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If you become one of the millions of holders – and counting – of online associates in engineering degrees, you are part of a centuries-old tradition of engineering. Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, and the International Space Station are just a few of the testaments to ever-evolving engineering technology.
What is engineering? Engineering is the use of science, technology, and mathematics in finding effective and efficient solutions for diverse issues. The engineering field is, thus, among the foundations of STEAM education with its emphasis on the convergence of science, technology, and math.
Both an associate in science and an associate in applied science degree in engineering are an excellent foundation for successful engineering careers. You will gain entry-level engineering skills that prospective employers in diverse industries are looking for in their employees.
Yet another benefit of graduating with an associate degree from an accredited online engineering degree program is the opportunity to parlay it into a bachelor’s degree in engineering. You can choose from several specializations, too, and pursue career advancement opportunities after earning the bachelor’s degree.
Schools That Made the List! Use these Quick Jumps or start scrolling!
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- Wake Technical Community College
- Penn Foster College
- DeVry University
- Seminole State College of Florida
- University of Arkansas Grantham
- ECPI University
- New England Institute of Technology
- University of Massachusetts Lowell
- Hillsborough Community College
Associate degrees in engineering can be considered as pre-engineering training that can lead to a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Students, however, may also choose to apply their associate’s degrees in engineering toward immediate employment in virtually any industry.
If you have a passion for Engineering, an associate degree gets you a foot in the door. Choose an outstanding online program to get you started!
Check out the top characteristics of the excellent online Associate in Engineering degree, which are all offered by our top picks:
- 100% distance learning classes or blended format, emphasizing convenient and flexible class options for Engineering associate’s degree students,
- Comprehensive foundational Engineering coursework that equips students with the fundamentals of the discipline, readying them for the bachelor’s program or job opportunities in the entry-level category,
- Transfer Pathways with partner institutions that make transitioning to the bachelor’s from the associate’s program a breeze for graduates,
- An excellent Learning Management System that offers easy coursework and study program access, coupled with 24/7 technical support services,
- Online faculty or teaching personnel made up of professional and licensed engineers or seasoned Engineering experts,
- Highlights program affordability with financial aid programs for eligible online Associates in Engineering students,
- Proper accreditation from academic councils that set the rules and standards of academic instruction,
- High regard from Engineering associations and groups where they also maintain active memberships,
Learn about what goes into our college and program ranking process. Check our Methodology page.
10 Best Online Associate in Engineering Degree Programs
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Earning the Associate of Science (AS) in Engineering Fundamentals degree from ERAU can be your first step toward a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Graduates can choose between ERAU’s residential campuses in Florida and Arizona and its Worldwide platform. But you can also transfer credits to any four-year college of your choice.
Students in its residential bachelor’s in engineering program are eligible for financial aid while also benefiting from quality engineering instruction.
The pre-engineering program features nine-week terms and courses that total 65 credits. The associate degree in engineering fundamentals curriculum combines general education courses and engineering courses including:
- Introduction to Engineering
- Introduction to Computing for Engineers
- Graphical Communications
- Solid Mechanics
- Fluid Mechanics
- Calculus and Analytic Geometry
- Differential Equations and Matrix Methods
- Physics for Engineers
Students in the engineering fundamentals program develop their practical skills in design using basic models and digital simulations. As online students, they benefit from the convenient learning platform while also learning from on-campus faculty members.
The Associate in Science in Engineering Fundamentals program is accredited by ABET’s Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University itself is known for its world-class aerospace engineering programs with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Wake Technical Community College
Yet another excellent engineering program is Wake Tech’s Associate in Engineering program, a pre-engineering program designed for transfer to four-year colleges. Graduates qualify for any bachelor’s in an engineering degree program in North Carolina’s public institutions. But the associate degree is also useful in other fields, such as a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
Students complete 60 semester credits in an engineering curriculum consisting of general education courses and engineering classes.
- Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
- Writing and Inquiry
- Introduction to Engineering
- Engineering Graphics
- Logic System Design
- Engineering Statics
- Engineering Dynamics
Students consult with an academic advisor to determine the best engineering courses for their planned specialization in a bachelor’s degree. The associate in engineering online program has articulation agreements with several schools including the University of North Carolina.
Wake Technical Community College, a public community college, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Penn Foster College
This is an excellent pre-engineering program that prepares students for higher education and for entry-level jobs in the engineering field. Penn Foster’s Associate in Engineering program features online courses with a self-paced design suitable for non-traditional students.
If you are looking for an associate degree in an engineering program with a specific focus on electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering, you’re looking at it. The engineering degree program emphasizes technical skills in 3D printing, automation, and alternative energy sources.
Students in the associate degree in engineering online program develop professional skills in:
- Computer-aided design, technical drawings, and other engineering technologies
- Manufacturing processes for equipment and machinery
- Industrial safety practices
The engineering curriculum consists of 64 credits spread over engineering, elective, and general education courses. Students tackle 31 exams over four semesters.
The core engineering courses include:
- Computer Applications
- Introduction to Technical Drawings
- Engineering Mechanics
- Manufacturing and Material Processes
- Electrical and Electronics Theory
- AutoCAD Applications: Engineering Technology
Students can either choose the fast-track option (five months time-to-completion) or the average time-to-completion of 11 months per semester.
Penn Foster College, a private, for-profit online college, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
The Associate in Engineering Technology program at DeVry is a unique associate degree in engineering program in that it offers four concentrations. Students can also earn the IT Essentials Certificate2 while earning the associate degree.
This is a fast-paced four-semester engineering program with a strong focus on engineering technology and its hands-on applications. Online students learn the engineering fundamentals via theory-based coursework and hands-on learning opportunities.
The 64-credit curriculum consists of general education courses, tech core courses, and other course categories. The 21-credit tech core courses include introductory classes in:
- Technology and information systems
- Operating systems
- Computer programming
- Cloud computing
- Automation and electronic systems
Students choose from these specializations:
- General option, which allows students to create their own personalized program of study from multiple concentrations
- Machine Learning and Design Techniques
- Medical Technology and Healthcare Systems
- Renewable Energy and Sustainable Power
DeVry University, a private for-profit university, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Seminole State College of Florida
The online Associate in Science (AS) in Engineering Technology program offered at Seminole State is a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree. Graduates can transfer credits and knowledge into either the engineering technology or construction bachelor’s degree programs.
The 60-credit program consists of general education courses for a well-rounded education. The engineering courses take center stage including introductory courses in:
- Computer programming
- AC/DC circuits
- AC/DC electricity
- Motors and controls
- Robotics applications
Seminole State offers financial aid options, thus, further reducing tuition costs. Small class sizes, as well as high job placement rates, make it an excellent engineering degree program for everybody.
Seminole State College of Florida of the Florida College System is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Arkansas Grantham
The online Associate of Science (AS) in Engineering Management Technology program at UA Grantham prepares students for entry-level technician occupations. Graduates may also transfer their credits earned to the university’s bachelor’s degree in the same field.
The associate degree in engineering management technology has a 24-month time-to-completion. Students not only enjoy affordable tuition with financial aid options but also quality online education.
The 60-credit engineering management technology curriculum consists of general education courses, as well as management classes and engineering courses.
- Managerial Accounting
- Principles of Business Management
- Digital Electronics
- Fundamental Properties of DC and AC Circuits (with lab)
- Electronics (with lab)
The Engineering Management Technology associate degree program has accreditation from the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC).
Yet another possible avenue for a successful engineering career is the Associate of Science (AS) in Mechanical Engineering Technology degree from ECPI University! This is an online program where an aspiring mechanical engineering technician will develop fundamental mechanical engineering technology skills.
The associate degree in engineering program can be completed in 1.5 years of full-time study. The AS in Mechanical Engineering Technology program has experienced faculty members on board, too.
Students learn the diverse topics that make mechanical engineering technology fascinating with core courses covering the fundamentals of:
- Computer programming
- AC and DC circuits
- Materials science
- 3D modeling
Graduates of the mechanical engineering technology program find gainful employment in diverse industries, from aerospace to computer graphics.
ECPI University is recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges.
New England Institute of Technology
The Associate of Science (AS) in Civil Engineering Technology program at NEIT enables students to learn civil engineering principles and practices with practical applications. With a specialist associate degree in engineering, graduates are qualified for entry-level civil engineering technology-related occupations.
Students cover diverse topics in civil engineering and its technologies including the design, planning and construction of:
- Water and wastewater systems
- Residential and commercial buildings
Students also take on general education courses including workplace communications and college writing. Core courses include:
- Materials Testing and Quality Control
- Construction Safety
- Building Science
- Computer-Aided Drafting
Graduates may pursue a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering or Construction Management or seek immediate employment.
New England Institute of Technology, a private university, is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (SACSCOC).
University of Massachusetts Lowell
This is a hybrid mechanical engineering technology program, meaning there’s a mix of on-campus and online classes. The Associate of Science (AS) in Mechanical Engineering Technology program consists of 24 courses that enable students to gain the technical skills for manufacturing occupations.
Mechanical engineering technology refers to the discipline where basic mechanical systems are designed, installed, operated, and maintained. The associate degree in engineering technology can also be parlayed into a bachelor’s degree in the same or similar field. Many courses may also be credited toward a certificate program in mechanical or manufacturing technology.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, an R2 public research university, is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Hillsborough Community College
This is also a hybrid associate degree in engineering technology program with a mix of on-campus and online classes. The Associate in Science (AS) in Computer Engineering Technology program at HCC is excellent preparation for computer technician occupations.
Students in the computer engineering technology program earn 68 credits in general education courses and computer-centric classes including:
- Digital Systems Analysis
- Circuit Analysis
- Computer-Aided Design and Drafting
Students also complete a computer engineering technology capstone course.
Hillsborough Community College, a public community college in the Florida College System, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Additional Information: The 5 Best Online Associates in Electrical Engineering Degrees
Overview of Online Associate in Engineering Programs
College students in online programs should be prepared for the unique challenges of online education, from asynchronous lectures to virtual collaborations. While every excellent associate in engineering program has its unique characteristics, academic excellence is a common trait.
The typical associate in engineering program requires at least a high school diploma from applicants to be considered for admission. Due to the math-intensive nature of engineering, applicants must have above-average math, science, and computer skills, too.
Every engineering program has a specific time-to-completion that students must follow. The duration ranges anywhere between 18 months and 36 months depending on full-time or part-time enrollment.
Check with the admissions committee or academic advisors about the maximum time to completion so you can plan accordingly.
Credits, Curriculum, and Courses
The engineering curriculum for every online program will be different. The curriculum of an electrical engineering technology program will emphasize electrical engineering principles more than a nuclear engineering technology program.
Most programs have a 60-semester credit curriculum, at least.
But every associate degree in engineering and engineering technology program will combine core courses with elective and general education courses. The online courses are designed to develop a wide range of engineering skills including computer skills.
Pre-engineering associate degree programs also feature fundamental courses that establish foundational knowledge in preparation for a bachelor’s degree.
Online Learning Technology
Online education obviously requires digital technologies to deliver online courses, among other activities.
Specific Technologies Used
Learning management systems (LMS) are a must in online associate degrees in engineering programs. Students and professors use the program’s LMS to:
- Deliver and access learning materials
- Perform assessments and evaluations of academic progress
- Interact with peers and others
- Submit assignments
- Attend classes, meetings, and discussions
The LMS is typically complemented by productivity and collaboration tools. Many associates in engineering and engineering technology programs also use digital simulations.
Assessments and Evaluations
Getting an online education is just as challenging as an on-campus education due to the regular and rigorous evaluations of academic performance conducted. The assessments come in many forms, too, including:
- Lessons and lectures
- Reading materials
Internship and Practicum Requirements
Don’t be misled by online education being devoid of internships and practicum opportunities! Many of the best online programs offering associate in engineering degrees provide their students these opportunities.
As a student, you should also consider engaging in either an internship or a practicum experience since it will boost your success in an engineering career.
There are also online or virtual internships for students in online engineering programs! Interns work from home and use digital technology to communicate with their employers and deliver their deliverables.
Online internships can be placed on your resume, too.
Tuition and Financial Aid
While engineering degrees can be expensive, there’s no need to start your engineering career with paralyzing student debt! Consider community colleges since these have more affordable tuition. Apply for as many financial aid programs as you’re allowed and eligible for.
Engineering Basics: Difference between Engineering Technology, Skills, and Specializations
Differences Between Engineering and Engineering Technology
A typical associate degree in engineering program emphasizes theory and design, and the development of innovative technologies in solving complex problems. The engineering curriculum has more higher-level math, science, and engineering courses including calculus, physics, and linear algebra. As a result, engineers are innovators.
In an associate in engineering technology program, students are encouraged to be implementers. The curriculum emphasizes the application and implementation of engineering principles to specific engineering issues.
If you graduate with an associate degree in engineering program, you’re likely to find employment in research, development, and design. If you’re a graduate of an associate degree in engineering technology program, you will be an excellent fit for occupations in testing, manufacturing, and construction.
Of course, your engineering career will depend on your specialization at the associate degree level. If you have a manufacturing engineering technology degree, then you’re likely to be a manufacturing technician.
In terms of skills, students in a typical engineering program and an engineering technology program develop their technical skills including computer skills. But the specific type of technical skills differ!
Engineers must possess strong science and math skills in the development of complex designs. Engineering technologists have practical application and implementation skills in constructing complex designs.
Both engineers and engineering technologists, however, must possess these soft skills:
- Communication skills
- Critical thinking and analytical skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Collaboration skills
- Creativity and resourcefulness
Specializations in Engineering Field
College students in associate in engineering programs may be able to choose a specialization early on. But it’s uncommon in online associate degree programs. Bachelor’s degree programs are more likely to offer specialist engineering degrees with specific technical skills.
- Mechanical engineering covers the design, production, and maintenance of equipment, machinery, and control systems. Mechanical engineers are adept at using a wide variety of devices and tools.
- Electrical engineering refers to the design, production, and inspection of large-scale electrical systems, machinery, and devices. Students in both electrical engineering and electrical engineering technology programs learn to apply electrical engineering principles in real-world settings. Both specializations have overlapping aspects with an electronics engineering technology program.
- Civil engineering covers the design, construction, as well as maintenance of private and public infrastructure projects, as performed by civil engineers.
Other specializations are aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, and environmental engineering.
Career Prospects and Salaries of Associate Degree in Engineering Holders
You can establish your engineering career with an associate degree first and gain relevant work experience. Then, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in your field of specialization for career advancement. You should also consider getting a professional license, as required by your state.
And there are plenty of job opportunities, too! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate in architecture and engineering occupations is 6% (2020-2030). This means about 146,000 new jobs, and most of them are in the engineering field.
Engineering Technologists ($71,750/year)
An engineering technologist is a generalist who likes solving a wide range of engineering problems.
Electrical Engineering Technicians ($93,879/year)
If you obtained an associate degree from an electrical engineering technology program, you can work as an electrical engineering technician. You will assemble, calibrate and repair electrical equipment and adopt electrical engineering principles in your work.
Mechanical Engineering Technicians ($58,353/year)
Mechanical engineering technicians ensure the effective and efficient operations of a wide range of machinery and equipment in numerous industries. These include food manufacturing, transportation, and building services.
Aerospace Engineering Technicians ($73,580/year)
As an aerospace engineering technician, you will assist aerospace engineers in the operations and maintenance of equipment used in the aerospace industry. These can include spacecraft and aircraft.
Field Service Technicians ($48,246/year)
Field service technicians perform setup, maintenance, and repair jobs in field sites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online Engineering degree accepted by employers?
Yes, of course, for as long as it comes from an accredited school and program! Online degrees don’t typically state “online” on the diploma because there is no distinction in academic quality between online and on-campus programs.
Is an Associate degree in Engineering worth it?
With diverse job opportunities and great career advancement opportunities, yes, it is! But remember, too, that what you make of your engineering degree is your responsibility.
Are you a suitable candidate for an Associate in Engineering degree?
Prospective college students must possess strong math and science skills, as well as have a keen interest in solving problems with a group.
What are the educational paths for Associate in Engineering degree holders?
College students pursuing an associate in engineering degrees may want to consider a bachelor’s degree in engineering, too, and choose a specialization.
Key Points to Ponder
- Engineering is a field so diverse there’s a specialization that will address your unique interests!
- Start with an associate degree to establish your foundational knowledge and skills, gain relevant work experience, and take your career in engineering to new heights with a bachelor’s degree.
Take a look at these Engineering degree programs, too: