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With the rapid growth of the technology sector, individuals with the knowledge and skills in electrical engineering will be in high demand. An excellent way to start your career as an electrical engineer is to research the best online associates in electrical engineering degrees. Typically, earning an electrical engineering degree is necessary for an entry-level position.
Successful students possess critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, as well as the willingness to view problems from different perspectives. Advanced STEM skills are also a must since electrical engineering is among the most demanding fields.
Additional Resources: The 10 Best Online Associates in Computer Science Degrees
Earning an online electrical engineering degree can open doors of opportunities for diverse engineering careers. Start with an associate degree in electrical engineering since it builds a solid foundation of fundamental engineering knowledge and skills. Credits earned in an associate degree can be transferred to a bachelor’s degree in the same or related field.
Plus, an online associate degree takes half the time and requires half the cost of a full-fledged bachelor’s degree, particularly in community colleges and public universities. This is advantageous for non-traditional students who must juggle personal and professional responsibilities with their studies.
Ready to Take Your Pick? Use These Quick Links to Explore Your Options Easily:
- Lone Star College
- Seminole State College of Florida
- Indiana Institute of Technology
- South College
- Central Piedmont Community College
Individuals with an associate in electrical engineering degree have the professional knowledge and skills to create, design, and develop electrical systems for existing and emerging technologies across diverse industries. Indeed, electrical systems and their associated technologies including computers are integral in contemporary life, from education, medicine, and telecommunication to defense and space exploration!
Online Associates in Electrical Engineering degrees give you a head start in the industry, and choosing the most appropriate program is key! Our list consists of the country’s top-rated colleges offering the program, which all exhibit high academic quality through these features:
- Classes are facilitated fully online or in a blended format,
- Core courses in Electrical systems and technologies, as well as fundamental engineering principles, to introduce students to the basics of the profession or prepare them for the bachelor’s level,
- A robust and top-rated Learning Management System through which students can access their coursework conveniently,
- Transfer Pathway agreements inked with partner institutions to provide students an easy transition to a bachelor’s program in Electrical Engineering, should they choose to pursue it upon earning the associate degree,
- Teaching personnel consisting of seasoned electrical engineers and experts in the profession,
- Appropriate accreditation from academic organizations, validating the quality of online or hybrid associate-level instruction delivered by the college,
- Recognition from Electrical Engineering industry associations.
The electrical engineering degrees featured here were chosen for their convenient online delivery format as well as for their high instruction quality, well-rounded curriculum, and affordable costs, thanks to financial aid options.
Check our Methodology for in-depth information on our college and program selection process.
5 Best Online Associate in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs
Lone Star College
Of the online electrical engineering programs featured here, the Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering program is the best because of its exceptional instruction quality. College students learn about the fundamentals of electrical engineering including the design, modeling, analysis, and maintenance of electrical and electronic systems.
This is a two-year online electrical engineering program that meets the core requirements for bachelor’s degree programs at four-year educational institutions in Texas.
The 60 credits earned in the online electrical engineering program include several general education courses that build soft skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, and advanced reading comprehension.
The general education courses also consist of several advanced math courses like:
- College Physics
- Linear Algebra
- Differential Equations
The well-rounded curriculum also covers:
- General Chemistry
- Introduction to the Federal Government and US History, and Texas government.
The intensive core courses are:
- Introduction to Fundamental Electrical Engineering
- Introduction to Digital Systems
- Programming for Engineers
- Electric Circuits.
College credits earned represent the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. With affordable tuition combined with financial aid, online students can save as much as $16,000 on an associate degree.
You can use the associate degree to become an engineering technician, among other entry-level positions, but you can also use it towards an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree. The engineering technician-to-electrical engineer trajectory is a steady growth toward a successful career in electrical engineering.
But you may also work in other areas related to electrical engineering with the associate degree! You may want to consider occupations related to signal processing systems, power systems, and electronics.
With an associate degree in electrical engineering, you can prepare technical drawings and specifications of electrical systems and their components. You will also be able to perform a wide range of engineering tasks using computer-assisted software.
Lone Star College, a public community college system in Texas, is recognized by SACSCOC – Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
Seminole State College of Florida
College students enrolled in Seminole State’s Associate in Arts Electrical Engineering Pathway program can parlay their associate degree into well-paying engineering technician jobs. Learners study the mechanisms behind electricity and electronic devices, thus, satisfying their passion for engineering.
Seminole State is among the best schools to earn an online electrical engineering degree because of its affordable tuition. Students not only enjoy half the tuition involved in an associate degree from a four-year university but also enjoy financial aid options. Plus, Seminole State is a state university, meaning it has high academic standards.
Students in the online electrical engineering program benefit from the small class sizes – each online cohort has 30 students or less, meaning more personalized attention. Since the courses are delivered online, usually in an asynchronous format, students also enjoy a good work-life balance.
The associate degree in electrical engineering and its 60 college credits can be credited toward an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree. Seminole State has a guaranteed transfer agreement with the University of Central Florida and other state universities in Florida, many of which have online bachelor’s degree programs.
Seminole State College of Florida, a public college and a member of the Florida College System, is accredited by SACSCOC.
Indiana Institute of Technology
Indiana Tech’s online Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program prepares its students for a successful career in engineering technician positions, among other entry-level positions.
The well-rounded electrical engineering technology curriculum consists of:
- Math and Science-centric general education courses
- Core courses with an emphasis on the study of electrical circuits
Students learn about analog and digital circuits, electronic instrumentation and electrical devices, and programmable logic controllers. Many of the core courses emphasize the theory and practice behind electrical circuits, from their design to their analysis, testing, and maintenance. Furthermore, students apply their theoretical knowledge in laboratory settings, thus, allowing them to gain hands-on experience necessary for competitiveness in the work marketplace.
All courses including the laboratory work in the associate in electrical engineering technology program are delivered online. Each student receives a kit for the laboratory work, which can be completed at their own time. The courses have a six-week duration.
Coursework in the associate degree in electrical engineering technology also includes technical and lab report writing, both essential skills in the workplace. College students in the online electrical engineering technology program are encouraged to attend on-campus events, too; compulsory attendance, however, isn’t required.
Graduates who earn an associate degree in electrical engineering technology degree are well-equipped for working with electrical systems, and even possess basic computer engineering skills. The online electrical engineering technology degree is well-recognized among employers.
Financial aid is available for online students, with federal financial programs as the most common source.
Indiana Tech, a non-profit university known for its outstanding career-oriented programs, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The engineering programs earned the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation.
The online Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program at South College prepares students for the challenges of electrical engineering as a STEM field. The electrical engineering technology coursework emphasizes the skill sets necessary for engineering technician occupations and the like.
Students learn about:
- Electrical Engineering principles and their applications in real-world settings
- Design of Digital Electronics
- Industrial Safety
- Computer Programming.
Their knowledge of engineering principles is rooted in a solid foundation of advanced math skills.
For college students to thrive in the online electronics engineering technology program, they must possess strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Since issues in engineering technology are typically solved as a group, collaborative and teamwork skills are also useful.
Credits earned in the associate degree in electrical engineering technology program can be transferred into a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology or other similar fields.
South College, a private for-profit college, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Tuition costs are significantly reduced through a wide range of financial aid options.
Central Piedmont Community College
The online Associate in Applied Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program can be your entry-level degree in electrical engineering, meaning it’s an excellent foundation for an advanced degree in the future. Online students in the electrical engineering technology program start with the fundamentals of electrical engineering and then build their knowledge with more advanced concepts.
The curriculum covers topics in electrical engineering technology, including:
- Electronic systems
- AC/DC currents, variable frequency drives, and solid-state fundamentals
- Electrical power systems
- Electrical machines
- Computer Engineering basics
- 2D computer-aided design software
Many graduates of the online electrical engineering technology program find gainful employment in diverse entry-level engineering technician positions. Many also pursue a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology and other related fields.
The electrical engineering technology program is ABET-accredited. Central Piedmont Community College is officially accredited by SACSCOC. Financial aid is available to online students.
Overview of Online Associate in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs
Online electrical engineering programs are intended for both traditional and non-traditional students, such as working adults pursuing a career change or boosting their career advancement opportunities. When choosing an online electrical engineering program, always check first for accreditation before considering other factors.
Accreditation not only guarantees compliance with minimum standards of higher education according to the US Department of Education but also enables online students to access financial aid options.
Prospective students applying for admission into a typical associate in electrical engineering program must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Since electrical engineering is a STEM discipline, students must have advanced math skills combined with above-average problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills. A minimum GPA is usually required, particularly in math and science subjects, for this reason.
A typical associate degree in an electrical engineering program can be completed in two years of full-time study with 60 credits being the minimum. But online students may be allowed to choose between full-time and part-time enrollment, meaning the number of online courses they complete in a single term will vary. This, in turn, will affect their time to completion, from two years to three years.
Curriculum and Courses
Every associate in electrical engineering technology or electrical engineering program has a unique sequence of online courses and their content. Their uniqueness is also influenced by the school philosophy.
Vocational-technical schools, for example, feature a career-oriented curriculum while community colleges are likely to feature more general education courses. Regardless of the underlying philosophy, however, all electrical engineering students tackle advanced math courses like calculus, linear geometry, and physics.
Specializations aren’t common at the associate degree level. But these are offered at the bachelor’s degree level, and examples include the electric power technology and microelectronics.
The course covers the electrical engineering principles behind control systems in autonomous vehicles, robots, and other types of machinery.
Communications and Signal Processing
Students get a basic understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of communication systems and signal processing technology used in diverse electronic systems and devices.
Motors, generator and transformer systems and other components of energy systems are covered in this course. Students also learn about renewable energy, high-temperature superconductors, and fusion energy.
Students learn about electromagnetic fields including their principles and applications in power systems. Topics include electrostatics, transmission lines, and dynamic fields.
Since engineering technology touches on computer programming, students also become proficient in a programming language like Java. Proficiency in computer programming is also an excellent foundation for machine learning and other advanced coursework.
Online Learning Technology
Electrical engineering students in online programs must learn the effective and efficient use of the online learning technology adopted by the school. This is key to their success since most, if not all, of their learning activities, will be conducted using online education technology.
Every online electrical engineering program requires its students to use a learning management system (LMS) where their learning materials, assignments, and other academic requirements are posted, submitted, and evaluated. Think of an LMS as a virtual classroom where lectures, both recorded and live, as well as exams, class projects, and class discussions, are conducted.
Methods of Assessments
Online students in an online electrical engineering program must meet high academic standards in the same manner as their on-campus counterparts. This can be measured via several academic performance assessment methods including quizzes, examinations, and class participation, as well as assignments.
With the use of advanced technology like proctoring and plagiarism detection applications, cheating and other academic violations are prevented.
Internship and Practicum Requirements
If you want to gain real-world experience in an electrical engineering or electronics engineering technology program, you should consider an internship. But take note that the best online education can stand on its own, so to speak, with an internship being the cherry on top.
Savvy electrical engineering students can apply for internships in diverse companies, such as Microsoft, IMC Hardware, and Tower Research Capital. Be sure to coordinate with the staff of whatever online electrical engineering program you’re considering about internship opportunities and requirements.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Engineering degrees can be expensive with an online electrical engineering bachelor’s degree costing between $29,000 and $83,000 in total tuition. This translates to per-credit costs between $245 and $660 – and in the case of an associate degree, multiply the per-credit cost with 60 credits.
Online education comes with added fees, too, and it applies to a typical online electrical engineering program. Online students may pay for e-books and technology fees.
Engineering degrees, however, can be made more affordable with financial aid, such as federal financial aid and institutional scholarships.
Overview of the Electrical Engineering Profession
While European thinkers were already interested in electrical phenomena as early as the 17th century, electrical engineering as a discipline only emerged in 1864 with the emergence of James Clark Maxwell’s basic laws of electricity. But it would take about 40 years before electrical engineers became in demand, thanks to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Thomas A. Edison’s incandescent lamp inventions.
In the 21st century, graduates of electrical engineering degree programs find gainful employment as electrical engineers, digital signal processing engineers, and computer hardware engineers. Indeed, an associate degree in electrical engineering is among the most versatile degrees in the field of engineering and, thus, it gives the best value for your money.
Levels of Education
Like many engineering degrees, there are four levels of electrical engineering degrees – associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. Each level of electrical engineering degree has its challenges and rewards, such as an associate degree is the most accessible in terms of time and cost but it’s suitable for entry-level positions only.
Electrical and electronics engineers in all 50 states possess a bachelor’s degree, minimum. Individuals interested in electrical and electronics engineering should start building their STEM skills during their high school years. Advanced math courses, such as algebra, calculus, and physics are an excellent start, and drafting skills are recommended.
The best bachelor’s degree for aspiring electrical and electronics engineers is either electrical or electronics engineering because of the close connection. Whatever your choice, check the accreditation of the electrical engineering or electronics engineering program before enrolling. Aside from regional or national accreditation, the best online programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
An associate degree in electrical engineering is the first level, with prospective students only required to present a high school diploma for admission. Students learn about electric circuits and other topics about electronics and digital technologies, as well as the basics of computer engineering.
If you wish to become a professional electrical engineer, you must earn an electrical engineering bachelor’s degree first. Check out online electrical engineering programs for their convenience, flexibility, and affordability as well as academic quality.
Once you’re a professional electrical engineer, you can advance both your knowledge and career with an online electrical engineering master’s degree. Your engineering education can continue with a doctorate in electrical engineering, particularly if you’re into research.
Keep in mind, too, that electrical engineering education is a lifetime commitment! With electrical engineering in constant flux, there’s always something new to learn.
Licenses and Registrations
Electrical and electronics engineers in entry-level positions do not have to secure a license – their electrical engineering degrees will suffice in the meantime. But if becoming a professional electrical engineer is in your plans, you must secure a professional engineering (PE) license.
Aside from a bachelor’s in electrical engineering degree, you must also pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering (PE) exams and gain at least four years of relevant work experience. You can take the FE exam after earning a bachelor’s degree and then the PE exam after gaining work experience.
Roles and Responsibilities
Electrical engineers design, develop and test electrical equipment and electrical systems, such as on aircraft, boats, and power systems. Electrical engineers also perform tasks like working with project managers to ensure the delivery of projects with electrical components.
Being a successful electrical engineer means possessing certain qualities necessary for the job. Since electrical engineers design and develop complicated electrical systems, they must be focused, pay attention to details, and look at problems in creative ways. Advanced math skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills are also a must.
Career Prospects for Graduates of Associate in Electrical Engineering Programs
Individuals with an online electrical engineering degree are competitive applicants for entry-level positions in electrical engineering and other related fields. These engineering jobs are also open for individuals with an associate in electrical engineering technology degree. Suffice it to say that the beauty of electrical engineering degrees is their versatility!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical engineers earned a median annual wage of $100,420 (May 2021). Labor statistics also point to the faster-than-average employment growth rate among electrical and electronics engineering jobs at 7% (2020-2030) or about 22,700 jobs per year.
For graduates of associates in electrical engineering programs, the following are the possible engineering jobs waiting for them.
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians ($63,640/year)
Electrical and electronic engineering technicians and technologists assist professional engineers in the design and development of electrical and electronic systems.
Manufacturing Technicians ($47,985/year)
Manufacturing technicians are instrumental in the production process of consumer goods. Their tasks include the assembly of products, conducting quality checks, and maximizing production efficiency.
Broadcast Technicians ($52,780/year)
Broadcast engineers install, operate, and maintain media control systems and other equipment used in the transmission of television and radio shows.
Substation Technicians ($61,849/year)
Substation technicians install, operate, and repair electrical equipment and machinery used in power systems, as well as their electrical components.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online associate degree in electrical engineering important?
Yes, it is! Many engineering technicians in entry-level positions have an associate degree from online programs. You will enter the job market faster but you may want to consider earning an online bachelor’s degree for career advancement.
Is it possible to earn an associate degree in electrical engineering completely online?
Yes, it is, thanks to the wonders of online education! Online students can earn other engineering degrees, too, such as in electronics engineering technology.
Is it difficult to earn an online associate degree in electrical engineering?
Yes, it can be difficult considering that electrical engineering places heavy emphasis on advanced math and science skills! But it’s an online education worth pursuing considering the wide range of engineering jobs and career advancement opportunities.
What’s the difference between an associate in electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology degrees?
Both are respected engineering degrees but with a distinct focus. Electrical engineering graduates design, develop and test electrical equipment while graduates of electrical engineering technology programs assist electrical engineers in these activities.
What’s the difference between electronic engineering and electrical engineering?
Both are also engineering degrees but with distinct, if related, focus. Electronic engineering focuses more on electronic circuits and software. Electrical engineering is more concerned with electric power systems including their generation, transmissions, and distribution.
Key Points to Ponder
- Earning an associate degree in electrical engineering or electrical engineering technology has its challenges due to its strong STEM emphasis. But the rewards are worth your while so go for it!
- Engineering jobs with entry-level positions, such as electrical engineering technicians, are just the start of a successful career with an associate degree in electrical engineering.
- Check out other fields, too, such as computer engineering technology, so that you can have your pick of engineering jobs!
For more information: The 5 Best Online Associates in Electronics Engineering Degrees