How To Get Your Engineering Degree Online

With an increase in the number of degrees one can earn online these days, it is becoming easier for a person to achieve their dream degree from the comfort of their own homes. However, one of the most sought-after, marketable degrees – the engineering degree – is slightly trickier to find online.

There are options for people seeking an engineering degree online, though it takes some research and dedication. Achieving an engineering degree online is no joke; engineering degrees have always been difficult to achieve whether the learning is done in a lecture hall or in front of a laptop.

Whatever path of engineering one is looking into, there are a number of online schools worth looking into for their online engineering degrees and certificates, each with unique aspects and challenges.

Most online universities will offer distance learning engineering programs, however post-graduate certificates, master’s degrees and PhD programs are more common because bachelor’s degrees in engineering require students to complete dedicated lab time. Additionally, co-op/work placement experience is an increased asset in engineering degrees, and despite the increased capacities of online universities most have not implemented work placements into their full-time programs.

Dedicated online school Villanova University is a well-reviewed school which offers a number of distance learning engineering programs. Most of Villanova’s programs are master’s programs or certificate programs for individuals with technological backgrounds. Villanova’s programs require students to take a certain number of electives, which may seem tiresome for those who already have a great deal of field experience, but can be useful for brushing up on skills which have not been touched on since one’s undergrad (i.e. online math courses, online physics courses). While mandatory electives may seem like a waste of time in a course as specialized as engineering, the opportunity to refresh some skills is an asset for some.

When searching for undergraduate programs, it is important to know the difference between an engineering program and an engineering technology program. For example, DeVry University is one of the only online universities to offer primarily undergraduate engineering degrees, with online BSc programs in electronics engineering technology and computer engineering technology – but those technological courses are not the same as engineering degrees. Engineering technology degrees usually prepare a graduate for an entry-level job as a computer or electrical technician with a modest salary. While engineering technologists are in demand, a pure engineering course is far more theoretical than practical and prepares the student for different work – so knowing the difference is crucial.

One of the few institutions to offer online engineering courses at an undergraduate level that focuses on pure engineering rather than engineering technologies is Johns Hopkins University, which does not offer full programs but individual courses. Universities offering individual courses are ideal for those with unfinished degrees, or those who want to defer commuting or relocating to attend university full-time after several semesters.

Most online engineering and engineering technology programs take relatively the same amount of time to complete as one would attending a conventional university, however some offer the option of completing a four-year degree in three years if summer courses are taken – in short, distance education is not to be mistaken for an easy ride. In the future, bachelor of engineering programs may become commonplace online; however at the moment it is far too inconvenient to organize labs in the online education sphere. Nevertheless there is a high number of rich, quality online engineering courses for master’s and PhD students, and numerous engineering technology degrees online at a number of schools.

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