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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

For aspiring engineers seeking a flexible learning experience, an online engineering degree is what you need to succeed. These degrees equip you with the essential skills and knowledge for civil, mechanical, electrical, and environmental engineering roles. Professionals in this industry earn a median salary of $83,700, surpassing the national median, with steady demand projected over the next decade.Generally spanning four years for full-time students, these programs offer a comprehensive yet adaptable pathway to engineering excellence, with tuition averaging $25,910 for four-year undergraduate programs.

How to Choose an Online Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

Choosing the right specialization in any field is essential, but it’s especially crucial in engineering as each area offers distinct career trajectories and opportunities. Take some time to consider your interests, strengths, and long-term professional goals. For example, civil engineering caters to those enthusiastic about infrastructure and urban development, while mechanical engineering appeals to individuals intrigued by machinery and manufacturing processes. Electrical engineering focuses on electronics and power systems, ideal for tech enthusiasts, and environmental engineering is those committed to sustainability and ecological solutions.

Research schools and programs

After identifying your intended specialization, it’s time to research schools and programs that will support your interests.

Understanding program structures is an important first step. Asynchronous formats offer flexibility, making them ideal for part-time learners juggling multiple commitments. Alternatively, synchronous programs provide a structured, real-time learning environment, suiting those with more study time.

Beyond structure, consider program accreditations, industry partnerships for internships, alumni networks, and opportunities for hands-on experiences such as projects or competitions. Evaluating student support services, career placement rates, and program outcomes also provide insights into program quality.

Prepare for tests and applications

Once you know your preferred programs, you can prepare for tests and applications.

Since many engineering programs require SAT or ACT scores, investing in a structured test prep program can be invaluable. Such programs offer strategies, practice tests, and expert guidance, ultimately helping you earn your best scores.

You’ll also want to prioritize refining your application materials — writing compelling essay responses as needed, securing strong recommendation letters, and requesting transcripts from any previously attended institutions early.

Select your program

While some students may choose to take a more focused approach, applying to only one or two schools, others may cast a wider net and apply to many schools to increase their chances of acceptance. Both methods have their merits, but submitting applications to multiple schools means you may have multiple acceptance letters.

In these situations, it’s essential to revisit your initial research criteria. Prioritize programs that align with your academic goals, offer your intended specialty, and feature faculty you’re excited to learn from. Be sure to assess the total cost of attendance — factoring in tuition, fees, and any potential financial aid packages. By weighing these elements against your goals and personal circumstances, you can confidently select a program that aligns with your ambitions while ensuring financial viability.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

There are various financial aid avenues available to help you finance your degree.

First, seek out scholarships, which are often merit-based and don’t require repayment, followed by grants, typically need-based aids provided by institutions or government entities. Federal loans offer a viable option, providing borrowed funds with structured repayment terms. Consider participating in a work-study program, which enables students to earn income while gaining work experience on campus. If you’re employed, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement opportunities, where employers sponsor part of your educational expenses.

Best 50 Accredited Online Engineering Programs

Best Engineering Degree Programs 2023

Florida International University

Stony Brook University

Arizona State University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of Southern Mississippi

Western Carolina University

University of North Dakota

The University of Alabama

ODU Global

Lamar University

Kennesaw State University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Bemidji State University

Seminole State College of Florida

University of the Virgin Islands

Tarleton State University

Indiana State University

National University

The University of Maine

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

University of Arizona

Ferris State University

Eastern New Mexico University

University of South Carolina

Clemson University

Penn State World Campus

Regent University

Liberty University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online engineering degree programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list are accredited by agencies like the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) and ABET, both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence and a commitment to quality education.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and 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 engineering degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, 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 Engineering Program

An online engineering program offers a flexible yet rigorous academic experience, ideal for students balancing their education with other responsibilities. You can anticipate a curriculum rooted in core engineering principles, encompassing mathematics, physics, and specialized engineering disciplines such as civil, mechanical, or electrical engineering. Throughout these programs, you’ll engage with innovative tools, simulations, and virtual labs, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience in an online format.

For undergraduates, these programs usually take four years to complete. Graduate degrees in engineering typically require an additional two years for completion, focusing on advanced coursework, research methodologies, and specialization areas. Many online institutions that offer both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree program feature a bachelors-to-masters track, allowing ambitious students to earn both degrees within a condensed five-year timeframe.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online engineering program

  • Introduction to Engineering Design: This course introduces students to foundational engineering design principles, emphasizing problem-solving techniques, conceptualization, and prototyping. Learners delve into design methodologies, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools, and project management essentials, equipping them with skills to innovate and create solutions for real-world challenges.
  • Mechanics of Materials: In this course, students explore the behavior of various materials under different loads and environmental conditions. They learn about stress, strain, elasticity, and material failure mechanisms. Through hands-on simulations and experiments, students gain insights into designing structures and components that can withstand specified conditions, ensuring safety and reliability in engineering applications.
  • Circuit Analysis: This course focuses on the principles governing electrical circuits, covering topics such as Ohm’s law, Kirchhoff’s laws, and circuit theorems. Students analyze DC and AC circuits, understanding circuit components like resistors, capacitors, and inductors. By the end, learners can design, research, and troubleshoot complex electrical circuits, laying the groundwork for advanced electronics and system integration.
  • Software Development for Engineers: This course introduces students to programming languages and software tools essential for modern engineering applications. Students develop software solutions, simulations, and data analysis tools through hands-on projects, enhancing their computational proficiency and problem-solving capabilities in different engineering domains.

What Can I Do With an Online Engineering Degree?

Career outlook

Overall, employment in the engineering industry is expected to grow throughout the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency predicts there will be, on average, 188,00 new jobs annually in engineering and architecture through 2032.

However, some segments of this industry are predicted to grow faster than others. For example, employment of industrial engineers is expected to increase by 12% by 2032, while jobs for nuclear engineers will only increase by 1% during the same time period.

Broader trends in part determine the availability of engineering jobs. For instance, an increased focus on renewable energy and a lack of construction of new nuclear power plants is responsible for the decreased demand for nuclear engineers. Meanwhile, a push for more sustainable forms of energy is leading to an increased demand for environmental engineers, who have a projected employment growth of 6%.

Other fast-growing engineering sectors include:

  • Software engineers — Analyze users’ needs and create computer applications that allow users to complete specific tasks and the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.
    • Median annual salary: $127,260
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 25%
    • New jobs projected: 153,900 per year
  • Mechanical engineers — Analyze problems to see how mechanical and thermal devices can solve issues, develop and test prototypes of devices, and investigate equipment failures to diagnose faulty operation and recommend remedies.
    • Median annual salary: $96,310
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 10%
    • New jobs projected: 19,200 per year
  • Chemical engineers — Apply the principles of chemistry, physics, and engineering to design equipment and processes for manufacturing products such as gasoline, detergents, and paper and conduct research to develop new and improved manufacturing processes.
    • Median annual salary: $106,260
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 8%
    • New jobs projected: 1,300 per year

Online Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online engineering degree program?

To apply for an online engineering degree program, research specific admissions requirements for your desired institution. Most schools share the same standard application materials — including:

  • Official transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • A personal statement showcasing your enthusiasm and aptitude for engineering
  • Standardized test scores

While some schools have shifted to test-optional policies, many engineering programs still emphasize ACT or SAT scores. Given this, investing time in a test prep program can significantly boost your chances of meeting or exceeding score expectations.

Consult an admissions counselor before submitting your application to clarify any queries, gain insights into program specifics, and tailor your application to align with the institution’s values.

How much does an online engineering degree cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree was $25,910 for the 2020-2021 academic year, while master’s degrees averaged $19,749 the same year. Yet, it’s important to note the additional costs beyond tuition, which may include:

  • Technology fees
  • Library fees
  • Course materials
  • Textbooks
  • Software subscriptions

While these fees can add up, it’s essential to remember that online students often save money compared to traditional students — especially in areas like room and board, commuting, and campus facilities.

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

The time it takes to complete your online engineering degree will depend on your enrollment status and degree level.

For full-time undergraduate students, completing a bachelor’s degree takes approximately four years, encompassing 120 to 150 credits. Meanwhile, full-time master’s programs typically require an additional two years for completion, with credit requirements ranging from 30 to 36 credits. Students pursuing both degrees simultaneously through a bachelors-to-masters track usually follow a more rigid course schedule, allowing them to complete both degrees in five years.

However, program length can be extended for part-time students due to a reduced credit load per semester, potentially taking longer to fulfill degree requirements. It’s essential to consider your academic goals, availability, and commitment level when selecting an enrollment pace, as this will influence your completion timeline.

Is an online engineering degree worth it?

A bachelor’s degree is a common qualification for entry- and mid-level engineering jobs, including those in fast-growing sub-fields like software engineering, aerospace engineering, and industrial engineering. A bachelor’s degree also sets up students to pursue a master’s degree, which they may need to obtain leadership positions in their field.

From a financial perspective, earning a bachelor’s degree increases an individual’s earning potential. According to data from the BLS, bachelor’s degree holders earn a median weekly salary of $1,432, while those without a college degree earn a median weekly salary of $935. compared to $935. Additionally, for engineers specifically, the median annual salary is often above $80,000.

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