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If you’re looking to quickly obtain your engineering degree in the most accessible and flexible way possible, this guide to the fastest online engineering degree programs is for you. We’ve compiled some of the best, most accelerated online programs available today, simplifying your research. With these degrees, you can pursue careers in mechanical engineering, with a median salary of $99,510, or electrical engineering, earning a median salary of $106,950. These programs are designed for completion in as little as two to three years, allowing you to fast-track your education and enter the workforce sooner.

How to Choose a Fast Online Engineering Program

Choose your area of study

Since engineering is relatively versatile, specializing — or choosing an area of study — can improve your competitiveness in specific sectors. You’ll want to carefully consider your interests and career goals to make this decision. Popular options include mechanical engineering, focusing on machinery and systems; electrical engineering, dealing with electrical circuits and power systems; civil engineering, centered on infrastructure and construction projects; and software engineering, emphasizing software development and programming. Each specialization offers different opportunities, so be sure to research potential career paths to make an informed decision.

Research schools and programs

Once you have a specialization in mind, thoroughly researching schools and programs is essential. Here are a few questions you can ask to guide your research:

  • Are the courses taught by experienced faculty with industry experience?
  • What kind of support services are available for online students?
  • What are the graduation and job placement rates for the program?

You can find this information by reviewing program websites, attending open houses, or contacting admissions offices. Many students also benefit from reading reviews on platforms like LinkedIn and Reddit, where you can gain further insights on program quality.

Prepare for tests and applications

For many students, your application and test scores are your only chance to make a positive impression on admissions committees — so spending some time preparing is important.

First, consider enrolling in test prep programs to improve your test scores, whether for the SAT, ACT, or even the GRE, if you’re applying to graduate programs. Start drafting your personal statement early, ensuring it reflects your enthusiasm and qualifications. If your programs require a resume, you may also want to allow some time for revisions — highlighting relevant experience.

By planning and dedicating time to each component, you’ll strengthen your application and boost your chances of admission.

Select your program

To select the best program, revisit your initial research criteria and focus on the most essential elements for your education — curriculum relevance, the faculty you’ll learn from, and hands-on opportunities. This is also an excellent time to assess the total cost of attendance and compare it with financial aid offers to understand the expense.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Financing your degree while minimizing debt may seem impossible, but with the right strategy, you can earn your engineering degree without a substantial debt burden. Start by applying for scholarships and grants, which don’t require repayment. Next, explore work-study programs that offer part-time jobs to help cover expenses. Check if your employer provides tuition reimbursement as a benefit. If additional funds are needed, opt for federal loans over private loans due to their generally lower interest rates and flexible repayment options.

Best 50 Accredited Accelerated Online Engineering Programs

Fastest Online Engineering Degree Programs_2024 badge
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National University
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National University
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Saint Cloud State University
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Saint Cloud State University
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Western Governors University
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Western Governors University
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Old Dominion University
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Old Dominion University
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Lamar University
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Lamar University
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University of Maine
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University of Maine
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Thomas Edison State University
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Thomas Edison State University
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Regent University
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Regent University
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University of Arkansas Grantham
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University of Arkansas Grantham

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How we rank schools

This list features the best accelerated online engineering degree programs in the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the 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 accelerated online engineering degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like 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 a Fast Online Engineering Degree Program?

In a fast-paced online engineering program, you can expect an intensive curriculum to accelerate learning. These programs cover mathematics, physics, and computer science, along with specialized electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering courses.

As a student, you’ll engage in hands-on projects and real-world problem-solving, utilizing state-of-the-art software and virtual labs. Critical design, analysis, and innovation skills are emphasized to prepare graduates for dynamic engineering careers.

Many programs require a capstone project for graduation, where students apply their knowledge to a comprehensive, practical project, demonstrating their readiness to work as a professional engineer.

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

  • Engineering Mechanics: In this foundational course, students explore the principles of force, motion, and energy, learning how to analyze and predict the behavior of physical systems. This course lays the foundation for understanding structural analysis and mechanical systems in different engineering applications.
  • Circuit Analysis: A cornerstone in many programs, this course covers the fundamentals of electrical circuits, including Ohm’s Law, Kirchhoff’s Laws, and the analysis of both DC and AC circuits. Students will learn to design and troubleshoot circuits, which are essential for the electrical and electronics engineering fields.
  • Thermodynamics: Often considered an upper-level course, this class is crucial for understanding how to design efficient engines, refrigeration systems, and other thermal systems. Participants will study the principles of energy transfer, heat, and work and how these concepts apply to engineering systems.

What Can I Do With an Engineering Degree?

The job outlook for individuals graduating with an engineering degree is positive and expected to grow faster than average. With 188,000 job openings projected over the next decade, the median salary for skilled engineers is $91,420, significantly higher than the median for all occupations.

Career outlook

  • Electrical Engineer — Graduates in this role design, develop, and test electrical systems and components, such as circuits and generators. They work on projects ranging from small-scale electronics to large power systems, ensuring functionality and efficiency.
    • Median annual salary: $106,950
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New jobs projected: 17,800
  • Mechanical Engineer — Mechanical engineers create, analyze, and manufacture mechanical systems and devices, including engines and machinery. They apply the principles of physics and materials science to ensure these systems operate efficiently and reliably.
    • Median annual salary: $99,510
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 10%
    • New jobs projected: 19,200
  • Civil Engineer — Civil engineers plan and oversee the construction and maintenance of infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, buildings, and water systems. They guarantee structures are safe, sustainable, and efficient, meeting both regulatory standards and community needs.
    • Median annual salary: $95,890
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New jobs projected: 21,200

Fast Online Engineering Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do accelerated degree programs work?

With an accelerated degree program, you can complete degree requirements more quickly by taking on a more intensive course load. This often includes shorter, more frequent terms or year-round classes, with a rigorous curriculum demanding significant time commitment and self-discipline. To learn more about the pros and cons of these programs and determine if they align with your educational and career goals, visit our page to see if an accelerated program is the right fit for you.

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

Obtaining an accelerated online engineering degree takes two to three years, compared to four to five years for non-accelerated programs. It’s crucial to check each program’s total number of required credits, as this can vary and significantly impact the program length. Generally speaking, the more credits required, the longer it’ll take to complete.

How much does an accelerated online engineering degree cost?

On average, a bachelor’s degree costs $27,673 per year, while a master’s degree costs $20,513 per year. These figures can fluctuate based on your residency status and whether you attend a public or private institution.

In addition to tuition, you’ll also want to budget for expenses like textbooks, technology fees, and course materials. These costs can add up over time and often aren’t included in the tuition price.

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