The field of engineering covers a diverse and broad spectrum of career choices. Biomedical engineer, chemical engineer and civil engineer are only three of the numerous disciplines within the field of engineering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineers are paid the highest annual median salary of all engineers, earning $114,080, as of 2010. All other specialties included in the BLS 2010 report, earned a median wage of over $70,000. Engineering jobs overall are expected to increase 13 percent on average between 2010 and 2020, with biomedical engineering jobs predicted to grow at 62 percent.
Engineers are innovators and problem solvers, developing original inventions and improving existing products or designs. An agricultural engineer may develop biofuels to improve conservation, while chemical engineers may work to develop new medicines and safer applications of pest control. Nuclear engineers research and design innovative uses of radiation, such as medical diagnostic equipment.
Some workers in this field begin at the entry-level with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, while other aspiring engineers fast-track into the field with a masters degree in engineering. With advances in technology and educational software, online engineering degrees are now offered by major campus-based universities and educational institutions offering exclusively online programs.
Undergraduate courses may include thermodynamics, control systems theory, chemistry and physics. Master’s courses include more in depth study of the foundational courses in addition to course study in the area of concentration. For instance, mechanical engineering students may complete courses in fiber optic networks, machine automation or renewable energy. Biomedical engineering students may focus in one of several areas including, bioinstrumentation, biomechanics or rehabilitation engineering. Most master’s engineering programs require two years of study for a total of 30 to 45 credit hours.
Earning an engineering degree online offers numerous advantages for working professionals. Tuition is typically more affordable than out-of-state tuition costs. Lecture’s and instructional materials are available online, accessible at the student’s convenience. Advanced education software allows collaborative study with other students which is an important facet of any engineering program.
When choosing an engineering degree program, keep in mind that the program must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology for graduates to qualify for licensing required by states.