California Occupational Guides

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Detailed 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.

Engineering Managers frequently meet and confer with contractors, suppliers, other managers, and upper management; therefore, oral and written communication skills are critical. They often work under broad directives of upper management and design the best way to achieve these objectives by designing detailed plans in collaboration with other engineers, scientists, and technicians. They manage research and development teams that produce new products and use their specialized skills and experience to implement projects.

Engineering Managers have many administrative responsibilities. They hire and supervise other engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. They delegate assignments to staff, review their work, and set policies for employees. Engineering Managers may also make budget decisions and coordinate the purchase of new equipment.

Engineering Managers are often tasked with setting goals and establishing policies and work procedures to achieve goals. These goals may include improving manufacturing processes, advancing scientific research, or developing new products. For example, they may develop the overall concept for a new product or identify technical problems preventing the completion of a project. Some Engineering Managers direct the planning and building of new factories and plants. Others oversee the design of new products. They may also monitor and test the quality of finished products.

Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers conduct experiments and analyze data from biofuels studies. They oversee plans for research and development and prepare reports for management. They may also propose new biofuels products, processes, and technologies.

Tools and Technology

Engineering Managers use many technological tools, including sophisticated computer workstations, servers, and monitors. They may also use tablet computers, scanners, and laptops. In addition, they use specialized computer software including computer-assisted design (CAD) and database software. They also use project management, map creation, scheduling, word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software for general business purposes.

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.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Green economy activities and technologies would most likely have an effect on Engineering Managers. As the emerging green economy calls for more innovative and environmentally-friendly products and practices, there will be changes to the work and worker requirements for Engineering Managers, such as new tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials. Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Confer with management, production, and marketing staff to discuss project specifications and procedures.Oral Comprehension
Direct, review, and approve product design and changes.Critical Thinking
Perform administrative functions such as reviewing and writing reports, approving expenditures, enforcing rules, and making decisions about the purchase of materials or services.Administration and Management
Analyze technology, resource needs, and market demand, to plan and assess the feasibility of projects.Complex Problem Solving
Develop and implement policies, standards and procedures for the engineering and technical work performed in the department, service, laboratory or firm.Judgment and Decision Making
Coordinate and direct projects, making detailed plans to accomplish goals and directing the integration of technical activities.Coordination
Provide technical or scientific guidance to technical staff in the conduct of biofuels research or development.Engineering and Technology
Design or conduct applied biodiesel or biofuels research projects on topics such as transport, thermodynamics, mixing, filtration, distillation, fermentation, extraction, and separation.Design
Consult or negotiate with clients to prepare project specifications.Customer and Personal Service
Present and explain proposals, reports, and findings to clients.Speaking
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

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.

Engineering Managers are generally not members of a labor organization. However, those who work for government agencies may be part of a union, such as Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG).

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 2020 for Architectural and Engineering Managers in California is $0 annually. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


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.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Architectural and Engineering Managers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Architectural and Engineering Managers are expected to increase by 8.7 percent, or 2,500 jobs between 2016 and 2026.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Strong technical knowledge is essential for Engineering Managers, who must be specialists who can understand and guide their subordinates and explain the work in nontechnical terms to senior management and potential customers. Thus, 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). Employers may pay for such training. In large firms, some courses required in these degree programs may be offered on site. Typically, engineers who prefer to manage in technical areas pursue an MEM, and those interested in less technical management earn an MBA.


Many employers require at least four years of engineering experience and some require a professional engineer (PE) license. Aspiring Engineering Managers should have solid work experience and demonstrate excellent technical and communications skills. Job prospects are best for Managers with strong leadership and organizational skills.

To advance to management positions, engineers need to gain experience and assume management responsibility. Employers look for engineers who possess administrative and communications skills in addition to technical knowledge in their specialty who can become effective Engineering Managers.

Early Career Planning

Students interested in becoming Engineering Managers should take college preparatory courses including business, English, physics, chemistry, electronics, shop, drafting, and advanced mathematics. Special emphasis should be placed in math and science courses to build a strong foundation for an engineering management career.

Continuing Education

Given the rapid pace of scientific developments, Engineering Managers must continuously upgrade their knowledge. Although continuing education is currently not a requirement for Engineering Managers in California, most Engineering Managers take continuing education courses to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field.

Licensing and Certification

The 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 PE license generally requires an engineer to first pass the Engineer-in-Training or Fundamentals of Engineering examination which requires at least three years of coursework from a college or university offering an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), or three years of engineering-related experience. The next step in the process is to pass the professional examination which requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited institution, along with two years of eligible engineering experience. Engineers without a bachelor's degree in engineering must possess six years of eligible experience. The license must be renewed every two years. Contact the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists for additional information.

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. The AEM certification is valid for three years. Successfully passing an AEM exam is required for certification for all individuals except those who hold a master’s of science (MS) degree from an ASEM certified graduate program.

The PEM certification is designed for experienced technical managers who want to validate their skills and experience with a professional certification. PEM certification is also valid for three years. All Engineering Managers who wish to attain PEM certification must successfully complete the PEM exam. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site at and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" at and follow the instructions to locate certification programs. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Architectural and Engineering Managers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Architectural and Engineering Services29.3%
Scientific Research and Development Svc12.8%
Semiconductor and Electronic Components6.2%
Local Government5.8%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing5.5%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

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).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Architectural and Engineering Managers.

  • Architectural Services
  • Consulting Engineers
  • Ecological Engineers
  • Energy Management Engineers
  • Engineers
  • General Contractor Engineers
  • Professional Engineers

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

As Engineering Managers gain knowledge and experience, they may move into executive management. Some may become consultants, working independently while assisting a variety of engineering companies become more efficient and solving difficult corporate problems.

Completion of advanced degrees, such as an MS in engineering, can aid Engineering Managers towards increased responsibility and income. Managers who seek to broaden their overall management skills might earn a MBA or MEM. Some may become managers in nontechnical areas such as marketing, human resources, or sales.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Architectural and Engineering Managers with links to more information.

Aerospace EngineersGuide
Civil EngineersGuide
Environmental EngineersGuide
Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and InspectorsProfile
Industrial EngineersGuide
Marine Engineers and Naval ArchitectsProfile
Mechanical EngineersGuide
Mining and Geological Engineers, Including Mining Safety EngineersProfile
Nuclear EngineersProfile
Petroleum EngineersProfile

Other Sources

  • California Board of Registration for Professional Engineers
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.
  • American Society for Engineering Management
  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
  • National Society of Professional Engineers

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification11-9041
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Architectural and Engineering Managers11-9041.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ERI
   Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers11-9041.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)EIC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Landscape Architecture (BS, BSLA, BLA, MSLA, MLA, PhD) 040601
   Engineering, General140101
   Telecommunications Engineering 141004
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Landscape Architecture (transfer)020110
   Engineering, General090100
   Telecommunications Technology093430