Best Online Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering
Updated August 23, 2022
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Electronic engineering technician bachelor's degrees help motivated graduates enter an interesting and lucrative field.
This qualification prepares learners for entry-level electronic and electrical engineering positions, and individuals interested in increasing their earnings and leadership potential can pursue a professional engineering (PE) license without seeking an advanced degree.
In addition to core courses, some electronics degree online programs allow students to select a specialization. Common options include communications, semiconductors and nanotechnology, energy, and biosystems. Even if a school does not offer concentrations, learners may be able to focus their education through well-selected elective courses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of electrical and electronics engineer positions will grow 2% between 2018 and 2028. While this is slower than most professions, it still means 8,000 new roles on top of the existing 330,300. Professionals in these positions earned median annual salaries of $99,070 in 2018. Those in the top 10% of earners brought home in excess of $153,240 during the same time period.
|#1||University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA|
|#2||Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM|
Best Online Bachelor's in Electronics Engineering Programs
Online Bachelor's in Electronics Engineering Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following online electronic engineering degree programs based on their quality, the types of courses offered, faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including each school's reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.
What Is Electronics Engineering?
Electronics engineering dates back to the late 19th century when radios — and later televisions — emerged as new technologies and eventually became household staples. Work expanded rapidly during World War II as researchers and inventors searched for innovative ways to create defense systems. Today, the field encompasses an array of technologies and products that run on electricity.
The discipline combines science, technology, engineering, and math in an effort to move electronics and electrical innovation forward.
Electronics engineering degrees focus on giving learners the skills required to design and build electronics from the ground up. While engineers are not responsible for the actual manufacturing of electronics, they must provide detailed plans and instructions on how their designs work. They must also effectively troubleshoot problems and make adjustments to their creations.
Electronics engineering is its own distinct field, but it fits under the umbrella of STEM. The discipline combines science, technology, engineering, and math in an effort to move electronics and electrical innovation forward.
Electronics Engineering vs. Electrical Engineering
These two titles often get thrown around interchangeably, but they are different fields. Electronics engineering focuses on small-scale engineering, including the development of circuits, microelectronics, transistors, semiconductors, computers, and consumer electronics. Conversely, electrical engineering is more of an umbrella field for large-scale electrical systems, including signal processing, communication, and grids.
When deciding which arena to pursue, individuals should think about how they want to spend their days. While many of the actual responsibilities are similar, the scope varies significantly. Electronics engineers get to bring products to market that provide easily identifiable benefits to consumers. Electrical engineers work more behind the scenes, creating large-scale systems that are not as consumer-facing.
In terms of salary, both positions offer substantial pay. The BLS found that electronics engineers earned annual median salaries of $102,700, while electrical engineers earned $96,640 during the same period.
What Is a Bachelor's in Electronic Engineering Degree Program?
Electronic engineering degrees combine education in general STEM topics with more specialized studies in industrial electronics engineering. Many programs require learners to complete coursework in calculus, analytic geometry, and statistics before diving into core studies. Degree-specific coursework covers signals and transformers, computer interface circuits, solid-state electronics, and digital signal processing.
Most programs require learners to complete experience-building courses, including lab-based and industry internships. At the end of their studies, learners often participate in a senior project that combines what they've learned in a culminating project.
Some individuals decide to move directly into a professional role after graduation while others pursue a master's in electrical engineering.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree in Electronics Engineering?
Electronic engineering degree timelines vary based on several factors. Most programs require learners to complete at least 120 credits. Full-time students typically need four years to graduate. Learners who have transfer or AP credits may graduate more quickly.
Accelerated programs typically offer shorter semesters, allowing students to complete more credits in less time. Some programs offer coursework on a year-round schedule rather than only during the fall and spring semesters.
Distance learners working a full-time job and studying on the side may want to find a school offering a part-time option. Timelines for these degrees vary based on how many credits a student takes per semester, but most require 5-6 years to finish.
Courses in an Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Program
Earning an electronics degree online requires completing both general education and core major-related courses. Course offerings vary by school, so prospective students should review several plans of study to get a sense of what they may learn. The following section covers common courses in an electronics curriculum.
Introduction to Electronics Engineering
The curriculum at electronics engineer online schools often begins with an introductory course covering electronics and computers. The coursework introduces circuit components, power supplies, and transistors, and students learn to use tools like multimeters, function generators, and oscilloscopes. The course prepares electronics engineering students for advanced classes in the major.
Classes on microprocessors train students in microprocessor programming and theory. Students learn about memory devices, microprocessor structures, assembly languages, and software development techniques. Students also learn how to create programming and instruction sets to run a microprocessor. The class may incorporate computer simulations or laboratory experiments to give students practical experience.
In electric circuits courses, students learn how to design, manage, and maintain circuits. The course includes instruction on Ohm's law, current laws, and voltage laws, providing a mathematical and scientific basis for understanding circuits. Students also learn about magnetism and magnetic circuits, the properties of circuits, and conversion techniques for networks.
Online courses may include a project laboratory component, which students complete in a local engineering lab. During the project lab, students learn to design, fabricate, and test a project. Students often present the project at the end of the course.
In digital electronics classes, students explore digital electronic networks. They study design requirements to create functioning, digital logic circuits and learn about design theory. Students also delve into circuit design and study real-life examples.
Choosing an Electronic Engineering Degree Program
Before selecting an electronic engineering degree online, prospective distance learners should consider several important factors that can affect their decision. For many students, program cost is the most important factor. Between tuition, technology fees, online learning fees, laboratory fees, and books, costs can add up. Learners looking for a cost-effective option should consider a public college or university in their home state.
Transfer policies also matter, as learners sometimes need to transfer in or out of a school. Make sure any school you attend accepts transfer credits, and that it is properly accredited so that credits earned there will be accepted elsewhere. School size is another consideration. Some students may prefer the hustle and bustle of a large state school, while others need the small, intimate setting of a private liberal arts institution.
Factors affecting the specific program also matter. If a school only offers a part-time learning option, it may not work for a first-time freshman. Similarly, a full-time option probably will not fit a working professional's schedule. Distance learners should also investigate whether or not their programs include on-campus requirements.
What Does an Electronic Engineer Do?
The typical day for an electronic engineer varies depending on their specific work environments. Engineers who pursue research positions often spend their days in labs. Engineers in professional settings split their time between office work and manufacturing sites. Electronic engineers focused on repair may travel between homes and businesses.
While working in-house for an electronics company, these professionals often design, test, and develop new items and components. They work with manufacturers to ensure their plans are executed properly and report back to project managers about their progress.
Individuals who hope to work as electronic engineers must be detail-oriented and have an advanced understanding of mathematical principles, the ability to work with many different types of people, and a willingness to concentrate on a single project or problem for a long time.
Electronics Engineering Jobs
Electronic engineering technicians can pursue many interesting and growing roles based on their specific interests and career goals. We highlight a few of the most common positions available below, but individuals should research all options before making a decision.
Electronics engineers often work in research and development positions to design, create, test, and manufacture new electrical equipment. They design new products, improve the engineering of existing products, develop construction specifications, and work with manufacturers to create working plans.
They engineer many different electronics, including both household goods and massive communication systems, though most focus their work in a specific area. Electronics engineers must have an attention to detail, a problem-solving attitude, a willingness to work with others, and an ability to communicate clearly.
These professionals develop and improve electronics that use mechanization. Examples include robotics, hydraulics, and other pneumatic tools and products.
As technicians, they typically support engineers in reviewing blueprints, developing diagrams, and working with developers. They may also repair existing electronic and mechanical systems, test new systems after implementation, and install new parts as needed. Electro-mechanical technicians must be good at finding and solving issues, take direction well, and enjoy staying up to date on new technologies.
Computer Hardware Engineer
Computer hardware engineers work both in-house at tech companies and independently to design and develop new computer components. They also make improvements to existing technologies, conduct tests and studies to determine whether designs work effectively, and work with manufacturers to see their designs through to fruition. These professionals need finely tuned analytical skills, the ability to think critically, and a commitment to problem-solving.
Engineering managers oversee teams of electronics and electrical engineers to ensure they stay on task, under budget, and on time. They manage the development of new products, develop financial statements, hire and train staff, and provide disciplinary oversight.
They also liaise with other managers and company leaders to coordinate work projects, set strategic goals, and ensure that production meets industry requirements. Engineering managers must know how to work with and lead many different types of personalities, possess strong math skills, and work efficiently to create organizational structures and systems.
Accreditation for Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degrees
Before enrolling in any electronic engineering online degree, prospective distance learners must ensure the school holds proper accreditation. Accreditation comes in two forms: institutional and programmatic.
Institutional accreditation is a voluntary process through which institutions of higher education demonstrate that they adequately meet student needs. Both national and regional institutional accreditation exists, though regional accreditation is the more rigorous of the two. Many trade and vocational schools hold national accreditation, while four-year institutions commonly hold regional accreditation. For an engineering degree, regional accreditation is preferred.
Programmatic accreditation evaluates how an individual department or degree prepares graduates for a specific field. Accreditors consider factors such as curriculum, faculty education and experience, and support services when deciding whether to award accreditation. In the world of electronics engineering, students should look for programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Check with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education's Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP) for the most up-to-date accreditation information.
Electronics Engineering Professional Organizations
Professional organizations help electronics engineering students connect with professionals and transition from college into the workforce. Many of these organizations offer resources designed for students, including scholarship opportunities. Professional organizations also set standards for the field, offer educational resources to keep professionals up to date, and provide continuing education opportunities for license maintenance.
Joining an electronics engineering professional organization can help students advance their careers and connect with future employers. Below are a few professional organizations for electrical engineers.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The largest technical professional organization for advancing technology, IEEE sets professional standards; hosts conferences, events, and networking opportunities; and offers learning and career enhancement opportunities for members. The institute also helps electronics engineers comment with their local communities.
National Society of Professional Engineers
Professional engineers join NSPE to access continuing education opportunities, news and publications, and networking conferences. The society also offers resources for students, including scholarship opportunities, student chapters, and discounted student memberships.
Association for Computing Machinery
ACM brings together nearly 100,000 computing professionals, including electronics engineers. The association publishes research in computing technology, organizes special interest groups in computing fields, and offers regional chapters that help professionals network. ACM also offers a digital library with resources on computing and information technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Electronics Engineering?
Electronics engineering is an academic discipline and professional field devoted to using electrical components to design devices and systems.
What Does an Electronics Engineer Do?
These professionals design and develop electrical components such as communication systems, power generators, and motors.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Electronic Engineer?
Electronic engineers typically spend four years working toward a degree if they are studying full time.
What Degree Do You Need to Be an Electronics Engineer?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that electrical and electronics engineers must hold a bachelor's degree in the field.
How Much Do Electronics Engineers Earn?
In 2018, the median annual salary for electrical and electronics engineers was $99,070.
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