Where would we be without engineers? Industries across the US are dependent on creative, reactive problem solvers. However, there is more to engineering than simply putting plans into action. Depending on the solutions needed, there is likely always to be a similar need for careful management, planning, costing and research.
Engineering management is an increasingly popular discipline for students looking to blend business operations and problem solving into one. While the main facets of engineering revolve around technical planning and implementation, management principles ensure that processes are legal, cost-effective and operating efficiently.
However, online engineering management masters degrees don’t have to be a confusing affair. Students enrolling at Kettering Global’s online Master of Science Engineering Management course, for example, can exercise leadership and management skills while applying what they learn in an active context. It is, for all intents and purposes, on-the-job-training!
Let’s take a closer look at why engineering management is important, and what students can expect to learn upon enrolling for associated courses and disciplines.
What can an Engineering Management Masters degree do for my career?
It’s important to remember that there are different types of engineering degrees and disciplines out there, some related to specific industries, and others dedicated to certain approaches. For example, a science engineering management course will largely focus on the basic principles of scientific design and implementation, alongside administration, leadership and operational standards.
By and large, however, you can expect to put an Engineering Masters degree to great use in a variety of problem solving roles. For example, engineers are always needed in agriculture, petroleum development, environmental science, chemicals and even in town and building planning, also known as civil engineering. Effectively, the knowledge you’ll gain from an engineering masters can help you to excel in any of the above niches — with the potential to earn between $99,000 and $129,000 per year, depending on the niche and discipline you specialize in.
In fact, research shows that Engineering Masters graduates may expect an average salary of up to $144,000 per year — that’s only slightly less than $70 per hour. The demand for technical engineers is growing cross-industry, and as such, a Masters in Engineering Management could help you to hit the ground running with everything you need to know.
Whether you choose to move into aerospace, biomedicine, health and safety or nuclear engineering, a comprehensive management degree will help you to understand the facets, principles and related effects of your role in clearer detail. But what might you expect to study and achieve while taking on this type of course?
What you’ll learn through an Engineering Management Masters degree
While the core modules and topics you can expect to cover in this type of degree may vary from college to college, let’s continue using Kettering’s distance science engineering management course as an example. It’s important to remember that, while you will delve deep into the technical principles of engineering during such a course, you’ll also learn about how engineering affects international business in general.
Leadership and management principles
The key to all effective management lies in the quality of leadership. While understanding the basic principles and technicalities of your niche in engineering is vital, so is learning how to manage a team. If you’re heading up an engineering team in a management position, it’s crucial to know how to communicate and plan effectively with growing numbers of people.
A core module you’ll come across in many engineering management courses is business communication and presentation skills. Running a business in any shape or form is by no means an innate skill. Specifically, this module will help you to understand how to present ideas and communicate effectively with your peers, as well as those you answer to and those you are effectively supervising.
Course modules guiding you through people management will also help you to understand the wider impacts of persuasive leadership, and how human resources (HR) will impact your wider operation. It’s also crucial to learn more about leaner problem solving as part of this module, alongside how to plan for change and potential crisis.
As an additional module, there will also likely be a focus on diversity and inclusion. Equality is crucial for all workplaces in the modern age. This applies to various engineering niches as much as it does public-facing operations.
This series of certificates may be followed up with further studies revolving around ethical leadership and problem-solving. It may also be of interest to you to consider how to manage organized labor more efficiently. In many cases, you’ll find these principles are covered in some of the first modules you’ll study as part of engineering management.
Operations management is a blanket term used to cover the oversight of all people-driven processes in any given project or situation. Operations managers, in any engineering niche, ensure that projects keep running as expected — according to time, budget and health and safety guidelines. Operations managers may also be expected to adhere to project management principles, and to ensure that the best technology is in place to support physical labor.
Effective operations management is all about understanding how the different parts of a business’ machine work together. While this may not seem to be an essential facet of learning engineering operations, understanding these principles can help you to build on your existing skills and grow your enterprise to the next level.
Vitally, this side of engineering management is covered as part of a multi-part module. In some cases, you will find a standalone operations management course offered alongside technology planning and management, with project management skills offered as an additional string for your bow. Many people graduate from Engineering Management Masters programs as dedicated operations managers, making this a particularly lucrative module to invest time in.
Systems and information handling are crucial elements in any engineering management role, particularly when applied to the life cycle of products, how supply chains are handled and planned for, and how resources can be put to best use across an entire enterprise or project.
This stage of an Engineering Management Masters will typically present you with infrastructure training too. While information systems may vary in terms of scope and purpose from enterprise to enterprise, wide-reaching topics and potential daily impacts are discussed in this standard module at length.
Ultimately, learning about how to handle information systems and planning for life cycles will help you to clearly understand the implications with regard to law and wider society. Without a well-oiled information systems plan, you’re at risk of losing sight of your targets and the opportunity to grow your operation.
International business management
To better understand the impacts of any engineering project or business on the wider economy and supply chains, learning about international business standards is a must. As a central module in engineering management degrees, this part of your expected course will take you through what to expect from potential complex risks relating to international business, and how you can ensure your future operations remain within the limits of global law.
The international marketplace is always expanding! It’s why understanding how engineering principles can impact global business is so crucial as early on as possible in such a degree.
Managing finance is an essential element in any supervisory or operational management role. This module will typically take students through the principles of stock valuation, working capital and financial planning. This part of a typical engineering management course will provide insight into how money plays a part in a large-scale project, and how it might impact engineering enterprises in general.
Managing money is equally as important as managing people. You will generally find this type of module is covered early on in many management courses.
While ethical management is covered to some extent in the modules listed above, the ethics of handling team concerns is often treated as its own section of an Engineering Management Masters. Matters such as responsibility, delegation, environmental impacts and conflicts of interest are all covered in detail.
Effectively, this leg of an Engineering Management Masters will provide insight into who exactly is impacted by your organization, and how you can be more considerate in your eventual role — with both your team and your working environment.
Health and safety
In all walks of engineering, there will sadly be some risk to health and even life. That may apply to engineers or physical workers themselves, or to members of the public. So, it stands to reason that engineering management courses offer healthcare and safety modules to help students understand how to better mitigate potential risks and hazards.
Marketing is conducive to success in all lines of business and across all industries — and it applies to engineering too! This standard module shows students what to expect in terms of their wider markets, and how they can manage their enterprises on the wider supply chain.
This stage of the typical engineering management course will also show students how to plan marketing strategies, which, of course, will help their enterprises to grow and compete.
Are there additional modules and certificates involved?
In many cases, you’ll find that additional modules or other certifications are offered alongside the standard Engineering Management Masters degree. For example, should you wish to dive deeper into supply chain management, you’ll likely have the opportunity to study logistics planning and wider risk management principles.
Beyond this, you can also learn about how to manage supply chains in-house, and how to collaborate with others. It’s also a great opportunity for you to learn more about how to build strong relationships with customers and clients, and how to manage their concerns from day to day.
Why should I consider enrolling for an engineering management masters degree?
An Engineering Management Masters degree will equip you with the tools and insight you need to hit the ground running in a variety of industries and workplaces. In particular, it should provide you with the skills to manage complex teams, and to understand how to manage wide-ranging projects with greater confidence. By adding MBA modules to your management degree, you can also learn more about how to lead a team effectively, and how to implement business strategies for sustained growth.
As mentioned above, engineering management degrees will also incorporate some elements of operations management, whether as part of their core modules, or as add-on disciplines. These skills will help you to understand how people and systems work in practice and how you can best plan ahead for sustained growth and revenue.
There are principles in these modules that work well in business management outside of engineering too. However, engineering management is becoming ever-more vital for those technically-minded problem solvers who want to take advantage of their limitless demand.
Managing an engineering operation is by no means a simple process. While many experts learn on-the-job, immersing yourself in management principles and standards can help you to achieve your goals more efficiently. No one is born knowing how to run a business. As such, a combined engineering management and MBA course may help you to weather potential crises more effectively.
Are all engineering management masters the same?
While the standard recognized qualification is ultimately the same cross-country and cross-college, there are always likely to be some differences in how its modules are presented and delivered. For example, you may wish to take on a distance learning version of the course, or to attend classes and seminars in person.
It’s always a good idea to carefully research which institutions you’d like to study at, including which offer you the most flexibility, and the most insight. Other things to consider include which bodies have the best connections, the highest success rates, and if they can guarantee work.
An Engineering Management Masters degree will help you to understand the various facets of your enterprise. It will also help you to compete in an ever-growing marketplace.