How to Move into Higher Paying Engineering Management Careers
Engineers are already among the most well-compensated professionals in the U.S., earning an average salary of $80,673; however, those who wish to move even further up the pay scale do have a few options.
Strategy 1: Job Hopping
Across many industries, employees — especially millennial employees — have found that job-hopping can increase their salary; nevertheless, those who choose to do this should proceed with caution. Potential employers can look upon a candidate negatively if they see too many positions over a short time on a resume. In addition, job-hoppers in engineering fields might not have gained the advanced technical and management skills that employers require in high-paying positions.
Strategy 2: Certification
Engineers can enroll in certificate and training programs to supplement their undergraduate degree and validate their professional experience. Such programs are attractive options because they are relatively affordable and can often be completed in less than a year. For example, an engineer with a Professional Engineer license can earn an average of $4,500 more per year than an unlicensed engineer.
Strategy 3: Advanced Education
While $4,500 is not a small amount of money, engineers who wish to increase their salary more dramatically — especially over the long term — would be wise to consider bolstering their careers with a master’s in engineering management. Advanced degrees are typically geared toward working engineers who want to balance their field knowledge with leadership and management techniques to effectively oversee technical organizations and engineering projects.
Careers with a Master’s in Engineering Management
The primary duty of engineering managers is to execute the technical vision of a company executive or government official. Because a myriad of organizations rely on the successful completion of technical and engineering projects, engineering managers can be found in nearly every industry.
Job titles associated with engineering management careers include:
- Engineering Manager
- Chief Engineer
- Director of Engineering
- Engineering Project Manager
- Senior Lead Analyst
While not all engineering manager positions require a master’s degree, candidates with only a bachelor’s degree will likely need years of documented leadership experience to demonstrate to hiring managers that they possess the managerial skills required. For highly competitive positions, those with a master’s degree that blends engineering with business skills are often preferred to those with only a technical background.
Engineering Manager Job Salaries
Financing a master’s degree is an investment that pays off almost immediately in high-paying engineering management career opportunities. According to Glassdoor, engineering managers earn a minimum salary of $101,000—approximately 20% higher than the average salary for engineers as a whole. The average salary for engineering managers is $134,691, while some professionals earn up to $175,000, depending on industry, location, and experience.
Many master’s programs in engineering management can be completed in three years or fewer, and some programs are 100% online. The George Washington University Online Master of Science in engineering management enables students to complete their coursework without interrupting their work schedule. The program conveys specialized knowledge and skills that students can immediately apply in their own organizations while they prepare for success in higher-paying roles.
Learn more about George Washington University’s online graduate degree programs in engineering.
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