Is a Master’s in Engineering Management Worth It?

With a bachelor's degree under your belt, you may be undecided whether graduate school is the best way to further your skills. With this in mind, is a master of engineering management (MEM) degree worth your investment of time and money?

The potential value of a master’s degree goes far deeper than the money it costs to undertake. To answer this question effectively, this article will provide you with a couple of solid reasons as to why you should consider enrolling in a master’s in engineering management (MEM) program.

#1. A Master’s Degree in Engineering Management Bridges Students’ Knowledge Gap Between Business and Technology

As much as you may want to pursue an MBA, a graduate degree program in engineering management would offer a similar skill set, specifically geared towards engineering expertise. For instance, it would enhance your management ability and, in the process, prepare you for leadership roles, as well as hone your industry-specific engineering skills. Like an MBA, the MEM provides networking and career-enhancement. However, the technical education and core management skills acquired from a university would make this master’s more relevant to the goals of science-oriented engineers.

You'll attain sufficient knowledge in organizational behavior, strategic planning, communication, technology management, human relations, strategic thinking, and innovation that are paramount for an engineer, engineering manager, a project manager, or any other career in the engineering field.

This program would make you a better fit for the majority of available engineering management positions, equipping you with the necessary skills and knowledge required for a rapid response to business and technical challenges.

#2. An MEM Enables Engineers to Meet Their Career Goals

If you're a bachelor’s degree holder in any engineering field, you can likely apply for an engineering management program at the college or university of your choice and take your engineering career in new directions. For example, if your undergraduate degree program was in mechanical engineering, you may decide to specialize in nanoengineering in an engineering management master's program.

What makes the MEM program more attractive is that you can enroll even if you have a science-related degree qualification that is not engineering. You can opt for on-campus learning or online learning since there are numerous universities offering an MEM online.

Similarly, if you're a working professional in the engineering field, an MEM program would provide you with advanced knowledge through several advanced engineering courses. These advanced engineering courses include: quality systems, database and information systems engineering, leadership, law, engineering communications, engineering statistics, and six-sigma, alongside many other electives that focus on engineering management.

Therefore, the engineering management program is an excellent substitute for the traditional MBA program, especially if you're an engineer-for instance, a civil engineer-and is also appealing to both students and professionals with different work experiences.

#3. A Master's Degree in Engineering Management Improves the Competency Levels Among Engineering Graduates

A master’s degree in an engineering management program equips working professionals in the engineering field with the prerequisite skills to undertake and complete complex engineering projects.

Many programs are based on the six sigma approach, which aims to produce well-rounded graduates and students who can effectively attend to the various technological and management issues in their workplaces efficiently and by themselves.

#4. An MEM Introduces Engineering Graduates and Students To a Wide Variety of Career Opportunities in the Engineering Management Field

Similar to an MBA degree, graduating with an engineering management degree could open doors to employment opportunities as a high number of industries seek out such professionals. For instance, with an MBA program, you can gain employment from a public institution such as a university or college, government agency, finance and investment departments, and other non-technical companies.

Likewise, if you’re a MEM graduate you would most likely find employment opportunities in the architectural engineering, civil engineering, systems engineering management, environmental engineering, manufacturing engineering, biomedical engineering, or industrial engineering fields, depending on your specialization.

What’s more, industries such as the biomedical and environmental organizations have been in constant need for those having a MEM degree or MBA graduates for the last few years. The trend is expected to have steady growth in the coming years, which makes it prospective for incoming students.

For instance, according to PayScale, an MEM degree program graduate could meet the requirements for the following engineering positions:

Project Manager

In this position, you'd be responsible for successfully managing a project from initiation to completion. This requires a strong skill set in engineering management, mobilization, technology management, and a robust engineering background. An MBA degree also equips you with similar skills to run this position.

Lean Six Sigma Manager

In this position the responsibilities include defining the processes and products in your organization, studying the existing methods, designing products using lean engineering management ideas, and the implementation of the operations.

System Engineering Team Leader

A System Engineering Team Leader is responsible for running small engineering projects on their own or as part of the wider project team while adhering to simple project processes or engineering function processes. It is a management position which requires keeping direct reports on task and working well together.

Engineering Logistics Manager

This position is required to handle and process orders, design product packaging for efficient shipping, and manage inventory. Core courses in supply chain management and engineering management are critical for graduate students interested in this role.

Engineering Plant Manager

As an engineering plant manager, responsibilities include organizing and overseeing the daily manufacturing operations in an engineering plant. These positions oversee production, efficiency, and employees to ensure that the company runs quickly, smoothly, safely, and efficiently.

Chief Technology Officer

Acquiring this position will give you the responsibility of managing your company's research, development, and technological needs. These would require a MEM degree and an undergraduate degree, preferably in computer science.

Chief of Research and Development

This role has the primary responsibility for the products produced by a company. Chiefs of Research and Development coordinate, control, and carry out research programs in the various departments of the organization. This guarantees the organization a continuous innovation of products. In essence, it represents the core of the company, which requires an unmatched engineering management skill set from a reputable university or college.

Chief of Engineering

In this role, you'd be responsible for all the operations at your firm and any maintenance duties that need to be done using all the available engineering tools. Furthermore, you'd supervise other engineers, dependent on your industry.

#5. An MEM Leads to Greater Career Growth

As advanced degrees, both a master's in engineering management program or an MBA can prepare students for high-level management positions. But the specificity of the MEM places graduates in a strong position for roles like engineering manager, which are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for engineering managers and those in engineering management is high and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, this comes with an attractive compensation package. For instance, Payscale estimates an engineering manager's average salary to be around $117,484, which may even be higher depending on your geographical location and professional experience in the engineering field, as well as other engineering management program certifications.

Prepare for Your Future with a Master's Degree in Engineering Management

A master of engineering management degree could certainly be worth your investment of time, effort, and the financial commitment can provide considerable upside as outlined in the article.

Unlike an MBA program, which is best suited for non-engineers, the curriculum of a master’s in engineering management degree is tailor-made for engineers. When combined with industry-specific management development needs, this unique degree program can set you up for tremendous leadership opportunities.