Earning an engineering degree qualifies you for many fast-growing and well-paying careers. An online engineering program provides you with the flexibility to balance your personal, professional, and academic responsibilities.
The best engineering programs will combine cutting-edge curricula with best-practice online teaching.
We ranked these programs by considering academic quality, cost, and return on investment. We'll break down different engineering specializations, careers you can pursue, and licensure requirements.
Best Online Engineering Degrees
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The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy.
#1 Best Online Engineering Degrees of 2023
Old Dominion University
- Norfolk, VA
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Old Dominion University, a public institution, enrolls learners in an online bachelor of science in engineering technology program. From its campus in Norfolk, Virginia, the school offers both in-person and online enrollment options. Undergraduates benefit from rigorous academic standards and comprehensive college support services.
The program requires general education and major courses that build key knowledge and skills in engineering. The general education curriculum strengthens communication and critical thinking skills through coursework in diverse academic fields. The engineering coursework covers theoretical and advanced topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or further education.
Old Dominion University at a Glance:
Admission Rate: 95%
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1
Total Bachelor's Programs: 56
Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 23
Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,029
Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $26,664
Average Amount Aid Awarded: $8,253
Graduation Rate: 53%
Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $38,300
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Why Get an Online Engineering Degree?
- Engineers earn above-average salaries, with some making six-figure annual incomes.
- Engineering spans a wide spectrum of focus areas, providing plenty of options for students to specialize.
- Earning an engineering degree online provides flexibility to balance work and social life.
- Overall, engineering jobs are projected to grow by 4% between 2021-2031.
- Online programs are often more affordable than traditional on-campus degrees.
Types of Engineering Degrees
When you begin an online engineering degree, you will select a type of engineering to study and pursue. For example, if you're interested in designing cities, you may choose civil engineering, while plane enthusiasts may choose aerospace engineering. Below is a list of several popular engineering branches that you can major in.
Structural engineering focuses on the development, building, and materiality of large-scale structures. These include skyscrapers, amusement park rides, bridges, and offshore structures.
Aerospace engineering can provide a good fit if you enjoy aeronautics and space. This field focuses on designing, developing, producing, and maintaining airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft.
This popular option combines engineering and business to increase output, improve quality, and reduce expenses in professional settings. Industrial engineers work to optimize machines and create efficient systems for workers.
In a civil engineering program, you'll learn skills in designing, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure. These include highways, airports, bridges, tunnels, and water supply systems.
Electrical engineering focuses on designing, manufacturing, and maintaining objects requiring electricity. These professionals work on microchips, electric grids, electric motors, communication centers, and electric generation centers.
Mechanical engineering focuses on developing and producing motion devices, including appliances, vehicles, and power tools. Mechanical engineers frequently work in R&D and production settings.
How Much Do Engineers Make?
Engineers earn a median annual wage of $93,000, although this number can rise or fall based on your particular branch of engineering.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), petroleum engineers earn the highest median annual salary, at $130,850. Agricultural engineers earn the lowest, at $82,640 annually.
12 Popular Engineering Jobs
||Median Annual Salary (May 2021)
||Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)
|Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
|Electrical and Electronics Engineers
|Marine Engineers and Naval Architects
Professional Engineer Licensing Requirements
Not all engineering positions require licensing, especially entry-level roles that are routinely supervised. However, if you want to earn the title of professional engineer, take on leadership positions, and work more independently, you'll need to seek a Professional Engineering (PE) license.
Each state has a board of professional engineers who sets their state's PE licensing requirements, but earning a PE license has several typical requirements:
- A bachelor's degree from an engineering program accredited by ABET
- Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
- Complete qualifying work experience under a licensed PE.
- Pass the PE exam.
Depending on your state's requirements, you may also need to complete continuing education programming to maintain licensure.
How to Become an Engineer: 4 Steps
Becoming an engineer requires intentional planning and commitment. We'll walk you through some steps to get you started.
1. Define Your Goals
Identifying what you want from your online engineering degree can help you pick a school and major. If you want to become a marine engineer, you may choose a different college than if you want to become a civil engineer. You may also select a school offering a 4+1 bachelor's and master's combined program.
2. Earn an Accredited Degree
Failing to attend an engineering school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) can greatly impact your ability to secure licensure and even find a job. Before picking any program, make sure it holds ABET accreditation.
3. Gain Work Experience
After graduating, you can take the FE exam through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. After receiving a passing score, you can work as an intern or engineer-in-training. Once you've worked under the supervision of a PE for the minimum number of years required by your state, you can apply for state licensure as a professional engineer. This is typically four years, but it varies by state.
4. Complete State Licensure
To work independently as an engineer, you must apply for licensure from your state's board and pass the PE exam. Each state maintains individualized requirements, meaning you must seek licensure in any state where you plan to work as a PE. If you already have your PE license in one state, you can apply for licensure in another state by comity. You must also keep up with continuing education and renewal requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions About Engineering Degrees
What kinds of engineering degrees are there?
Engineering degrees exist at every academic level, offering opportunities for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral studies. You can also choose to complete these programs online, in-person, or through a hybrid format.
What degree do I need to become an engineer?
Engineering positions require, at minimum, a bachelor's degree, though some roles require graduate study. Any program you attend must be accredited by ABET to earn licensure and find employment.
How long does it take to get an engineering degree?
Earning an online bachelor's degree in engineering takes an average of four years, though accelerated and part-time programs also exist. If you previously took qualifying courses at community college, these can help you graduate more quickly.
Is an engineering degree worth it?
Earning an engineering degree provides access to high-paying roles projected to grow in the coming years. Median salaries range from $82,000 to $130,000 annually, although some professionals can earn significantly more.
How hard is an online engineering degree?
The difficulty of an engineering degree will depend on the student. If you enjoy learning about math, science, and other STEM subjects, you may find an engineering degree easy. Students who naturally gravitate more toward liberal arts topics may find it more challenging.
All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the CC Rankings Team.