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.
Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factorsData Sources:
Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.
1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.
2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.Notes:
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.
|Rank||School Logo||School Name||Location||Tuition||Financial Aid||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||# of Online Programs||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Old Dominion University||Norfolk, Virginia||$6,330||65%||85%||55%||1||Yes||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Old Dominion University has offered distance education for over 30 years; a newer element of this program allows students to earn or complete their bachelor's degree online. Old Dominion offers 5 different entirely online degrees in the field of electrical engineering technology, each of which is meant to prepare students for a specific career path. For example, the communications systems technology major will teach students how to work with wireless systems and advanced circuits, while the computer engineering technology major prepares students for careers in programming. Other choices are embedded systems technology, mechatronics technology and power systems technology. Available minors allow students to specialize even further. Transfer students are welcome, but Old Dominion requires that graduates earn at least 30 credits through its school. The required credits per 4-year program vary, but students should expect to complete up to 128 credits hours before graduating. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in Virginia as well as several other states; passing the exam is one of the criteria for licensure.School website
|2||Clemson University||Clemson, South Carolina||$13,418||68%||51%||83%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Recommended for students that are currently working full time in an engineering field, Clemson University's Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering is offered online for maximum flexibility. However, students should be aware that this is a degree completion program, and that some of the required courses in this 126-credit program are not offered online by Clemson and must be completed at other institutions and then transferred. Students are expected to hold a B average from previous coursework; however, those who fall short may apply for special dispensation if they demonstrate sufficient academic ability through other channels. Once admitted, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. The length of time to complete the program varies according to a student's individual time commitment; those attending on a part-time basis, who bring in some transfer credits, may expect to complete the full program in about 6 years. The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.School website
|3||Stony Brook University||Stony Brook, New York||$6,470||66%||41%||71%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Located near New York City, Stony Brook University awards more than 200 degrees, including an online bachelor's in electrical engineering. This completion degree is offered in an asynchronous format, and is designed to attract working students who need maximum flexibility in their schedules. Structured to be completed in 4 years, students will be able to follow a set course outline while still taking courses at their own pace. Courses include topics such as electromagnetics, engineering design, digital logic design and electronic circuits; after graduation, students should be prepared for careers in various industries that require the design and use of engineering devices and systems. Students who lack certain prerequisite classes - typically lower-division lab courses - may be required to take them on campus before being admitted to the program. Once students are accepted to the program, all labs, tests and discussions are completed entirely online. Admission requirements dictate that students show transcripts proving an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 in certain classes, and no grade below a C.School website
|4||Siena Heights University||Adrian, Michigan||$24,390||99%||72%||53%||1||Yes||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
A Catholic school based in Adrian, Michigan, Siena Heights has an online program aimed at students who wish to further both their education and their careers through a degree completion program. The curriculum at Siena Heights adheres to an "inverted major" format. This means students will not engage in coursework that is specific to their field, but instead will take a complement of classes that are designed to give them a fuller liberal arts background as well as management skills. Students interested in earning a bachelor's degree in electronics technology must meet certain admissions requirements to demonstrate their competency in electronics technology. One route is to present an associate in applied science from a regionally accredited school; another is to show 35 completed credit hours and otherwise prove their technical abilities for electrical engineering, through work experience or military experience, for example. Upon entrance, the program is designed to take as little as 2 years to complete.School website
|5||University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Charlotte, North Carolina||$3,737||28%||62%||58%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Established specifically to train the workforce immediately after World War II, the Charlotte campus of the University of North Carolina has continued to educate students in the technical fields while also developing into a strong research institution. Students that choose to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the university should be prepared for multiple potential careers, including designing avionic control systems, creating applications for HVAC systems and working with networked computer systems or consumer electronics. Classes are offered entirely online except for on-campus labs conducted over the summer. The program is targeted to students who already have an applied sciences associate degree and currently hold jobs, but anyone who meets admission requirements is eligible to apply. All upper-division courses are offered both part time and full time to best accommodate working students. UNC Charlotte has also established relationships with local businesses to help connect local graduates to job possibilities.School website
|6||Indiana State University||Terre Haute, Indiana||$8,546||68%||86%||41%||1||Yes||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
With one of the largest statewide online schools, Indiana State University welcomes seasoned students into its online electrical engineering program. For this degree completion program, ISU requires students to have either an associate of science in electronics technology from Ivy Tech Community College or Vincennes University (both located in Indiana), or to have completed a similar associate degree from an accredited school. Once students are accepted, they take complete an additional 80 credits of coursework covering electronics technology; mechanical engineering technology; various areas in math, computer science, physical science and technology management; as well as electives in robotics and manufacturing. Students will also take professional classes to develop workplace management skills, and upon graduation should be prepared to take positions in areas such as instrumentation and control, electronics manufacturing, power operations, and sales and services. The program has earned accreditation from the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).School website
|7||North Carolina A & T State University||Greensboro, North Carolina||$3,470||66%||54%||51%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Giving students a wide range of skills in electronics technology is the goal of this online bachelor's degree in electronics technology from North Carolina A&T State University. The 120-credit program is structured to take the traditional 4 years, but is specifically aimed at working students who would have difficulty making the commute to campus. Transfer students are also encouraged. Requiring that students maintain at least a "C" grade in all major-specific courses, the program emphasizes mainframe education, with students learning about things such as circuits, networks, power systems and digital computing. Hands-on experience is emphasized as much as theoretical principles, and the program is designed to propel graduates directly into the workplace, with careers such as home and business security specialists; transportation safety specialists; automatization or computer electronics technicians; and electronics or network installers. Graduates of the program go on to work for a variety of major corporations as well as in the public sector.School website
|8||University of Massachusetts-Lowell||Lowell, Massachusetts||$13,932||59%||61%||58%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
University of Massachusetts-Lowell's online Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology program is designed for students interested in any field that involves the design, testing and manufacturing of electrical hardware and software (e.g., telecommunications, semiconductors and consumer electronics). Some graduates may go on to advanced degrees in electrical engineering. In addition to teaching electronic principles, the program strives to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills of students. The program requires completion of 127 semester hours of coursework. Some courses are available online, but most courses need to be attended on campus. Upper-division major courses include Electromagnetic Theory, Foundations of Microwave Design, Digital Signal Processing and Digital Electronics. A variety of required project laboratory courses are designed to give hands-on industrial experience to students by giving them the opportunity to design, plan, implement and report on a project in collaboration with advisers. Students who have worked in the industry may be able to use a specific project in a high-technology company as part of their course projects.School website
|9||Morgan State University||Baltimore, Maryland||$5,161||48%||60%||36%||1||No||Yes||Yes||Tweet this Share this||
Morgan State University's Bachelor of Science in Electrical & Computer Engineering program prides itself on its innovative pedagogy, which incorporates lab work design throughout the curriculum. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours of coursework. By providing a suggested sequence that lays out the entire 4 years of coursework, the program helps students keep on track and fluidly integrate general education studies within the program. Major-specific coursework includes classes such as Electronic Materials and Devices, Electromagnetic Theory and Applications, Principles of Design and Electronic Circuits. All students must complete a 2-part capstone course sequence, the Senior Design Project, in which they work with their adviser to propose, implement and report on a design project. The program partners with alumni and others in the private sector and government agencies to ensure the continued relevance of the coursework. Alumni also interact regularly with the program by providing mentoring opportunities to students. The Electrical Engineering program has been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.School website
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.