An online bachelor's in engineering can lead to a rewarding career of designing and developing products that improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. Engineers may address growing challenges like climate change, infrastructure instability, and food insecurity.

Many engineers make high starting salaries and benefit from high demand. Because of this, engineering is one of the most popular college majors. Students can specialize in one of the many types of engineering, including civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, and industrial. Within these branches lie hundreds of different subcategories of engineering, such as aerospace, biomedical, architectural, and robotics.

An online bachelor's in engineering may take about four years to complete. Tuition at some of the top online schools ranges from about $230-$670 per credit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), engineers earned a median annual salary of $99,040 in May 2021. Wages and demand for engineers vary significantly, based on the field.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

Earning an online bachelor's degree in engineering requires advanced mathematics and science skills. Having the ability to solve complex problems and an eye for detail also help students excel in this field. High school students may consider taking physics, chemistry, and all levels of math to prepare for an engineering program.

A bachelor's in engineering usually requires about 120-130 credits and takes 4-5 years of full-time enrollment to complete. Accelerated online programs may reduce completion times.

Several schools offer degree-completion programs. These require applicants to have earned an associate degree or completed a certain number of college credits. Other schools provide dual-degree programs, enabling students to complete their bachelor's and master's in engineering in a minimum of five years.

A bachelor's in engineering program typically focuses on one of the many engineering disciplines. A few common options include the following:

Many programs require some on-campus participation. These may include a weekend lab or several labs completed over the summer. Some schools allow students to meet this requirement locally if preapproved.

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Popular Online Engineering Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How Do I Know If an Online Program Is Popular?

Students may discern the popularity of an online bachelor's in engineering program based on enrollment statistics and acceptance rates. Prospective learners can also research student testimonials.

Graduation rates and median salaries offer information on how many students earned a degree and their job prospects upon graduation. This information may be found on a school's website or the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that about 17.5% of students enrolled exclusively in online courses in 2019. The growing number of students turning to online education means more employers recognize the comparable education online and on-campus students receive.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

Statistics in Engineering

This course emphasizes modern engineering applications using the concepts of bivariate probability distributions, probability theory, and discrete and continuous random variables. Covered topics include linear regression, hypotheses tests, and elementary experimental design.

Introduction to Engineering

This introductory class emphasizes engineering design processes and models. Students explore technical written and oral communication skills and working in engineering teams. The course may cover structural, electrical, or mechanical engineering fundamentals.

Engineering Ethics

This course explores the ethical decisions facing individuals in engineering. Covered topics include moral decision-making and the impact of engineering on society. Students also learn about intellectual property laws and the enforcement of copyrights.

Signals and Systems

In this class, students learn how to use signals and systems in chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. The course covers determining and applying differential equation models and calculating and plotting Fourier series expansions.

Engineering Materials

This class focuses on the structure and properties of various materials. Covered topics include material reactions and processing methods to improve material properties.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

The admission requirements for on-campus and online bachelor's in engineering programs are often similar. Popular online engineering programs may see more applicants than other spaces, resulting in a selective admissions process. Requirements may include several years of college-preparatory math and science classes, interviews, and higher-than-average GPAs.

Application

Most schools accept undergraduate college applications through its online portal or website. Many colleges also accept applications through centralized application systems like the Common App. These systems allow students to use a single college application to apply to multiple colleges and universities. Application forms request general contact information, educational background, and references.

Test Scores

Undergraduate applicants may need to submit college entrance exam scores, like the ACT or SAT. More schools are making this requirement optional. In these cases, students should consider if the test scores add to their admissions package. Colleges may also require TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate an international student's proficiency in English.

Letters of Recommendation

Most schools request 1-3 letters of recommendation. These references should come from teachers and high school counselors that can attest to a student's academic abilities, particularly in math and science. Ideally, ask for letters of recommendation at least four weeks before the application deadline.

Essays

Most colleges require applicants to submit college application essays or personal statements. This essay demonstrates a student's writing abilities. It also allows admissions officers to get to know candidates beyond test scores and academics. Schools may ask specific questions or provide prompts for broader responses.

Official Transcripts

Students must request official transcripts from their high school and any postsecondary institutions they attended. Many online bachelor's in engineering programs allow students to transfer credits from a community college. Several schools offer degree-completion programs, which require an associate degree or a specific number of transfer credits to apply.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree?

Career Outlook

The demand for engineers varies depending on the specialty. For example, industrial engineers will see some of the greatest demand from 2020-2030. The BLS projects 14% job growth for these engineers in that time, amounting to an average of 23,300 openings every year. In contrast, nuclear engineers will see decreasing demand, with the BLS projecting -8% job growth during this same period.

Engineers can also expect a wide range in salaries. According to the BLS, agricultural engineers earned a median annual salary of $82,640 in May 2021. By comparison, petroleum engineers made a median annual wage of $130,850 in the same year. Those working in New Jersey saw even greater earnings, with average wages of $208,440 per year.

Graduating from a popular online bachelor's in engineering program may offer the benefit of name recognition. But students should also consider respected, accredited schools with programs aligned with their academic values and career goals.

See where a bachelor's in engineering degree can take you. Learn more about STEM careers.

Career Paths

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers use their knowledge in electrical and mechanical engineering and physics to design and coordinate the manufacturing of planes, space shuttles, satellites, and other aircraft. They typically specialize in astronautical or aeronautical engineering. Those who work for the federal government on space and defense programs may need a security clearance.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $122,270

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers determine the most efficient use of materials, machinery, and personnel. They may research decreasing waste and costs, increasing productivity, and maximizing production. These engineers work in many industries, including nonprofits, government, and businesses. Some employers prefer applicants with experience in their field.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $95,300

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design and supervise the construction of roads, bridges, dams, sewer systems, airports, and other large-scale infrastructure projects. These engineers can specialize as construction, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineers. Many hold supervisory positions for government agencies, such as city engineers or public works directors.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $88,050

Electrical Engineer

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical devices and systems. These engineers work in many industries, including automotive, construction, marine, power generation, and utilities. They may also specialize in a particular type of technology, such as telecommunications, microelectronics, signal processing, computer hardware, or control systems.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $101,780

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers apply their engineering knowledge to biological systems. They may enhance or develop medical equipment that improves the quality of life for those with physical impairments. This may include pacemakers, artificial organs, and prosthetic limbs. They may also work on further developing the equipment used in diagnosing medical conditions.

Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $97,410

Engineering Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

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Continuing Education

As the engineering field becomes increasingly competitive, more engineers opt to pursue advanced degrees. A master's enables engineers to further specialize in their area of interest and may increase their earning potential.

Payscale reports that those with a bachelor's in engineering earn an average annual salary of $87,000 as of July 2022. Those with a master's in engineering make an average yearly wage of $96,000, as of July 2022 Payscale data.

A few of the common graduate degrees students pursue include the following:

Should I Choose a Popular Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Program?

A popular online bachelor's in engineering program may offer a quality education. However, these programs may not offer a student's interest area or provide the learning format that best fits their lifestyle and demands.

Consider choosing an online program based on accreditation and programs that offer the same high-quality content and instruction as their on-campus counterparts. The following represent some of the essential factors to review.

Additional Program Factors to Consider

Cost

Tuition for online bachelor's in engineering programs ranges from about $230-$670 per credit. Resident students enrolled in public colleges tend to find the lowest tuition rates. However, some schools do not charge out-of-state fees. Online students should consider the true program costs, including books, fees, and travel expenses. Compare all online versus on-campus program costs when choosing the best option.

Program Format

Schools offer online bachelor's in engineering programs in synchronous and asynchronous learning formats. Asynchronous programs enable students to set their own study schedules while completing assignments in a given period. Synchronous learning may involve weekly virtual class sessions that allow for more participation with teachers and peers.

Additional considerations include part-time or full-time enrollment and accelerated options that reduce completion times.

Location

The location plays a factor whether you're attending college online or on campus. Due to the hands-on nature of engineering, some schools require on-campus participation. This may come in the form of an in-person, three-day lab or several labs throughout the program. Students should consider the time and cost commitments of these requirements.

Accreditation

Online college accreditation ensures the highest quality of education. It can also impact a student's ability to qualify for federal financial aid and transfer college credits. Schools and programs gain accreditation through third-party accrediting agencies. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredits bachelor's in engineering programs.

Student Support

Student services offer critical support to learners. The quality and depth of online student services varies by institution. Make sure to research these services and look for schools that provide academic and career support, mentorship programs, and support finding local internships. Additional online services to consider include networking programs and academic tutoring.

Most Popular Accredited Online Bachelor's in Engineering Degree Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

The school programs listed in this ranking were selected due to their popularity among students — identified by the percentage of applicants who enrolled at a school after being offered admission. These programs were then ranked based on their overall academic quality and online offerings. To learn more about our different rankings, read our ranking methodology.

#1

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

School Information
Location Phoenix, Arizona
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 58%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $561-$661
Out of State | $561-$661

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | No
Program Accreditation | Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

ASU's online BSE in electrical engineering program includes specialty courses such as hardware design, energy systems, photovoltaic cells, and microprocessors. Lab courses in industry-standard design use simulation tools, helping students gain relevant experience. Graduates can pursue careers as electrical engineers in fields such as the auto industry, robotics development, or renewable energy. 

This online bachelor's in engineering program features a two-semester team capstone project. Graduates are eligible to pursue a professional engineer license in Arizona and may also qualify in other states.

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#2

Old Dominion University

School Information
Location Norfolk, Virginia
Admission Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 53%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $374
Out of State | $407

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes
Program Accreditation | Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET

ODU's online BS in civil engineering technology is a degree completion program. To qualify for admission, applicants must have already completed 30 credits. The college's online enrollment coordinators provide a free, unofficial transfer evaluation to help potential students decide whether this program might be a good fit. Graduates can pursue careers as materials engineers, sustainability specialists, or urban and regional planners. 

This popular engineering degree program offers construction management, structural design, and site development concentrations. Graduates are ready to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam in Virginia, and they may also qualify in other states. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Popular Engineering Degree Programs

Are popular online bachelor's programs more difficult to get into?

Popular online bachelor's programs may mean more applicants. This can result in more competition and a lower acceptance rate. However, a popular program may not always be the best option for a student's career and academic goals.

When choosing an online bachelor's in engineering program, make sure it's accredited and offers the appropriate engineering field. If interested in a subcategory of engineering, such as biomedical or aerospace, make sure the school provides this specialization. Look into on-campus requirements and internship support. In addition, check out the courses and the opportunities for interacting with instructors, peers, and alumni.

What are the most popular college majors?

According to the NCES, in 2019-2020, 2 million bachelor's degrees were awarded. About 58% of these were found in six fields. The most popular college major was business, followed by health professions and related programs, and social sciences and history.

Engineering came in fourth, with 128,300 degrees conferred. The last two popular majors were biological and biomedical sciences and psychology.

According to Data USA, the number of engineering graduates in the workforce grew to 4.54 million in 2019. Civil, mechanical, and electrical engineers made up the highest number of engineers in the workforce.

How should I choose an online degree program?

Choosing a college and online degree program can feel overwhelming. Students can narrow their options by finding programs that suit their academic interests. Research different engineering fields to choose the one that best fits your personality, strengths, and career goals. Next, eliminate any schools and programs without the proper accreditation.

Additional factors to consider include costs, such as tuition and fees, and if a school charges online students nonresident fees. Research the level of online student support and if the program offers asynchronous or synchronous learning formats. Asynchronous programs may offer a better structure for full-time working students or those with other obligations.

Are the most popular online programs also the highest quality?

The most popular online programs are not always of the highest quality. Better qualifiers include accreditation status, graduation rates, and online student support services. Make sure qualified instructors teach the online classes and that the on-campus program offers the same learning material as the online program.

Many online bachelor's in engineering programs require some on-campus participation. This may require students to attend short weekend labs or more extended in-person residencies in the summer. While this hands-on learning is an essential aspect of engineering, students should ensure they can fit the requirements into their schedules.

What jobs can I get with an online bachelor's in engineering?

Most online bachelor's in engineering programs offer specializations. A few of these include mechanical, electrical, chemical, civil, and industrial engineering. A student's choice in an engineering program significantly affects the roles they pursue after graduation.

For example, chemical engineers may work in many industries, including agriculture, pharmaceutical, and petrochemical. They may work as biotechnologists, waste management officers, or production managers. Civil engineers may work as structural engineers, construction managers, or geotechnical engineers.

Finding a job as a recent college graduate can be intimidating. Gaining experience in internships can help instill confidence and point graduates to a fulfilling career.

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