The Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering is a popular course of education, one that can lead to excellent career opportunities with high earning power. Earning an online bachelor’s degree in engineering can put you on the path toward a wide range of roles in architecture, mechanics, automotive, aerospace, computer science, healthcare and so much more. Most importantly, the Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering is the basic threshold for becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE).
In order to earn this important credential, you must ultimately earn a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination, amass at least four years of engineering experience, and subsequently pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination. In other words, the bachelor’s degree is an absolutely critical stepping stone on your way to a career as an engineer. Fortunately, the bachelor’s degree in engineering is increasingly available online, which means you can earn this valuable degree from the convenience and safety of your own home while saving time and money.
If you know what you’re looking for, check out these top Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Degree Programs.
What Is an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?
An Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering is a four-year degree that you’ll earn either partially or entirely through web-mediated online courses. A growing number of highly reputable, ABET-accredited colleges and universities are making online engineering degrees available to qualified students. In most cases, the education, curriculum, and resulting credentials are identical to those provided through traditional in-class engineering degrees.
As with a traditional engineering degree, your online engineering degree will provide a strong foundation in math and science. You’ll also learn fundamental principles of engineering, and you’ll have a chance to dive more deeply into a subdiscipline that interests you, whether your focus is on computer science, architecture, aeronautics, or beyond.
Depending on the nature of your program, this four-year undergraduate degree may also require you to take a number of humanities and electives. This is typically more common with Bachelor of Arts degrees, whereas Bachelor of Science degrees typically emphasize the practical and technical aspects of the discipline.
It is also exceedingly important, as you look for the best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, to choose a degree program that is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This is essential if you hope to go on to a career as a licensed Professional Engineer (PE). Only graduates of programs that have been recognized by this leading programmatic accreditor will be eligible to sit for a licensing exam. If you plan to become a professional engineer, do not waste time pursuing an online bachelor’s degree that does not have ABET accreditation.
How Long Does It Take To Earn an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?
The typical online bachelor’s degree in engineering will require you to earn 120 credits. For full-time students, this can typically be completed over the course of four to six years. Part-time students who are balancing their online education with job responsibilities and commitments to home and family may require longer.
Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Options
Some online bachelor’s degree programs may also offer opportunities for accelerated completion. The scheduling flexibility and asynchronous learning made possible through online education may allow you to earn your degree in less than four years. If this is something that interests you, consider exploring online degree programs that can be completed at your own speed. If you choose to go this route, be sure that you don’t underestimate the challenges ahead. Your courses may be online, but engineering is a demanding field, and an accelerated pace means a heavier workload. Be sure you’re up to it.
Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Degree Completion Programs
There is one additional option reserved for students who have already earned an associate degree in engineering. Many online colleges and programs offer degree completion programs. These programs allow students who have already earned a two-year degree from an accredited institution to enroll in accelerated degree-completion programs. These programs are tailored to the needs of students who have already completed most or all prerequisites as well as core and introductory level courses in the engineering major. Some degree completion programs may also offer credits for real-world work experience, which makes this a great option for working professionals holding associate’s degrees. In most cases, degree completion can be attained in two years.
What Can I Expect From My Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?
Though each school and program is different, most Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering programs have a few features in common. Wherever you pursue your degree, expect the following:
- Plenty of Math and Science: Engineering is inherently math- and science-intensive. Anticipate taking a full spectrum of courses in both areas, from calculus and geometry to physics and chemistry. If you plan to pursue this degree, be sure that you enjoy mathematics, because you’ll be doing a lot of number crunching!
- Challenging Courses: Don’t make the mistake of pursuing your engineering degree online because you think it’s easier. The online engineering curriculum is every bit as rigorous as is the traditional engineering degree program, perhaps even more so because you don’t have the in-person support of instructors and classmates. Prepare yourself for a genuinely challenging learning experience.
- A Wide Range of Specializations: Engineering is an extremely broad professional fields, with specializations in an absolutely enormous range of subdisciplines. In essence, there is an engineering degree program for every mode of technology, sector of industry, and pillar of infrastructure. It’s up to you to decide where your talent and passion are best put to use.
- Varying Job Prospects: In addition to factoring in your talents and passions, consider that earning potential may vary depending on your area of concentration. While engineering professionals are above-average earners across-the-board, some subdisciplines may result in better-paying opportunities, especially those in higher growth sectors. For instance, while mechanical engineers earned a median salary of $88,430 in 2019, computer hardware engineers earned $117,220 in the same year. Be aware of the salary differentials as you choose your specialization.
- Some Hands-On Experience: Even students earning online degrees in engineering may be required to complete some laboratory or practicum work. For fully remote degree programs, you may be able to complete this hands-on training through a local internship or apprenticeship. However, many brick-and-mortar schools do require their online engineering students to visit campus one or several times in a semester to complete some form of in-person practicum. This underscores the value, for many students, of attending an online college that is close to home. Be aware of any in-person requirements and factor these into the process of choosing the best online engineering program for your bachelor’s degree.
What Kinds of Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Degrees Are There?
- Bachelor of Science Engineering (B.Sc.Eng.)
- Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)
- Bachelor of Engineering Science (B.Eng.Sc.)
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.)
- Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.)
What Are Some Popular Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Concentrations?
Your “concentration” refers to a specific area of focus within your major. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides a complete listing of college degree programs and concentrations (Classification for Instructional Programs), as sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). According to IPEDS, the following are among the most popular Engineering concentrations:
- Computer Engineering
- Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Systems Engineering
- Architectural Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
- Agricultural Biological Engineering and Bioengineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
- Biomedical/Medical Engineering
What Courses Will I Take in My Online Bachelor in Engineering Program?
As you pursue your Online Bachelor in Engineering Degree, you’ll take an array of math- and science-intensive courses including calculus and physics. You’ll also take a number of foundational courses in engineering including electrical engineering, industrial processes, and mechanics. Your bachelor’s degree program will provide solid grounding in the science and concepts underlying engineering, as well as an opportunity to hone your focus based on your chosen concentration. Courses include:
- Engineering Principles
- Mathematical Operations
- Linear Circuits
- Surveying Principles
- Differential Equations
- Industrial Systems
- Mechanics, Electricity, and Magnetism
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering?
The online bachelor’s degree in engineering is your ticket to an extremely wide range of career prospects, all of which pay well above the average annual salary for most professions. The bachelor’s degree is an extremely important stepping stone in your engineering career. If you plan to become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), you must have earned your bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited program first.
This is an especially important form of accreditation to seek out when applying to online engineering programs. Only after completing such a program will you be eligible to sit for the licensing exam in your state. Subsequently, you must amass a minimum of four years of professional experience before you can earn your license.
Fortunately, there are countless well-paying jobs both for those working toward their license and for those who have already earned this important credential. The following are among the most popular jobs for students with online bachelor’s degrees in engineering, as well as the 2019 median salary for each role as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Career||2019 Median Annual Salary|
|Computer Hardware Engineers||$117,220|
Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor’s degree in engineering with a look at these key resources.
- Guide to Online Engineering Degree Accreditation
- Engineering Career Guide: What to do with Your Engineering Degree
- How to Survive Your Online Engineering Degree Program: Tips and Tricks
- Contacts and Associations for Online Engineering Students
Or, check out the very best online bachelor’s in engineering programs to get started!