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Engineers are an integral part of today’s high-tech world, with a vast range of responsibilities from design, development, and R&D to the maintenance of sophisticated technology, devices, and systems. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that around 140,000 new jobs for engineers would be generated from 2016 to 2026, with the median annual salary for engineers being more than double that of the average of all professions.
There’s no doubt that there are many opportunities for an exciting and well-paid career in engineering. What’s more, you can embark on this career path without compromising your work and personal commitments, with plenty of excellent options for online engineering degrees.
Best Online Engineering Degrees and Universities
Florida International University Online, College of Engineering and Computing
Online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
FIU is one of the largest universities in the USA. Its online BS in Electrical Engineering helps students build a strong foundation for advanced electrical engineering studies and covers topics such as electromagnetism, electronics, nanotechnology, and communications.
- Credits: 128
- Tuition per credit: $228.81
- Acceptance rate: 50%
Arizona State University Online, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Online Bachelor of Science in Human Systems Engineering
ASU Online has been ranked among the best online engineering programs in various fields. This engineering degree online in Human Systems Engineering is a first-of-its-kind program that combines the fields of engineering and psychology.
- Classes: 40
- Weeks per class: 7.5
- Credit hours: 120
University of Minnesota Online
Bachelor of Manufacturing Management
The University of Minnesota Online offers more than 100 online programs across a wide range of levels and disciplines. Its online manufacturing management bachelor’s program is designed for working professionals and aims to equip them to supervise manufacturing processes with an emphasis on efficiently managing human and other resources.
- Credits: 120
- Tuition per credit: $418.55
- Acceptance rate: 69.6%
Southern New Hampshire University
Bachelor of Science (BS) in Technical Management Online
SNHU offers some of the lowest tuition in the country, and they haven’t put their tuition up in a decade. To be eligible for their BS program, you’ll need to have an AAS or AS degree in a technical field, so it’s ideal if you want to convert your associate degree into a bachelor’s in technical and engineering management. The program helps students build on their technical knowledge to prepare for a leadership role in the industry.
- Courses: 5
- Tuition per credit: $320
- Acceptance rate: 93.5%
The University of Arizona, College of Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Computer Engineering Track)
The University of Arizona was ranked the Best Value College by Forbes in 2019 for its combination of excellence in education and affordability. Its BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering integrates the fields of electrical engineering and computer engineering. The program also covers microelectronics, biomedical devices, and robotics.
- Duration: 4 years
- Tuition: $500 – $610 per credit
- Acceptance rate: 85.1%
The University of Southern Mississippi
BS in Industrial Engineering Technology (Logistics)
The University of Southern Mississippi Online has been ranked the most affordable online college in the country, so it’s not surprising they attract students from all over the country and the world. Its BS in Industrial Engineering Technology covers both technical sciences and applied mathematics to prepare students for industry demands in logistics, operations management, and supply chain management.
- Duration: 2 to 4 years
- Credit hours: 120
- Cost per credit hour: $383.59
- Acceptance rate: 96.3%
BS Information Technology
Franklin University is a non-profit institution with a mission to allow adult learners to pursue education entirely online in the field of their choice. It also offers dedicated support for international students. This BS program equips students with business and technical knowledge in network and systems management, IT project management, and database management applicable to various industries. The flexible programs allow you to transfer previous credits, as well as customize your studies through various electives.
- Credit hours: 124
- Max transfer credit: 76%
- Cost per credit: $398
- Acceptance rate: 100%
Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
National University is a San Diego-based non-profit university that offers online programs designed for adult learners. Its BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering covers the design and development of new devices with equal emphasis on hardware and software elements.
- Credits: 126
- Duration: 4 to 6 years
- Acceptance rate: 89.4%
Stony Brook University, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering online (BSEEOL)
Stony Brook University is a public university that emphasizes academic excellence and aims to provide world-class education to all students. Its BS program is designed to help students build a strong foundation in electrical engineering to advance their careers and is geared towards working professionals.
- Credits: 120
- Tuition: Refer tuition page
- Acceptance rate: 48.9%
Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology
Excelsior College is a non-profit online university providing distance education, particularly to adult learners. This engineering bachelor’s program in nuclear engineering technology prepares students for technical leadership positions in the nuclear industry. The program allows you to transfer up to 117 credits.
- Credit hours: 124
- Duration: 7 months to 7 years (based on transferred credits)
- Tuition: Refer tuition page
- Acceptance rate: 100%
Pros and Cons of Studying Online Engineering Degrees
Advances in online university education have made it possible to earn a degree from home, even in technical subjects like engineering. This type of learning has many benefits, but it also has its downsides.
- Flexibility: Since online classes are typically not on a fixed schedule, you can fit your studies around work, family, and other commitments.
- Wide choice of subjects: Engineering covers many diverse fields, so your chosen specialization may not be offered by a university in your area. However, online study opens up opportunities to study virtually any concentration regardless of where you live.
- You’ll save money: While tuition is comparable for online and on-campus study, you’ll likely save on other expenses associated with studying in person.
- More study challenges: Engineering, as a technical field, involves a number of hardcore science topics and abstract concepts. Some ideas may be difficult to grasp without the direct interaction, discussions, and lab sessions you get through on-campus study.
- Lack of practical sessions: Online engineering programs may not have as many opportunities to apply the theory you learn in a practical setting. However, some programs can arrange for you to attend a nearby lab.
- Lower value perception: Some employers may see online engineering degrees as less valuable than their on-campus equivalents. However, many universities offer the same courses at an equal level of quality regardless of whether they are delivered online or on-campus.
How Much Can You Make as an Engineer?
An engineering degree can lead to a range of exciting and rewarding roles across a variety of sectors. Here are the average median salaries for engineering graduates across the most common disciplines.
| Engineering Field
|| Median Annual Salary
| Civil Engineer
| Mechanical Engineer
| Chemical Engineer
| Electrical Engineer
| Environmental Engineer
| Petroleum Engineer
| Industrial Engineer
| Aerospace Engineer
| Mining Engineer
| Nuclear Engineer
| Biomedical Engineer
| Agricultural Engineer
| Materials Engineer
Choosing an Online Engineering Degree
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an engineering degree online.
- Know your passions: An engineering degree may not be everyone’s cup of tea. You may enjoy science subjects at school, and take the plunge to jump into engineering only to learn that it’s not for you. It can be a good idea to try a couple of free courses from the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) to find out whether this is your passion.
- Check the mode of delivery: There are a number of different options even within online programs. For example, some programs may require you to attend a few on-campus sessions. Additionally, while some online programs offer asynchronous study where you can study at your own pace, others may have fixed class times. Consider all these factors and whether you’ll be able to balance your studies with your work and family life.
- Accreditation: It’s important to make sure the university you choose is accredited by the ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). This accreditation is vital, particularly at the undergraduate level, and it means the program complies with industry standards.
- Placement prospects: It can also be a good idea to look into where alumni are currently working. If graduates are employed by prestigious organizations, it’s a good sign that the school has a good reputation.
- Cost: Aside from the above factors, any program you choose must be suitable for your budget. Keep affordability in mind, but also look for a university that will give you a good return on your investment.
Can I get an engineering degree online?
Yes, many universities offer online engineering degree programs. The course duration, concentrations, and fees can vary between programs, and remember that some programs ask for some previous work experience.
How long will it take to get an engineering degree online?
A bachelor’s in engineering generally takes four years of full-time study, and may take up to six years to complete online with part-time study.
What is the hardest engineering degree?
Although the level of difficulty depends on your individual strengths and weaknesses, electrical engineering is often considered the hardest engineering degree as it involves a significant amount of math and physics, as well as many abstract concepts that can be difficult to grasp.
What is the easiest online engineering degree?
Environmental Engineering is generally considered more manageable than other branches as it involves less math and physics and has subjects related to ecology and environmental concepts.
Can you finish engineering in 2 years?
Typically, a bachelor’s degree in engineering takes around four years to complete full-time. However, you can earn an associate degree in engineering in just two years.
How much does an online engineering degree cost?
The annual tuition for engineering degrees online can vary based on a range of factors, including the university and the concentration you choose. The best online engineering programs listed above range between around $30,000 and $50,000 for tuition.
Many universities offer fully online degrees these days, even in technical disciplines like engineering. This is excellent for anyone looking to further their career while meeting work or personal commitments. Even if you’re looking after a family or engaged in full-time work, you can pursue an online engineering degree to improve your technical knowledge and expertise, and advance your career.
If you’re still not sure which degree is right for you, take a look at our guides to the best Master’s in Data Science programs and best Master’s in Information Systems.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.