Vice President of Engineering: Job Description, Salary & Responsibilities

Learn about the responsibilities of vice presidents of engineering, and find out about their average salary. Also, discover the skills and education needed for this position.

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Career Definition of a Vice President of Engineering

Vice presidents of engineering are responsible for overseeing the planning and execution of engineering tasks within an organization. They work with managers to ensure products are properly designed and implemented in accordance with the goals of the organization. VPs also oversee the quality of products and create systems that ensure they meet necessary standards.

Additional responsibilities include maintaining the budget for the engineering department, determining the best products or materials to use to meet manufacturing goals and creating and maintaining an up-to-date bill of materials. They may also put together and oversee an organization's engineering team.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree in engineering, business administration or a related field is required; MBA is preferred
Job Skills Financial, technical, management, communication, leadership and problem-solving skills
Average Salary (2019)* $164,287
Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)** -4% for all chief executives, 6% for all architectural and engineering managers

Source: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Employers generally look to hire vice presidents who have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering, but also respond well to a bachelor's degree in business administration or related field. Candidates who are moving up from engineering manager positions may already have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master's degree in engineering management.

Vice presidents of engineering are often required to have experience in areas like value engineering and in lean manufacturing environments. If they have performed as an engineering manager then they likely have experience leading engineering teams, resolving complex problems within an organization and creating engineering designs.

Required Skills

The role of a vice president of engineering requires financial and accounting skills to accurately develop and manage the engineering budget. VPs should also have a quality understanding of engineering technology.

Since vice presidents frequently interact with managers and members of the engineering team when initiating and overseeing the successful execution of projects, they should have quality management, leadership and communication skills. They should also be skilled at solving problems that arise within the engineering department.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for chief executives, under which presidents, directors and top managers are categorized, were expected to drop by 4% between 2016 and 2026 due to a decrease in new firm creation and reduced need for new executives. Architectural and engineering managers were expected to see an increase of 6% in employment opportunities over the same period due to projected employment growth.

In May 2019, the average salary for a vice president of engineering was $164,287, according to Payscale.com. Over this period, VPs in the bottom 10% of salaries earned about $108,000 while VPs in the top 10% of salaries earned around $227,000.

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