Architectural and Engineering Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Architectural and Engineering Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Duties of Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers typically do the following:

  • Make detailed plans for the development of new products and designs
  • Determine staff, training, and equipment needs
  • Propose budgets for projects and programs
  • Hire and supervise staff
  • Lead research and development projects to produce new products, processes, or designs
  • Check the technical accuracy of their staff’s work
  • Ensure the soundness of methods their staff uses
  • Coordinate work with other staff and managers

Architectural and engineering managers use their knowledge of architecture or engineering to oversee a variety of activities. They may direct and coordinate production, operations, quality assurance, testing, or maintenance at manufacturing sites, industrial plants, engineering services firms, and research and development laboratories.

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or for solving the technical problems that prevent the completion of a project. To accomplish this, they must determine technical goals and produce detailed plans.

Architectural and engineering managers spend a great deal of time coordinating the activities of their staff with the activities of other staff or organizations. They often confer with other managers, including those in finance, production, and marketing, as well as with contractors and equipment and materials suppliers.

In addition, architectural and engineering managers must know how to prepare budgets, hire staff, and supervise employees. They propose budgets for projects and programs and determine staff, training, and equipment needs. These managers must also hire people and assign them specific parts of each project to carry out. Architectural and engineering managers supervise the work of their employees, set schedules, and create administrative procedures.

Work Environment for Architectural and Engineering Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Architectural and engineering managers hold about 182,100 jobs. The industries that employ the most architectural and engineering managers are as follows:

Manufacturing 36%
Architectural, engineering, and related services 25
Government 10
Management of companies and enterprises 5
Scientific research and development services 5

Most architectural and engineering managers work in offices, although some may also work in laboratories and industrial production plants or at construction sites.

Architectural and Engineering Manager Work Schedules

Most architectural and engineering managers work full time, and about half work more than 40 hours a week. These managers are often under considerable pressure to meet deadlines and budgets.

How to Become an Architectural or Engineering Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Architectural and Engineering Managers near you!

Architectural and engineering managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and considerable work experience as an architect or engineer.

Architectural and Engineering Manager Education

Most architectural and engineering managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty or a professional degree in architecture.

Many also gain business management skills by completing a master’s degree in engineering management (MEM or MsEM) or technology management (MSTM) or a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Some workers earn their master’s degree before advancing to management positions, and others earn it while they work as a manager. Employers will sometimes pay for such education. Typically, those who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MsEM or MSTM and those interested in more general management skills earn an MBA.

Engineering management programs usually include classes in accounting, engineering economics, financial management, industrial and human resources management, and quality control.

Technology management programs typically provide instruction in production and operations management, project management, computer applications, quality control, safety and health issues, statistics, and general management principles.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Managers advance to their positions after years of employment as an architect or engineer. They usually have experience working on difficult or complex projects, developing designs, solving problems, and making decisions. Before moving up to a management position, they also typically gain experience leading engineering teams.

Important Qualities for Architectural and Engineering Managers

Analytical skills. Architectural and engineering managers must evaluate information carefully and solve complex problems.

Communication skills. Architectural and engineering managers oversee staff and work together with other levels of management. They must communicate orders effectively and lead teams to meet goals.

Detail oriented. Architectural and engineering managers must pay attention to detail. Their duties require an understanding of complex systems since a minor error can cause major problems.

Math skills. Architectural and engineering managers use calculus and other advanced mathematics to develop new products and processes.

Organizational skills. Architectural and engineering managers keep track of many workers, schedules, and budgets simultaneously.

Architectural and Engineering Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for architectural and engineering managers is $132,800. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $84,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200.

The median annual wages for architectural and engineering managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Scientific research and development services $155,600
Management of companies and enterprises 136,990
Manufacturing 133,190
Architectural, engineering, and related services 129,940
Government 125,090

In addition, architectural and engineering managers, especially those at higher levels, often receive more benefits—such as expense accounts and bonuses—than workers who are not managers.

Most architectural and engineering managers work full time, and about half work more than 40 hours a week. These managers are often under considerable pressure to meet deadlines and budgets.

Job Outlook for Architectural and Engineering Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of architectural and engineering managers is projected to grow 2 percent through 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will largely reflect the growth of the industries in which these managers are employed.

For example, employment of architectural and engineering managers in the engineering services industry is projected to grow 12 percent through 2024, adding the most new architectural and engineering manager jobs. Engineering services is composed of consulting firms that provide services to many different industries. Civil engineering services—the construction of large buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects—are the most common services this industry provides. Demand for these services is expected to be high as the nation’s aging infrastructure needs repair and expansion. Mechanical and electrical engineering services are also commonly done by this industry, and these services will continue to be needed for many different projects.

However, employment in manufacturing—the largest industry employing architectural and engineering managers—is projected to decline 7 percent through 2024, impeding overall growth of the occupation.

Architectural and Engineering Managers Job Prospects

Because these jobs are highly desirable, candidates can expect very strong competition for openings.

Those with technical knowledge, strong communication skills, and years of related work experience, especially working on complex projects, will likely be in the best position to become managers.

In addition, because architectural and engineering managers are involved in the financial, production, and marketing activities of their firm, business management skills can be beneficial for those seeking management positions.

Employment projections data for Architectural and Engineering Managers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Architectural and engineering managers 182,100 185,800 2 3,700


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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