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Online engineering degree grads hard at workWhat’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of engineering? Maybe someone who creates blueprints of space shuttles? Someone who solves a lot of math equations? Someone who designs and builds bridges? If you thought of any of those things, you’d be right.
Engineering has been part of the foundation of modern human society. It is a broad field of applied science, figuring out how things work and how to bring ideas to life. Engineers are the professionals who are behind most of our contemporary conveniences: trains, planes, cars, computers, smartphones, biomedical products, spaceships, skyscrapers, bridges, roads, boats, electricity. Almost every industry imaginable has been touched by the hands of a professional in engineering. Likewise, an engineering degree online can cover a wide gamut of fields, from electrical to transportation to biomedical. If you are contemplating an engineering degree, take the time to understand the complex factors that may impact your ability to practice in this professional field.


Engineering professionals work across the spectrum of industries, where there is a need for engineering, mechanics, or other types of technology. General engineering programs are great for professionals who are curious in exploring the diverse arena of engineering and their many career options. If you’re interested about turning math and science into real life innovations that may change the way our world works, then read on to consider how you can get started in engineering.

The responsibilities of those that have earned a general engineering degree will depend on the type of employment they eventually secure. The Department of Labor (DOL) gives an overview of some of the most common engineering positions:

  • Aerospace Engineers - These engineers design, create, and test aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles. They often specialize in areas such as aerodynamic fluid flow, structural design, navigation and control, instrumentation and communication, robotics, and propulsion and combustion. They can also specialize in designing different types of aerospace products, such as commercial and military airplanes and helicopters, remotely piloted aircraft and rotorcraft, spacecraft, and military missiles and rockets. Engineers can start their career as an aerospace engineering technician, operating and maintaining equipment that’s used for the development and sustainment of aircraft and spacecraft, with an an associate’s level education, making nearly $70,000 on average. Aerospace engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree, which pays off to the tune of nearly $110,000 in annual salary on average. 
  • Mechanical Engineers - These professionals apply their knowledge of math and science to create and maintain machines that use or produce power. They make work with cars, heating and cooling systems, or even robots; they are involved in the production of everything from batteries to refrigerators. Like other engineers, mechanical engineers use computers quite often to integrate many aspects of projects. Mechanical engineering technicians can begin their career with an associate degree, to help mechanical engineers design, develop, test, and manufacture mechanical devices, including tools, engines, and machines. On average, technicians make nearly $55,000 each year. With a bachelor’s degree, professionals can find positions as mechanical engineers, with the potential of making an average salary between $80,000-90,000.
  • Chemical Engineers - Chemical engineers apply a unique knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and more. These engineering professionals may conduct research, establish safety procedures for working with dangerous chemicals, or specialize in a particular chemical process such as oxidation. Like most engineers, chemical engineers must have a bachelor’s degree before they can dive into their work. They are among some of the better paid engineers, making an average of nearly $100,000 each year.
  • Civil Engineers - These professionals design, supervise, and maintain major infrastructure projects that allow our society to operate smoothly. They are the ones who are typically responsible for the foundational pieces of our public and private sectors such as bridges, dams, roads, tunnels, and more. They usually specialize in one or more areas that include construction, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, etc. Professionals may start their career with an associate’s degree as a civil engineering technician, helping civil engineers to plan, design, build, and maintain infrastructure projects. Civil engineering technicians make an average of nearly $50,000 annually. With a bachelor’s degree, professionals can seek positions as a civil engineer, making more than $80,000 on average each year.

Regardless of your specific passion and interests, or how much you are able to invest in your career, there are limitless options to creating a path in engineering that’s perfect for you.


Careers in engineering are for professionals who are not timid to dive into the depths of multiple STEM topics, becoming experts at applied math, science, and physics. Professionals who succeed in these types of careers must have a careful eye for detail to solve complex equations and the technical skills that are required to turn scientific concepts into realistic products.

In addition to being mathematical problem-solvers and critical thinkers, these professionals must be great communicators since they often have to work in teams with other professionals and colleagues. They must also have the creativity to bring science to life in an almost magical sense. If you’re interested in making the products that help shape our society, then there are many unique paths to the world of engineering.


To become a licensed engineer, you generally must attend on an online engineering school that is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In addition to completing a bachelor's of science in engineering, you may be required to complete up to four years of supervised engineering work experience post-degree, and pass the national Professional Engineer (PE) exam. You will then be a licensed engineer (PE). Note that requirements vary by state. Check the licensing requirements in your state before enrolling in any engineering degree program online.

A general engineering program offers professionals the foundational skills and knowledge that is needed for a career in engineering, while still leaving room for individuals to customize and specialize their curriculum to fit their unique interests in agriculture, environment, electronics, aerospace, or more. Compare the online master of engineering (ME) to the online master of science in engineering (MSE). The presence or absence of the word “science” in the degree title has meaning. A master of engineering is a professional engineer’s degree, and will not require a research thesis. The master of science (MS) will require a traditional thesis and is best suited for academics and researchers. Many states also require licensed engineers to participate in continuing professional competency (CPC). Many online ongoing education courses are available to help accrue necessary hours. 

Engineering technicians, however, do not need to meet the above requirements. Technicians often earn online associate or bachelor degrees in applied engineering technology from an Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) accredited school. Professionals who earn online engineering technology degrees can major in the same areas as licensed engineers—civil engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.—but they usually make less in salary. They may also have to work under the direct supervision of a licensed engineer. An engineering technology degree contains more applied courses. A technology degree has less of an emphasis on theoretical math and science than an online bachelor's degree in engineering.


Our rankings reveal that the average cost of an online master's degree in engineering is just under $28,000. Keep this figure in mind as you compare programs. Make sure any program you enroll in meets any licensing requirments that you'll need for your future career goals as an engineer.

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List of Accredited Online Degrees

George Mason University

Master of Science in Data Analytics Engineering

This online degree provides the deep statistical knowledge and technical savviness you need to step into data scientist, engineer and analyst roles in just 18 months. You'll learn to deliver a process that transforms raw data and places it into ...

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University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Master of Science in Engineering / Engineering Design

The online Master of Science in Engineering with an emphasis in Engineering Design is a rigorous technical program which draws on students’ existing knowledge of engineering theory and mathematics as well as practical engineering ...

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University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

Master of Engineering in Energy Engineering

The online ME in Energy Engineering degree program focuses on commercial buildings and manufacturing processes and the energy they consume. Students are taught to view buildings as machines and energy as an ingredient to manufacturing processes. Cour...

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University of Maryland-College Park

Master of Engineering in Reliability Engineering

The online ME in Reliability Engineering degree program from the University of Maryland-College Park is designed to assist engineers and technical professionals in the development of their careers and to provide the expertise needed in the rapidly ch...

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University of Michigan - Dearborn

Master of Science in Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering

The online MSE in Energy Systems Engineering degree program from the University of Michigan - Dearborn provides students with both systems-based knowledge in energy engineering and in-depth knowledge in automotive energy and distributed energy system...

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Villanova University

Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering

Villanova University offers the online Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering. This degree will prepare students to design and optimize pharmaceutical facilities, processes and products using state-of-the-art analysis and technology. Biochemica...

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Oklahoma State University

Master of Science in Engineering Technology / Fire Safety & Explosion Protection

The online Master of Science in Engineering Technology with a specialization in Fire Safety & Explosion Protection program is intended for engineering and engineering technology graduates from any disciplines, and many science majors, but the ...

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Northeastern University

Master of Science in Energy Systems

The Master of Science in Energy Systems degree program integrates the technology side of energy systems development with the financial planning needed to effectively implement these new technologies. The goal of the MS-ES is to create a high-level si...

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University of Idaho

Master of Science in Geological Engineering

The online Master of Science in Geological Engineering program prepares students to work in the professional discipline that relies on the use of geologic conditions and implications to design and construct civil and mining projects, evaluate and mit...

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University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Master of Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering

The online ME in Energy Systems Engineering degree program from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is designed for students who are motivated to take on the challenges facing society in the areas of sustainable energy generation, storage, and...

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University of Southern California

Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering

The University of Southern California offers an online Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering degree. Petroleum Engineering involves the technology of economically developing and producing subterranean reservoirs of oil, gas, steam, and hot water...

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University of Toledo

Master of Science in Engineering / General Engineering

The online MS in Engineering with a concentration in General Engineering helps students stay current with the latest engineering and business management practices while they prepare for greater responsibilities and leadership roles in their current o...

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University of Virginia

Master of Engineering in Materials Science & Engineering

The online ME in Materials Science & Engineering degree program is designed to provide graduate level instruction in Materials Science and Engineering to industrial personnel in any location. Courses are taught live on campus in the afternoon or...

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West Virginia University

Master of Science in Safety Management

The online Master of Science in Safety Management program is designed for students seeking careers in occupational health and safety.  The curriculum prepares students to help companies follow regulations while designing programs to prevent ...

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Master of Science in Fire Protection Engineering

The online MS in Fire Protection Engineering degree program from Worcester Polytechnic Institute is designed to give fire protection engineers the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience to ensure fire safety. The curriculum allows students to exp...

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Auburn University

Master of Science in Materials Engineering

The online Master of Science in Materials Engineering program is designed for students who wish to gain knowledge in the engineering profession, specifically in the work of materials.  This degree emphasizes professional development.  The ...

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Columbia University in the City of New York

Master of Science in Materials Science & Engineering

Columbia University in the City of New York offers an online Master’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering. Students learn about the relationships between materials and their properties and ...

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Florida International University

Master of Science in Logistics Engineering

The online Master of Science in Logistics Engineering program prepares highly knowledgeable professionals who can navigate transportation, supply chain, production, and cutting-edge technology and methods to create best practices for modern commerce....

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University of Illinois at Chicago

Master of Engineering (Interdisciplinary)

The online Master of Engineering program is an interdisciplinary degree that is highly customizable and allows students to take courses that immerse them in the key contexts in which engineers operate.  Students will study the legal and ethical...

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University of California-Los Angeles

Master of Science in Engineering

The online Master of Science in Engineering program is a flexible program that allows students to build their own programs of study that best suit their professional needs.  Students are also able to participate in one of several certificate ...

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Iowa State University

Master of Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering

The online Master of Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering program prepares students to be professionals in the field of energy systems, able to comprehend and work with the complex systems and increasing environmental constraints.  The ...

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University of Colorado Denver

Master of Engineering in Geographic Information Systems

A Master of Engineering in Geographic Information Systems offers many career paths. You’ll be in high demand in various fields such as: Government agencies at the Federal, State, and local level; Consulting engineering firms and Technical ...

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Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

Master of Science in Geospatial Systems Engineering

The online Master of Science in Geospatial Systems Engineering program provides students with knowledge and skills focusing on the research, design, development, and use of technologies in the field.  The curriculum offers breadth in the course...

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Mississippi State University

Master of Engineering

The Master of Engineering is a multidisciplinary, fully‐online degree that allows students flexibility in determining a personalized program of study organized for their own specific educational and professional purposes. Students will have access to...

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New York Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Energy Management

The online Master of Science in Energy Management program prepares graduates for hands-on experience with green buildings, power systems, environmental issues, and other areas related to energy.  The curriculum covers topics including:  ...

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