Pursuing a degree at an online electrical engineering school is an excellent way to gain fundamental knowledge of electricity and its practical applications. Engineering is a science and lends itself well to the use of computers, both in the learning phase and with the practical day-to-day work involved. The computer-oriented approach can now be taken one step further with online learning, where it is possible to understand and simulate real-world situations within a distance learning environment.
What You Learn in an Online Electrical Engineering Program
The difference between electrical systems and electronic systems is largely one of scale. Electrical systems tend to be large and powerful, while electronic systems tend to be small and use little power. It can also be said that electrical systems are concerned with the transmission of power, whereas electronic systems are concerned with the transmission of information. Depending on the school, these two disciplines are sometimes combined under the overarching title of electrical engineering, while in many programs they are typically considered separate.
Online electrical engineering programs are offered at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Online programs are well suited to people who already work within the field of electrical engineering and want to improve their job prospects or those who are looking to change careers and take advantage of the many job opportunities that exist within the electrical engineering field.
An online electrical engineering degree, like its on-campus counterpart, teaches a student about the concepts and application of electrical systems. Typically, students in electrical engineering classes learn about integrated circuits, the theory and application of analogue and digital electronics, robotics, communications systems, and computers. Courses might include study in:
- Electromechanical energy conversion
- Digital systems
- Static & dynamics
- Introduction to engineering design
- Circuit analysis
- C++ programming
- Engineering ethics
- Differential equations
- Programmable automation controllers
- Embedded microcontrollers
- Engineering statistics & probability
- Multivariable calculations
- Fluid power
Although not required by the state, some employers may prefer hiring candidates who have earned the professional engineers designation (PEs). In order to become licensed, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), sit for two professional exams, and obtain relevant work experience.
Job Prospects for Electrical Engineering Grads
Electrical engineering jobs are available in many industries, including manufacturing, research, telecommunications, and more. With an associate’s degree from an online electrical engineering college, you could become an electrical engineering technician. The role of an engineering tech is to support electrical engineers in developing and maintaining electrical systems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineering technicians earned a median annual salary of $57,850 in 2012.
Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment. A bachelor’s degree is required for all entry-level electrical engineering jobs, and a master’s degree is required for most basic research positions. In 2012, electrical engineers earned a median annual salary of $87,920.
Electrical engineering jobs have been affected by the phenomenon of globalization, with many companies relocating product development and manufacturing to countries where labor and equipment is cheaper, which has resulted in a slower than average job growth in the field. However, there is still a strong domestic need for engineers who are capable of designing, constructing, and maintaining large-scale electrical systems. To put it simply, qualified electrical engineers and technicians continue to be in demand. Start working towards a degree from an online electrical engineering school today to open doors to new employment opportunities in this exciting field.