Engineering Your Career: Courses and Degrees in Engineering Online
When you start an online engineering degree program, you position yourself for exciting career options--not to mention some extremely interesting engineering courses. Engineers work across most of the employment spectrum, offering their services in design and implementation of solutions that make for a more efficient world. Depending on their specialties, engineers work in high technology, business, finance, science, healthcare, civil engineering and infrastructure, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and the government.
Earning an Engineering Degree Online
Students who are drawn to the engineering professions are often inquisitive, love to solve problems, and have a keen interest in computers. They like to research solutions, test their findings, and trouble-shoot technology as it is applied. If you don't think engineering is a diverse field that attracts a wide range of thinkers, consider this: There are 17 different engineering specialties listed in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system maintained by the Federal Government.
Admissions requirements and pre-requisites for engineering programs may include previous coursework in mathematics (through calculus), hard science (chemistry, biology, physics), and general education in the liberal arts and humanities.
Most engineers find their way into their profession by completing a bachelor's degree. Online engineering courses at the undergraduate level prepare students with a foundation in physical science, mathematics, and life sciences, while additional engineering courses expose undergrads to a range of disciplines, including:
- Biomedical Technology
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Science (Software and Hardware Development)
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Nuclear Technology
- Petroleum science
Depending on your chosen discipline, you can also pursue post-graduate work in an applied field within engineering to qualify for management or leadership roles in research or teaching.
Engineering Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that engineering employment will grow by 11 percent during the 2006-2016 decade, with a large spike of 21 percent of the new jobs created in the booming field of biomedical engineering. Jobs for environmental engineers also look especially good, according to the BLS, with a 25 percent rise in employment predicted for the 2006-2016 decade.
Double-digit employment increases are also predicted for engineers in marine sciences, mining, aerospace, civil engineering, and health and safety professions. Fields in materials, electrical, computer hardware, and chemical engineering should undergo growth, too, but at less than 10 percent over the 2006-2016 decade.
Earnings in Engineering
Starting salaries for engineering grads, the BLS reports, are traditionally higher than entry level pay for most other professions. However, most engineers are expected to continue their educations to remain competitive in the workplace as systems and software continues to evolve.
Here are the median, 2008 annual earnings for engineers by discipline as reported by the BLS:
- Aerospace Engineers, $92,520
- Agricultural Engineers, $68,730
- Biomedical Engineers, $77,400
- Chemical Engineers, $84,680
- Civil Engineers, $74,600
- Computer Hardware Engineers, $97,400
- Electrical Engineers, $82,160
- Environmental Engineers, $74,020
- Health and Safety Engineers, $72,490
- Industrial Engineers, $73,820
- Marine Engineers and Naval Architects, $74,140
- Mechanical Engineers, $74,920
- Mining and Geological Engineers, $75,960
- Nuclear Engineers, $97,080
- Petroleum Engineers, $108,020
Even with slowdowns in the economy, the BLS reports, engineers are indispensable employees within companies, schools, and laboratories, undertaking long-term research and development, making engineering a powerful career choice.