If you are at all inclined towards a career in engineering, now is a good time to pursue it. STEM careers have been getting a lot of attention lately with the growth of our economy being more dependent than ever on the expertise of STEM practitioners.
And in this age of high- tech innovation, engineers are reaping the rewards. The Bureau of Labour Statistics lists the median annual wage for architecture and engineering occupations at $76,870 – higher than the median annual wage for all occupations in the economy.
Top 10 Most Affordable Online Engineering Degrees
||American Public University System
||Charles Town, WV
||Kennesaw State University
||University of Southern Mississippi
||Bemidji State University
||Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
||Brigham Young University-Idaho
||University of Alabama
||Old Dominion University
||La Jolla, CA
||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
||Daytona Beach, FL
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And while it is true that engineering is an extremely broad field with many branches, the good news is that most engineering degrees do not pigeon-hole you to a set career path for the rest of your life. Lastly, there are more and more affordable online options to help you as well!
A bachelor’s degree in engineering develops a range of practical skills like problem-solving, logical thinking, and numeracy which employers value highly across many sectors.
So if subjects like Math and Science come naturally to you and if you love to take things apart and figure out how they work, a bachelor’s degree in engineering may be the path for you.
Of course, this may be easier said than done since university education is both time-consuming and costly. Enter the online bachelor’s in engineering, designed for those who cannot attend a traditional college because of financial or other constraints.
The days when an online degree meant dubious respectability are well in the past, and an online degree can provide a path to a high quality, affordable education that will be taken seriously by employers.
But there are a lot of options out there for online engineering degrees and finding the right program at the right price can be rather mind-numbingly tedious. So we at College Choice have done the leg-work for you. Our ranking features 20 of the cheapest online engineering programs available.
These cover a broad range of engineering specializations—from Mechanical to Software Engineering. And because it is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of proper accreditation, we have made sure that all the schools on this list have regional accreditation, and many programs have further accreditation from some of the main STEM Accreditation bodies:
- ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)
- ATMAE (Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering)
- IFSAC (International Fire Service Accreditation Congress)
It is important to note that the tuition rates we’ve listed are based on out-of-state per-credit tuition. Before you apply to a program be sure to look carefully at any additional fees the school may charge—these vary widely from school to school (and even program to program). There may also be face-to-face or lab requirements that necessitate travel, so be sure to look into that before applying.
We hope this ranking helps you find the online bachelor’s in engineering program that is right for you!
See our rankings methodology page.
Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Engineering
American Public University System
Charles Town, WV
At the top of our list is the American Public University System, comprised of American Public University and American Military University. This is a regionally accredited (HLC), for-profit system catering particularly to (but not affiliated with ) the American Military. Headquartered in Charles Town, WV, the university has on online Bachelor’s program that has ranked in the top 100 in the nation (US News and World Report).
The American Public University System offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree which gives students both online-classroom instruction and hands-on lab experience. Courses include foundations in math, computer science, and physical sciences and cover a broad range of topics, such as:
- Basic elements in analog circuit design
- Fundamentals of circuit analysis
- International System of Units
- Digital and logic circuit analysis and design
This degree has three available concentrations: Communications, General, and Mechatronics and opens doors to careers in a variety of sectors including aerospace, automotive, and telecommunications. It is important to note that electrical engineering students participate in at-home lab exercises, which require you to purchase additional course materials. On the other hand, military students qualify for reduced tuition.
Kennesaw State University
Located just North of Atlanta, GA, Kennesaw State University is home to the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, the second-largest engineering college in Georgia. The institution serves more than 4,000 students, and US News and World Report has ranked it among the best Engineering programs as well as having one of the best online bachelor’s Programs in the country.
The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State provides a high-quality, ABET accredited, online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering Technology which offers the graduate career opportunities in business, industry, or government. Graduates from this program deal primarily with the process management of money, materials, and labor in a business and industrial environment. Careers include:
- Quality Control
- Production/Materials Management
- Information Systems
- Occupational Safety, Health, and Ethics
Kennesaw State faculty have designed major courses in the Industrial Engineering Technology program in an online, synchronous (or converged) format – this means that students must attend class online at a designated time of day. This is an academically rigorous program which provides a range of student success services to help online students succeed.
University of Southern Mississippi
Colloquially known as Southern Miss, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public university located in Hattiesburg, MS. US News and World Report has ranked the school among the best public schools and national universities in the country and their online bachelor’s Program has also been ranked highly.
The College of Science and Technology at USM offers an affordable, ABET-accredited online Bachelor of Science in Construction Technology. This is the only accredited online BSCT degree in the country, and it promises to prepare graduates to join a team of experts to manage the entire design and building process. Graduates of the program have begun their careers in a number of positions, including:
- Assistant Project Manager
- Assistant Superintendent
- Field Engineer
- Field Inspector
- Quality Assurance/Quality Acceptance Officer
It is important to note that this is a completion degree, so students must have met a number of core requirements before being admitted to the program, 50% of which they must have earned at a senior college. This program may be completed 100% online and there are no face-to-face requirements. The university also has a career services program that assists students in finding jobs post graduation.
Founded in 1919 in Bemidji, Minnesota, Bemidji State University is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. Bemidji State has ranked as one of the top universities in the Midwest, with their online bachelor’s program also ranked as one of the best in the nation (US News and World Report).
The School of Technology, Art, and Design at Bemidji State offers an affordable, ATMAE accredited, fully online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree in Applied Engineering. The program is designed specifically for individuals who possess a two-year technical degree and are interested in advancing their professional career. The degree provides the skills needed to work in a variety of applied engineering career paths in business or industry including:
This BAS program allows students to apply their 2-year technical degree credits towards the bachelor’s degree. This is a broad-based program that will provide maximum flexibility for graduates to pursue diverse employment opportunities. The School of Technology prides itself on programs that are hands-on, interdisciplinary experiences that build broad perspectives and specialized skills.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Founded in 1869 in Carbondale, IL, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is a public institution that has earned national acclaim in a number of categories. Standing among the top schools in the nation (according to US News and World Report), SIU Carbondale also has an outstanding College of Engineering.
The College of Engineering at SIU Carbondale offers two affordable, accredited bachelor’s degrees in Engineering:
- B.S. in Engineering Technology (accredited by ABET)
- B.S. in Industrial Management and Applied Engineering (accredited by ATMAE).
The B.S. in Engineering Technology is a well–rounded degree that will prepare graduates to excel in careers that emphasize testing and troubleshooting, gathering and analyzing data, and systems design and prototyping. Students receive training in the high-demand technical fields of computer systems, microelectronics, communications systems and electric power distribution.
The B.S. in Industrial Management and Applied Engineering aims to prepare graduates who can develop and direct the production and distribution of products and services. Coursework focuses on the management and business aspects of manufacturing, with the majority of the program being devoted to core requirements and technical electives that will help students meet their career objectives.
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Ranked as one of the top ten Western Regional Universities (US News and World Report), Brigham Young University – Idaho is a private university located in Rexburg, Idaho. The school is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the vast majority of its students are members of the LDS church, though admission is open to non-members as well.
BYU-Idaho has created a flexible, affordable, online Bachelors of Science in Software Engineering degree for students who want a strong background in software development coupled with additional studies in other areas. This degree prepares students for careers in:
- Software development
- Computer systems design
- Software Engineer
Students in this program will learn and practice the industry standard approach to design, development, and implementation of complex computer systems. This program uses a flexible delivery format, with the option of a more accelerated or part-time pace as needed. Once enrolled in a course, online classes progress together through the semester, and there is frequent interaction between students and with the instructor.
One of the first public universities established in the southwestern frontier, the University of Alabama has consistently ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation (U.S. News & World Report). Located in Tuscaloosa, AL, the school’s online Bachelor’s programs and Engineering programs have also earned national acclaim.
The University of Alabama (Bama by Distance) offers an affordable, versatile, ABET accredited Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering which prepares students for both the design of complex machines, as well as involvement in all aspects of the manufacture of products. This is a broad-based and versatile degree that will prepare students for a diversity of careers including:
- Power generation
Students will also be ready to pursue graduate work in a number of fields if they choose to do so. The BSME is a rigorous program, identical to the one offered on campus at the College of Engineering. Delivery of lectures and coursework for this degree is online, but it is important to note that students may have to travel to complete their lab requirements. Students may complete labs at three locations in the state of Alabama.
Old Dominion University is a public institution located in Norfolk, Virginia. The school has been a pioneer in technology-delivered distance learning since the mid-1980s and has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2003, earning national acclaim for their high-quality online bachelor’s programs.
The Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University offers two ABET accredited Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Degrees:
- Computer Engineering Technology
- Electrical Systems Technology
The Computer Engineering Technology concentration provides students with the skills for careers in designing, building, and installing computer systems of all descriptions including hardware, software, and networking or web operations. As part of this program, students will take a minor in Computer Science. Importantly, graduates of the ODU program are eligible to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam in Virginia and many other states.
The Electrical Systems Technology degree prepares students for a career in the design, analysis and support of electrical/electronic systems, providing a complex combination of engineering and technical knowledge and skills. Both majors are bachelor’s completion degree programs which require 120 credits total, 30 of which students must complete at Old Dominion University.
Founded in 1971 with a focus on adult learners, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. Situated in La Jolla, California, National University provides graduate and undergraduate degrees for a diverse student population both on campus or online, with their undergrad program offering online degrees since 1999.
The School of Engineering and Computing at National University offers two online bachelor’s degrees in Engineering:
- Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
The Construction Engineering Technology program provides students with a grounding in construction principles and practices in preparation for a variety of career options in the construction industry, such as construction superintendent, field engineer, project manager, project coordinator.
The Bachelor of Science in Construction Management program aims to prepare students for a career at management, administrative, and ownership positions in the construction industry.
National University’s Applied Engineering degrees provide students with a well-rounded education in a variety of liberal arts and sciences subjects as well, from written and verbal communication to business and the humanities. And all classes are taught by experienced faculty using innovative and skills-based teaching tools and applications.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide
Daytona Beach, FL
A ranking of Engineering programs would not be complete without Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. While Embry-Riddle focusses primarily on aviation and aeronautical engineering, the school also has highly acclaimed programs in a wide range of areas, and their online programs are both affordable and highly ranked.
Embry-RIddle’s Online Campus offers a flexible, affordable Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering Technology which promises to equip students with problem-solving skills, design skills, and engineering judgment as well as fundamental industry knowledge and research experience. The program features 11 possible concentrations, including:
- Aeronautical Science
- Aviation Safety
- Facilities and Construction Management
- Helicopter Operations and Safety
- Logistics Management
All Engineering program faculty members have extensive backgrounds in engineering, technology, and related disciplines. In order to ensure that graduates from Embry-Riddle’s Engineering Technology online degree program will graduate with the skills they need to achieve their career aspirations, students participate in a variety of research projects, virtual labs, and a capstone course. Students who are able to, are also eligible to engage in cooperative study/internships.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Founded in 1894, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass-Lowell) is a nationally recognized public research institution with a reputation for providing one of the best values in higher education and a high return on investment (Payscale.com). The school ranks highly as a national university and its Engineering and online bachelor’s programs have also garnered national acclaim.
The highly respected Francis College of Engineering at UMass Lowell offers an affordable, ABET accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology which offers students a broad background in engineering technology. Students learn the technical skills needed to support the design, testing, and manufacture of products, systems, and devices, and on graduation are ready for a variety of careers, including:
- Support operations in manufacturing
- Plant management
- Product testing
- Quality assurance
This degree program is a hybrid of online and class-based courses and is flexible in the amount of time it takes for a student to complete. A unique feature of this degree program is that students may earn the Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology as they work towards the bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Situated in Terre Haute, IN, Indiana State University is a public research institution with a commitment to making higher education accessible to all learners. The school has consistently been named among the top universities in the Midwest (Princeton Review), and several of their programs have earned national recognition.
The College of Technology at Indiana State offers two affordable, accredited, online Bachelors of Science in Engineering:
- B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology (ATMAE accredited)
- B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology (ABET accredited)
The online Electronics Engineering Technology Program is a completion degree that prepares students for a number of highly technical and professional careers (in instrumentation and control, technical sales and field services, electronics manufacturing, and electrical power operations). It is important to note that campus visits are a requirement for this program.
The online degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology is also a completion degree and focuses on both design and management. The design area addresses design of mechanical tools, machines, and products. The management area prepares students to manage people, resources, and systems related to mechanical engineering and manufacturing. Campus visits may be a requirement.
Eastern Kentucky University
Situated in Richmond, KY, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is a public university with six branch campuses across the state, as well as a robust online program. The school has ranked highly among Regional schools in the South, and in 2016 their online Bachelor’s program ranked among the top 100 in the nation (US News and World Report).
EKU offers a flexible, affordable, accredited (ABET and IFSAC) online Bachelor of Science in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology degree. This is a rigorous and highly regarded program that employs math, science, and technology to protect life, property, and the environment from fire and other hazards. Courses are eight weeks in length and include:
- Fire Behavior & Combustion
- Human Behavior in Fire
- Applied Fire/Safety Analyses
This degree prepares students for a range of career options in the fire and safety field, including systems designer, engineering consultant, fire marshal, and process industry professional. Faculty who teach in EKU’s program are current and former fire chiefs, fire marshals, engineers and fire/explosion investigators. This is an accelerated program and can take as little as 2.5 years to complete. Delivery is 100% online.
Trine University is a small, private university situated in Angora, IN. The school ranks highly among regional schools in the Midwest, and is home to the Allen School of Engineering and Technology, which, in 2016, ranked among the top one hundred engineering programs in the nation (US News and World Report).
Through their College of Graduate and Continuing Studies, Trine offers an affordable Bachelor of Science in Design Engineering Technology which helps students fill an industry demand for engineering technicians. Students will gain knowledge and competencies in:
- Technical sales
- Maintenance industries.
The degree prepares students for a number of Design Engineering jobs, using principles and theories of science, engineering, and mathematics to solve technical problems. Trine prides itself on making education flexible and accessible for adult learners with accelerated classes that are eight weeks in length. There is no application fee to any course of study, and no expiration date on transfer credits from any accredited College or University. The school also offers the possibility of gaining credit for life experience.
Eastern New Mexico University
Founded in 1934 in Portales, NM, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) is the largest public university in the state. The school has demonstrated its commitment to both academic excellence and affordable tuition and has been acclaimed as one of the most affordable four-year universities in the nation (USA Today 2014).
The College of Education and Technology at ENMU has a number of online Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree options for Engineering:
- Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology
- BAAS in Electronics Engineering Technology Concentration
- BAAS in Electronics Engineering Technology (Analog) Concentration
- BAAS in Electronics Engineering Technology (Digital) Concentration
The school also offers a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (BAAS) degree designed to combine technical course credits students have earned an associate degree in a specific area of vocational or technical emphasis. The Applied Arts and Sciences degrees require an Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences (AAS) with a technical or vocational major from a Council for Higher Education (CHEA)-recognized organization. All programs are delivered 100% online, and ENMU has a variety of online and on-site resources available to students taking online courses.
Western Carolina University
Located in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Western Carolina University (WCU) is a small public university that has earned national acclaim in a number of categories. They rank in the top 50 regional schools in the South, their College of Engineering and Technology ranks among the best non-doctorate bestowing programs in the nation, and their online Bachelor’s program ranks in the top 100 nationally (US News and World Report).
The College of Engineering and Technology at WCU offers an affordable Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology – Concentration in Engineering and Technical Operations. This is a completion degree geared towards working professionals with a two-year degree in engineering technology. Graduates will be ready for careers in:
- Production Operations
- Facilities Management
- Safety Engineer
- Production Operations Management
The B.S. in Engineering Technology Program – Technical Operations Program requires 124 total hours, including 42 hours in Liberal Studies. Students earn this hybrid degree through a combination of part-time evening study and online courses, and the program takes eight semesters to complete.
Thomas Edison State University
Situated in Trenton, New Jersey, Thomas Edison University is a public university with the self-directed adult student at its center. The school, which until January 2016 was called Thomas Edison State College, has been a pioneer in developing the “portfolio process” (that enables students to gain credit for prior college-level knowledge) as well as a leader in online learning.
Thomas Edison State University’s nuclear engineering program is more specialized than most programs. TESU offers two totally online ABET-accredited bachelor’s degrees in Applied Science and Technology in Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology (NEET) and Electronics Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) intended primarily for nuclear energy operations and support personnel. Using advanced technologies and simulation both cornerstone degrees focus more on application rather than theory, and the advanced technological applications it prepares students for are highly specialized. Students either enter from civilian energy industry positions or the U.S. Navy nuclear power program. Both degrees are 120-plus credits, but credits may be earned from TESU, the Navy Basic Nuclear Power School, advanced Navy training, NRRPT certification, NRC licensure, or professional training.
Students can earn all credits for both degrees through Thomas Edison State University. The ESET degree is geared toward practicing technologists employed in the electronics industry, including computer hardware, avionics, instrumentation and control, and communications.
The NEET degree emphasizes the practical application of engineering principles as they impact nuclear power generation. Most students in the Nuclear Engineering degree programs will have earned credit from the Navy Basic Nuclear Power School and the U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power sector, which covers more than half of the area of study.
Founded in 1971, Excelsior College is a private, non-profit, distance learning institution located in Albany, New York. Excelsior is a leader in online learning, as well as the assessment and validation of student knowledge. The school offers college credit for eligible forms of military training, industry-accredited training programs, and other education students have acquired outside a college classroom.
The School of Business and Technology at Excelsior offers two affordable, accredited, online Bachelor of Science degrees in Engineering:
- Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology
Excelsior College is one of only two U.S. institutions to offer an online nuclear engineering technology bachelor’s degree accredited by ABET. The curriculum is responsive to industry needs and trends, and students learn relevant skills from industry experienced faculty. The program is flexible enough that students can tailor the degree to their specific goals.
Excelsior’s Electrical Engineering Technology degree cultivates expertise in a variety of electrical engineering subjects from digital electronics to computer programming. All technology courses are available online and students may be able to get credit for corporate training courses that the American Council on Education has evaluated for college-level credit.
Daytona State College
Daytona Beach, FL
Located in Daytona Beach, FL, Daytona State College is a public institution and a member of the Florida College System. The school has a mission to provide access to a range of flexible programs through classroom and online delivery. Recently, the college’s online programs have received national acclaim, being ranked among the top ten best online Bachelor’s programs in the country (US News and World Report).
Daytona State’s School of Engineering Technology offers an affordable, flexible, online Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degree that is geared towards working professionals who have earned an associates degree. Faculty have built the curriculum around key skills necessary for employment in the tech industry with a focus on Electronics, PLCs, Quality, Mechanics, and Materials. Graduates will be prepared for a variety of careers, including:
- Systems engineer
- Process analyst
- Technical sales engineer
- Network supervisor
Apart from the core curriculum, students choose to specialize in areas like manufacturing or construction to prepare them for the workforce. Students enrolled in the Engineering Technology program also have the option of completing a concentration in Electrical Engineering Technology. This concentration provides a broad foundation of knowledge in the areas of electrical and electronics circuits, digital circuits, computers, power systems, programmable logic controllers, microprocessors and control systems.
Situated in Baltimore, MD, Morgan State University is a public research university and the largest historically black college in the state. The school, which is Maryland’s designated urban university, ranks among the top twenty HBCUs in the nation and their School of Engineering has also earned national acclaim (US News and World Report).
Morgan State offers an affordable, flexible, online Electrical and Computer Engineering 2+2 program designed for graduates of the Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering from another University or Community College. The school allows a maximum of 70 credit hours from a community college or 4-year institution towards the fulfillment of the minimum 133 credit hours required for the bachelor’s degree. Some possible research areas include:
- Communications Networks
- Software Defined Radio
- Data/Sensor Fusion
- Visual Analytics
Morgan State’s program features innovative teaching and curricula as well as a supportive learning environment for students. This program was the first electrical engineering program that allowed completion of all lab courses online, and it is a remarkably flexible one. Students have the option of completing the Morgan ECE curriculum part-time or full-time, online or face-to-face or in a combination of all of the above.
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