Most engineers design, build, or maintain structures, but there are other specializations for engineering students to choose from. Those intrigued by the influence of electricity on technology may consider an online electrical engineering degree, where coursework focuses on strengthening math and problem solving skills through foundational concepts like the probability theory, which analyze and calculate influential variables that impact systems. The electrical engineering specialization also allows students to concentrate in communications, power systems, or computer engineering. Students should look for programs accredited by the Association Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
As technology dependence continues to grow, electrical engineers occupy every industry. In fact, electrical engineering growth stems from service firms who need electronic system and device experts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions for electrical engineers are projected to increase by 9% through 2026.
Choosing a university can be difficult for students when considering influential factors. You’ll find a list of our approved online electrical engineering degrees below. These programs have been examined through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and public information provided by universities. IPEDS examines information such the cost of tuition, as graduation rate data, program specific resources, and overall student services.
Because employers need electrical engineers no matter what the industry, students should identify potential career options by considering the fields that appeal to them most. However, students can also consider current trends to see what industries need electrical engineers. According to the BLS, the demand for electrical engineers is projected to increase faster than other engineer roles due to the rapid expansion of technological innovation.
The table below includes salary, job outlook, and descriptions for well known professions for electrical engineer bachelor degree holders.
Electrical engineers create designs for new electrical equipment or find new ways to use existing products. Primary duties include developing and testing products they design. This role also requires research when models do not already exist. Additionally, these engineers investigate complaints from all stakeholders and collaborate with other professionals to ensure products meet standards within the organization’s budget.
Electrical technicians work with electrical engineers to design computers and specialized equipment for multiple industries. General responsibilities include building prototypes, testing equipment, and developing solutions for technical problems. Most of these professionals work for semiconductor and manufacturing organizations. While jobs exist for students with an associate degree, professionals with a bachelor’s degree have a competitive advantage.
Computer hardware engineers work with processors, memory devices, routers, networks, and circuit boards. Additionally, these professionals ensure compatibility with the latest software models and existing hardware. This requires collaboration with software developers. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree for this role. Some firms may prefer candidates who have or plan to earn an advanced degree.
An electronic engineer creates electronic products, software, systems, or parts that multiple organizations can use. This role requires exemplary communication and collaboration skills. Professionals often work with teams and the client to understand their needs. Electronic engineers often outline electrical system plans and project budgets. At times, these professionals manage maintenance or create a maintenance process for products they developed.
Aerospace engineers create and test prototypes used in space or aircrafts. This role requires leadership and organizational development abilities as professionals often direct and coordinate designs in teams. Aerospace engineers are also required to work with clients to identify their needs, which requires good communication skills. The majority of these professionals work for manufacturing companies, engineering services, or the government.
Sources: BLS 2018
Earning an online electrical engineering degree requires a significant investment. Students should identify the return on their investment by examining job growth and earning potential associated with their ideal career. While general information is helpful, students should consider specific factors that influence salaries and job availability. Geographic location is one such factor. For example, the District of Columbia offers the highest salaries, but California offers the most opportunities.
Students should also consider how industries influence career options. Mining offers the highest paying jobs for electrical engineers.
While all programs cover general education requirements, major coursework varies by school. Developed programs may offer additional electives or concentrations depending on which accrediting standards the university follows. Identifying the best program requires course offering comparisons with the student’s ideal career. The list below includes courses commonly found in an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree.
Calculus for engineers focuses on calculus through the lens of engineering, which covers inverse, functions, and monotonicity. Students also examine the derivative, curve sketching, and optimization. This course may include applications of integrals and differential equations.
This course covers the foundation for computer and digital systems. Course objectives include understanding how digital system pieces are created and interfaced. Additionally, students should understand how digital system pieces interact with each other.
Principles of programming introduces students to computer programming concepts and principles with emphasis on imperative, procedural, and object-oriented programming guidelines. Course objectives include familiarization with algorithm design and computer system concepts.
Circuits I covers fundamental knowledge and theories of electronic components, systems, and circuits. These topics are examined through analysis and construction skills, which require students to solve electrical engineering problems.
This course introduces probabilistic techniques used for random signals assessment within systems. End of course goals include understanding theory of random vectors and variables, statistical averages, and system parameter estimation.
Students should consider several factors when selecting an online electrical engineering degree. Both a university’s accreditation and general reputation can influence a graduate’s professional marketability. Student outcomes including graduation and retention rates help gauge a program’s success. Many online schools provide digital resources for students, which may include tutoring or internship placement assistance. Faculty credentials and student-to-teacher ratios can be helpful when assessing school culture and environment. This section addresses common question about an online bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
Online electrical engineering degrees often follow the traditional four years for a bachelor’s degree if students attend full time. However, some programs may require as many as six years. Part-time students should double program length. Adding a minor or concentration can extend programs as well.
There are multiple online learning formats, which could impact graduation timelines. Asynchronous learning formats follow average time frames, while self-paced programs could take longer.
There are multiple engineering concentrations. A power systems concentration leads to jobs in plant power distribution, substation design, and transmission-line engineer roles. A communications concentration prepares students for radio frequency, electronic communications, or broadcast engineering jobs. Electronic concentrations prepare students for control and sales engineer positions. Students may also consider computer engineering. Job roles include hardware engineering and computer network architecture.
Both regional and national accrediting agencies operate in the U.S. Regional accreditations are highly regarded. More than 85% of schools have regional accreditation, which makes credit transferring much easier. On the other hand, students should consider programmatic accreditation since they are governed by engineer experts. ABET establishes standards for quality electrical engineering programs.
Online electrical engineering tuition cost vary, but many range from $32,000-$72,000. Students should familiarize themselves with factors that impact program costs. Out-of-state tuition often costs much more than in-state tuition. Additionally, some electrical engineering programs require field experience. Given the technical nature of coursework, schools may charge additional fees for program expenses.
The National Society of Professional Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology offer student memberships. Students have access to online journals and networking opportunities. Electrical engineering students pursuing a communications-related concentration can join the Audio Engineering Society. Also, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is the largest professional organization dedicated to the advancement of technology.
Financial aid is often the first source for funding college tuition. Federal aid includes grants, loans, and work study. Grants and work-study programs do not have to be repaid. However, loans must be repaid after students graduate. Unsubsidized loans collect interest upon receipt, which is why students should consider scholarships. Scholarships are not repaid, and many organizations and foundations set aside funds to support specific populations of students. This list below includes scholarships for students earning an electrical engineering bachelor’s.
Kelly Services offers a $1,500 scholarship to undergraduate students in their junior or senior year who are majoring in engineering. Students should be able to display their commitment to engineering through extracurricular activities, volunteering, or prior internships. Applicants must also submit a maximum 1200-word essay. Students should have at least a 3.0 GPA to qualify. Additionally, students must submit letters of recommendation and official transcripts.
Intertek is a leading tech organization specializing in quality assurance. To support future engineers, Intertek awards a maximum of $10,000 to five students each year. Additionally, winners receive a paid internship the following summer. To qualify, undergraduate students should be in their sophomore or junior year with a minimum 3.2 GPA. Students must be U.S. or Canadian citizens and are required to be enrolled full time at an accredited university.
The National Society of Professional Engineers awards one $2,500 scholarship to a female engineering undergraduate who is enrolled full time at an ABET accredited university. Applicants must be entering their junior year and be a U.S. citizen. Students must submit transcripts, recommendation letters, a resume, and a 500-word essay describing their engineering career goals. Applicants are also evaluated by their internship or volunteer experiences and their GPA.
The Society of Women Engineers offers a scholarship to female engineering students enrolled full time at an accredited university. Undergraduate students must be in their sophomore, junior, or senior year, and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Official transcripts are also required. Additionally, students must provide a resume and letters of recommendation. Applicants should not receive awards from any other organization when applying for the SWE Scholarship. The maximum award is $7,000, but award amounts vary.
SimpliSafe offers a $1,000 scholarship to the next generation of STEM professionals. Undergraduate electrical engineering majors enrolled full time with a 3.0 GPA can apply. Students must submit a 500-word essay about their greatest STEM-related achievement or what sparked their interest in STEM. Students should be able to demonstrate active engagement in STEM outside of the classroom through activities like extracurriculars or volunteering.