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Best Online Engineering Degrees for 2023

Best Online Engineering Degrees for 2023

Earning your engineering degree online is a great way to level-up your career and be a top candidate for in-demand jobs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to top-rated programs and everything else you need to set yourself up for success with an online engineering degree.

Do you like to design, build, and work with your hands? If so, you might be an engineer in the making. From civil engineers who design and improve our infrastructure and energy systems to mechanical engineers working on heat, gas and water systems, engineers help improve nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

If you’d like to play a critical role in projects like these, consider an online engineering degree. Online engineering degrees can vary from associate degrees to doctorates and cover a wide range of engineering specializations. Rather than attending in person, online degrees offer the flexibility of learning while working and gaining hands-on experience. Additionally, there can be less financial strain for online courses than for courses taken on campus, regardless of which degree you’re working toward.

Read our extensive online engineering guide below to see a list of top-rated programs for 2023, learn more about the different types of engineering degrees available online, and get answers to common questions about accreditation, financial aid, and more.

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    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2023 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

    2. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.

    Affordability

    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

  • Rolla, MO
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    Missouri University of Science and Technology offers a long list of graduate degrees for engineers. Their masters and doctorate degrees are great for those looking to take a deep dive into the field of engineering. While both are offered fully online, there might be some in-person requirements for the doctorate in engineering. They also offer certificates which are fully online and are great for full-time engineers looking to improve in a specific area. These 12 credit certificates can be completed in less than a year and cover a variety of topics including lean six sigma, project management, engineering management, financial engineering, human system integration, project engineering and construction management, and safety engineering. All graduate degrees and certificates are intended for students who already have work experience in the field of engineering and an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Engineering Management

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 1-2 years
    • Cost: $1,200 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Doctorate Degree in Engineering Management

    • Credits: 40-100
    • Length: 2-4 years
    • Cost: $1,200 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Certificate in Engineering Management

    • Credits: 12
    • Length: 1 year
    • Cost: $1,200 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Raleigh, NC
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    North Carolina State University offers eighteen online master’s degrees through their Raleigh campus. No matter which degree a student selects, they will receive a high quality, fully online education which is flexible and works nicely with a working professional’s schedule. Additionally, all programs have the same admission requirements: successful applicants should have an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field, and they should have some work experience in engineering before applying. Beyond the format and admission requirements, the programs are quite different and highly customizable. The eighteen engineering master’s degree specializations students can choose between are engineering, aerospace engineering, chemical engineer, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer networking, computer science, electrical engineering, electric power systems engineering, environmental engineering, engineering management, industrial engineering, integrated manufacturing systems engineering, material science and engineering, mechanical engineering, nanoengineering, nuclear engineering, and operations research.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $650.01 per credit in-state | $1,717.01 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $650.01 per credit in-state | $1,717.01 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Master of Science in Chemical Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $650.01 per credit in-state | $1,717.01 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tucson, AZ
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    Any seasoned engineering professional looking to advance their career should check out the eleven masters degrees hosted by the University of Arizona. All of these degrees are offered completely online and class times are usually in the evening or on the weekends to accommodate most working professionals. Additionally, students can complete their coursework whenever they work during their weekly schedule and adjust their course load each semester to accommodate personal and professional obligations. Students can choose between eleven master of science degrees: cybersecurity, electrical and computer engineering, engineering management, industrial engineering, material science & engineering, mechanical engineering, mining, geological, and geophysical engineering, optical sciences, systems engineering, innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, mining, geological, and geophysical engineering.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Science in Cybersecurity

    • Credits: 32
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $1,000 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Credits: 32
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $1,000 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Master of Science in Engineering Management

    • Credits: 32
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $1,000 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Mississippi State, MS
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    Working engineers who want to advance their career should consider one of the ten online master programs from Mississippi State University. These distance learning programs are set up to be flexible and to allow students to work full-time while getting their degree. Successful applicants should have an undergraduate degree in engineering or a related field, and they should have some work experience. Once accepted, students can choose to complete a master of engineering in aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computational engineering, computer science and engineering, cyber security and operations, electrical and computer engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, or master of general engineering

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $539.00 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $539.00 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

    Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $539.00 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Fort Collins, CO
    Public $$

    Through their Fort Collins campus, Colorado State University offers sixteen graduate degrees in engineering. Successful applicants to any of these programs should have an undergraduate degree and previous work experience in their field of study. Since most students also work full-time while pursuing their masters, the degrees are flexible, fully online, and students can choose how many courses they take each semester based on other personal and professional obligations. When applying to the program, students apply to a specific major. The masters in engineering degrees are in biomedical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and system engineering. The doctorate in engineering degrees is in system engineering. They also offer 12 credit, one-year certificates in computer system engineering, embedded systems, systems engineering practice, and applied global stability.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $964 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $964 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Master of Engineering in Computer Engineering

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $964 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
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Which Online Engineering Degree Is Right for You?

Different engineering degree levels will offer different career opportunities, earning potential and return on investment for everyone. 

Recent high school graduates will start their engineering school journey with an online associate’s degree. From there, you can obtain a bachelor’s degree to set you up for success with entry-level positions in the field. 

If you are seeking more in-depth knowledge or specialization, a master’s or doctorate degree in engineering is the logical next step. 

Read our breakdowns below for specifics on what each online engineering degree entails and how long it will take you to rise through the ranks in your engineering career. 

Learning the Fundamentals with an Online Engineering Associate Degree

An associate’s degree in engineering will offer you the basic skills you need in order to work as an assistant in the engineering sector or continue your online education in engineering. Associate’s degrees generally take two years of classes to earn, but attending school online may extend that time, depending on your workload and how many classes you take per semester. 

Graduates with an online associate’s degree in engineering will be prepared to work as technologists and technicians in several sectors, including electrical, electronic, mechanical, industrial and environmental engineering. Technologists and technicians generally work with the engineers in these fields to implement plans and offer assistance with design and development of equipment. 

Associate graduates can also continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree. Some schools, like Blue Ridge Community College, offer students transfer credits for engineering prerequisites and general education courses to go toward a bachelor’s degree program at a state-funded university.

Online Bachelor’s in Engineering: The Core Degree

Bachelor’s degrees in engineering prepare students for many entry-level positions as engineers. The classes you take will encompass high-level math, science and business principles that can be used while on the job. You’ll learn how to become an effective and detail-oriented communicator who can decipher problems that may arise when working in an engineering environment. 

The number of engineering graduates has grown annually over the last decade, with over 120,000 engineering students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2018. The workforce for these graduates has also grown over the years. More than 90,000 new engineering jobs are expected to open up over the next decade. 

For more information, visit our online bachelor’s degree in engineering page.

Advancing and Specializing with an Online Master’s Degree in Engineering

After obtaining your bachelor’s in engineering degree, you can join the workforce while also continuing your online schooling by attending classes that go toward a master’s degree in a specialized program of engineering. 

Master’s in engineering students commonly focus on three main engineering disciplines – computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. Working toward a master’s degree in any of these specialties will open up more opportunities for you in the workforce to take on and lead larger products, manage a team and make impactful decisions. 

An online master’s degree can be completed in about two years if you attend full-time. If you opt to complete your master’s degree in engineering online, the process may take longer but you’ll have the flexibility to complete the courses while also gaining professional experience from working in the field.

For more information, visit our master’s degree in engineering page.

Online Engineering Doctorate: Become the Ultimate Expert

After obtaining your engineering bachelor’s degree online, you’ll be eligible for a PhD in an engineering program. These courses can take up to five years and require a dissertation before graduation, as well as some in-class guidance for hands-on instruction.

With a PhD, you’ll gain high-level knowledge about a specialized aspect of engineering, which will set you up for advanced career opportunities. 

A Doctor of Engineering (DEng) degree prepares students for the highest levels and most specialized aspects of engineering work. Students with this degree should expect to create modern solutions to important problems regarding widely-used technologies. Graduates with this degree will also be prepared to hold positions of authority and responsibility.

Alternative Paths to Study Engineering Online

If you can’t commit to the time or financial constraints of a degree, you can still deepen your engineering knowledge through a non-degree award or engineering certificate program online. 

Entry-level certificates are available for high school graduates seeking basic knowledge about the field. The programs for these certificates can be completed in under a year and may still allow candidates to obtain entry-level positions as assistants to engineers, which allows them the opportunity for hands-on experience. 

Even if you do opt for a degree, additional certificates can deepen your knowledge base about an engineering specialty, which may set you apart from other candidates in your field. 

Online Undergraduate Certificates in Engineering

While working toward your bachelor’s degree in engineering online, you can also work toward online undergraduate certificates in engineering. These certificates generally focus on a specialized area of engineering, which allows you to widen your knowledge base beyond the primary levels of study. 

Employers look for accredited certificates in engineering when picking the best candidates, so having a specialization through a certificate will increase your chances for better employment post-graduation. 

Some examples of undergraduate certificates offered online include those focussed on design technologies, engineering leadership and management and a certificate in energy. 

Online Graduate Certificates in Engineering

If you are in between your bachelor’s and master’s in engineering degrees, you might want to opt for an online graduate certificate in engineering. These certificates are less time-consuming than a full master’s program, but can still offer a post-bachelor’s curriculum that targets specific topics in the engineering industry. 

These certificates can be completed in under a year if attending full-time. As a graduate with a bachelor’s degree, you could easily work in the field while still working toward your graduate certificate in engineering online. This gives you a balance of real-world application and in-class knowledge that can be combined to go toward promotions and advancements. 

Professional Certificates in Engineering

In lieu of obtaining a degree, professional certificates in engineering offer entry-level knowledge about the engineering field with a smaller time and financial demand than a formal degree.

 Most classes can be done completely online and the knowledge is similar to what would be discussed in introductory courses on a college campus. Professional certificates are viewed by employers as not being as all-encompassing as a degree, but some entry-level jobs may be available for certificate-holders. This way, you can still gain hands-on experience to go toward your career trajectory.

These certificates are available online through sites like Couresera, Udacity and EdX. 

FAQs About Online Engineering Degrees

Plenty of questions are bound to come up when you decide you are going to enroll in school for your online engineering degree. In order to be as informed as possible, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions and answers. This way, you’re fully informed about your options and you will be able to make a smart decision when it comes to the specifics of your future as an engineer. 

  • Are online engineering degrees accredited?

    Yes, online engineering degrees offered through many colleges and universities are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The ABET accreditation ensures that the school is equipped to prepare graduates with the information they need in order to enter critical STEM fields in the workforce. 

    ABET accreditation is recognized worldwide and will support student’s entry into a technical profession by giving them the eligibility that many employers want to verify before hiring. 

  • How much do online engineering degrees cost?

    Online engineering degrees can range in cost based on degree level, in-state or out-of-state tuition and the school you attend.

    Generally, in-state tuition will be much cheaper than out-of-state. In some cases, it can save you up to $20,000 to attend a school in state rather than attend somewhere out of state. In-state tuition costs, both for online and in-person course, vary based on the state and the school

    That amount can vary based on the school, with some schools advertising costs as low as $17,000 for a bachelor’s degree in engineering. 

    Obtaining your online master’s degree or Doctor of Engineering Degree will generally cost more than a bachelor’s engineering degree. These programs can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the school. 

  • Is financial aid available for online engineering degrees?

    Financial aid is available for online engineering degrees for any state and at any level.  

    Most colleges and universities offer school-specific scholarships or grants that utilize the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) application. Once you’ve completed your FAFSA, inquire with your school’s engineering program to find out how to be considered for those scholarships using your FAFSA information. 

    You can also apply to engineering-specific scholarships through several organizations. There are several scholarships given out every year through the American Welding Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the National Science Foundation, to name a few. 

    For more information, refer to our resource pages for financial aid assistance and additional scholarship information.

  • How much can I earn with an online engineering degree?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in engineering and architecture careers earn a median annual salary of $79,840. 

    The engineering specialty you work in will have a large effect on the salary you are eligible to earn. For example, aerospace engineers earned a median salary of $122,270 in 2021, while nuclear engineers earned $120,380, environmental engineers earned $96,820 and civil engineers earned $88,050 in the same year.

    Engineers in some specialties, like aerospace, tend to earn more because of the advanced rigor of those career paths. 

    Additional schooling will help engineers of all specialties earn higher wages. Engineers with a master’s or doctorate degree are likely to assume more responsibility and take on leadership roles. 

  • Are college graduates with an online engineering degree in high demand?

    Graduates with an online engineering degree will have no problem finding work after graduation. 

    The engineering field is always growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that overall employment in engineering occupations will grow 4% from 2021 to 2031. That means 91,300 jobs will be added over the next decade, which doesn’t even account for the jobs that will open up as older generations retire. 

  • What traits and skills do I need to be successful in an engineering degree program?

    The best engineers are those that are able to combine their creativity and their logic in an effective way. 

    Engineers should be naturally curious and inquisitive about the world around them. They want to understand the details that go into making something work. Because of this, engineers tend to be very detail-oriented and organized while on the job.

    Good mathematical and analytical skills will also take people in the engineering profession far. On top of that, engineers should be strong communicators who can easily discuss their train of thought behind the projects they are working on. 

Resources for Future Engineering Degree Students

Before you sign up for classes, you’ll need to prepare for the admissions process and applications that come with enrolling in school as an engineer. 

Fortunately, there are many resources set up to help you every step of the way when it comes to enrolling in an online engineering degree. There are advisors and support groups at every college to help answer your questions. Then, even after you’ve started school, you can benefit from career resources to help you nail the interview and attain an entry-level position. 

Here’s some ways to make the most of your online college experience: 

Talk With An Advisor

On-campus advisors can help answer questions for engineering students regardless of their student status. Some campuses also offer mentorship programs that can help younger students learn more about the opportunities and organizations available on campus.

Improve Your Communication Skills

Public speaking and strong communication skills are crucial to success in the engineering field, which is why you should improve your skill set however possible. The Toastmasters nonprofit hosts groups and clubs all over the U.S. for people from all career fields to improve their communication techniques. 

Connect With Other Engineers

Boost your networking potential by joining organizations like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). These institutions connect engineers from all levels to answer questions and learn from each other in the field. 

Stand Out During the Interview

The Engineering Management Institute posts blogs and guest columns with advice specifically geared toward engineering students or recent graduates who are new to the workforce. 

Spruce Up Your Entry-Level Engineering Resume

The McKelvey School of Engineering offers tips for what you should and shouldn’t include on your resume in order to score an entry-level engineering job. Reference these tips before applying to positions to help you stand out among other candidates.

Get Help Finding Scholarships

The National Society of Professional Engineers offers a guide of scholarships for engineering students at all levels. Search for scholarships specifically for high school students or search by state or college for the best results.