In this article, we profile the top 10 affordable online engineering degree programs of 2021.
Engineers play a role in our everyday lives. Engineers are to be thanked for the creation of everything from airports to appliances. This profession also has a favorable job outlook and offers competitive salaries. But to become an engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at minimum. Today, online options are plentiful for earning an engineering degree. Some of the nation’s top colleges and universities offer online engineering degree programs designed to equip students for careers in every engineering niche.
Top 10 Affordable Online Engineering Degree Programs Methodology
We reviewed approximately 106 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and reputable online sources that offered online engineering degree programs at the undergraduate level. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation (regional and/or national), institution and/or program rankings with at least one major publication like U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. We selected schools with a combined tuition price of less than $10,000 per year. We then listed the programs according to raw affordability.
Below are the resulting selections for our 10 affordable online engineering degree programs of 2021.
#10 – University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Online Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Undergraduate Tuition: $9,736
University of North Dakota offers several online engineering degree programs designed with access and affordability in mind. For less than $10,000 per year, students may earn bachelor’s degrees in engineering specialties like chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, geological engineering, mechanical engineering, and more. These programs may be completed entirely online and serve as preparation for admission to graduate engineering programs. But University of North Dakota is not only known for the quality of its engineering degrees online; it is also ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, UND ranks #263 in best national universities and #128 in top public schools. Also, its online master’s in engineering programs rank among the top 70 programs in the country.
#9 – Indiana State University
Terre Haute, Indiana
Online Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology, Engineering Technology Management, Mechanical Engineering
Undergraduate Tuition: $9,236
Indiana State University’s online engineering degrees include bachelor’s programs in areas like electronic engineering technology, engineering technology management, and mechanical engineering. These programs can be completed entirely online with classes taught by the same ISU faculty who instruct on campus. To be considered for admission to any of the bachelor’s in engineering online programs, applicants must hold an AS degree or have completed specific classes at ISU. For example, the electronics engineering technology program requires the completion of an AS or AAS in electronics technology or the completion of 24 credits in classes like AC circuits, digital computer circuits, and intro to electronics. Indiana State University ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#8 – Bemidji State University
Online Bachelor’s in Applied Engineering
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,940
One of the most affordable online engineering degree programs on our list is the online bachelor’s in applied engineering at Bemidji State University. This ATMAE-accredited program costs less than $9,000 per year and is open to applicants who have a certificate, diploma, or two-year degree in a related discipline. Transfer credits are also accepted. In fact, students may transfer up to 38 technical credits from a community college or university. Some of the required courses you will likely take while enrolled in the applied engineering program include operations planning and control, safety and risk management, and sustainability and emerging technologies. Bemidji State ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 92nd best regional university in the Midwest.
#7 – University of Southern Mississippi
Online Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,896
For less than $9,000 per year, students may earn top online engineering degrees from University of Southern Mississippi. In fact, the school offers an online bachelor’s in industrial engineering technology with or without a focus in logistics. The online bachelor’s program is fully accredited with the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of the ABET. Online courses cover topics like electrical systems, engineering economics, industrial cost control, industrial quality control, and operations and logistics concepts. In addition to being fully accredited, USM ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.
#6 – Lamar University
Online Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Industrial Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $8,494
Lamar University offers three online engineering degrees at the undergraduate level. Students may earn bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering, industrial engineering, or industrial technology. Programs are either delivered entirely online or in a hybrid format. However, all online courses are taught by Lamar’s experienced faculty. All programs are fully accredited and recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, both Lamar and its online programs are ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Current rankings include #293-#381 in best national universities and #335 in top performers on social mobility. The online bachelor’s programs rank #171 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.
#5 – American Military University
Charles Town, West Virginia
Online Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering
Undergraduate Tuition: $7,324
The American Military University offers online engineering degrees for undergraduates pursuing a focus in electrical engineering. The bachelor’s in electrical engineering, or BSEE, may be completed entirely online. The program consists of 128 credits and eight-week courses. These courses cover topics like electrical circuit analysis, electrical engineering fundamentals, introduction to electrical engineering, and measurements and instrumentation. AMU is a branch of the APU (American Public University) system. The school ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the South. Also, many of the school’s graduate programs have received rankings. In fact, the online bachelor’s in electrical engineering program serves as entry into a graduate engineering program.
#4 – Florida International University
Online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,565
For those in search of an online engineering degree at the undergraduate level, Florida International University has two possibilities. The online bachelor’s in computer engineering or electrical engineering are both offered to students online and serve as preparation for entry into graduate school programs. Both programs require the completion of 128 credits. Admission requires official high school transcripts, competitive grades, and official SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students with less than 60 transferable credits must also submit test scores for admission consideration. FIU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 218th best national university, 63rd most innovative school, and 12th top performer on social mobility.
#3 – Kennesaw State University
Online Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Industrial Engineering Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,456
Kennesaw State University offers two engineering degrees online in industrial and systems engineering and industrial engineering technology. For less than $6,500 per year, students may earn bachelor’s degrees in these two areas of engineering. Also, within the industrial and systems engineering bachelor’s programs, students may further tailor their degree by completing a 28 credit-hour concentration. The total of the credits required for the degree is 127. In addition to offering affordable programs, Kennesaw is fully accredited and ranked with major publications. In fact, Kennesaw ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 293rd-381st best national university and 72nd most innovative school.
#2 – Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Online Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,450
Eastern New Mexico University offers an online engineering degree in electronics engineering technology. This fully online program is ideal for those seeking engineering degrees online. The program is designed for individuals with a strong mathematical background who want to pursue careers in electronics engineering. Graduates of the program have qualified for jobs in computers, electronics, industrial control, and manufacturing and testing. Eastern New Mexico University ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, recent rankings include #87-#113 in best regional universities in the West and #72 in top performers on social mobility.
#1 – Daytona State College
Daytona Beach, Florida
Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Technology
Undergraduate Tuition: $3,106
The most affordable online engineering degree on our list is offered by Daytona State College. For close to $3,000 per year, students may earn engineering degrees online at Daytona State. The engineering technology program offers a BS in engineering technology or a BS degree with a concentration in electrical engineering technology. Enrolled students take courses that cover topics like construction materials and methods, engineering quality assurance, programmable logic applications and device, and project management. Daytona State ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional college in the South. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #29 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with an online engineering degree?
One of the most popular majors for finding full-time work right after graduation is engineering. Engineering professionals work in various fields and industries and are responsible for designing and developing products that improve systems, function, and manufacturing. High salaries and favorable job outlooks usher in engineering students. But there are many different occupations. Here’s a look at some of the possible careers you can have with an online engineering degree.
Computer engineers typically work in research laboratories to design, develop, research, and test computer systems and hardware components. As a computer engineer, you will likely work in design or manufacturing. An earned bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from an accredited program and school is required.
Electrical engineers work in industries that research, develop, test, and design the manufacture of electrical equipment. They are trained in math, science, and engineering, and hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Industrial engineers are often responsible for observing a problem in manufacturing and working to solve that problem through the implementation of efficient systems. To become an industrial engineer, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a strong background in math and science.
Mechanical engineers build, test, design, and develop mechanical sensors for devices. They often work in labs or offices, occasionally visiting manufacturing sites when there is a problem with a specific piece of equipment.
What is the job outlook for individuals with an online engineering degree?
The job outlook and labor demand for engineers varies by specialty. While most skilled engineers will see bright job prospects, others may find certain fields more challenging to break into. The overall job outlook for all engineering occupations is projected to be favorable and steady for the next several years. In fact, employment of engineers is expected to grow 5% through 2028.
With an online engineering degree, the likelihood of finding a job is high. However, earning a degree in a specialty, such as in mechanical engineering or sales engineering, will add expertise and skill to your resumé. Employment for sales engineers is projected to grow six percent by 2028 and four percent for mechanical engineers.
The job outlook for other specialties in engineering is also favorable and steady. Electrical and electronics engineers should see a two percent employment growth, while industrial engineers should expect an eight-percent growth.
As companies expand their technologies and bring in new innovations to automate production and improve processes, engineers of all kinds will be needed. In fact, industrial engineers and manufacturing engineers may find the best prospects for employment.
By earning an online engineering degree with a specialization or concentration, you will earn additional credentials and skills valued by employers.
What specializations are there in online engineering degree programs?
There are many specializations one may choose while earning an online engineering degree. Among the most popular specializations, and often the ones we hear about the most, are computer software engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. But there are lucrative fields of engineering that require training in other specialties. Below are potential specializations for those earning an online engineering degree.
Civil engineering: Civil engineers are responsible for designing and supervising the construction of certain infrastructures like roadways, tunnels, and bridges. The degree requires the study of mathematics, physical science, and a strong foundation in engineering applications and technologies.
Computer engineering: Majoring in computer engineering means taking classes in math and computer science. A computer engineer designs and implements the bridge between software and hardware.
Electrical or electronics engineering: Electrical and electronics engineers design, develop, and test the manufacture of electrical equipment. A bachelor’s degree with a strong foundation in math, science, and technology is required.
Industrial engineering: This specialization focuses on the implementation and design of efficient systems that integrate people and machines to make products or services.
Mechanical engineering: Mechanical engineers build and design mechanical sensors and devices for equipment, products, and manufacturing. While mechanical engineers need a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, they must also be licensed.
How much money can you earn with an online engineering degree?
As with job outlook, salaries for individuals with an online engineering degree vary by occupation and industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual wage for all engineering occupations is $91,010, which is more than double the median wage for all workers. However, this number fluctuates by specialty and occupation.
We examined several types of engineers and listed their median annual pay. This number was gathered by the most recent information provided by BLS.
Petroleum engineers, according to BLS, earn a median annual wage of $137,720 as of May 2019. The highest ten percent of this occupation earned more than $208,000 while the lowest ten percent earned approximately $79,000.
Industrial engineers earned a median annual pay of $88,020 per year. The highest ten percent of earners pulled in $134,070 while the lowest ten percent of earners made approximately $57,000 per year. However, certain industries paid their industrial engineers higher wages. These industries include professional, scientific, and technical services and computer and electronic product manufacturing.
The average annual wage for mechanical engineers is comparable to industrial engineering. At over $88,000 per year, mechanical engineers earn a steady income and enjoy a favorable job outlook.
Other engineering occupations and earnings include:
Materials engineers: $93,360
Nuclear engineers: $113,460
Sales engineers: $103,900
What are the admission requirements for an online engineering degree program?
Admission requirements for online engineering degree programs are generally the same across the board. Most undergraduate engineering programs require a high school diploma with a competitive GPA. SAT or ACT scores are also generally required for admission. However, top-ranked schools and engineering programs may require additional admission criteria.
To make your application stand out against competition, a strong GPA is necessary. Some of the nation’s top engineering programs ask for a 3.50 GPA or better. Other programs may have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.30.
But beyond high school requirements and standard admission to a college or university, engineering programs may only admit students after they have completed at least one year of college coursework. In fact, some engineering programs ask to evaluate two years of college coursework before offering admission. Coursework and grades will be evaluated. Students will be required to take foundational classes in math, science, and technology. However, some computer science courses may be required, especially for those pursing computer engineering or software engineering programs.
Other admission requirements may include work history or research experience, letters of recommendation from a school counselor and teachers, and a well-written letter of intent or purpose (also known as the college essay).
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