Earning online bachelors engineering degrees is a great option for students who have strong problem solving skills, who are curious about how everyday objects work, and who enjoy building or creating. In the professional world, an engineer finds economical solutions to technical problems. There are numerous specializations within engineering, including aerospace, chemical, and electrical engineering. Regardless of the specialization, engineers in all fields are responsible for designing, developing, and testing new products or solutions to existing problems. As an engineering student, you'll learn about basic engineering design, problem solving, and analysis, as well as an in-depth education in your chosen field.
Classes and Assignments of an Engineering Major
The classes an engineering student takes depends on their chosen field of study. For example, an electrical engineering student may take digital logic design, programming methodology, and digital signal processing. Meanwhile, a chemical engineering student could take processing and properties of materials, chemical engineering kinetics, and process engineering. Generally speaking, students are assessed based on their performance on exams, research papers, quizzes, laboratory work, and daily assignments.
Degree Levels for an Engineering Major
- Associate. If you're interested in a career as an engineering technician or if you're trying to set a solid foundation for baccalaureate study, then you should consider online associate engineering degrees. Engineering technicians help engineers and scientists with research and development, work in quality control, inspect and test products, and collect data. In an associate program, a student may take introduction to technical drawings, manufacturing materials and processes, quality control systems, and more.
- Bachelor's. A bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level engineering jobs. Besides taking the basic engineering classes, students will take classes specific to their area of specialization, whether that is electrical, biomedical, or chemical engineering. By the time the student graduates, he or she should have a strong understanding of the fundamental principles of engineering, in-depth knowledge of their chosen field, and the ability to plan and execute project.
- Master's. Many schools offer two types of online masters engineering degrees: the Master of Science (MS), which provides students with a deeper understanding of engineering principles, and the Master of Engineering (ME), which was developed for professional development. In a MS program, students may take analytical methods or advanced engineering courses, while ME students may take process design and classes in management. An MS can lead to a job in research, while an ME graduate can work as a design team leader or in management.
- Doctoral. Students interested in working as a teacher at the university level should consider earning a doctoral degree in engineering. Some schools offer Ph.D. programs in electrical, mechanical, chemical, and bioengineering, and the classes may include research methods and seminars.
A Future as an Engineering Major
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of engineers in all fields will grow about 11%, or about as fast as average for all industries, between 2008 and 2018. The growth of employment in engineering changes based on the specialization. For example, job opportunities for biomedical engineers are expected to grow by 72%, and 31% for environmental engineers, but only 6% for mechanical and marine engineers, and 2% for electrical engineers.
Earnings vary by specialty as well. In May 2008, petroleum engineers had the highest median salary, $108,020, while agricultural engineers had the lowest at $68,730. However, keep in mind that these numbers are no guarantee of actual salary or job availability, which may be determined by the employer and the state of the economy.