Two Year Engineering Degrees: Your Go To Guide

The minimum requirement for an engineering entry-level career is a bachelor’s degree. This is probably why many are unaware that two year engineering degrees exist. If you want an engineering but cannot commit to to long and expensive four-year schools, an associate degree program would be perfect for you.

There are over 40 types of engineering degree specializations. At the associate degree level, only a few are available. We will explore the most common and popular two-year engineering specialization programs.

Types of Associate Degrees in Engineering

Similar to four-year degree programs, two-year associate degrees also offer various focuses. You must also choose the right associate program for you if you plan on pursuing a four-year degree later on.

Featured Programs

Here are the types of associate degrees and their focuses:

Associate of Engineering (AE)Provides a broad foundation in engineering principles and may include coursework in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and engineering fundamentals.
Associate of Engineering Science (AES)Emphasizes a more theoretical approach to engineering principles, focusing on mathematics, physics, and core engineering concepts.
Associate of Science in Engineering (ASE)Similar to the AE and AES programs, the ASE degree provides a foundation in engineering fundamentals, mathematics, and science.
Associate of Engineering Technology (AET)Focuses on practical applications of engineering principles, with coursework in technical skills such as drafting, computer-aided design (CAD), and materials testing.
Associate of Applied Science – Focus on Engineering (AAS)Combines general education courses with technical coursework in engineering and applied sciences.

Common Associate Degree Engineering Specializations

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace engineers spend time in aircraft hangars, testing facilities, or on-site at aerospace companies. It’s a great start for people who want to work in the military or the commercial industry.

Associate in aerospace engineering education requirements:

  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Introduction to Aeronautical Engineering
  • Aviation Law

Computer Engineering

Computer engineers’ working conditions will vary depending on which industry they pursue. Nevertheless, the technology industry offers great opportunities for those who want to compete.

Associate in computer engineering education requirements:

  • Intro to Computer
  • Intro to Electrical Engineering
  • Precalculus Algebra
  • Intro to Software Engineering

Civil Engineering

This is one of the most physically demanding engineering fields. Those who pursue this path must be prepared for work involving exposure to weather elements and physical demands.

Associate in civil engineering education requirements:

  • Statics
  • Structural Analysis
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering

Education Engineering

Education engineers may work in educational institutions, government agencies, or corporate settings. Work environments can vary from classrooms to offices.

Associate in Education Engineering education requirements:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Instructional Design
  • Curriculum Development
  • Technology Integration in Education

Electronics Engineering

It offers a flexible career path since electronics play a crucial role in almost all industries. They work as electronics engineers, electrical technicians, hardware engineers, or control systems engineers.

Associate in Electronics Engineering education requirements:

  • Circuit Analysis
  • Digital Electronics
  • Microcontrollers
  • Signals and Systems

Environmental Engineering

The demand for a workforce in the environmental sector rises as the world faces more environmental issues.

Associate in Environmental Engineering education requirements:

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Quality Management
  • Air Pollution Control
  • Solid Waste Management

Industrial Engineering

This degree can be used to work in industries that require optimization of complex systems and processes. This opens doors to manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and service industries.

Associate in Industrial Engineering education requirements:

  • Industrial Systems
  • Operations Research
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Ergonomics

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical work engineers create solutions and develop technologies for the modern business world. They’re mostly found in manufacturing-based companies.

Associate in Mechanical Engineering education requirements:

  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Materials Science
  • Thermodynamics
  • Machine Design

What You Need to Know

“Is it hard to become an engineer?” is a question that many aspiring engineers ask. The answer, like many things in life, is complex.

In addition to manifesting to yourself, “I want to be an engineer,” you need to really put in the work. Getting an engineering degree requires a lifetime commitment in a rapidly changing field. You must stay on top of the current trends through continuing education programs.

The Professional Engineer (PE) licensure exam requires a bachelor’s degree. Nevertheless, an associate degree is a good start. It is a cost-effective way to gain foundational knowledge and skills that you can take with you to a four-year engineering degree.

Engineering associate graduates make more than holders of non-technical jobs. Associate degrees in administration or retail get a lot less.

Depending on your specialization, you can pursue these careers with an associate degree:

TitleMedian Annual Salary
Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians$59,630
Drafters$60,400
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologists and Technicians$66,390
Electro-mechanical and Mechatronics Technologists and Technicians$60,570
Environmental Engineering Technologists and Technicians$50,980
Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians$61,210

Upon earning your associate degree, if you’ve decided that engineering is really your interest, you should pursue a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, transfer students pursue a bachelor’s degree similar to their associate degree. You can always switch majors when transferring to a four-year degree.

How to Get an Engineering Degree

When it comes to earning two year engineering degrees, there are several engineering specialties available, which might confuse you on which one to choose. The good news is that most engineering specialties offer the same core courses delving into the various types of engineering.

When deciding which specialty and degree level fits you best, you need to consider a lot of things. First and foremost, you need to consider your interests.

Do you like the outdoors? Perhaps a degree in civil engineering or environmental engineering would suit you. If you prefer to stay indoors, a degree in software engineering or electrical engineering would better suit you. You can also consider your existing skills that complement a particular engineering field.

In addition to your interests, you also need to consider your professional goals. It’s important to note that engineering is a vast field, meaning salary and advancement opportunities will significantly differ. Some engineering specialties are in greater demand right now.

The Labor Statistics (BLS) report shows that the top-paid engineering careers are:

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to get an engineering degree:

  1. Consider your interests. Pursue a field that meets your interests, skills, and goals.
  2. Consider your budget. Regardless if you’re pursuing a two-year or four-year degree, choose a school within your means or those that offer financial aid opportunities. Public institutions are cheaper than private institutions. However, private institutions can be a lot more affordable for out-of-state students.
  3. Consider your goals. Associate degrees have less to no career progression. You need a bachelor’s for entry-level roles. If you want to pursue leadership and research roles, pursue a master’s and doctorate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get an engineering degree in two years?

Associate degree programs are generally completed within two years. Some programs will actually allow you to complete your degree in as few as 18 months.

Are 2-year engineering degrees worth it?

Two year engineering degrees are worth it, particularly if you’re uncertain about an engineering career. It’s a practical way to test your suitability for the field.

What is the best engineering associate’s degree?

The best engineering associate degree depends on your goals. But in terms of salary, the top degrees are those in electrical engineering and computer engineering.

Is dual degree engineering worth it?

Absolutely yes! Dual degree programs are fast and, most often, affordable ways to earn two degrees and quickly compete in the field. However, they are demanding. If you plan to pursue this path, you must be prepared to dedicate most of your time to finishing the accelerated curriculum. This is only advised for those with part-time careers.