Complete Guide to Best Online Computer Engineering Degrees
Online computer engineering degrees are available at 49 accredited colleges and universities. Online computer engineering programs are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Computer engineering combines electronic engineering with computer science, and job tasks as a computer engineer may include improving internet security, supervising computer manufacturing, or testing new computer models. Computer engineers can work in many industries such as healthcare, gaming, finance, communications, and avionics. When seeking a degree in computer engineering, students should make sure that the program they are interested in is accredited. Additionally, our top online colleges ranking list provides a variety of affordable and academically strong programs to consider.
2018 Best Online Colleges for a Master's in Computer Engineering
These 18 schools represent the best value options for online master's in computer engineering degrees, based on aggregate cost and academic strength. University of Alabama at Birmingham is ranked #1 overall with an affordable annual tuition of $8,329 and a favorable academic strength rating of 73%. Old Dominion University, ranked #5, has the second lowest annual tuition at $8,370.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Academic Strength|
|#1 University of Alabama at Birmingham||Annual Tuition $8,329||Academic Strength 73%|
|#2 Iowa State University||Annual Tuition $8,580||Academic Strength 69%|
|#3 Georgia Institute of Technology||Annual Tuition $16,300||Academic Strength 87%|
|#4 Mississippi State University||Annual Tuition $9,840||Academic Strength 69%|
|#5 Old Dominion University||Annual Tuition $8,370||Academic Strength 64%|
|#6 Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus||Annual Tuition $8,475||Academic Strength 63%|
|#7 Colorado State University-Fort Collins||Annual Tuition $14,775||Academic Strength 72%|
|#8 University of Michigan - Dearborn||Annual Tuition $14,040||Academic Strength 69%|
|#9 Southern Methodist University||Annual Tuition $20,250||Academic Strength 82%|
|#10 University of Delaware||Annual Tuition $17,985||Academic Strength 74%|
|#11 Missouri University of Science and Technology||Annual Tuition $18,000||Academic Strength 73%|
|#12 Purdue University - Main Campus||Annual Tuition $18,870||Academic Strength 74%|
|#13 North Carolina State University||Annual Tuition $21,872||Academic Strength 76%|
|#14 Illinois Institute of Technology||Annual Tuition $23,520||Academic Strength 79%|
|#15 Syracuse University||Annual Tuition $22,500||Academic Strength 74%|
|#16 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||Annual Tuition $24,808||Academic Strength 75%|
|#17 University of Idaho||Annual Tuition $21,510||Academic Strength 65%|
|#18 Florida International University||Annual Tuition $25,000||Academic Strength 67%|
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Computer Engineering Degrees ( 49)
Online Computer Engineering Degree Overview & Career Information
Aspiring computer engineers can seek online education at a variety of different levels beginning with an online associate degree. Although an online associate degree is not sufficient to work as a computer engineer, graduates may be able to work as computer support specialists. They will also be prepared to move on to the next level of education.
An online associate degree can typically be earned in two years through 60 credit hours of coursework study. The next degree level is an online bachelor's degree, which students can complete in four years. After completing the required 120 credit hours for an online bachelor's degree, graduates may go on to work as computer hardware engineers at entry-level. An online master's program will prepare graduates for increased responsibilities within the industry. Students can usually graduate within two years of beginning an online master's program.
Individuals who desire an even more advanced study of the field can earn an online doctoral degree, which can take five to seven years to complete and includes a dissertation. An online doctoral degree may qualify graduates to work in advanced positions including software engineer, telecommunications director, VOIP engineer, and aerospace engineer. Doctoral degree holders may also work as professors at the university level.
An online associate degree may help launch the careers of aspiring computer engineers by introducing them to the basics of electrical and electronics design. By completing 60 to 67-credit hours of study students can graduate with their degree in two years. Required classes include precalculus, engineering and ethics, programing essentials, digital electronics, fundamentals of DC circuits, fundamentals of AC circuits, and technical writing. General education courses will also need to be completed.
While an online associate degree is not sufficient enough to go on to work as a computer engineer, graduates may be able to find work as computer support specialists. Students will also be well prepared to move on to an online bachelor's degree program, which is the minimum education they will need to work as a computer engineer. Before beginning the application process for an online associate degree, applicants will need to ensure that they hold a high school diploma or a GED. Aspiring computer engineers can apply for admission into an online associate degree program at community colleges, universities, and technical colleges.
People can pursue an online bachelor's level program in computer engineering at universities and vocational schools. An online bachelor's degree program in computer engineering is designed to equip students with the skills to develop software, design wireless networks, and design computer hardware. The classes required to obtain these skills include computer architecture, introduction to UNIX, operating systems, digital design, product design, introduction to website development, fundamentals of networking, differential equations, and solid state physics. Classes typically total at least 120 credit hours and will take students four years to complete.
Graduates may go on to work as computer hardware engineers where they will design and develop computing components to create fast and powerful computers that are in line with current industry standards. First time freshmen will need to submit their high school transcripts; if they did not graduate from high school, a GED will be required. Applicants who have attended any post secondary school will need to submit their college transcripts, which will then be reviewed for possible transfer credits. An admissions essay or statement of purpose is also a common requirement.
Online master's degree programs are designed to help students develop their project management and leadership skills that will prepare them for increased responsibility within the industry. Students can complete the required 30 to 48 credits in two years or less depending on the type of program. Some online programs are designed to be taken part-time, and these may take up to five years to finish. Core education courses include modern computer architecture, modern computer design, computer engineering capstone, computer systems security foundations, modern solid-state devices, modern electronic design, leadership and ethical decision-making, and systems engineering. Students will also participate in elective courses throughout their time of study. Some online programs may even offer internship opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience before graduation.
Along with a general application, prospective students must have three letters of recommendation written by a professional or academic reference that can attest to the student's likely success in the program. The applicant must also write a letter of intent to showcase his or her own personal goals. GRE test scores may be required for admission.
Graduates of an online doctoral program may be capable of going on to work in advanced positions for companies around the world. Such advanced positions include software engineer, technical analyst, telecommunications director, VOIP engineer, aerospace engineer, computer network architect, and the like. Graduates may also have the option of remaining in research or teaching at the university level as professors. This level of program can take anywhere between five to seven years to complete depending on if the student is enrolled full or part time, and how long they take to complete their research and dissertation. The courses that students will participate in include algorithm design and analysis, operating systems, principles of programming languages, human-computer interaction, bioinformatics, advanced compiler design, and principles of computer architecture. In some cases, students may also be required to participate in a quarter of teaching assistance.
In order to be admitted to an online doctoral program, applicants will need to turn in official transcripts from each university-level institution attended. A statement of purpose is also an important part of the selection process for online doctoral programs. The statement of purpose should describe the student's past experiences and accomplishments within the realm of computer science. Three letters of recommendation from either professional or educational references outlining the student's academic promise will also be required. Lastly a resume showcasing the applicant's professional experience will be necessary for admission. Aspiring doctoral students can pursue their degrees at universities and technical schools.
Online certificates in computer engineering and related disciplines are available at the undergraduate and graduate level and can be pursued at colleges and universities. This level of online program is typically made up of 18 semester hours of computer science and engineering systems study, but credit amount and length of time to completion will vary depending on the program. Required courses may include software development, introduction to theory of computing, data structures, microcontrollers, logic design, digital signal processing, and design of digital systems.
Admission requirements include high school transcripts or a GED for undergraduate certificates, and an undergraduate degree for graduate certificates. Some online graduate certificate programs will require additional application materials, such as letters of reference. Depending on the type of online certificate that is earned, the job opportunities available upon graduation will vary. For instance, an individual who earns an online undergraduate certificate may be equipped to go on to work as an entry-level computer support specialist.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Computer Engineering Degree
Prospective students should take accreditation into consideration before making their final commitment to an institution or program. Regional accreditation means an independent organization evaluated the school by reviewing the curriculum, facilities, faculty, student resources, and testing procedures. Accreditation may affect a students transfer process, as institutions may require course credits to be from an accredited school in order to be transferred.
Programmatic accreditation is another type of accreditation that students should keep in mind when selecting an online degree program. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the main accrediting body for computer engineering degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level. They require engineering programs meet certain standards and cover certain material in order to ensure that graduates will have the skill-set necessary to work as engineers. Some employers may prefer to hire employees who have a degree from an ABET-accredited program. There are also online master's degree programs that require applicants to have an undergraduate degree from a program accredited by ABET.
Careers in Computer Engineering
Computer engineers have duties that revolve around creating new technologies and finding solutions to existing computer hardware-related problems. They work to improve on the technologies we already have, making them faster and more efficient. Computer engineers work in a variety of industries, such as banking, health care, retail, and gaming, and on a variety of projects, like increasing internet security, improving robotics technologies, or working with digital forensics. Computer engineers need at least a bachelor's degree. While Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts only a three percent increase in jobs between 2014 and 2024, there is a high earning potential for those interested in this career. Computer hardware engineers earned a median annual salary of $111,730 in 2015.
- Admission Requirements. Nash Community College. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.nashcc.edu/index.php/admissions-topmenu-44/requirements-topmenu-87.
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. Colorado Technical University. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/bachelors/computer-engineering#section2.
- Certificate in Computer Systems Engineering. University of Georgia College of Engineering. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.engineering.uga.edu/degree-programs/certificates/computer-systems-engineering.
- Computer Engineering Master's Degree Online. Iowa State University. Accessed September 14, 2016. http://www.elo.iastate.edu/graduate-degrees/computer-engineering-master%E2%80%99s-degree-online/.
- Computer Engineering PhD. Florida Institute of Technology. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.fit.edu/programs/9040/phd-computer-engineering#.V9sMpbTF_dk.
- Curriculum. Grantham University. Accessed September 13, 2016. http://www.grantham.edu/online-degrees/electronics-computer-technology/.
- Doctoral Programs in Computer Science and Engineering. Jacobs School of Engineering. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/node/1963.
- Electrical and Computer Engineering. Purdue Engineering. Accessed September 14, 2016. https://engineering.purdue.edu/ProEd/programs/masters-degrees/electrical-computer-engineering.
- Graduate Application Checklist. Jacobs School of Engineering. Accessed September 15, 2016. http://www.cs.ucsd.edu/node/193.
- Masters Degree in Computer Engineering. Colorado Technical University. Accessed September 14, 2016. http://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/masters/computer-engineering.
- PhD in Computer Engineering. Boston University. Accessed September 15, 2016. https://www.bu.edu/academics/eng/programs/computer-engineering/phd/.
- Systems Engineering Graduate Certificate Online. Iowa State University. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.elo.iastate.edu/graduate-certificates/systems-engineering-graduate-certificate-online/.
- Undergraduate Admissions. Colorado Technical University. Accessed September 13, 2016. http://www.coloradotech.edu/admissions/student-admissions-process/undergraduates.