California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Architectural and Engineering Managers in California

May also be called: Chief Engineers; Directors of Engineering; Principal Engineers

Specialties within this occupation include: Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers

What Would I Do?

Engineering Managers use advanced technical skills and experience to plan and direct research, to design, and for production activities. Projects may include building skyscrapers, digging a highway tunnel, modifying factory production lines, or creating a new subdivision. They may specialize in a specific area of engineering such as civil or electrical engineering. They often supervise the work of other engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel.

Green Economy: Engineering Managers could play an important role in the emerging green economy. Some may already work in green sectors, such as in environmental protection where they are involved in activities related to environmental remediation, climate change adaptation, and ensuring or enhancing air quality. Others may work in the research, design, and consulting services sector where they perform "indirect jobs" related to the green economy involving activities such as energy consulting or research and other related business services.

Engineering Managers spend most of their day in offices. They may travel to construction sites, industrial plants, or laboratories to supervise the work being done. They may also be required to be trained in proper safety procedures and may wear protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, or hearing protection. Engineering Managers must be able to do highly technical work under demanding conditions, make important decisions under pressure, as well as lead and motivate teams to solve complex engineering problems.

Most Engineering Managers work a 40-hour work week. However, since the Manager must take responsibility for an entire team, longer hours are sometimes necessary, and different schedules may be required. Job pressure for the Manager is not uncommon.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Engineering Manager may appeal to those who possess the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Aspiring Engineering Managers may also enjoy directing the activities of others in the completion of a project. This involves starting up and carrying out projects. Sometimes the job requires risk-taking and facing multiple demands.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2017 for Architectural and Engineering Managers in California was $160,074 annually, or $76.96 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Engineering Managers generally receive health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and a retirement plan. In addition, some Engineering Managers may receive benefits such as expense accounts, stock-option plans, and bonuses.

What is the Job Outlook?

Most job openings will be created by the need to replace Engineering Managers who retire or leave the field for other reasons. Opportunities may be best for Managers with advanced technical knowledge or an advanced business degree. Green economy activities and technologies may increase the demand for Engineering Managers; however, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.

How Do I Qualify?

Most Managers have considerable work experience as an engineer. A bachelor's degree (BS) in an engineering major is generally the minimum educational level required to become an Engineering Manager. To promote into management, many Engineering Managers gain business management skills by completing a master’s degree in engineering management (MEM) or business administration (MBA). Typically, engineers who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MEM, and those interested in less technical management earn an MBA.

The professional engineer (PE) license is generally not required in engineering fields, but possession of the license may enhance one's chances of employment or promotion. However, Engineering Managers who approve engineering documents or whose work may affect the public are required to obtain a PE license, which must be renewed every two years.

The American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM) has developed a program to certify Engineering Managers at two levels: Associate Engineering Manager (AEM) and Professional Engineering Manager (PEM). The AEM is designed for technical professionals looking to establish credentials to prepare for technical management or supervisory positions.

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a traditional means to finding a job as an Engineering Manager. Company recruiting events, job fairs, and online job search sites are also places to do a job search. Career associations sometimes offer job openings on their Web sites. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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