20 Best Online Computer Engineering Degrees [2021 Guide]

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If you’ve ever thought designing or building different types of tech would be a fun career, you might do well in an online computer engineering degree program. Computer engineers usually make decent salaries and have a positive job growth projection.

Online Computer Engineering Degrees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for computer and information technology jobs is about 13% for the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means it may be an excellent time to obtain your degree in computer engineering.

Online Computer Engineering Degrees

There are three concentrations that can be focused on when earning a computer engineering degree. Each concentration is a little bit different in what it involves and the professions that can be pursued with it.

You can select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Although there may be some crossover between computer engineering, software engineering, and computer science, there are some important distinctions to consider.

Computer Engineering

computer engineers working on a project

Computer engineers are the people who design and build both the software and the hardware for computers and other digital devices. Just like engineers in other fields, they are the brains and creators behind the devices you use every day.

They also test computer components, systems, and networks and design circuit boards, processors, memory devices, and more.

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As with all engineering degrees, having a heavy interest in and talent for all the STEM-related fields can be very beneficial for computer engineers. Technology and engineering play a huge role, but science and math are just as important. If you find yourself needing basic foundational courses, it may be worth starting off by earning a computer engineering associate’s degree online or on campus.

If you’re interested in this field, good communication skills, the ability to solve complex problems, active listening skills, and the ability to make sound, effective decisions are all qualities that are helpful to have.

Software Engineering

software engineers collaborating on developing an app

Many of the same qualities that make a good computer engineer also make a good software engineer. For this field, being good in math, science, and other STEM-type subjects is important. Problem-solving and attention to detail are also important.

There are two main types of software engineers—systems engineers and application engineers. Much of your job as a software engineer will depend on which type you are. Both types require a strong grasp of computer operating systems, software development, and programming languages.

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Applications engineers generally stick to applications, such as business apps or computer games. Systems engineers do more with network control systems, operating systems, and middleware.

Computer Science

data administrator checking the data center

If you want to become a computer engineer and can’t find a school with a computer engineering program you like, the other option is an online computer science degree.

In truth, computer science typically puts more of an emphasis on diagnosing and then repairing computer problems and the computer/tech field as a whole, but computer science degree programs usually include most of the necessary classes to become a computer engineer as well.

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You may also get elements of information technology, computer programming, software development, cyber security, and other similar fields. It’s a broad overview of many computer-related fields and can help open the door to a variety of job opportunities.

Computer Engineering Curriculum & Courses

computer engineering students during computer class in university

If you enroll in a computer engineering program at any on-campus or online university, these are some of the courses you’ll likely be required to take.

  • Intro to Computer Programming: This class is an introduction to some of the most important elements of computer programming, such as programming languages, algorithm programming, and program design.
  • Fundamentals of Software Design: This course teaches how to use object-oriented languages and UML to design software. It also teaches how to troubleshoot new software in its earliest stages.
  • Beginning and Advanced Logic Design: These courses can help you learn about memory elements like registers, counters, and latches. It may also give you opportunities to begin designing things like decoders, multiplexers, adders, and combinational circuits.
  • Circuit Theory: This course discusses circuit theory, electrical circuit analysis, Fourier problems, three-phase, steady power, and Ohm’s and Kirchhoff’s laws.
  • Computer Organization: This course covers hardware and software interactions. It also discusses cache memory, ALU and memory design, pipelining, and machine code.
  • Fundamentals of Internet Technologies: This class can help you learn about the most commonly used internet tech. It typically covers topics like style sheet language, website design, scripting languages, and markup language.
  • Intro to Microprocessors: This class discusses the roles microprocessors play in electronic design. Microcomputer architecture is also usually covered.
  • Web Usability: This is typically a very hands-on course that teaches about front-end web development and design. There is usually a graphic design element as well as a human/computer interaction element.
  • Calculus (I, II, & Possibly III): These courses cover multiple areas of calculus, including logarithms, exponential functions, anti-derivatives, mean-value theorem, curve sketching, differentiation, and other popular calculus concepts.
  • Intro to Communication Engineering: This course covers communication-related topics, such as commercial broadcasting, error probability, amplitude and angle modulation, and continuous-time signals.

Most of these classes are pretty standard for a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. You will likely have a bit more variety in your elective courses.

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for people with bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering is higher than the national average for American workers.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports some average salaries in the computer engineering field to be:

Careers Annual Median Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers $151,150
Computer Hardware Engineers $119,560
Computer Network Architects $116,780
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers $110,140
Information Security Analysts $103,590
Database Administrators and Architects $98,860
Computer Programmers $89,190
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810

Most of these jobs can usually only be obtained by people with bachelor’s degrees or higher.

Choosing a Computer Engineering Degree

computer engineering students in university classroom

When it comes to enrolling in a degree program, you’ll want to make sure you’ve found the best one for you. You can do this by figuring out what is important to you in a program and comparing those needs between colleges.

These are some factors that you may want to consider.

  • Cost: One important thing to consider when picking a college is whether it fits into your budget. College can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break you. You can compare tuition rates and additional fees in order find a program that won’t cause you any major financial hardships.
  • Majors offered: Possibly more important than your college’s costs is whether or not it offers the degree you want to major in. If a particular college doesn’t offer your chosen degree—or at least a degree similar enough to help you obtain the job you want—you probably want to find somewhere else to go.
  • Campus requirements: Although you might think there’d be no campus requirements with an online degree program, that isn’t always the case. It is important to see if the program you’re interested in requires you to come to campus for anything. If so, you’ll need check to see how often you have to be on campus and make sure that fits with your schedule.
  • Credit transfer policy: If you have previous college experience, it can be very beneficial to see if your new college will accept your previous college credits. If so, this could save you quite a bit of money and time.
  • Degree program length: Depending on your goals and education needs, you may need a program that is faster or slower to complete. Many schools offer accelerated classes, whereas others allow more time to complete classes and graduate. You can compare programs to find the one that best fits your needs.

There may not be a single college that fits every single need you have, but the one that covers the most is probably the one you’ll want to enroll in.

Admissions Requirements

computer engineering student writing her essay

While comparing online programs, it is important to check each program’s admissions requirements. Admissions requirements vary from school to school and program to program, but there are a few things that are often required.

  • Application: Most, if not all, schools will require you to submit a completed application with basic information like your name, contact information, your desired program of study, and a list of the previous schools you’ve attended.
  • Essay: Many schools also require an essay about yourself and your educational goals.
  • Official transcripts: Transcripts from your previous high school and colleges are also pretty standard admissions requirements. You can usually request them from the guidance counselor or registrar of your former high school and any colleges you’ve attended. If you’ve been out of high school for a long time or your school has closed down, you may have to request them through the city’s board of education.
  • GPA and standardized test scores: Some schools may require you to meet certain GPA and standardized test score benchmarks before they’ll accept you. Even the ones that don’t will likely still want your GPA and test scores to give them an idea of where you stand academically.

Other admissions requirements may include an application fee, letters of recommendation, or a completed FAFSA.

Online Computer Engineering Degree Levels

computer engineering student studying online

There are several different degrees you may earn in the computer engineering field.:

  • Online Associate Degrees in Computer Engineering
  • Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Engineering
  • Online Master’s Degrees in Computer Engineering
  • Online Doctoral Degrees in Computer Engineering

Each school’s computer engineering degree program varies, and you will need to do your research to choose the best one for you. The best online masters in computer engineering degrees are ultimately determined by students’ preferences and expectations.

Accreditation

Computer Engineering accreditation

No matter what degree you’re working on, it is important to make sure the college you’re attending has accreditation. There are seven regional accreditation agencies, and if your college has accreditation from one of them, chances are your degree will be respected anywhere in the United States.

If you decide to transfer, credits earned from a regionally accredited university will also transfer more easily to other colleges in the United States.

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You can typically find a school’s accreditation status on its website. Taking classes at a non-accredited university could result in your credits being non-transferable and your degree not being accepted by potential employers.

Computer Engineering Professional Organizations

computer engineers meeting each other at a conference

In the computer engineering field, there are a few different professional organizations you might want to apply to for membership.

  • Association for Computing Machinery: This is a global professional organization for those working in the fields of programming, software and computer engineering, and micro-architecture that allows life-long learning and networking opportunities for members.
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society: This is a subset of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers made specifically for those in computer science fields whose goal is to advance technology everywhere.
  • Institution of Engineering and Technology: With over 168,000 members and 100 local networks, the IET is a global organization of technological engineers who provide access to development training courses and help with career advancement.

Joining a professional organization like one of these can help you further your career in the computer engineering field and give you some great networking opportunities.

Computer Engineering Licensing and Certification

computer engineer looking for certifications online

If you’re serious about a career in computer engineering, you might also want to check out the following licensing opportunity.

  • National Society of Professional Engineers Licensure: This particular licensure is considered the gold-standard for engineers in any field. It requires you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field along with four years of work experience as an engineer. You also have to pass two comprehensive exams in order to be designated as a professional engineer (PE).

Although it takes some work, the PE designation is often worth the effort.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

financial aid for computer engineering students

If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for college, there are several financial aid options out there that may help you. In addition to student loans, which you may get through the federal government, a bank, or other lending institutions, there are also scholarships and the Federal Pell Grant that you can apply for.

You can apply for the Pell Grant the same way you apply for federal loans, by filling out the FAFSA. If you’re eligible for a Pell Grant, you could be given up to $6,395 dollars a year that doesn’t have to be repaid. Loans, on the other hand, always have to be repaid and almost always with interest.

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Scholarships usually don’t have to be repaid. You can typically find scholarships on a college’s website under their financial assistance tab or something similar. You can also find them on dedicated scholarship websites, from some employers and community organizations, or by doing a simple Google search.

Unlike loans and the Pell Grant, scholarships almost always have to be earned by meeting certain criteria or by winning some type of contest.

Get a Computer Engineering Degree Online

Can You Get a Computer Engineering Degree Online?

There are plenty of online degree programs available for the computer engineering field. Whether you’re looking for an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate program, there are online options out there.

Many of these programs are 100% online and will never require you to step foot on campus. Others are mostly online but might require you to visit a campus a few times a year for different events.

Can I Teach Myself Computer Engineering?

There are certainly elements of computer engineering, such as the programming languages, that you could potentially teach yourself without having to enroll in any type of program. Other elements, though, are much harder to learn on your own.

Another important thing to remember is that most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree before they’ll hire you for any type of computer engineering position.

You could be a talented, self-taught computer engineer, and it could still be very difficult for you to find a job because most employers prefer employees with official professional training in the field.

Where Can I Get a Computer Engineering Degree?

computer engineering students reviewing together

Computer engineering is an incredibly popular field right now. As a result, there are hundreds of really great programs all over the United States.

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Most people can find good computer engineering programs at colleges or universities near them. Degree programs in this field are offered at multiple colleges both on-campus and online all over the nation.

What Is the Best College for Computer Engineering?

Determining the best college for computer engineering is quite subjective because what’s good for one person might not work so well for the next. That said, while there may not be one best college for computer engineering, you can find the best college for you.

If you can find a program that fits your budget and schedule and has your desired major with teachers that teach in a way that suits your learning style, you’ll be well on your way to finding a program that works well for you.

How Do I Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering?

A bachelor’s degree in computer engineering can be earned by enrolling in an online or on-campus university, preferably one with regional accreditation.

If you’re starting at the beginning, take a full course load each semester, and don’t need to retake any classes, it usually takes about four years to earn an engineering degree online or on campus. You can potentially shorten this time by taking accelerated programs or summer courses.

If you’ve already earned your associate’s degree, it typically only takes about an additional two years to earn a bachelor’s degree at an accredited university. Again, you can sometimes shorten this time by taking extra classes or enrolling in accelerated courses.

How Much Will a Bachelor of Computer Engineering Cost Me?

software developers working together on a project

Each college will have its own specific tuition rates and fees. There are some affordable options out there, though. The average rate for an online bachelor’s program is somewhere between $240 and $345 per credit hour, but there are others out there that are quite a bit cheaper.

Assuming it takes about 120 credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree, on average, you’re looking at between $28,800 and $41,400 in total tuition costs unless you enroll in one of the cheaper online programs.

What Can I Do with My Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering Once I Graduate?

There are a lot of different job opportunities you can pursue once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. In addition to becoming a computer engineer, you may also be eligible for a job as a network architect, software developer, computer programmer, or computer systems analyst.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Program?

In a computer engineering program, you’ll likely focus on programming languages, scripting languages, software development, internet technologies, web usability, circuit theory, logic design, and other related fields.

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This degree usually provides a broad overview of the entire computer science field as well.

Universities Offering Computer Engineering Online Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Committee.

Brigham Young University—Idaho

Brigham Young University Idaho

  • BS in Software Engineering

Brigham Young University—Idaho is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

  • BS in Information Technology – Software Systems Engineering

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida International University

Florida International University

  • BS in Computer Engineering

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology

  • BS in Computer and Cybersecurity Engineering

Illinois Institute of Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Middle Georgia State University

Middle Georgia State University

  • BS in Information Technology – Software Engineering

Middle Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University

National University

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University

  • BS in Computer Engineering
  • BS in Computer Engineering Technology

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pennsylvania State University—World Campus

Pennsylvania State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Regent University

Regent University

  • BS in Computer Engineering

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Regis University

Regis University

  • BS in Computer Science – Software Engineering

Regis University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Saint Cloud State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Computer Science – Software Engineering

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Colorado—Boulder

University of Colorado - Boulder

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The University of Colorado—Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of the Potomac

University of the Potomac

  • BS in Computer Science – Software Engineering

The University of the Potomac is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of the Virgin Islands

University of the Virgin Islands

  • BS in Computer Engineering Technology

The University of the Virgin Islands is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education.

Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Upper Iowa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Washington State University

Washington State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your Computer Engineering Degree Online

computer engineer working in his office

It’s no secret that engineers typically get paid well to do their jobs. Careers in the computer and information technology field are in high demand right now, with a projected job growth outlook of 13% over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics). With that in mind, it may be a great time to pursue a career as a computer or software engineer.

There are plenty of options out there for both on-campus computer engineering programs and online computer engineering programs.

Although great programs can be found in both formats, online programs are the most convenient for many students. Many online programs will allow you to work entirely from home on your own schedule. There are also a lot of financial aid options that may be able to help you pay for your education.

If you have any interest in STEM, computer science, and specifically computer engineering, you might want to consider enrolling in an online program today.

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Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.