excellent option for the busy professional who wants to pursue a graduate degree without sacrificing life or work commitments. Online programs are known for their flexible attendance requirements, letting you complete your coursework in a way that works for your schedule, without sacrificing the quality of the education backing your degree. With part-time and accelerated options, you also have the freedom to decide how quickly you want to complete the program, giving you control over your professional future. If you’re considering enrollment in a distance learning program to earn your graduate degree, compare your options against your career goals and current lifestyle to find the best fit for you.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Engineering Management

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION
Management Focuses on the tools needed for effective engineer management, such as project management principles, contracts, proposals and bidding, accounting and finance, marketing and leadership skills. Students learn presentation techniques, different communication styles, negotiation and conflict resolution. Project manager, engineer manager in an in the field or in an office setting
Civil Engineering Learn the process for designing and building civic and community structures such as bridges, roads, waterways, buildings and tunnels. Some time is spent discussing the solid mechanics used for erecting structures. Civil engineer manager, engineer manager in the field or an office setting
Operations Research Places a heavy emphasis on math and probability concepts, using them as foundations to algorithm optimization, policy and management decisions, public decision making and the analysis of risk for decisions. Operations research analyst, operations research manager for a private company in an office setting
Biomaterials Students explore different material types and their biocompatibility. Graduates will know the mechanical properties of materials and how they respond in different states. Manager for biomaterials engineers in an office or lab setting
Probability and Statistics Provides a deeper understanding of statistical analysis. Students are taught about data mining, analysis techniques, statistical and probability models and examine case studies in applied statistics. Manager of risk management, engineering manager in an IT department, in the field or in an office setting

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Educational institutions develop their own program curriculum, so the courses offered for an online master’s in engineering management program will differ between schools. The program you choose should include curriculum that supports your career goals. If the schools you are considering are out of your local area, be mindful that some programs also include labs and classes that must be completed on-campus in addition to the online coursework.

While the curricula will have differences when comparing programs, there are some courses you’re likely to encounter in any program you choose, including:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Project Management Explores project management principles and how they relate to the engineering industry. This includes learning organization and management techniques.
Business Law and Ethics Examines the ethical best practices of engineering and laws relevant to specific industry subjects, such as software and structural engineering laws.
Economic Planning Introduces students to financial planning concepts such as accounting and budgeting. Some attention is also given to financial planning for projects.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Engineering Management?

The amount of time it takes to complete your online master’s in engineering management program depends on several factors. Most programs require the completion of around 30 to 36 credit hours to graduate which generally take two years to complete. There are accelerated programs available for students who can handle a heavier course load and want to earn their degree faster. Those who have other life obligations, such as a full-time work schedule, have the option of attending on a part-time basis. This reduces the number of credits taken at once but increases the number of semesters needed to complete the program.

Curriculum structure also has a role to play when calculating your completion time. Synchronous structures follow a specific schedule, with only one or two possible start dates and courses being scheduled according to those dates. This structure offers little flexibility for completion time. Asynchronous programs have several start dates which also allows classes to be offered multiple times throughout the year. This can make scheduling easier and offers greater control over your completion date.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Engineering Management Prepares For

CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTION
Professional Engineer Certification The PE certification is offered through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying and requires applicants to pass the exam and demonstrate relevant work experience or a master’s degree. This certification is required for licensing in many states and to receive an engineering stamp.
Project Management Professional The Project Management Professional certification is the industry standard for PM professionals, it verifies and substantiates an individual ability to lead, direct, organize and manage projects and teams.
State license Some states require engineers to be licensed, and obtaining PE certification is often a prerequisite. Other requirements vary by location and are set by the respective state licensing board.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Engineering Management

When selecting your online program to earn your master’s degree in engineering management, take a moment to verify whether it has been accredited by recognized agency. Accrediting agencies offer their services to protect the interests of students by guaranteeing the quality of education offered is at or above their standards. Many licenses and certifications will not recognize a degree without accreditation and even some employers look for this distinction. You could also have trouble if you need to switch schools at some point because many will not accept credits from schools without accreditation.

There are several accrediting agencies you should look for when selecting your program. The Department of Education offers national accreditation which shows the curriculum meets the national educational standards. Regional agencies, such as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, offer accreditation to schools in their area and make it easier to transfer credits between these schools. In some cases, you might find accreditation by an industry-based agency, like the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. These show the program either meets or exceeds industry standards.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Engineering Management Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Putting in the effort to earn your master’s in engineering management can have a positive impact on your career. When applying for open job positions, potential employers often overlook applicants with bachelor’s degrees if they see there are candidates with higher education levels. This gives you an advantage when applying for highly desirable positions. There are also some lucrative employment opportunities that require a graduate degree, leaving any competitors who hold an undergraduate degree ineligible to apply. Having a master’s degree can also increase your job security. According to research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for professionals with graduate degrees is significantly lower than the rate for those with undergraduate degrees.

Expected Salary

The salary potential for jobs held by graduates of information systems and technology programs starts anywhere between $39,000 and $74,000, depending on the career path you choose. The table below shows the salary ranges of some common jobs for people with information systems and technology degrees.

Job Title Salary Range
Engineering Manager $77,468-$150,298
Project Manager, Engineering $59,696-$130,446
Lead Analyst $56,471-$117,208
Construction Engineering Manager $61,356-$128,206
Industrial Engineering Manager $72,201-$123,886

Source: PayScale.com

When trying to determine your placement within the salary range, it’s important to note that experience plays a large role in determining your professional worth. Taking the time to complete your graduate degree puts you in a better starting position on the salary scale. See the chart below to get an idea of the relationship between experience and salary averages.

Average Wage vs Experience Level for Engineering Management Professionals

Source: PayScale.com

Career Opportunities

Having an engineering management degree offers a large number of career opportunities and the potential for advancement and growth. Use your degree to leverage better benefits, move up in your company or to try a new specialty.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Engineering Manager Engineering managers are responsible for the planning, direction and coordination of activities in engineering companies. This includes the supervision of staff, budget proposals, creating plans for product development and taking the lead on development projects. $137,720 per year 6%
Construction Manager Construction managers are the supervisors of construction projects, handling the coordinating, planning and budgeting. They are responsible for communicating with clients, preparing budgets and cost estimates, managing subcontractors, interpreting contracts and complying with all relevant codes and laws. $91,370 per year 11%
Industrial Engineer Industrial engineers function as waste reducers for production processes. Their job requires improving production efficiency, overseeing all aspects of production and identifying possible quality control issues, establishing controls to maintain quality standards and communicating with clients and vendors. $85,880 per year 10%
Civil Engineer Civil engineers are responsible for the design, planning, development and research regarding civil construction projects. This can include roads, tunnels, bridges, dams, buildings and water and sewage treatment systems. $84,770 per year 11%
Mining Engineer Mining engineers are responsible for the design of mines so that minerals and ores can be removed safely. This requires the assessment of geological features, supervision of mine shaft and tunnel construction and verification that operations are environmentally sound and safe. $92,240 per year 8%

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are an easy way to access regular industry updates and communicate with professional peers. Here are a few organizations that are respected and offer their members useful benefits.

National Society of Professional Engineers: Members of the NSPE can take advantage of free seminars, online and hosted face-to-face networking opportunities, continuing education courses and career advancement tools.

Society of Women Engineers: The SWE is an organization created to support women in engineering. The organization offers members networking opportunities, awards and recognition programs, access to industry resources and publications, educational opportunities and the development of leadership skills.

American Association of Engineering Societies: Participation in the AAES gives members a voice on policy discussions and advocacy efforts. The AAES is the representative of the United States to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Engineering Management

Online graduate degree programs are often cheaper to complete than those at traditional university campuses, but you may still find yourself short on what you need to cover your expenses. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be your first step to find out if you are eligible for any government funded grants or loans. Private loans and scholarships are also an option. Use the resources below to start your search if you need financial assistance.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Western Union Foundation Global Scholarship Program

Award: $2,500

Deadline: April 13

Eligibility: Open to students pursuing an engineering degree, or one of other eligible fields, at an accredited college or university.

[email protected] Scholars

Award: $15,000

Deadline: March 21

Eligibility: Open to master’s students with a declared major in engineering or other eligible fields.