How to Become an Architectural or Engineering Manager
Architectural and engineering managers advance to their positions after years of employment as an architect or engineer.
To enter the occupation, architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable work experience as an architect or engineer.
Architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or architecture.
Bachelor’s degree programs in architecture and engineering usually include coursework in mathematics and physical sciences. In addition, architecture programs may include courses such as architectural history and theory, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and construction methods; these programs take about 5 years to complete. Engineering programs vary by concentration and often take about 4 years of classroom, laboratory, and field studies in engineering principles and systems.
Architectural and engineering managers or prospective managers may complete a master’s degree in engineering management (MEM or MsEM), technology management (MSTM), or business administration (MBA). Some earn their master’s degree before entering a management position; others earn it while working as a manager. Typically, those who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MsEM or MSTM, and those interested in general management skills earn an MBA.
Engineering and technology management programs include courses such as accounting, marketing, and finance that focus on the particular field. Programs in engineering management also include coursework in supply chain management and product development. Programs in technology management include courses in information security and systems development.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Architectural and engineering managers typically do not need a license. However, these managers may advance from other occupations that do require licensure. For example, all states require architects to be licensed, and some engineers obtain a professional engineering (PE) license. Contact your state licensing board for more information.
Some managers choose to earn certification. For example, certification in technology management is available from the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Architectural and engineering managers typically advance to their positions after years of experience as an architect or engineer. In those positions, they may have worked on complex projects, developed designs, solved problems, and led teams.
Analytical skills. Architectural and engineering managers evaluate information to solve problems.
Communication skills. Architectural and engineering managers must effectively convey information and expectations related to projects.
Interpersonal skills. Architectural and engineering managers must be able to collaborate with other staff to meet deadlines and achieve goals.
Leadership skills. Architectural and engineering managers lead teams, which requires an ability to organize, direct, and motivate others.
Math skills. Architectural and engineering managers use calculus and other mathematics to develop new products and processes.
Organizational skills. Architectural and engineering managers keep track of many workers, schedules, and budgets simultaneously.