Best Online Electrical Engineering Degree Programs
Every industry needs electrical engineers because of the field's endless applications. Review some of the nation's finest bachelor's in electrical engineering to train for this exciting field.
Updated July 29, 2022
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A bachelor's program in electrical engineering can prepare graduates to design and develop electrical circuits, systems, and products. Graduates typically work as electrical engineers, developing products for use in robotics, medical technology, phones, navigation systems, and game systems.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of a bachelor's program was about $29,030 per year in 2020-2021. This includes tuition, room, and board. Most schools charge the same tuition for online and on-campus classes.
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It typically takes about four years to complete an in-person or online bachelor's in electrical engineering. Some students may complete the program more quickly by taking more classes each semester, attending school year-round, or entering an accelerated degree program.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), electrical and electronics engineers earned a median annual salary of $101,780 in May 2021. The BLS projects a growth rate of 7% for these positions from 2020-2030, about the same as the growth rate for all occupations during this period.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Program?
Successful engineering students are usually curious and creative critical thinkers. Engineers must have strong communication skills and a desire to know how and why things work. Electrical engineers also need mathematics, physics, and organizational skills.
A bachelor's in electrical engineering usually takes about four years to complete and includes approximately 120 credit hours. However, there are ways to earn a degree faster. Choosing an accelerated online bachelor's in electrical engineering can reduce completion time to just two years.
Some schools offer concentrations for electrical engineering students looking to focus their training in a specific discipline. Popular concentrations include:
- Data Science
- Microsystems and Nanotechnology
- Mixed-Signal and RF Integrated Circuits
- Photonics and Quantum Technology
- Semiconductors and Nanotechnology
- System-on-a-Chip Design
A bachelor's in electrical engineering program typically requires students to take science courses, such as chemistry and physics, which may require lab work. You may also need to take electrical engineering courses with lab components. Computer programming and advanced mathematics coursework are also typically required.
Most bachelor's in electrical engineering programs confer bachelor of science (BS) degrees.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Programs
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Popular Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Program?
Introduction to Circuits and Signals
This course teaches the fundamentals of signal processing, circuit theory, and MATLAB programming. Students are introduced to analog circuits interfacing sensors to digital systems.
In Java programming, students learn how to use object-oriented programming principles to write code in Java. They learn to manipulate and debug classes and objects. Proficiency in programming will be necessary for advanced coursework, such as machine learning.
Students enrolled in this course learn the principles of electromagnetic fields as well as their power and energy contents. They will also have an introduction to Maxwell's equations, transmission lines and the Smith chart, electrostatics, magnetostatics, and dynamic fields.
Physics and Modeling of Semiconductor Devices
In this course, students learn how to model the terminal currents of semiconductor devices, including LEDs, solar cells, and photodetectors. They learn about diodes, bipolar transistors, and metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) circuits.
Probability and Statistics in Engineering
Probability and statistics in engineering courses teach quantitative analysis of risk for engineering applications. The curriculum covers random processes, probability, statistics, and decision analysis.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Program?
Admission requirements are typically the same for online and on-campus programs. No matter where you apply, you'll need to complete an application and pay the application fee. Other requirements may vary from one school to another. For example, some schools ask for details about your extracurricular activities or work history.
Each school has its own application, which usually needs to be submitted electronically. If you're applying to multiple schools, you may be able to save time by using the Common App to submit your applications. Some online schools have open enrollment policies that allow you to start school when it's convenient for you.
Many schools require applicants to submit test scores from college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT. However, some schools accept applications without test scores. In fact, Harvard University recently announced that they will be "test optional" through 2026. Students who choose not to submit their test scores will not be disadvantaged during the admissions process.
Letters of Recommendation
Many schools require 1-3 letters of recommendation from applicants. When asking for letters of recommendation, you should ask people who know you well and are familiar with your work. If you're a recent high school graduate, this could be a teacher or counselor at your high school. If you have work experience, you can ask your supervisor or a mentor.
College application essays give you a chance to let your personality shine. These essays are usually fairly short, around 500-600 words. Many schools provide a theme or prompt for the essay. Because of this, you may have to write a new essay for each school in order to ensure that each one follows the required prompt.
You'll need to submit your official high school transcripts as well as transcripts from any colleges you've attended. If you have college credits, some of the classes you've already taken may qualify for transfer credit towards your degree. This may allow you to graduate faster since you won't have to take as many credits to graduate.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering?
The BLS predicts a 7% increase in the number of jobs for electrical engineers from 2020-2030. A search on Indeed currently returns over 50,000 results for "electrical engineer" across the U.S. Some other popular college majors have higher growth projections and more available jobs, but electrical engineering does provide ample opportunities for those seeking to pursue a career in the field.
The BLS reports that electrical engineers earned a median annual salary of $101,780 in 2021. This is much higher than the average for all occupations, which was $58,260 as of May 2021.
Electrical engineers work in engineering services, telecommunications, government, electric power generation, and other industries. They design, test, develop, and supervise the manufacturing of various types of electrical equipment.
See where a bachelor's in electrical engineering can take you.Learn more about science and engineering careers.
Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Electrical and electronics engineers design electrical equipment and supervise manufacturing. They develop communications systems, radar, electric motors, navigation systems, and power generation equipment. They also design the electrical systems used in motor vehicles and aircraft. Some electrical engineers design faster and more reliable hardware for computers.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $101,780
Electrical Design Engineer
Electrical design engineers design new products. They also use their engineering knowledge to improve existing designs. The demand for electrical design engineers is high among electronics manufacturers in the semiconductor industry. Electrical design engineers work to find new ways to increase efficiency in the systems they work on.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $77,960
Senior Electrical Engineer
Senior electrical engineers design and test new electrical equipment, such as household appliances, computer equipment, and electric car components. They may also help customize or improve existing technology. They work in a variety of industries, including building maintenance, power generation, and manufacturing. Senior electrical engineers can supervise junior engineers and are responsible for making technical decisions.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $107,520
Principal Electrical Engineer
A principal electrical engineer oversees electrical projects within an organization. This includes overseeing a staff of junior and senior engineers. The principal electrical engineer serves as a project manager and quality controller, inspecting the work to ensure that it meets the requirements and determining the need for adjustments or corrections. The principal electrical engineer also provides estimates to customers and ensures that the project does not go over budget.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $129,900
Electrical Engineering Manager
Electrical engineering managers serve as department heads in the field of electrical engineering. The electrical engineering manager typically has a team of engineers who are involved in the design and development process. They use their teams to develop and commission electrical goods, circuits, and systems.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $124,840
Electrical Engineering Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Students who wish to continue their education beyond the bachelor's level may choose to pursue a master's in electrical engineering. Master's programs typically require students to earn about 30 credits. They take around two years to complete.
Earning your master's in electrical engineering can improve your chances of landing a high-level engineering job such as electrical engineering manager. A master's degree also increases earning potential for professionals in the field.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Program?
Regardless of whether you pursue an in-person or online bachelor's in electrical engineering, the cost will likely be about the same. However, costs can vary significantly from one school to another, so it pays to shop around. To compute the true cost of an online program, students must consider all expenses, including room and board, transportation, and lost wages.
If you'll be taking your classes online, you should consider whether the classes are synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous courses require you to log in at a specific time. You should also consider whether the program is full time or part time and whether it is accelerated. Accelerated bachelor's degree programs can be completed more quickly than traditional degree programs.
If you're looking for an online bachelor's in electrical engineering, the program's location may not be as important to you, but choosing an online program near you does have some benefits, such as access to campus services. Some programs also require in-person orientations or practicums.
Accreditation ensures that your school and program meet academic standards set by the U.S. Department of Education. It also ensures that future employers will recognize your degree and increases the chances that you'll be able to transfer your credits to another school. Your engineering program should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
When choosing a college, you should consider whether it offers adequate student support services. Some examples of online student services include career services, tutoring, mentorships, alumni connections, and internship services. If high school was academically challenging for you, it may be a good idea to choose a school that offers reading, writing, and math assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering Programs
Is a bachelor's in electrical engineering degree worth it?
Since electrical engineers earned a median salary of $101,780 per year in 2021, it is certainly worth the investment to pursue a bachelor's in the field. According to the NCES, the average cost of a bachelor's program was about $29,030 per year in 2020-2021.
If someone earned $30,000 per year prior to enrolling in college, the total cost of tuition and forgone wages would be about $236,120 for a 4-year degree program. Assuming a professional earns $80,000 per year after graduation, the degree would pay for itself in fewer than five years.
What can I do with a bachelor's in electrical engineering?
A professional with a bachelor's in electrical engineering can pursue work as an electrical design engineer or electrical engineer. Electrical engineers made a median annual salary of $101,780 in May 2021, according to the BLS. California, Texas, and Michigan employ the most electrical engineers, with California employing 28,070 engineers as of 2021.
Once professionals have accumulated a few years of experience, and possibly earned a master's degree, they may be qualified to move up to positions like senior electrical engineer, electrical engineering manager, or principal electrical engineer. Principal electrical engineers made an average annual base salary of $129,900 in May 2022, according to Payscale.
Are electrical engineering majors in demand?
There is average demand for electrical engineering majors. The BLS predicts a job growth rate of 7% for electrical engineers between 2020 and 2030. It is reasonable to expect that someone who receives a bachelor's in electrical engineering would have a fair chance of landing a job in the field.
New Hampshire employs the most electrical engineers per capita, with 3.44 electrical engineering positions per 1,000 jobs as of 2021, according to the BLS.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in electrical engineering?
The median or average salary for someone with a bachelor's in electrical engineering ranges from $77,990 for an electrical design engineer to $129,950 for a principal electrical engineer. The amount a person could expect to make varies based on the location of the job and the amount of experience the person has working in the field.
California, Washington, D.C., and Washington state have the highest mean wages for electrical engineers. In 2021, electrical engineers in these states made mean annual wages of $126,640, $123,280, and $118,890, respectively, according to the BLS.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in electrical engineering?
The highest-paying jobs for professionals with a bachelor's in electrical engineering are principal electrical engineer, which paid an average of $129,950 per year in May 2021, and electrical engineering manager, which paid an average of $124,450 per year, according to the BLS. Both of these positions are supervisory positions that require the oversight of junior engineers or other employees.
Image Source: Nitat Termmee, Getty Images
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