Get Your Online Engineering Degree: Engineers Are Always In Demand
The career opportunities are endless when you get an online engineering degree. Let’s explore this from the beginning to understand what an engineer is, what types of jobs are available, and how much you can make in an engineering position.
What is an Engineer?
An Engineer designs, builds, or maintains engines, machines or public works. Engineers bring together science, math, technology and creativity to solve problems.
As Julie Ulseth, director of marketing enrollment services at Kettering University (MI), puts it, Engineers are “people who want to make things better, faster, stronger, simpler, smarter, quicker, quieter, greener and more efficient.”
The solutions and innovations of Engineers can be found everywhere in our daily lives, notes Dr. Manos Maragakis, Engineering Dean for the University of Nevada Reno. “From the cars you drive, to the roads you drive on, to the smartphones you use, to the air we breathe and the water we drink” says Maragakis. “All of this is engineering.”
The field of Engineering is both exciting and gratifying.
Because it involves technology and innovation, new discoveries and advancements are happening every second of every day. There is no end to the learning process; Engineers are always building upon something new. Ulseth points out, “There are fields of study and new industries that don’t even exist yet that will come into being because of engineers!”
And the things Engineers are working on today, can change lives tomorrow. (And not just the medical advancements!)
“[There are] plenty of opportunities for a career that can be personally rewarding and can make a major contribution to the improvement of people’s lives and the advancement of our nation,” says Maragakis. “Examples [of contributions] include engineering applications related to all aspects of infrastructure national security, renewable energy, natural disaster response and medical applications.”
What can you do with an Engineering degree?
Earning an online degree in Engineering will equip you will a broad range of skills that will be valuable in a number of industries. You could work in a large corporation, for a small non-profit, at a hospital or in zoo – anywhere!
The possibilities really are endless, but let’s take a look at some of the highest paid Engineering majors:
|Major / Career||Potential Salary|
|Computer Hardware Engineer||$115,120|
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook)
More specifically, your Engineering degree could land you unique, interesting jobs like these:
- Formula One Racing Engineer
- 3D Printing Engineer
- LEGO® Designer
- Rollercoaster Engineer
- Storm Tracker
Which Engineering degree is in high demand?
Engineering as a whole is a lucrative and rewarding field, but with so many concentrations available it can be difficult to select the right one.
There are nine primary branches of engineering to consider: chemical, mechanical, aerospace, industrial, civil, structural, electrical, computer and biomedical. Under these branches are hundreds of majors or concentrations, which vary by school and by region.
As students narrow down their focus, they should be considering which industries are likely to grow, which may become oversaturated or obsolete, and so on. This is impossible to know with certainty, of course, but we can make predictions.
Currently, the fastest growing fields are those in the IT sphere, but technology isn’t the only promising path.
According to NewEngineer.com, these are the most in demand engineering jobs with the highest salary potential for 2019:
|Engineering Job||Average Mid-Level Salary|
|Data Science & Machine Learning||$107,000|
|Automation & Robotics Engineer||$92,000|
|Alternative Energy Engineer||$82,000|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) supports this. For example, the BLS expects employment in Petroleum Engineering to grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
What skills do you need to be an Engineer?
Engineering requires a blend of technical, creative and interpersonal skills.
As a major, Engineering can be quite challenging because it covers subjects that are traditionally difficult for students: mathematics, science and technology. These subjects are rigorous and require extensive homework and labs.
To prepare while in High School or Community College, students may wish to take the following foundational courses:
- Computer programming
- Computer Science
But you will need more than just technical know-how as an Engineer. You will need the ability to think like an Engineer, always identifying and solving problems.
Engineers will need the following skills or traits:
- The ability to work under pressure, with tight deadlines
- Problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail
- The ability to think outside the box / think creatively / imagine and innovate
- Leadership skills
- Strong communication (verbal and written)
- The ability to work in a team setting
Those last attributes – the interpersonal skills – are often overlooked, but they’re essential in this field.
“Engineers almost always work in teams with other people—often non-engineers. Participation in team activities is important so that prospective students will learn how to get along with others and focus on accomplishing a task,” says Dr. W. L. Scheller II, Head of the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department at Kettering University.
What are the trends in Engineering?
The hottest trends in the Engineering field center on the environment and technology.
Environmental problems, climate change and the depletion of natural resources are world-wide concerns. Environmental Engineers work to design, build and maintain structures that conserve non-renewable energy, use recycled or reclaimed materials, and respect plant and animal communities.
Technology, of course, influences all industries, but for those who innovate – namely, Engineers – it’s at the forefront. Currently, all eyes are on Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning and 3D Printing.
Can you get an Engineering Degree Online?
Absolutely! Engineering is a field that is always changing – even by the minute – which makes it particularly well-suited for online learning.
Whether you’re newly graduated or want to go back to school for Engineering, online degrees are available at any level, from associate’s to doctoral!
An online associate degree in Engineering is an excellent starting point, providing the foundational education necessary to pursue jobs in civil, electronic or mechanical engineering, for example, assisting licensed professionals. This online degree can get you into the field quickly, and allow you to earn a more advanced degree in the future.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in Engineering online will open many more doors, allowing you to focus your education on a specialized field and increasing your earning potential dramatically. A 4-year bachelor’s degree is the most common degree for Engineers.
An online Engineering master’s degree provides further professional development, managerial skills and, generally speaking, increased earning potential. The BLS reported that Mechanical Engineers, Civil Engineers and Architectural and Engineering Managers with master’s degrees all had median salaries that were 9 to 13% higher than the median wages of their counterparts who had just a bachelor’s degree.
If you’re most interested in research and academia within the Engineering field, an online doctorate would be beneficial to your career path. With a doctorate, you can pursue any concentration, and work on cutting edge investigation and development.
For more information on earning your Engineering degree online – at any level – click here.
Are Scholarships available for Engineering majors?
There are literally hundreds of Engineering scholarships available. Some are exclusive to students at a particular school, in a particular major or concentration, those working on a certain degree level, to a minority gender or ethnicity, or to those in a specified region.
Some of the best resources for finding scholarships for Engineering students are as follows:
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers – “SME is an association of professionals, educators, and students committed to promoting and supporting the manufacturing industry.”
- Society of Women Engineers – “SWE Scholarships support women pursuing ABET-accredited bachelor or graduate student programs in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology and computer science in the United States. … Applicants complete one application and are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible.”
- PrepScholar’s “55 Best Engineering Scholarships” – This article includes prominent Engineering scholarships as well as the lesser known, and breaks them down by type.
There are also traditional scholarship search sites, where you can use filters to focus on Engineering-related opportunities.
Check with the college or university you choose to find out what scholarships they offer students.
Finally, don’t forget to apply for financial aid! Engineering students at all levels should complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA). Every year millions of students assume they will not qualify for need-based assistance, so they do not apply, and billions of dollars in federal funds go unused.