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

Online master’s in engineering management programs are an excellent option for those with busy schedules due to work or family commitments. Indeed, online programs offer the same academic quality as on-campus programs with more schedule flexibility, making it easier to find time for everything you need to do outside of school. If you’re considering enrolling in a distance learning program to earn your master’s in engineering management, compare your options against your career goals and current lifestyle to find the best fit for your specific needs.

Available concentrations

There are many different roles available within the field of engineering management. If you already know exactly what you would like to do after you graduate, look for a program that allows you to focus your studies on this area of concentration. Some of the most common concentration options for a master’s in engineering management include:

  • Management: Focuses on the tools needed for effective engineering management, such as project management principles, contracts, proposals and bidding, accounting and finance, marketing, and leadership skills. Students learn about presentation techniques, communication styles, negotiation, and conflict resolution.
  • Civil Engineering: Learn about managing civic and community projects such as bridges, roads, waterways, buildings, and tunnels. Also, discuss the mechanics used for erecting structures.
  • Operations Research: This concentration focuses on math and probability concepts, using them as foundations for teaching algorithm optimization, policy and management decision-making, and risk analysis.
  • Biomaterials: Students explore different material types and their biocompatibility. Graduates will know the mechanical properties of materials and how they respond in various states.
  • Probability and Statistics: Provides a deeper understanding of statistical analysis. Students learn about data mining, analysis techniques, and statistical and probability models. This concentration also involves reviewing case studies in applied statistics.

Common degree curriculum

Each educational institution develops 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 courses that support your career goals. If you’re considering any schools outside your local area, make sure the program is 100% online — some online programs are offered in a hybrid format and have on-campus requirements.

While the exact curriculum will vary depending on which school you select, there are a few core courses you’ll likely encounter in any program you choose, including:

  • Project Management: Explores project management principles and how they relate to the engineering industry, including learning organization and management techniques.
  • Business Law and Ethics: Examines the ethical best practices of engineering and legislation 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, plus financial planning for projects.

Certification and license preparation

In addition to your college education in engineering management, you may need additional credentials to work in this field. Even when certifications aren’t required, they can help you bolster your resume and advance your career. Some of the most valuable certification and licensure programs for engineering managers include:

  • State license: Some states require engineers to be licensed. Requirements vary by location and are set by the respective state licensing board.
  • Project Management Professional: This certification is the industry standard for project managers. It verifies an individual’s ability to organize and lead projects and teams.

Program accreditation

Only apply to schools approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. If your school doesn’t have regional accreditation, you may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed. You may also have trouble obtaining your engineering license if the school you graduated from wasn’t regionally accredited.

Program completion timeframe

The time it takes to complete your online master’s in engineering management program depends on several factors. Most programs require 30 to 36 credit hours to graduate, which generally takes two years. Accelerated programs are available for students who can handle a heavier courseload and want to earn their degree faster. Those who have other obligations, such as a full-time work schedule, can attend 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 should also be considered when calculating your completion time. Synchronous programs follow a specific schedule, with only one or two possible start dates and courses scheduled according to those dates. This format offers little flexibility. Asynchronous programs allow you to complete courses at your own pace, giving you greater control over your completion date.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Engineering Management Graduates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of jobs in the United States is projected to increase by 3% over the next decade. Most occupations related to engineering management are expected to grow at a faster rate, which means there should be plenty of employment opportunities available once you graduate.

You should be able to earn a large salary in this field as well, considering that most master’s in engineering management graduates make at least $80,000 per year. You may be able to make much more than that — the top 10% of engineering managers earn over $221,550.

Your pay will likely also depend on where you live. Areas with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher salaries. For example, engineering managers earn an average salary of $193,600 in California, while in Nebraska, they make $135,500.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)
Engineering Manager Engineering managers are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating activities in engineering companies, including supervising staff, creating budget proposals, and leading development projects. $159,920 4%
Construction Manager Construction managers are the supervisors of construction projects. They are responsible for communicating with clients, preparing budgets and cost estimates, managing subcontractors, interpreting contracts, and ensuring compliance with all relevant codes and laws. $101,480 5%
Industrial Engineer Industrial engineers function as waste reducers for production processes. Their job involves improving production efficiency,  identifying possible quality control issues, establishing quality standards, and communicating with clients and vendors. $96,350 12%
Civil Engineer Civil engineers are responsible for designing, planning, and developing civil construction projects, such as roads, bridges, and water treatment systems. $89,940 5%
Mining Engineer Mining engineers are responsible for designing mines so minerals and ores can be removed safely. This requires assessing geological features, supervising mine shaft and tunnel construction, and verifying that operations are environmentally sound. $97,490 0%

Professional organizations

Professional organizations offer an easy way to access industry updates and network with peers. The following organizations are well-respected and provide their members with valuable benefits:

  • National Society of Professional Engineers: Members of the NSPE can take advantage of free seminars, networking opportunities (online and face-to-face), continuing education courses, and career advancement tools.
  • Society of Women Engineers: The SWE is an organization created to support women in engineering. They offer awards and recognition programs, access to industry resources and publications, and educational opportunities.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Engineering Management Degree

Online graduate degree programs are often more affordable than on-campus options, but you may still need more than what you need to cover your expenses. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be the first step in your search for assistance, as this will determine if you are eligible for any government-funded grants or loans. Private loans and scholarships are also an option.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

After submitting your FAFSA, the next step to funding your education is figuring out which other financial aid programs you may qualify for, which can take a lot of research. The resources listed below will help you get started.

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