Best Online Engineering Programs

Earning an engineering degree can lead to exciting career opportunities in a wide range of fields. Here, we list the best online engineering programs.

Updated May 26, 2022 • 6 Min Read

Best Online Engineering Programs

Undergraduate engineering degrees prepare learners for high-paying careers as mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and industrial engineers. And online engineering programs make it easier than ever to earn an engineering degree.

During an online engineering program, students complete coursework in a distance learning format. They meet any in-person requirements, such as an internship or laboratory courses, in their local area. An online engineering degree from an accredited program meets the requirement for entry-level engineering careers.

Our list ranks the best online engineering programs. Prospective students can use the rankings to find the right fit for their interests, budget, and career goals.

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Questions About Engineering

What degree do I need to be an engineer?

Engineers typically need a bachelor's degree for entry-level roles. Some positions, including supervisory roles, require experience or a master's degree.

Do engineers need to be certified?

Engineers do not need a license or certification to work in their field. However, experienced engineers can pursue a professional engineering license or certifications to demonstrate their knowledge.

What kind of engineering degrees are there?

Schools offer engineering degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A bachelor's in engineering meets the entry-level education requirement for most engineering jobs.

Why Get a Degree in Engineering?

Engineering degrees help graduates launch careers in a growing, lucrative field. Some engineering careers offer median salaries over $100,000 per year for bachelor's degree-holders. Engineers increase their earning potential by pursuing a graduate degree or moving into an in-demand specialization.

Online engineering degrees provide many benefits to students. A distance learning format prioritizes flexibility, which appeals to busy students and working professionals. Engineering degree-seekers often save money and increase their earning potential with an online program. Prospective students can choose the most affordable Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology-accredited program to complete their degree.

How Much Does an Engineering Degree Cost?

The cost of an engineering degree depends on the school and program. In general, public institutions charge the lowest tuition rates. In-state students pay around $9,350 in annual tuition and fees, according to 2019-2020 National Center for Education Statistics data. Out-of-state tuition costs around $27,000, while private university tuition costs $32,770 per year.

Engineering degree-seekers should check whether schools charge higher tuition rates for online engineering programs. At some universities, engineering majors pay more in tuition than students in other majors.

Additional Online Student Fees

Besides tuition, students in online engineering programs must consider other fees and expenses. For example, some online programs charge a distance learning or technology fee. Online students may also need to pay a graduation fee.

Engineering majors typically buy books and supplies. Programs may charge an additional fee for required laboratory courses. Any in-person requirements add to an online engineering degree's total costs. Before applying to online engineering programs, ask a financial aid advisor about total degree costs and financial aid opportunities.

How Much Do Engineering Majors Make?

Engineering careers offer median salaries above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports engineering and architectural careers earning an $83,160 median wage. That's nearly double the $41,950 median wage for all workers.

Within engineering jobs, the highest-paid roles include aerospace engineers, chemical engineers, electrical and electronics engineers, nuclear engineers, and petroleum engineers. These fields report median salaries over $100,000 annually, with a bachelor's degree as the entry-level education requirement. Engineers increase their earning potential with experience or a master's degree.

Engineering Courses

What will you learn during your engineering degree? Majors take courses in engineering principles, material science, design, and engineering methods. These classes provide a foundation for advanced coursework within an engineering discipline.

Specialized classes in electrical circuit theory and production systems planning train engineering majors for focused career paths after graduation. Many programs incorporate an internship, capstone, or practicum to strengthen hands-on skills. Online engineering degree-seekers may complete these requirements, including any laboratory classes, in their local area.

This section introduces common engineering courses. While each program sets its own curriculum, many include the following options.

  • Introduction to Engineering

    Introductory courses offer an overview of the engineering profession and key engineering principles. The class introduces material science, engineering problem-solving, and the engineering design and testing process. Students learn about specializations within engineering. The course prepares majors to choose a specialization and take advanced courses.
  • Material Science

    In material science courses, engineering majors study the properties of different materials. They learn about the applications of diverse materials in the engineering design process. The course examines the molecular structure of materials and the uses of metals, polymers, and semiconductors. The class prepares majors for advanced engineering courses.
  • Experimental Methods

    Engineering majors strengthen their design experience through hands-on training in experimental methods classes. Students complete laboratory hours to test design principles. Class meetings cover experimental approaches that students can then test in the field. The course may be part of a capstone project for the degree.

Specializations for Engineering

Online engineering programs offer multiple specializations. Also known as a concentration or track, the specialization focuses the degree-seeker's course of study. Most online engineering programs offer specializations in popular areas like mechanical, civil, electrical, industrial, and computer engineering. Students can also find programs in biomedical, aerospace, marine, and petroleum engineering.

When researching online engineering degrees, check which specializations each program offers.Even in programs without formal specializations, students may still focus their degree through electives. Faculty mentors can also recommend ways for students to specialize their engineering degree. This section introduces some common specializations with career paths for each one.

  • Mechanical Engineering

    Mechanical engineers apply engineering principles to the design and production of machines, engines, and tools. They create technology that safely and efficiently serves a need. A mechanical engineering specialization includes training in engineering principles, design, and methods. The degree leads to careers as a mechanical engineer.
  • Electrical Engineering

    Electrical engineers create electrical equipment, including engines, motors, navigation systems, and power generators. They also design the electrical components in many different machines and devices. Students take courses in electrical circuit theory and digital systems design. The degree leads to careers as an electrical engineer.
  • Industrial Engineering

    Industrial engineers create efficient processes, often for manufacturing or other industrial production. Some industrial engineers specialize in automated processes. The specialization requires the ability to take a systems-level approach and understand complex operations. Industrial engineering majors take courses in manufacturing systems design and production system planning. Graduates pursue careers as industrial engineers.

How to Become an Engineer

Engineers in every specialty typically require a bachelor's degree for entry-level roles. During a bachelor's in engineering, majors often complete an internship or practicum to build career-ready skills.

With an engineering degree, graduates can break into the industry. Networking, joining professional organizations, and researching companies all help early-career engineers land their first job and gain professional experience. With experience or a master's degree, engineers often move into management roles.

Experienced engineers can also pursue their professional engineering license. Licensure candidates typically need four years of work experience and passing Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exam scores.

Best Online Engineering Programs

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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