One of the best degrees for return on investment is engineering. Highly specialized, challenging, and intellectually stimulating, engineering is also very lucrative. We usually think of engineers as being the big idea people, the ones who sit at a computer coming up with major projects and complex systems. But there’s another side of engineering, too – the practical side. Simply put, somebody has to make those big ideas work.
That’s where Engineering Technology comes in. These are the programs that teach you the practical aspects of building electrical circuits, putting together machines, and implementing all of the concepts that engineers, scientists, and researchers come up with. An online engineering technology degree provides a flexible, convenient way for working adults to complete a bachelor’s degree, increase their odds on the job market, and improve their status in their careers.
There aren’t many online degrees in the engineering field (engineers need a lot of hands-on learning, after all), but there are a few places you can earn an Engineering Technology bachelor’s online for cheap. All of the schools on this list are accredited, reputable, and priced at a level anyone can afford. Online Bachelor of Science programs are usually degree completion, so you’ll need to do your first two years at a college or community college, but the upper-division courses – where you’ll learn your profession – are all online.
Note that some programs will require campus visits for lab credit.
Daytona State College
The cheapest online engineering degree, by far, comes from Daytona State College, in sunny Daytona, FL. Not that the sun matters to you: you’re earning your degree from the comfort of your own home. DSC offers a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology that will prepare students to build specialized laboratory equipment, run experiments, and generally assist engineers and researchers. Online students can also specialize in Electrical Engineering Technology, learning the basics of designing electrical circuits and controls. At only $91 per credit hour, Daytona State is unbelievably affordable for a degree that should net graduates a solid income.
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Charlotte, NC, is a booming metropolis with a growing population drawn by a healthy job market, including research and technology. With an educational need to fill, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has been rapidly expanding their online offerings, including a degree completion program to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology with an Electrical specialization. At only $143 per credit hour, it’s a cheap online option, but be aware that there are some required on-campus laboratory hours in the summer.
Morgan State University
Morgan State University is a public, historically black, urban university in Baltimore, MD. Keeping with the HBCU and public university mission of providing education to those who would often be excluded, Morgan State has been developing online degree programs to make an education more accessible. Among these efforts is the Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering, a 2+2 degree completion program that allows students to complete a BS by transferring community college or college general education credits. The ECE program is completely online – no labs necessary – and at $230 per credit, an affordable way to step up your career.
Stony Brook University (SUNY)
The State University System of New York is one of the nation’s most respected public university systems, and Stony Brook is one of the best-known members. Located in (where else?) Stony Brook, NY, Stony Brook University offers a number of highly-regarded, and reasonably-priced, online degree programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, a degree completion course available completely online. This program is designed to prepare students for graduate engineering programs, or for successful careers in industry. $257 per credit is a small price to pay for a degree from such a respected university, and the Stony Brook name will surely be an advantage on the job market.
Bemidji State University
There’s only one Bemidji, and only one Bemidji State University. Bemidji, MN, is largely a college town, but like most midwestern colleges and universities, Bemidji State University has seen the common sense of providing online degrees for residents who can’t travel to campus conveniently. BSU offers an online Bachelor of Science in Applied Engineering for only $287 per credit hour. The Applied Engineering program prepares students with the math, physics, and technology expertise to apply engineering to problem-solving in business and industry.
Old Dominion University
Thanks to many years of hard work and promotion, Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, VA, has become one of the leading names in online education. They offer more online degrees than pretty much anyone, all backed by Old Dominion’s reputation for quality and student support. Old Dominion offers several online engineering tech degrees, including Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Systems Technology and Manufacturing Systems/Mechanical Systems Design. These degree-completion programs prepare students for professional and technical careers in their fields, from field engineer in construction to designing complex computing or electrical systems. As a public university, Old Dominion keeps their tuition low, so $316 per credit is an investment in your professional future.
University of Alabama
Like Old Dominion, the University of Alabama has been making a name for themselves as online educators, through the memorable ‘Bama By Distance system. Alabama offers an online Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree that is designed to give students a general, versatile education in mechanical concepts and technology in preparation for graduate schooling or a career in industry or manufacturing. Students learn to build and maintain complex machines for every field from automotive manufacturing to bioengineering. Bama By Distance also makes educating veterans a priority, so active or former personnel should take a closer look at the University of Alabama for a savings over the already low $339 per credit. (Note that three courses in this program require on-site lab work.)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide distance education plan is one of the most respected online educators, from one of the world’s premiere science and technology institutions. With Embry-Riddle’s reputation, you would expect to pay a fortune, but at $355 per credit hour, Embry-Riddle is on par with many state universities. Embry-Riddle offers a fully-online Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degree (no labs required) to prepare students for practical careers in applied engineering. Students can further concentrate in 11 specializations, including Aeronautical Science, Facilities and Construction Management, and Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Thomas Edison State College
The name Thomas Edison is synonymous with invention, and Thomas Edison State College, in Trenton, NJ, is known for innovation. As a public college designed explicitly for working adults, TESC is science and tech-heavy, focused on providing non-traditional students with skills and knowledge for high-paying professional and technical careers. TESC offers a number of online Bachelor of Applied Science degrees built to provide students with the skills they need to use engineering, math, and technology in their careers. Specializations include Electronic Systems Engineering Technology, Energy Systems Technology, and Nuclear Engineering Technology. At $425 per credit, Thomas Edison State is on the higher end of the cheap list, but the excellence of the education and the many options make it a bargain.
Trine University is a small, private college in Angola, IN, largely focused on engineering, business, and education for adult students. Trine offers an online Bachelor of Science in Design Engineering Technology, a generalist degree program that prepares students to use engineering concepts and skills in industry settings, including construction, maintenance, research and development, and even sales. At $444 per credit hour, Trine is not the cheapest of the cheap, but it’s more than reasonable for a convenient degree that will give you an entry into a lucrative career.