20 Best Online Associates Degrees in Electrical Engineering [2021 Guide]
An online associates degree in electrical engineering can quickly set you on a career path working with circuits, machines, and electronic devices.
After about 2 years of study, you could be qualified for a dependable job in manufacturing or another sector.
If you enjoy math and science, have an aptitude for technical topics, and are interested in working with your hands, then an electrical engineering associate program might be the right choice for you.
Best Online Associates in Electrical Engineering
An electrical engineer associate degree will introduce you to foundational engineering concepts so you can begin your career in this fascinating field.
During your time in school, you’ll learn about the electrical components that power today’s modern devices. This includes industrial systems used in factories and at construction sites. It also includes consumer products, like computers and smartphones.
Your classes will cover circuits, microprocessors, electronics, and digital devices. You’ll be learning about drafting and using computer systems to produce graphic representations of electrical systems. To help you succeed in this field, you’ll also need to study physics and advanced math.
An electrical engineering program typically involves several lab classes. These will give you a chance to try out the skills that you’re learning. Depending on your school’s approach, labs may be completed on campus or in a virtual setting.
After earning an associate degree, you can decide whether to get a full-time job or even enroll in a bachelor’s degree in engineering online. If you want to get right to work, you could look for a job as an engineering technician. As a member of an engineering team, you’d work alongside engineers and carry out hands-on tasks to support their work.
Technicians may find employment in the electrical, electronics, electromechanical, and aerospace engineering field. Taking college classes about computer drafting programs could also help you get hired as an electrical drafter. This associate degree may also come in handy in a job that involves assembling or repairing electronic devices.
You might have plans to become a full-fledged electrical engineer. For that goal, you’ll want to get a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. Having an associate degree may help you transition to a four-year program with up to half of your credits already covered.
Electrical Engineering Careers & Salaries
Getting your associate degree in electrical engineering can be one of the first steps you take toward a career as an engineer. Typically, an engineering associate degree will qualify you to work as an engineering technician or technologist. This is like being an engineering assistant, and it often involves a lot of hands-on work.
As an electrical engineering technician, you could be involved in the process of designing and building electrical systems. You’d also qualify to work as an electronics engineering technician, who works on components for electronic devices.
Your knowledge of electrical systems may also qualify you to do hands-on work with components and devices. You could carry out repair work or assemble electronic parts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering jobs pay an average annual salary of $81,440. This job category is expected to grow at a rate of 3% through 2029.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$144,830|
|Electrical and Electronics Engineers||$101,250|
|Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians||$66,020|
|Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians||$65,260|
|Electrical and Electronics Drafters||$61,530|
|Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers||$59,080|
|Electromechanical Equipment Assemblers||$33,350|
|Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers||$31,310|
You could pursue quite a few of these jobs right after earning your associates degree, though some employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree. If you’re interested in robotics, consider being an electromechanical technician. The field of aerospace engineering also needs technicians with electrical expertise.
Another option is to be an electrical or electronics drafter who assists engineers by making technical drawings that represent their ideas.
Getting an associate degree in electrical engineering won’t specifically train you to be an electrician, but an engineering education could help you succeed in that role. Some states will allow you to count engineering classes toward the required experience for becoming a master electrician.
If your ultimate goal is to work as an electrical or electronics engineer, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Luckily, your associates degree will get you halfway there. Someday you may even qualify to supervise an engineering team.
Choosing an Online Associate’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Program
Online education can be a smart way to earn a college degree, but you’ll have the best experience if you pick the school that’s right for you.
The following factors are worth considering as you explore your options:
- Accreditation: You’ll want a college that’s been approved by a regional accrediting agency. It can also be worthwhile to choose an engineering program that’s recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
- Further study: Some associates degree programs lay out a clear transfer pathway to help you move into a four-year program after graduation.
- Goals: If you want to go straight into the workforce, you may want to look for an Associate of Applied Science in Engineering program or one that has “technology” in the name. On the other hand, Associate of Science degrees are good for bachelor’s degree preparation.
- Labs: For the most thorough educational experience, you’ll need to take multiple lab classes. You may be able to do these online through virtual laboratory programs, but some schools may require you to come to campus for in-person lab sessions.
If you find several schools that meet your criteria, comparing programs’ costs may help you make your final decision.
Curriculum & Courses
While curricula vary among schools, there are usually some common themes among all electrical engineering associate degree programs. Your course list may be similar to the one below.
- College Algebra: The math requirements for your associate degree may begin with algebra and include trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus as well.
- College Physics: You may take a general physics course or a technical physics class that focuses on mechanics and other topics that directly relate to engineering.
- Digital Circuits: In this class, which typically involves a lab component, you’ll become familiar with logic gates, Boolean algebra, and other fundamentals of digital systems.
- Drawing and Drafting: You’ll learn how to put together schematics for electrical systems, and you’ll probably spend time working with computer programs that can help with this task.
- Electrical Circuits: In one or more classes, you’ll dig into concepts like electrical currents, voltage, and magnetism.
- Ethics in the Engineering Workplace: Topics of discussion in this class may include professional behavior, social responsibility, and honest communication.
- Machines: A course on electrical machines will cover the fundamentals of motors, transformers, and generators. You can also expect to discuss safe installation and operation.
- Microprocessors: This class on the design and architecture of embedded systems can help you get ready for a career that involves robotics.
- Programming Languages: Because electrical and electronics engineering have a good deal in common with computer engineering, some schools will want you to study computer languages, particularly C or C++.
- Technical Communication: You’ll learn to write reports and draw up other documents that convey accurate, detailed information about engineering projects.
An associate degree program usually requires about 60 credit hours. This may be a combination of general education classes, major courses, and lab credits.
Once you’ve picked out one or more colleges that appeal to you, it’s time to send in applications. It is common for you to fill out an application form and pay an application fee.
As part of the admissions process, your program may also request some of the following materials:
- Essay: In one or more paragraphs, you may be asked to explain why you want to pursue this degree.
- References: The school may read letters from people who know you or conduct phone interviews with them.
- Test scores: Some colleges may request ACT or SAT scores.
- Transcripts: You may need an official record of your high school classes as well as any college courses you’ve taken.
Many two year colleges have an open admissions policy so that anyone who has the equivalent of a high school education can enroll. You’ll still need to follow all of the school’s application steps to ensure that your enrollment goes smoothly.
If you want to be confident in your school choice, then choose one that holds regional accreditation. Both online and traditional colleges are eligible to be evaluated by one of the nation’s seven regional accrediting agencies.
Employers know that regional accreditation is only given to schools that consistently produce prepared, well-educated graduates. Because accreditation gives colleges a positive reputation, having an accredited degree may help you secure a good job.
Accreditation will also be important if you want to transfer to another college. Most schools have policies about only accepting credits from regionally accredited schools.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Even though two-year colleges are sometimes cheaper than their four-year counterparts, you may still need a hand when it comes to your schooling expenses.
State and federal government programs may be able to help, and student loans are usually offered with low interest rates. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to get grants as well. Some students also qualify for work-study programs.
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about government assistance programs. If you’re currently in the workforce, you may get tuition help from your employer. Some companies will chip in for undergraduate studies while some may foot the whole bill.
There are a wide variety of scholarship programs available for college students as well. Crafting strong applications could help you win hundreds or thousands of dollars from charitable groups, industry organizations, or your college’s scholarship fund.
What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology?
Many people with an associate’s degree work as engineering technicians. You could specialize in electrical, electronics, or aerospace engineering. Electromechanical technicians who oversee automated equipment are needed as well. You can work as an engineering technician after earning an associates in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or similar Associate of Applied Science program.
Your knowledge of electronics technology would put you in a good position to assemble components for various machines or devices. You could also work as a repair technician, a refurbisher, or an installer.
Drafting is another important line of work you could do with an associate’s degree. You could use computer programs to draw up schematics for electrical systems.
Can You Be an Electrical Engineer with an Associate’s Degree?
No, you won’t be able to work as an engineer with just an associate degree, but you’ll be well on your way! An associate degree provides the training that you need to become an electrical engineering technician. Being a technician is like being an assistant electrician. You might carry out projects or perform tasks to support the work of engineers.
To be an electrical engineer, you’ll need a bachelors degree in engineering. Fortunately, your associate program may provide half of the necessary college credits. After graduating with your associate degree, it may take just 2 more years to finish your engineering education.
How Much Does an Electrical Engineer Make with an Associate’s Degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, engineering occupations lead to an average annual salary of $81,440.
With an associate degree, you may work as an electrical engineering technician. On average, that job pays about $65,260 per year. You could also be an aerospace engineering technician for an average yearly salary of $66,020.
If you later get a bachelor’s degree, you would then be able to work as an engineer. Electrical engineers often earn six-figure salaries.
How Much Does an Associate’s in Electrical Engineering Cost?
Each college sets its own tuition costs, but it’s common to spend between $200 and $400 per credit hour. Many schools charge technology and textbook fees as well. By going to school online, though, you may not need to pay room and board costs during your associate degree studies.
If you’re hoping for an affordable degree program, be sure to look at the publicly funded schools in your area. Both community colleges and state universities typically have reduced rates for local residents. Some colleges also have discounts for active-duty military personnel or veterans.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s in Electrical Engineering?
If you enroll full-time, you should be able to graduate with an associates degree in 2 years or less.
Traditional college semesters are 16 weeks long. By taking about 15 credit hours per semester, you should earn enough credits for graduation after 4 semesters. Summer or winter term classes may help lighten your spring and fall course loads or allow you to finish a bit sooner.
If speed is your goal, check into colleges that offer accelerated courses. At these schools, you may be able to take 8 week classes back-to-back throughout the year. This may cut several months off of your associates degree program.
Is an Associate’s in Electrical Engineering Technology Worth It?
Yes, an associates degree in electrical engineering is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $81,440 and 3% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in electrical engineering can help you launch a career in this engineering field.
Common electrical engineering careers include electrical, electronics, engineering, electromechanical, and aerospace engineering technicians. Other common careers include electrical drafter, electronics drafter, and electronics installer.
Your electrical engineering training may be particularly useful for jobs in manufacturing. Other potential employers include research facilities, engineering services agencies, and the federal government.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs
Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer electrical engineering associates degree online.
Bismarck State College offers an online electric power technology associate’s degree through its National Energy Center of Excellence.
There are several concentrations offered through this program, including metering, system design, line constructing, and substation. The curriculum for each specialization is slightly different from the curricula for the other concentrations.
- AAS in Electric Power Technology
Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students interested in electrical engineering at Colorado State University have a couple of different options. For those looking specifically at 2 year degrees, they can enroll in the Associate of Science in Electronics Technology program, which lays the foundation for entering the workforce or for earning a BS in Electrical Engineering.
- AS in Electronics Technology
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
DeVry University’s Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Technology program focuses on four main core components: controls and instrumentation, maintenance and repair, communications and networking, and programming.
There are 3 electronics systems with lab courses in the curriculum as well as courses in networking, design, technical writing, and programming.
- Associate in Electronics and Computer Technology
DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
The electronics engineering associates degrees (AS and AAS) at East Coast Polytechnic Institute University can be earned online in less than 2 years. Program participants should learn useful skills that can allow them to work with computer hardware, analog and digital electronics, computer network fundamentals, and data acquisition and control systems.
- AS in Electronics Engineering
ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Eastern New Mexico University offers an Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology program that’s specifically designed to prepare students to transfer to 4 year universities or to enter the workforce. Students are given both the theoretical foundations and the hands-on experience needed to work with various electronics applications.
- AS in Electronics Engineering Technology
Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students enrolled in Excelsior College’s Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies program can transfer up to 53 credits into the program.
The curriculum is designed with military students in mind, but non-military students may also enroll. There are four optional concentrations within the program: electronics and instrumentation, computer, nuclear, and electromechanical.
- AAS in Technical Studies – Electronic/Instrumentation Technologies
Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Indiana Tech’s Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program incorporates hands-on learning with comprehensive coursework for a balanced approach to the field.
There’s a heavy emphasis on technical and lab report writing, communication skills, and mathematics. There’s also optional, on-campus immersion events where students can get even more practical experience.
- AS in Electrical Engineering Technology
Indiana Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Madison Area Technical College offers an electrical engineering associate’s program that teaches students to improve their analytical and mathematical skills, analyze complex problems, create innovative solutions, utilize electronics terminology, and assemble circuits from schematics.
Notable courses include electronic math, digital and analog circuits, embedded programming, microcontrollers, and advanced circuit analysis.
- Associate’s in Electrical Engineering Technology (Hybrid)
Madison College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The electronics engineering technology associates program at Midlands Technical College combines theoretical coursework and practical, hands-on experience to teach students about troubleshooting, maintaining, and repairing electronic equipment.
Financial aid is available to students who qualify, and courses include multiple electrical circuits courses, physics, electrical machinery, digital integrated circuits, and microprocessors.
- Associate’s in Electronics Engineering Technology
Midlands Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northampton Community College offers both specialized diplomas and Associate of Applied Science degrees in electronics technology.
Core courses focus on microcontrollers, AC and DC circuits analysis, integrated circuits, programmable digital electronics, and solid state devices. There are also courses designed to help students greatly improve their mechanical, communication, and computer skills.
- AAS in Electronics Technology
Northampton Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Northcentral Technical College offers its electromechanical technology associates program online and at several campuses. It features knowledgeable, experienced staff, an in-depth core curriculum, and plenty of hands-on experience.
Students learn to communicate technical information, troubleshoot and repair electrical systems, and integrate electrical systems.
- Associate’s in Electromechanical Technology
NTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology program at Pittsburgh Technical College also includes an optional concentration in Industrial Instrumentation for interested students.
Students learn basic skills, like how to use a scientific calculator, as well as more advanced skills, like how to analyze, construct, and repair electronic circuits and connectors.
- AS in Electronics Engineering Technology
Pittsburgh Technical College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Seminole State College of Florida’s Associate of Arts in Electrical Engineering program is affordable, can be undertaken entirely online, features small class sizes, and prepares students for more than 90 guaranteed transfer pathways.
It’s predominantly a transfer degree, but there are enough core courses to prepare students for entry-level engineering jobs.
- AA in Electrical Engineering
Seminole State College of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students enrolled in South College’s Associate of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology program will learn to critically analyze and apply the electrical engineering principles they learn in the program to real-world situations.
The curriculum is full of courses on digital electronics, AC and DC circuits, engineering principles, and industrial safety.
- AS in Electrical Engineering Technology
South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Associate of Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering program at South Seattle College can help students build the foundations they need to eventually become electrical engineers, IT consultants, network engineers, nuclear engineers, systems analysts, or CAD technicians.
Students can potentially complete the degree in as few as 8 quarters.
- AS in Computer and Electrical Engineering
South Seattle College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Students in Thomas Edison State University’s Associate of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology program should be prepared to work in a variety of electronics fields, including avionics, communications, and computer hardware.
Students can select elective courses from these fields and others, including control systems, robotics, biomedical electronics, and electrical design.
- AS in Electronics Engineering Technology
Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
University of Massachusetts – Lowell’s Associate of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology program is a 24 course program that prepares students to succeed in the highly competitive field of electronic engineering.
There are numerous general education courses as well as courses on electronics and laboratory studies, microprocessing, C programming, and electric circuits.
- AS in Electronic Engineering Technology (Hybrid)
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
University of St Thomas offers a 60 credit Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Technology that can be completed 100% online in about 2 years. Students can transfer up to 15 credits into the program. There are few general education courses, so almost every course is a relevant, core course.
- AAS in Electronic Technology
The University of St. Thomas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of the Virgin Islands offers an associate’s degree that includes both electronics and computer engineering technology.
Students will learn a lot about electrical design and electronics and will take courses focused on computer programming, digital electronics, analog electronics, and AC and DC circuit design. Financial aid and scholarships are available to qualifying students.
- AS in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology
The University of the Virgin Islands is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education.
At Wallace State Community College, students can earn their associate’s degrees in mechatronics, electronics technology, and robotics. There’s also a certificate option available.
There are two pathways, mechatronics and communications, and students’ course curricula will be different depending on which they choose. Graduates should be prepared for entry-level electronics work.
- AAS in Mechatronics, Electronics Technology and Robotics
Wallace State Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Associates in Electrical Engineering Online
Electrical engineering may be a good fit for you if you are interested in how devices work and are good at thinking in technical terms.
An online associates degree in electrical engineering can help you get your start in this rewarding field. After earning your associates, you may be able to enter the workforce or enroll in a bachelor’s program.
In an accredited online program, you can earn a solid education that will help set you up for success in the engineering field, and you can do it right from your computer. To get started, compare electrical engineering associate degree programs to find the one that is right for you.