Online Engineering Degree
Engineering is one of the most popular fields in STEM. Each year, thousands of aspiring engineering students attend colleges and universities around the world; and some choose an online degree program.
Online degrees are a new development, especially in the field of engineering. But thanks to technology, it’s now possible to get a high-quality education online without leaving the comfort (or convenience) of home. Students who opt for an online engineering degree enjoy numerous benefits, including the flexibility to learn on their own terms when (and where) they want.
Here with Online Degree Hero, you’ll learn everything you need to know about online engineering degrees. Also, you’ll learn what jobs are available for engineering graduates, and how to prepare for college admissions.
This page contains fundamental information about engineering and online degrees. We hope you’ll find what you’re looking for, and be better prepared to search for college programs with confidence.
Here’s a rundown of the facts about online engineering degrees, and the engineering field in general.
What Is an Online Engineering Degree?
An online engineering degree is exactly what it sounds like. Thanks to the proliferation of technology and virtual courses, students now have access to full-length college courses in engineering. An engineering degree (from an accredited institution) carries the same legal and professional weight as any other engineering degree. Also, the vast majority of engineering degrees earned online don’t specify how the student got the degree. To sum it all up, an online engineering degree is the same as any engineering degree.
Online Engineering Degree Benefits
There are numerous benefits to an online degree program, especially for students who need to work, raise a family, or attend to other responsibilities. Online degree programs come in different schedules and types, though engineering degrees tend to follow stricter guidelines.
Generally speaking, online courses come in two types: Synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous courses are ‘in sync’ with real course schedules, and often include live instruction and classes. Asynchronous courses are more flexible, as they allow students to complete the course at their own pace. Most engineering courses contain a mix of synchronous and asynchronous classes and schedules.
The benefits of online learning (especially asynchronous courses) are clear. Students who attend online schools can, and often do, work part-time or full-time jobs while attending school. Also, many students enjoy the additional freedom to travel, attend coding bootcamps, or many other things.
Computer Science Job Prospects Job Prospects
Computer science is a booming career path with rapid growth and high salaries. There are numerous career paths to choose from with a computer science degree, and each offers unique opportunities in the field.
Computer Science Salary: $86,370
Computer Science Job Growth: 16%
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top computer science careers are growing much faster than average. The BLS predicts the field will grow 16% over the next decade, far outpacing the occupational average of 5.2%.
- Job Openings
- Jobs Filled
Computer science associate’s degrees are a great first step to a technology career. Degree holders have an advantage in the economy, and outperform high school graduates in the workforce. These benefits tend to increase if students pursue higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.
As the number of computer science graduates increases, opportunities in the workforce are filled. However, as the chart above indicates, the number of jobs available far outnumbers the amount filled. Even with a stark increase in graduates over the last decade, there’s still and enormous (and exponentially increasing) demand for fresh talent in the field.
In short, computer science is a future-proof career field that’s worth considering. Computer science salaries are high, and opportunities are plentiful. An associate’s in computer science is an excellent way to test the waters and see if an IT career is right for you.
Computer Science CertificationsCertifications
Computer science certifications are the next step in a successful tech career path. With the help of a computer science AS degree, you can prepare for and pass numerous certification exams and give your resume a spectacular boost. Plus, certifications aren’t just useful for finding a job; you can get certified after hiring and advance within the company. Certifications for computer science tasks can open the door to wide range of career possibilities, and expand your technical skills to a professional level. Here, we’ll go over six of the most valuable certification programs for networks, operating systems, cybersecurity, communication, and product support.
Cisco is a major supplier of communications equipment for businesses across the world, especially in the United States. If you live in a town with office buildings, chances are you’ll find Cisco equipment inside. To service its massive customer base, Cisco offers a certification program for individuals looking to install, maintain, and repair these systems. Cisco Certified Network Associates also provide customer support.
Network+ certification from CompTIA is an asset to any computer science degree holder. This globally-recognized certification is designed for people with network and internet communications training. The certification allows you to work with large-scale networks, and prove your qualifications to prospective employers. The examination takes roughly 90 minutes to complete, and costs $319 total.
This certification should speak for itself. Apple offers a certification program for people looking to work with and troubleshoot its products. ACA certification also equips professionals with the skills they need to help businesses set up Apple-based infrastructure, and help employees train with and understand the product they’re using.
CompTIA offers A+ Technician certification programs for anyone looking to work in the tech industry. CompTIA’s A+ program is one of the most comprehensive certifications available, and covers everything from data management to cloud computing. The program is designed to cover all of the essentials of working in a modern IT environment, with an element of security mixed in as well. Companies like Intel and HP accept this certification.
Today, system security is more important than ever. Cybersecurity analyst positions also offer great salaries. CISSP certification is an excellent way to gain the qualifications necessary for one of these prestigious positions. CISSP is a global certification that leads the pack in the cybersecurity industry. If you want to become a cybersecurity professional, a CISSP certification is highly advisable.
Apple doesn’t corner the market on OS and brand certifications, as Microsoft also offers a similar program for professionals. This certification covers desktop and system infrastructure, cloud computing, messaging, communication, Microsoft data, and business intelligence among other things.
Engineering Degree Jobs
Engineering degrees are a great way to land a high-paying job, especially in the tech industry. Due to the numerous types of engineering, students can specialize in basically anything. Engineers also earn extremely high salaries across the board, and enjoy excellent career mobility and job satisfaction. Here are the most common types of engineering jobs, salaries, and job listings with data from Glassdoor.
Mechanical engineers are some of the most common professionals in the engineering field. These engineers design and develop mechanical systems for a wide range of industries. Mechanical engineers earn high salaries and enjoy job security.
- Mechanical Engineer Salary: $70,964
- Mechanical Engineering Jobs Available: 27,452
Software engineering is a growing field within the technology industry. These professionals use their knowledge of high-level programming languages and their engineering skills to design and develop software for computers. Software engineers work in a wide range of industries.
- Software Engineer Salary: $76,526
- Software Engineer Jobs Available: 74,238
Electrical engineers create and maintain electrical systems. They are not electricians; instead, they design the systems that run the modern world. Electrical engineers know how to handle high voltage systems and design reliable components that make life safer and more efficient.
- Electrical Engineer Salary: $113,309
- Electrical Engineering Jobs Available: 23,923
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineering is the most hands-on computer science field. These professionals are trained in computer science and various forms of electronic engineering. They must understand the physical and virtual characteristics that make computer work.
Computer hardware engineer job responsibilities include building computers, designing electronic devices and components, creating plans, upgrading existing hardware, and more. This profession is ideal for ‘builders’ who enjoy working with and creating physical devices.
- Computer Hardware Engineer Salary: $89,641
- Computer Hardware Engineer Jobs Available: 19,520
|Title||Median Salary||Entry-Level Salary||Mid-Career Salary||Late-Career Salary|
|Title||Median Salary||Late-Career Salary|
|Computer Support Specialist||$48,600||$70,000|
|Systems Administration Specialist||$64,800||$93,000|
|Information Technology (IT)||$84,800||$125,000|
|Help Desk Technician||$41,800||$58,000|
Online College Accreditation
Colleges earn accreditation to gain the ‘stamp of approval’ from a third-party organization. Accreditation requirements vary between degree programs and locations, but the vast majority of colleges and universities earn some form of accreditation. Accreditation also ensures that schools provide a high-quality education, and that graduates are prepared to perform the job. Here are the two types of accreditation you’re likely to encounter when searching for an online degree.
National accreditation is common in the world of online education. This system of accreditation, though less common than regional accreditation, is convenient for online schools for a number of reasons. Here are the facts about national accreditation.
- Online-only (or mostly online) colleges and universities
- Arts programs
- Religious Colleges and Training
- Special degree programs
Nationally accredited college degrees are legitimate. However, students looking to transfer to (or from) a nationally accredited online college to an in-person or online university may run into issues. Be sure to research your school carefully before enrolling.
Nationally accredited programs are designed for students seeking an education or certification in a specific field, such as theology or music. Agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges certify schools that meet certain requirements. Nationally accredited schools (and programs) generally don’t transfer to regionally accredited universities.
Regional accreditation is the most common kind of certification for colleges and universities. In the United States, schools receive accreditation from one of seven regional organizations. Here are the regional accreditation organizations:
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- Middle States Commission on Higher Learning
- New England Commission of Higher Learning
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- WASC Senior College And University Commission
Although regional accreditation dominates traditional college education, many online schools are nationally accredited. It’s important to do your research and choose the best college accreditation wisely before signing up for a program.
Students seeking an associate degree in computer science should attend a regionally accredited school. Four-year universities also use this accreditation system, which makes transferring credits possible. Each region (Western States, Middle States, New England, Southern, among others) is governed by an accrediting organization.
How to Get Into an Online Engineering Degree Program Admissions
Engineering is a highly technical field that requires a lot of dedication and expertise to succeed in. Unsurprisingly, many online engineering degree programs are selective. Admissions requirements vary between schools, but students should be aware that higher standards are necessary for many high-quality engineering schools.
Community College Admissions
Community colleges have the least stringent requirements for admission. As the name suggests, community colleges are designed to serve the community. As a result, it’s usually pretty easy to get in. All you need to do is earn a high school diploma or a GED, and provide proof and transcripts if available.
Four-year colleges and universities are much more picky when it comes to admissions. Colleges are extremely competitive, and it takes more than an application to land a spot in most institutions. Students will need a high school diploma (or GED), transcripts, a decent GPA, and standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT. Admissions requirements vary between schools, so do your research before applying.
Graduate School Admissions
Graduate school admissions are closer to university admissions than community colleges. To get into a master’s degree or PhD program for engineering, students must submit their college transcripts along with standardized test scores. Generally speaking, the better you do in college (and the more relevant extracurricular activities you participate in), the better your chances of getting accepted into graduate school.
Online Engineering Degree CostCost
Sometimes, online engineering degrees can save you money. At the very least, attending school online reduces the amount of commuting you need to get your education. Plus, online-only students often hold jobs while attending college, especially if flexible schedules are available. Here’s more about how much an online engineering degree costs, and how to pay your way through college.
Scholarships are easy money for college students, and a great way to reduce tuition costs. Students can apply for scholarships one at a time, or choose multiple. Thanks to the availability of education funding, it’s always worth investigating scholarships. Chances are you’ll find something, and potentially save thousands of dollars in the process.
Many students need student loans to pay for college. Today, college loans are accessible to a massive number of students. It’s the easiest way to cover the cost of education, but there are some risks involved. In most cases, student loan debt isn’t forgivable through bankruptcy, and students owe more each year. Be sure to read the fine print and consider the consequences before applying for student loans.
Online Engineering Degree Curriculum Curriculum
Most schools don’t offer a dedicated data science master’s degree program. That may change sometime in the future, but for now, students must choose another program in most cases. The most common are software engineering and computer science. To give you a better idea of what to expect during a data science master’s program, here are some of the top courses taken by data scientists:
Like most STEM fields, engineering degree curriculum includes quite a bit of mathematics. Engineering is systematic by nature, and it’s impossible to overstate the importance of math in the field. Students should expect to spend plenty of time working with numbers.
Due to the proliferation of technology in the 21st century, many engineering programs now cover some level of computer science, coding, or programming. These skills are especially important for software engineers, computer hardware engineers, and systems engineers.
Engineers are builders, so there’s plenty of opportunity to learn about design in these degree programs. The level of design education covered varies between programs. Civil engineering students, for example, spend much of their time studying design.
Engineering principles are a major part of the curriculum. Engineering differs from other disciplines in several ways, including the systematic application of science. Engineers learn to carefully create things using repeatable methods to ensure safety and design useful products and systems.
Online Engineering Degree Types
There are many varieties of computer-based engineering degree programs. Students can earn the most basic degrees and certificates online, along with some higher degrees. In the United States, many schools offer three online engineering degree programs. These are an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. Beyond that, the chances of PhD students needing to show up in person increase dramatically. Here are the different types of online engineering degrees.
Online Associate’s Degree in Engineering
An associate degree is the first step in college education for many people. This two-year degree program offers an introduction to the engineering field, and allows students to ‘get a taste’ of the career path while simultaneously building credentials should they decide to pursue it. Many students start in a community college and transfer to a university (for a bachelor’s degree) after graduating with an associate degree.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering
Most engineers earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering (at least) before heading out into the workforce or pursuing higher education in a graduate program. Generally speaking, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. Nonetheless, due to the complexity of the engineering field, many students take up to six years to finish their bachelor’s degree program.
Online Master’s Degree in Engineering
A master’s degree is one of the highest levels of education found in the engineering field, apart from a doctorate (or PhD). Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering (or a related field) are eligible for graduate programs, usually with some additional test scores handy. Students use master’s degree programs to choose a specialization and become one of the ‘experts’ in their field. On average, master’s degree programs take about a year and a half to two years to complete.
Computer Science Professional Organizations
Joining a computer science professional organization can help jump-start your career and keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Membership sometimes comes with additional perks, such as access to a strong peer network, coaching, job opportunities, and employment workshops. Computer science degree students benefit from mentoring opportunities in professional organizations.
The Association for Women in Computing, founded in 1978, is a computer science professional organization catered directly to women in tech. This organization provides a strong network, education opportunities, and support for female computer science professionals though its system of nationwide chapters.
The Association for Information Science and Technology is a popular choice for computer science graduates. This organization offers an enormous amount of resources to technology professionals, and covers everything from jobs to legal information. Additionally, the Association for Information Science and Technology welcomes current computer science students.
The Computing Research Association is a top organization for computer science professionals seeking networking opportunities and more. Additionally, the CRA offers opportunities and resources for computer science students and researchers, thereby delivering an all-in-one destination for the field. The organization focuses on technology, leadership, and networking.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology, or ITE for short, is a multinational professional organization for engineers and technology professionals in over 150 countries. With over 160,000 current members, the ITE is one of the most popular and diverse professional organizations for students with a computer science degree.
The IEEE Computer Society is a technology-focused organization for software engineers, web developers, and all kinds of computer science professionals. The IEEE Computer Society hosts dozens of annual conferences on some of the coolest technology developments, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and security.
The Association for Information Systems is a premier computer science professional organization with chapters located all around the world. This organization hosts conferences, offers career support, provides educational webinars, and gives computer science workers access to a vast global professional network.