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To become an electrical engineer, students must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university program. Earning a master’s degree in this field can help students advance their careers and take on leadership positions.

Online bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering typically take four years to complete. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2021-22, the average tuition for undergraduate degrees was $7,869 at public universities and $37,095 at private institutions. Meanwhile, the average tuition for master’s degrees is $12,395 at public schools and $26,261 at private universities.

The median annual salary for electrical engineers is $101,780, and computer hardware engineers make $128,170. Meanwhile, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians earn $63,640 on average.

How To Choose an Online Electrical Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing the best online electrical engineering degree program is much easier when students understand their educational and career goals. Students must first decide if they want to earn a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng), Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Engineering degree. B.A. degrees are more flexible and have a broader application. B.Eng and B.S. have more structure and prepare students for specific concentrations in engineering, such as:

  • Communications
  • Computer science
  • Power systems
  • Controls
  • Data analysis

Similarly, students seeking a master’s degree can choose between a Master of Engineering (M.Eng) and a Master of Science (M.S.). Many schools offer dual degree programs that allow students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a five-year program.

Research schools and programs

Learning as much as possible about a school and program will help students make sound educational decisions. The first thing students should confirm is that the schools and programs they’re considering are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as well as by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Accreditation guarantees that programs meet high standards of quality and can impact a student’s eligibility for financial aid, post-graduation job opportunities, and options for further study.

Making a list of questions can give students direction in their research efforts. Questions may include:

  • Is the program format synchronous or asynchronous?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their credentials?
  • What student support services does the school offer?
  • What are the graduation requirements?

Students can find answers to these questions by browsing the school’s website and social media accounts, attending virtual information sessions or open houses, or contacting the school’s admissions office.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each university will have different application processes, so it’s essential to confirm application requirements with each school you’re considering.

Typically, an application for an online degree in electrical engineering  program will include the following:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all previously completed education
  • Personal statement of interest

Some bachelor’s degree programs in electrical engineering may require SAT or ACT scores. At the master’s level, students may have to submit GRE scores and have prerequisite coursework or a certain undergraduate GPA.

Students applying to multiple programs simultaneously will benefit from creating a spreadsheet to avoid missing necessary steps.

Select your program

Selecting a program involves considering every aspect of the application process, including the costs associated with each one a student submits. To avoid overspending, students may want to pick their top two or three programs to start the process and then send in other applications later if they receive a denial.

Additional factors to help with selection include program flexibility, hands-on experience, hidden fees, and the difference between online and on-campus courses.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

There are numerous financial aid resources available to students enrolling in an online electrical engineering degree program. Start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal student loans, grants, scholarships, fellowships, and work-study jobs.

Students should also explore scholarships, grants, and other funding from local organizations, nonprofits, religious organizations, and professional development groups. Students working full-time while attending school can talk to their employers about tuition assistance programs.

Contact the school’s financial aid department early for information about all opportunities. They can help students explore many avenues for financial assistance.

Best 50 Accredited Online Electrical Engineering Programs

Best Electrical Engineering Degree Programs Badge

Stony Brook University

University of North Dakota

Florida International University

Washington State University

Arizona State University

Johns Hopkins University

Excelsior University

Clemson University

University of Arizona

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UMass Lowell

Thomas Edison State University

Lamar University

Indiana State University

Eastern New Mexico University

SUNY Canton

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online electrical engineering degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of engineering and tech-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online electrical engineering degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, including U.S. News & World Report, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Electrical Engineering Program?

Students in an online electrical engineering degree program can expect to build science, math, physics, and computer skills acquired from courses and lab work. They study electrical systems, devices, and circuits to create or improve devices to make them easier to use.

Electrical engineers work on anything that uses electricity, plugs, or motors. Depending on the concentration, students may focus on areas such as robotics, nanotechnology, biosystems, or energy. Other concentrations include mobile and satellite communications, fiber optics, and electrical machinery.

Some programs require internships or co-op experiences at the bachelor level. In a master’s program, internships or practicums are usually part of the curriculum, along with a final project or thesis.

Online bachelor’s degree programs take full-time students four years, while master’s programs take two years. However, students who enroll in accelerated programs can complete their degrees in less time by taking classes at a faster pace.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online electrical engineering degree program

  • Electromagnetics. In this introductory course, students study electricity and magnetics and various theories and laws, such as Coulomb’s, Gauss’s, Biot-Savart, and Ampere’s Laws. Other topics include conductors, capacitors, induction, and torque.
  • Engineering Ethics. Many programs offer this class to sophomores, teaching students the importance of integrity in the field, legal aspects, leadership, and how to handle various issues that may arise as an engineer.
  • Technology Management. In this third-year course, students learn how to manage people working in technology. They also learn how to meet the technological needs of companies, including identifying needs, selecting the right equipment, and acquiring and protecting the technology.
  • Design Projects. Before graduation, students must complete a design project that uses their engineering skills. They design, create, test, and oversee the project from start to finish.
  • Wireless Communications. In this master’s-level course, students explore the designs of cell phones, internet systems, video, radio, and other wireless products to discover areas for improvement.
  • Computer Design. Students learn how computers are made, including processors, memory storage, hardware, and software, in this master’s-level course.

Online Electrical Engineering Degree Program Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online electrical engineering degree program?

As application requirements vary from school to school, students should always double-check with the school’s admissions office before applying. Admissions counselors can also help students organize application materials to ensure they meet deadlines.

Most online electrical engineering degree programs ask students to submit an application and fee, as well as supporting documents like official transcripts, letters of recommendation, resumes, personal essays, and standardized test scores. For undergraduate students, the most common standardized tests are the SAT or ACT, while graduate students usually submit GRE scores.

Transcripts and test scores must be sent directly from the source — either the former school or testing center — to the admissions department where applying.

How much does an online electrical engineering degree cost?

The cost of an online electrical engineering degree will vary based on multiple factors, including whether a student is attending a public or private institution. Private universities are typically more expensive, but they charge a flat tuition rate regardless of where students live. Public schools are usually less expensive, but they may charge higher tuition rates for students who are from out-of-state.

The Education Data Initiative reports online students to save money in the following ways:

  • An average of $1,360 in transportation
  • An average of $563 in meal plans
  • A minimum of $2,000 in housing
  • Over $300 in parking fees and permits

When considering costs, students must also include financial aid to reduce how much they must pay. Also, the time it takes someone to complete a program will reduce or increase costs. Students in an accelerated program can complete it in much less time, whereas a part-time student will need extra semesters and, therefore, will pay additional fees.

How long does it take to earn an online electrical engineering degree?

Students must earn a minimum of 120 credits to get their bachelor’s in electrical engineering degree, which typically takes four years of full-time study. A part-time student may take 5-6 years to complete the degree. A master’s in electrical engineering requires a minimum of 30 credits, which can take 1-2 years to complete, depending on a student’s enrollment status.

Online course schedules tend to be more flexible in how soon students can start a course after completing one. On-campus students must wait until a new semester begins before starting a new class. In some cases, this can mean waiting weeks.

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