Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees 2021

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Mechanical engineers design, prototype, and build moving machines. Multiple industries that include automotive manufacturing, robotics, and cooling systems employ them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earn a $90,160 median annual salary. The BLS also projects that jobs for mechanical engineers will grow 4% between 2019-2029.

Professionals must possess a bachelor’s degree to enter this diverse field. An online mechanical engineering degree provides the education engineers-in-training need to apply to entry-level positions and start the licensure process. Other benefits include honing transferable problem-solving, mathematics, and interpersonal skills.

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Top Online Degree in Mechanical Engineering

? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
Rank School Avg Net Price ? This represents the average net price of attendance for full-time students as gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics. Individual costs may vary. Costs per credit hour may also vary by program or degree.
1 The University of Alabama $10470
2 Old Dominion University $6330
3 Indiana State University $8546
4 University of Michigan-Dearborn $11310
5 University of Massachusetts-Lowell $13932

Mechanical Engineering Frequently Asked Questions


  • Can you get a mechanical engineering degree online?

    Top colleges and universities offer a fully online mechanical engineering degree. Students experience the same learning outcomes as on-campus degree-seekers, such as the ability to troubleshoot problems and collaborate with peers.


  • Is a mechanical engineering degree worth it?

    The mechanical engineering field offers job opportunities in different industries. As a result, students and recent graduates explore careers aligning with their values and interests.


  • What degree do I need to become a mechanical engineer?

    Professionals need a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering degree to apply to entry-level positions. Other options include a 5- to 6-year BS/MS program.


  • Do mechanical engineers make good money?

    A typical mechanical engineer earns approximately $50,000 more annually than the average U.S. worker. The top 10% of earners in this field make over $140,000.


Why Get a Degree in Mechanical Engineering?



Mechanical engineering schools’ online programs prepare students to enter a growing field with numerous career opportunities. Other benefits include qualifying for a state-issued professional engineering license. Additional licensure requirements involve obtaining at least four years of professional experience and passing an examination.

A mechanical engineering degree online program may use an asynchronous curriculum. Asynchronous programs allow students to view recorded lectures and contribute to discussion boards at convenient times. This academic flexibility allows many degree-seekers to continue working while earning a degree. Other online learning benefits may include specialized support services and the ability to attend a top U.S. school without relocating.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

How Much Does a Mechanical Engineering Degree Cost?

Prospective students on a budget should determine whether any in-state public colleges and universities offer a mechanical engineering degree, as these schools charge residents competitive tuition rates. Learners attending a private school may pay more for their degree. Applicants determine a school’s return on investment by researching graduate outcomes.

An online mechanical engineering degree may feature cost savings in addition to lower tuition. Some colleges and universities exempt online learners from specific fees. Students do not pay for multiple services that on-campus learners use, such as housing, meals, and transportation. Also, many students with small children circumvent childcare costs.

Institutional financial aid reduces students’ tuition. Many schools award grants and scholarships to incoming first-year and transfer students. Active-duty service members may also qualify for an automatic tuition reduction. Please contact your prospective school’s financial aid office to learn more about tuition-reduction programs.

 
 

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

College applicants should calculate their ability to pay for a degree before committing to a mechanical engineering online program. The free calculation tool compares a school’s tuition to users’ incomes, costs of living, and projected financial aid. The result indicates whether users need additional financial assistance, such as scholarships, to avoid student debt.

College Affordability Calculator

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

How Much Do Mechanical Engineering Majors Make?

Professionals with a mechanical engineering degree working in scientific research and development services earn the highest median annual salary. Other fields offering a competitive salary include computer and electronic product manufacturing, architectural services, and transportation equipment manufacturing. Workers in these sectors earn over $90,000 annually.

Geographic location affects how much mechanical engineering majors make. Workers in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Maryland earn significantly more than professionals in other states. Positions in California and Louisiana also offer a median salary exceeding $100,000 annually. However, students should consider a state’s cost of living before deciding where to start their career.

In addition to becoming a licensed mechanical engineer, workers can increase their salary potential with industry certifications. A certification demonstrates mastery of mechanical engineering topics and dedication to the field. Certification requirements may include possessing relevant experience and passing examinations.

Courses in Mechanical Engineering



Mechanical engineering degrees emphasize the knowledge and skills necessary to develop moving devices and systems. Coursework prepares students to apply mechanical engineering fundamentals when navigating real-life problems. Typical programs conclude with a senior project wherein degree-seekers design and create a product. Graduation requirements also include general education courses, such as history and literature.

Typical mechanical engineering schools online require some, if not all, of the following foundational courses. However, course expectations and academic requirements vary among schools. Please visit a program’s website or contact an admissions advisor to learn more about the student experience and graduate outcomes.

Engineering graphics communication introduces students to drafting software, such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Pro/E. Coursework involves developing simple blueprints and creating 3D models. Degree-seekers take this course in their first year of a mechanical engineering online program, as advanced courses require learners to complete assignments using these software suites.

Mechanical engineers must consider which materials best suit a product in development. Materials science introduces learners to different materials’ mechanical, physical, and thermal properties. Coursework also emphasizes materials’ inspection best practices, as selecting the wrong metal, plastic, or polymer during production may lead to a project’s failure or put users in physical danger.

Mechanical engineers create durable products by considering how stress and strain affect moving systems. Course topics include how constant loads wear down materials and formulas engineers use to calculate these effects. Learners examine advanced materials’ strength topics, such as materials’ failure points when applying different loads simultaneously.

Certifications and Licensure for Mechanical Engineering



Professionals with a mechanical engineering degree may continue their education and earn professional engineering licensure and industry certifications. Licensure and certification requirements involve gaining professional experience and passing an examination. Potential benefits include qualifying for a supervisory position, earning a raise, or exploring new job opportunities.

Certified HVAC Designer


The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) awards the CHD to candidates who pass a 115-question examination. ASHRAE members receive a certification discount. Professionals recertify every three years, completing at least 45 professional development (PD) credits. More than 30 U.S. government agencies recognize ASHRAE certifications as a gold standard in the field.

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Certified Quality Engineer


CQEs possess the honed quality control (QC) skills necessary to develop new systems, analyze improper QC causes, and promote QC best practices. Eligibility requirements for professionals with a mechanical engineering degree include four years of experience and passing a 175-question examination. Recertifying involves completing PD credits or taking another examination.

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Professional Engineering License


Although recent graduates do not need a license to apply to entry-level positions, licensure helps experienced mechanical engineers advance their career. Eligibility requirements include passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and working as an engineer-in-training for at least four years. Candidates then attempt the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. Other requirements vary by state.

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Scholarships for Mechanical Engineering



Degree-seekers apply for private scholarship opportunities to lower their tuition burden and avoid student debt. Fortunately, multiple organizations award funding to students majoring in mechanical engineering or a related subject. The following awards accept applications in 2021.


  • ASHRAE Society Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: ASHRAE sponsors seven annual scholarship programs for engineering undergraduates with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Application materials include three recommendation letters, FAFSA results, and a resume.

    Amount: Varies

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  • George B. Hightower, P.E. Fellowship

    Who Can Apply: The National Society of Professional Engineers invites student members to apply for this competitive scholarship. Applicants submit two recommendation letters and an essay.

    Amount: $3,000

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  • Society of Women Engineers Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: SWE awards funding to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an accredited engineering program. Applicants submit a recommendation letter and academic transcripts.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here


Online Mechanical Engineering Degrees 2021



  1. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Alabama, the bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering is offered to students primarily in an online format. The 4-year, 128-credit hour program includes 3 courses that require in-person attendance for weekend labs in Tuscaloosa or Gadsden, and some lower-level general education courses must be taken on-campus or transferred from another university; all other coursework is completed online. Up to 61 transfer credits are generally accepted from accredited institutions, but students should note that technical and military credits are not eligible. Classes in the program cover topics such as fluid mechanics, electrical engineering, the mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, mechanical engineering design and manufacturing practices. Students should be prepared to design and participate in the manufacture of various machines and systems upon completing the program. After graduation, they join the workforce in a wide range of industries including bioengineering, robotics, textiles, petrochemicals, automotive and aerospace. Some students continue their education doing research at the graduate level.

  2. Old Dominion University
    Location

    Norfolk, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Known for educating military-affiliated students, Old Dominion University offers a variety of online degrees in the field of mechanical engineering. The school offers 2 Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degrees; both are degree completion programs and are delivered entirely online. The first offers 2 concentration areas -- in manufacturing systems or mechanical systems design. The manufacturing systems concentration emphasizes areas such as robotics and computer-integrated manufacturing, while the mechanical systems design option focuses on the skills needed to design, build and install various systems. The other bachelor's degree is structured around a concentration in nuclear systems, and is open only to students who have specific prior experience in the field. Both degrees require 120 credits total to graduate; students are expected to transfer in some credits, but at least 30 must be taken at Old Dominion; the degree-completion portion takes about 2 years. Old Dominion also offers a 30-credit online Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Design and Manufacturing. Graduates go on to work in both the public and private sector, in industries such as electronics, construction, manufacturing and energy.

  3. Indiana State University
    Location

    Terre Haute, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Design expertise and management skills are key components of a career in mechanical engineering, and the bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology at Indiana State University aims to teach students both. Structured as a degree completion program, applicants must already hold an associate degree and have completed certain prerequisite courses. Once at ISU, students take a total of 86 credits - all offered fully online - to graduate. Over the course of the program, students learn how to design machines, tools and products, as well as how to effectively manage people and how to best utilize the resources at their disposal. The 71 credits of engineering courses cover topics such as graphics, solid modeling, computer aided design (CAD), robotics, and materials; there are also 12 credits of required science and math, and a 3-credit technical elective. Graduates are prepared for jobs that entail the design, manufacture, installation, maintenance, testing and evaluation of products and systems.

  4. University of Michigan-Dearborn
    Location

    Dearborn, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in the heart of America's automotive industry, the University of Michigan-Dearborn has a history closely tied to engineering. Students who pursue a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at this school get a broad-based education that prepares them to deal not only with machines, but also with people. Offered in a hybrid format, with both online and on-campus courses, the program requires 128 credit hours to graduate, typically completed over 4 years. More than half of UMD's students transfer from other institutions, and the university does accept eligible credits; there are also scholarships earmarked specifically for transfer students. The curriculum includes both major-specific coursework and classes to satisfy the Dearborn Discovery Core, a set of courses required of all undergraduates and designed to give students a broad educational background. Graduates of the program go on to work for large companies in automotive, manufacturing and healthcare industries, in areas as diverse as biomechanics and biomaterials, water desalinization and prostheses.

  5. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    Location

    Lowell, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is designed to prepare students for support positions in areas such as plant management, manufacturing, engineering, product testing and quality assurance. Graduates receive broad foundational knowledge in how to design, manufacture and test devices and systems. The program is offered in a hybrid format so that students will take some classes online; most courses, however, are delivered on-campus. The bachelor's degree requires 124 credits to graduate; there is also an associate degree option in mechanical engineering which requires 68 credits and can be applied to a future bachelor's. The bachelor's degree can be completed in 4 years, but may take longer for some. In either case, the department recommends that first-year students acclimate themselves to the program and workload by only taking 1 or 2 courses during their first semester. Many courses can also be applied to certificates as students progress through the program.

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