Managers play a crucial part in all Engineering enterprises. Such professionals supervise workforces and workflows to ensure quality products are created and dispatched, and they provide that best practices are used to ensure nothing is wasted and everything is optimized.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be an Engineering Manager, then why not make it your career goal? To find out how you would set about following this particular career path, make sure to read on.
Earn your degrees
The first thing you need to do in your quest to become an engineering manager is to earn the necessary degrees. First of all, this means securing a Bachelor’s degree in any one of the following engineering fields:
With a specific subject knowledge in tow, you’ll find it far easier to reach the lofty position of engineering manager as you will be deemed an expert by potential employers.
You aren’t going to be able to step into a position of management without a Master’s degree, though. This means, whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to take your educational journey into postgrad status.
When it comes to choosing the right postgraduate course for you, you need to consider the type of education on offer and how it compares to your specific career goals. If you want to be an electrical engineering manager who is well versed when it comes to Signal Processing, for instance, then you should seriously consider Michigan Tech’s Masters in Electrical Engineering program. By doing so, you will be able to get to grips with technologies that are used for creating sensors and sensor arrays — upon graduation, you’d be a bonafide expert when it comes to using this type of tech.
Get some practical experience
If becoming an engineering manager is truly your goal, then you need to get some practical experience while you study. Doing this, even if it is years before you go for your first manager position, will stand you in good stead when you come to chasing your career goals. It will do so because it will show your potential employers that you have always been willing to broaden your engineering knowledge.
Establish state licensure
You aren’t going to be able to practice independent manufacturing or become a manager in the field if you aren’t licensed, so make sure you establish your licensure. When you come to do this, just know that your certification requirements will vary depending on what state you wish to forge your career in. It’s important that you research what you are required to do based on the state in which you intend to secure your engineering management position.
Pass the FE exam
You need to take and pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam if you want to become an engineering manager. This will test that you have the knowledge and skill set needed to be able to not only work in the field but lead in it. When it comes to studying for this exam, you should focus on the following concentrations:
- Industrial and systems
- Electrical and computer
Become a professional engineer
Before you can become a manager in the field of engineering, you have to get out there in it. You have to spend at least four years cutting your teeth in the industry, as that is the only way you are going to build a portfolio strong enough to back up your claims that you are the right person to lead an organization.
Get management certification
As soon as you feel that you have cut your teeth enough in the field of professional engineering, you should begin putting plans into place with regards to taking the next step in your career. This should entail you getting some kind of management certification. The Professional Engineering (PE) license is one such type of certificate that you can take in this instance — this is a voluntary license that only professionals who want to become managers seek to earn.
To earn a chance at taking the PE exam, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have earned a degree from an engineering program deemed to be ABET-accredited.
- On the FE exam, you must have scored 75% or over.
- You should have some sort of management experience to display on your CV (this could simply mean shadowing a manager or supervisor and taking on a number of their daily roles).
- You should have a least four years of experience working in a professional engineering environment.
On the PE exam, you will be put through your paces with regards to a number of different engineering concentrations. The main areas that you should focus on when it comes to studying and revising include:
- Agricultural and biological engineering
- Mining and mineral processing
- Structural engineering
When you become a manager, don’t rest on your laurels
Obtaining a position of management in engineering might have long been your goal, but reaching this milestone doesn’t mean that your hard work is over. Competition is intense in this particular field, and there will always be professionals out there willing and waiting to take your job. This means that, in no way or at no time, should you rest on your laurels. You should continue to learn and grow as an engineer, and you should definitely keep your finger on the pulse of the latest advancements in your particular field.
In order to become an engineering manager, you’re going to need to put the above advice into practice. You’re going to need to earn your degrees and get some practical experience as you do, you’re going to need to establish your licensure and pass the FE exam, and you’re going to need to spend time in the engineering profession and then earn manager certification. When you do all of that, and when you continue to work on your craft even after you’ve reached your goal, you’ll set yourself up for a long and successful career.
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