Can You Actually Earn an Engineering Degree Online? How It Works and What It Costs

"From designing and building the first aqueducts in ancient Rome to the creation of the smartphones we can’t live without, engineers are responsible for some of society’s greatest innovations.

At its core, engineering uses a combination of math and science to come up with technical solutions to everyday problems. These solutions can be applied to almost every industry, which is why engineering is one of the most valuable and lucrative career paths out there.

Although employment in the field is projected to grow at the same rate as all other occupations in the U.S. through 2029, engineers still earn about 64% more than the average American worker. The median salary of a bachelor’s degree holder is $85,152, according to PayScale." …

Just going to have some fun here and say yes. My son’s finishing at Michigan and everything is basically remote… Do I suggest it… No. Not on the non pandemic world.

Pre-COVID-19, University of North Dakota offered a mostly-distance version of some engineering majors, but students had to come to campus for short periods of time to complete lab components of some courses.

ABET accreditation, cost, and job prospects are important considerations.

I’m sure you can get a degree online that will lead to a decent engineering job. However, I would always ask whether a college applicant was in a study group while in college. I also was very interested in seeing some kind of longer term involvement in an engineering project or internship. A demonstrated “Works well with others” was just as important as classes taken and grades obtained to me. I’m not sure an online degree would excite me as an employer.

I suppose that in today’s environment this is become more feasible, and maybe I’m just too “old school”.

But when I was hiring, this would have been a non-starter. Engineering isn’t a sit-at-your-desk-and-do-calculations profession. Working in groups, working on large project teams, interacting with others, etc., is a crucial skill. Many of these skills are honed by working with those 5 friends of yours on that &**&^^ of a Thermo assignment. Or coordinating external parties, suppliers, professors, etc., on your Senior Design Project (as my D is today). Or reaching out to someone new in your elective/required GenEd Psychology class that’s way outside your comfort zone.

My D explains the time she’s spent in the wind tunnel doing Fluids labs, using the 3D printer with her team on deign class prototypes, etc., and I’m jealous of how engineering labs have changed since my days. Hands on labs are extremely valuable and you just don’t get that online.

I guess I agree with the part of the article “But getting your degree online can be challenging in many ways, too, especially when studying a discipline like engineering that relies heavily on experiential learning. “The thing about engineering, and what separates it, is that you need to have that hands-on experience for the majority of the degrees,” says Robert Keynton, dean of the William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.”

It does reference this option for working professionals, getting a degree part-time. I can see this an an option for someone who’s a technical, lab worker, etc., looking for a formal degree/book learning for the hands-on work they’re already doing. I just can’t imagine how long that would take - 8 years?

RichinPitt, this is exactly what my son has experienced at Engineering School. Because of lengthy Co-ops which kept him away from campus, upon his return he only needed a couple of courses to graduate and had to wait until the following year to enroll. Boom, then COVID hit and the school decided to remain open, required all students to come back to campus, even though all coursework is taught remotely. He pleaded with the administration to be allowed to take classes from home, several states away…to obviously save on housing costs in these uncertain times. No deal. The Dean of Students said that the amount of collaboration with engineering classmates would remain critical for the students’ education, regardless of COVID.

If all courses are taught remotely and the collaboration with other students is through video conferencing, why would it matter whether he is living on or near campus versus living several states away?

@ucbalumnus Why would it matter? $$$$

Likely it’s much more cost effective, revenue positive, to require living on-campus. That includes revenue from on-campus housing/meal plans (a MAJOR source of revenue).

Yes, I think engineering classes in person are better than online, in that it facilitates group projects. However, COVID has shown us that many engineering classes can be taught remotely, far more than many assumed.