Online Degree in Electrical Engineering

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Powering the World,
from Circuits to City Grids

Electrical engineers are at the forefront of innovation. They develop new applications for electronic and electrical systems and devices – from renewable energy generators to nanotechnology used in medical devices. Online electrical engineering degrees blend the study of mathematics and science with research applications in engineering, and cover topics ranging from signal processing to circuits design. The following guide provides an in-depth look into online electrical engineering programs, including degree options, course descriptions, and enrollment advice.

National Median Annual Salary & Job Growth For Electrical

The bureau of labor statistics provides the following data about job growth in the Electrical industry. As well as the following national median salary data for several different careers in the field of Electrical Engineering.

Career National Median Salary (2014) National Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) Minimum Education
Electrical Engineering Technician $59,820 -2% Associate Degree
Electrical Engineer $91,410 0% Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Hardware Engineer $108,430 3% Bachelor’s Degree
Industrial Production Engineer $81,490 1% Bachelor’s Degree
Engineering Manager $130,620 2% Bachelor’s Degree
EXPLORE ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS TO BECOME An ELECTRICAL ENGINEER search programs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook;
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment and Wage Estimates 2014

2017’s Top Online Electrical Engineering Programs

A degree in electrical engineering is a popular choice for students looking to enter a fulfilling career that allows them to work in a hands-on environment. Since most professions in this field require some level of degree completion, it may be beneficial for students to enroll in one of the top programs in this field with online learning options, so they can gain the field-specific credentials when and where works best for them. To help college-bound individuals choose the best program for them, we weighed every electrical engineering degree program in the country to create a ranked list of the top schools based on our criteria. Check out our rankings for 2017 here.

RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Score99.71
Net Price
Financial aid %73%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%

Research is an important part of the electrical engineering program at Oklahoma State University. This is because real-world practice and experience is what makes electrical engineers successful directly after earning their degree. Other than research, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering will also include plenty of practice with mathematics and fundamentals to make sure that students have all the resources they need to master the basics. After that, students will spend time in laboratories to bolster their education, as well as plenty of practice with computers. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to either begin their careers as an electrical engineer or continue their education.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Michigan Technological University Score99.43
Net Price
Financial aid %94%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate66%

Electrical engineering is a large field, so Michigan Technological University has created their bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering to meet the needs of specific fields. Students can specialize their degree in one of the diverse fields, giving them a chance to study in a field that cannot be studied directly through a different major. This education is bolstered with real-world practices and experience. After earning their bachelor’s degree, students are prepared to begin their career as electrical engineers. However, they always have the option to continue their education and study toward a graduate’s degree.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Mississippi State University Score98.20
Net Price
Financial aid %68%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%

Mississippi State University’s electrical engineering program is meant to give students the flexibility to study what they want in the field of electrical engineering. Those that choose to study toward a four-year degree in the field will be put on track to study specific lower division courses, but then will have the opportunity to hone their skills with more course option in their last two years. A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering also pairs well with minors, giving students an extra edge over competition when it comes time to apply for a career or graduate school

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Columbia University in the City of New York Score96.69
Net Price
Financial aid %46%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate95%

A bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbian University in the City of New York will give students the basic background knowledge they need to have a successful career while also teaching them more about their desired field. All students will take specific courses to solidify their fundamentals, but there are also plenty of elective courses offered that give students the chance to explore certain subjects more in depth. Columbia University also offers undergraduate students the chance to get involved in research opportunities, and students will also have access labs to work on their own projects.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Stanford University Score96.65
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate95%

Stanford University doesn't only offer a comprehensive curriculum for electrical engineering undergraduates. The university’s close proximity to Silicon Valley also gives students the chance to learn more about their field in a practical way while also finding opportunities for after they graduate with their bachelor’s degree. While studying toward their bachelor’s degree, students can choose from any of the four-year plans designed by Stanford, which lead to either a bachelor’s degree or a combined bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in electrical engineering. Research opportunities are also offered by the school, and there is a flexible study abroad program as well.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6University of Hartford Score96.62
Net Price
Financial aid %97%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%

Students that study toward a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Hartford will receive a comprehensive education. The field of electrical engineering is fairly open, so students are given the resources they need to begin their career as electrical engineers and move forward from there. After earning their bachelor’s degree, students may begin their career, but many others opt to continue their education and study toward a master’s degree in electrical engineering or a related field. Students also learn how to effectively communication with non-electrical engineers, facilitating any career.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7Missouri University of Science and Technology Score96.57
Net Price
Financial aid %81%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate65%

There are many directions a student can take their bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in. Because the field has so many options, Missouri University of Science and Technology gives students a comprehensive understanding of all the fields, giving students the chance to find out which field is the most interesting to them. After picking a field, students can then take elective courses to bolster their education in the field, or even specialize in the field to set them apart from competitors when they apply for a career or for graduate school. Students can also add other types of engineering to their studies to give them a more well-rounded education.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Iowa State University Score96.48
Net Price
Financial aid %75%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate71%

Electrical engineering has become much more than it used to be. Iowa State University understands that, so they offer multiple bachelor’s degrees in the field of electrical engineering. Each major is designed to allow students to specialize in a field that is most interesting to them, giving them a better chance of earning their career of choice after graduation. While the curriculum at Iowa State University prepares students to enter the profession after graduation, it also prepares students to continue their education at the graduate level if they are interested.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Score95.80
Net Price
Financial aid %54%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate73%

One of the most important parts of earning an education in electrical engineering is the experience you gain, a focus of the University Minnesota’s curriculum. Students that pursue a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience through a number of co-ops, research programs and internships. There are also study abroad options available for electrical engineers that still puts them on track to complete their degree in four years. The program culminates in a senior design project, adding to students’ resumes when they go to apply for a job after earning their degree.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10Clemson University Score95.78
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate82%

Clemson University offers a number of projects that students can participate in while studying toward their bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Students are also able to take specific tracks with their degrees, exposing them to more of the niche sections of electrical engineering. The program is designed to be completed in four years, but students can take online classes during the summer to further their education. Online courses are also available, and most of the bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering can be completed entirely online for students that can't regularly commute to campus.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11University of Idaho Score95.76
Net Price
Financial aid %78%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate56%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12Arizona State University-Tempe Score95.68
Net Price
Financial aid %86%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13University of Massachusetts-Lowell Score94.75
Net Price
Financial aid %59%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14Indiana State University Score94.63
Net Price
Financial aid %75%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15University of Virginia-Main Campus Score94.58
Net Price
Financial aid %29%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate93%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16Purdue University-Main Campus Score94.02
Net Price
Financial aid %47%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17North Carolina State University at Raleigh Score93.89
Net Price
Financial aid %50%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate71%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
18Illinois Institute of Technology Score93.85
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate68%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
19Stony Brook University Score93.38
Net Price
Financial aid %67%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
20Ohio University-Main Campus Score93.36
Net Price
Financial aid %68%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate63%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
21University of South Florida-Main Campus Score92.98
Net Price
Financial aid %73%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate57%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
22Clarkson University Score92.96
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
23University of Michigan-Dearborn Score92.71
Net Price
Financial aid %71%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
24Kansas State University Score92.39
Net Price
Financial aid %65%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
25Case Western Reserve University Score92.38
Net Price
Financial aid %84%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate78%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
26New Jersey Institute of Technology Score92.17
Net Price
Financial aid %46%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
27Colorado State University-Fort Collins Score91.98
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate63%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
28University of South Carolina-Columbia Score91.68
Net Price
Financial aid %47%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate72%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
29University of Colorado Boulder Score91.59
Net Price
Financial aid %45%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate68%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
30University of North Carolina at Charlotte Score91.52
Net Price
Financial aid %34%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate53%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
31Washington State University Score91.42
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate67%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
32Capitol College Score91.38
Net Price
Financial aid %92%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate29%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
33University of Arkansas Score91.02
Net Price
Financial aid %38%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate60%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
34University of Wisconsin-Madison Score90.99
Net Price
Financial aid %36%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate82%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
35Western New England University Score90.90
Net Price
Financial aid %97%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
36University of Florida Score90.83
Net Price
Financial aid %29%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate85%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
37Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus Score90.70
Net Price
Financial aid %88%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
38Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus Score90.50
Net Price
Financial aid %32%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate79%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
39SUNY at Binghamton Score90.12
Net Price
Financial aid %45%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate79%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
40University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Score89.66
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate84%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
41University of North Dakota Score89.58
Net Price
Financial aid %30%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
42The University of Texas at Arlington Score89.22
Net Price
Financial aid %42%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate40%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
43Kennesaw State University Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate37%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Milestone Map: Electrical Engineer’s Path

Outlined below is an example set of milestones an individual can achieve during their academic and career journey in electrical engineering.

Online Degree

Earns a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a specialization in signal processing

Internship

Helps conduct projects on DNA sequencing at biomedical engineering firm

Hired Full-Time

Gains experience in image analysis system design and bioinstrumentation

Professional
Engineer License

Gets state licensed after passing the Principles and Practice of Engineering
examination

Promotion to
Chief Engineer

Leads R&D unit responsible for designing biometric data applications

Expert Contributor

Writes for IEEE Spectrum, a popular engineering publication

What to Expect from Online Engineering Programs

Online electrical engineering degree programs are similar to on-campus programs, following the same curriculum and course calendars. The major difference is the delivery of instruction. Online students are still required to view lectures, complete assignments, read required materials, and engage with their peers and faculty members just like any other student. Below is a short overview of the learning experience for online electrical engineering students.

Course Delivery

Depending on the program, students may participate in either self-paced (asynchronous) or real-time (synchronous) learning environments. Classes are traditionally delivered via either streaming or recorded digital video.

Learning Management Technology

Students use online learning management systems to access course materials, participate in virtual classrooms, communicate with peers, and submit assignments. Examples of these web-based platforms include Blackboard and Moodle. Students should have a reliable Internet connection, a newer computer, and an up-to-date operating system.

Experiential Learning

Research and laboratory experimentation is important in electrical engineering programs. Some institutions may require students to attend summer intensive learning experiences on campus or participate in at-home exercises with additional course materials.

Examinations

Online examinations require a proctor. Most programs allow students to submit an application for a local proctor, an individual who manages the examination process. This provides for the student to take examinations in their local area.

Types of Online Degrees in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering has numerous academic pathways to careers in the field. Students may select between undergraduate and graduate programs, offered both entirely online or through hybrid instruction (requiring both online- and on-campus program). Below is a review of the major online electrical engineering program types.

  • Certificate
  • Associate’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate

Online certificates in electrical engineering can be leveraged by engineers as a form of professional development. Typically requiring between 12 and 16 credit hours to complete, these programs can generally be completed entirely online. Students can select a specific course of study, such as electric power engineering; circuits; digital electronics; or communication systems and complete a range of specialized, advanced classes in that field.

At the associate level, students may select between an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. The Associate of Science prepares students to transition into a four-year program of study, while the AAS is designed for students seeking entry-level employment in the field. Both programs generally require students to complete 60 credit hours of study. Unlike more advanced degrees, curriculum focuses on electronic engineering technology, not electrical engineering. Students gain fundamental skills required in entry-level technician careers, including a fundamental understanding of circuit design, microprocessors, and semiconductors.

Completing an online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering traditionally requires between 120 and 136 credit hours of full-time study. Although some students are able to earn their degree in four years, some programs may take upwards of six years to finish. Curriculum is progressive, advancing from foundational courses in mathematics and science (e.g. calculus; general chemistry); to core electrical engineering curriculum (e.g. energy conversion; circuit analysis and design; electromagnetics); and into specialized electives (embedded systems; semiconductors; digital signal processing).

The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering is designed to either prepare graduates for advancement opportunities in their professional career or pave the way for future studies at the doctoral level. Most online master’s degree programs in electrical engineering require 30 credit hours of full-time study to complete. Depending on the institution, students may be able to complete an all-course option or a shorter (24- to 27-credits) thesis option. Students move through core courses that cover the fundamentals of electrical engineering (e.g. linear systems; electromagnetic theory) before transitioning into an academic concentration, such as systems and controls; electric power and energy systems; image systems; or embedded systems engineering.

The majority of electrical engineering programs accredited by the Association Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) are on-campus. And, because of the research-focus of doctoral programs, fully online electrical engineering programs are not available. However, most programs do offer a range of courses online for doctoral students. Students typically complete 72 credit hours of study, conducting original research into sub-disciplines in the field, ranging from electric machinery to lightwave engineering, image processing to Students conduct original research into a specific concentration, ranging from electric machinery to lightwave engineering; image processing to robotics. After completing an original dissertation, graduates are prepared for research and teaching careers in academia, government and private industry.

Academic Concentrations in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering students may select to pursue a concentration in both undergraduate and graduate programs of study. These concentrations allow students to gain a depth of knowledge in a specific area and take classes based on their personal and professional interests. Below is a list of common electrical engineering specializations available to students.

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Communication Systems
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Electromagnetics
  • Integrated Circuits and Systems
  • Lightwave Engineering
  • Nanotechnology
  • Networking
  • Power Electronics
  • Power Systems
  • Telecommunications Engineering

Electrical Engineering College Coursework

Curriculum standards for engineering, including electrical engineering, are determined by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. These standards create consistency among degree programs. Students gain a fundamental understanding of electrical engineering and its components—signals and systems, electromagnetic fields, analog and digital systems—as well as in-depth skills in research and experimentation. Below is a list of classes that are traditionally found in ABET-accredited electrical engineering programs.

Course Description
Electromagnetic Theory

This course introduces students to the core concepts of electromagnetic theory, including wave equations, vector potentials, transmission lines, and Maxwell’s equations.

Digital Signal Processing

In this class, students learn about the fundamentals of digital signal processing, including digital filtering, Fourier transforms, linear systems, and windowing.

Digital Circuits and Systems

This course provides students with an overview of digital computing and logic, including the study of system design and operation, memory, logic design, and Boolean algebra.

Linear Systems

In this course students study the basic concepts of linear systems, including state variables, stability, time-variable systems, as well as discrete and continuous-linear systems.

Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering

Students gain a fundamental understanding of electrical engineering, including mathematical models used, basic circuit concepts, and are introduced to the study and function of resistors, amplifiers and capacitors.

Advice for Selecting the Right School

Because of the different types of online options available to electrical engineering students, it is important they do their due diligence before making a decision. They should review each program to ensure the curriculum, faculty, and student services meet their personal and professional needs. Here is a list of factors to consider when considering an online electrical engineering degree program.

  • Are there technology fees?

    Distance and online engineering students may be required to participate in at-home laboratory exercises, which requires additional course materials.

  • Is the program ABET-accredited?

    Students should ensure their program is ABET accredited to make sure they meet licensing and Professional Engineer designations in the future.

  • Does the program offer student services?

    Online students require the same access to financial aid support, academic tutoring, and career planning services as their on-campus counterparts.

  • What is the program’s PE success rate?

    Does the program graduate electrical engineers that become Professional Engineers? What is the passing/fail rate for students taking the PE examination?

Electrical Engineering: ABET Accreditation

Accreditation is a voluntary process conducted by non-governmental organizations to ensure academic programs meet industry standards of quality. For electrical engineering, the primary—and most important—accrediting body is the Association Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET accredits individual electrical engineering programs at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. Before enrolling in a program of study, students should check if that program is accredited by one of two ABET commissions: Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) and Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC). The EAC accredits electrical engineering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, while the ETAC accredits associate and bachelor’s programs in electrical engineering.

For prospective electrical engineering students, attending an ABET-accredited program is important. Most states require engineers to earn an accredited degree to qualify for licensure and many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited education and professional license.

Enrollment Guide:
Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering

Technological innovation is driving a changing landscape in the engineering profession, making an advanced degree increasingly necessary for employment and career advancement. In addition to preparing for supervisory or management positions, a graduate degree can also be used to satisfy continuing education requirements for licensure. Below is a sample timeline for enrolling in an online electrical engineering degree program at the graduate level.

Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1

Complete an undergraduate program in electrical engineering

4 to 6 years
Step 2

Gain real world experience through an Engineering Internship

5 years
Step 3

Work as an engineer, take the PE examination, and apply for a Professional Engineer License

4 – 5 years
Step 4

Take and pass the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

10 months to 1 year

Step 5

Submit an application to master’s degree programs

8 – 10 months

Earning a graduate degree in electrical engineering can help professionals advance up the career ladder. However, grad school is extremely competitive and candidates must be prepared prior to applying to a master’s degree program. Below are three ways prospective graduate students can make sure their candidacy is competitive as possible.

  • Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to develop additional practical skills the electrical engineering discipline. Volunteering also demonstrates the student’s commitment to and engagement with their community.
  • Join a Professional Association: Networking is important and engineers should join the local chapter of their engineering society and attend luncheons and other events. These contacts can lead to recommendations for graduate school and even employment opportunities after graduation.
  • Have professional experience: An engineering internship, work experience, and Professional Engineering license shows the graduate application committee the candidate is serious about their career and are using the master’s degree to advance their professional skills.

Professional Opportunities in Electrical Engineering

The electrical engineering profession offers numerous potential employment avenues, whether in signal processing or hardware development. Below is a list of five example career paths open to students that complete online electrical engineering degrees.

Electrical Engineering Technician

Working under the supervision and alongside electrical engineers, electrical engineering technicians are responsible for designing, building, and testing a range of electronic equipment—from computers to medical devices. A majority work in manufacturing and research laboratories, building electrical circuitry and control equipment. An associate degree or technical training diploma is traditionally required for employment in the industry.

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers are multi-disciplinary professionals that blend the study of physics, mathematics, and electricity to drive technological innovation. They design and build electronic and computing devices for a broad array of industries, such as telecommunication, software/hardware, signal processing, and energy and power. A bachelor’s degree, along with a Professional Engineer license, are traditionally required for employment as an electrical engineer.

Computer Hardware Engineer

Computer hardware engineers design and develop computer technology systems and components, such as circuit boards and networking devices. Working closely with software engineers, they rely on their creative and technical skills to develop solutions to get computer equipment to work with software. Examples range from embedded computer systems in automobiles to automated manufacturing systems. To enter the field, individuals typically most possess either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in electrical engineering from an ABET-accredited institution.

Industrial Production Engineering

Industrial production engineers are concerned with efficiency, devising new ways to improve production processes—bringing together organizational management skills with technical knowledge. They create manufacturing systems that help workers, materials, and information work more effectively to help companies reduce costs and waste. Employed across industry, such as manufacturing and healthcare, industrial production engineers may evaluate workers’ job performance, find novel approaches to scheduling, or implement updated design processes to improve product delivery. A bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program is recommended.

Engineering Manager

Electrical engineering managers are charged with serving as supervisors, leading electrical engineering projects. They are the principal architects for the design of new products or construction projects. They determine staffing and equipment needs, project budgets, liaise with clients and suppliers, and monitor the timeline and quality of each individual project. Although mostly based in offices, electrical engineering managers are employed across industries, ranging from software development to biotechnology. An advanced occupation, a majority of electrical engineering managers either have advanced degrees or significant years of experience, along with a Professional Engineer license.

Earning Certifications and Licensure

Certification is one way for electrical engineers to remain relevant in their profession and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. Below is a list of three example certifications for electrical engineers.

  • Certified Electrical Inspector

    Offered by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, this certification is a nationally recognized credential. Designed for individuals in the electrical inspection profession, the certification requires the successful completion of a computer-based examination. Candidates must have an associate or bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or a PE in Electrical Engineering and hold between 2,000 and 8,000 hours of professional experience, based on the level of certification: Certified Electrical Inspector Residential or Certified Electrical Inspector Master.

  • Certified Power Quality Professional

    Sponsored by the Association of Energy Engineers, this certification is for power quality professionals who demonstrate advanced knowledge and experience in the field. To qualify, candidates must work requirements that vary by educational attainment. Individuals with a PE license or four-year engineering degree must have at least three years of experience, those with a four-year non-engineering degree must have five years of experience, those with a two-year degree must have at least five years of experience, and individuals without a degree must have at least 10 years of experience. In addition to academic and professional experience requirements, candidates must also pass an examination and attend a three-day seminar.

  • Certified Software Development Professional

    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers a Certified Software Development Professional designation. It is designed for individuals in mid-level positions in software engineering and development. The designation includes exam-based testing, employment requirements, and continuing professional education requirements. Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of four knowledge areas (e.g. Software Engineering Construction, Software Engineering Testing) and complete two practical, experience-based applied modules.

The electrical engineering practice—like most engineering occupations—is licensed at the state level. Individual state boards determine the qualifications, education, and examinations candidates must pass in order to become licensed electrical engineers in the state. Typically, electrical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program, meet work experience requirements, pass comprehensive examinations, and submit an application and fees to their state board. A list of state licensure boards and their requirements is available from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).

It is important to remember that entry-level engineering technicians and electrical engineers do not need to hold Professional Licensure for entry-level employment. However, a PE license can impact employability, promotional opportunities as employers typically prefer to hire and advance individuals with licensure.

Other Engineering Disciplines to Consider

Engineering is broad profession, one that covers a number of interrelated areas of practice in related fields. Below are three examples of engineering programs in growing industries that may be of interest to prospective engineering students.

Online Civil
Engineering Degrees

An online degree in civil engineering offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge of and skills in various disciplines, including structural, geotechnical, water resources, and environmental engineering. Graduates of these programs can pursue employment in a range of professional settings, including municipalities, transportation departments, consulting firms, and government agencies.

Online Mechanical
Engineering Degrees

Mechanical engineering exists at the intersection of innovation and manufacturing. One of the field’s broadest disciplines, an online degree in mechanical engineering can prepare graduates for career paths in nearly every industry, such as aerospace, computers and electronics, renewable energy, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing.

Online Petroleum
Engineering Degrees

The increasing demand for energy positions individuals with an online degree in petroleum engineering for long-term career success. Students develop an understanding of petroleum and natural gas extraction, production and refinement and gain skills to navigate the waters of environmental issues and public policy.

Electrical Engineering Student Resources