20 Best Online Computer Engineering Degrees [2020 Guide]

Home » 20 Best Online Computer Engineering Degrees [2020 Guide]

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 should be good at math and science. They 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 engineers is about 6%. Which means it’s an excellent time to obtain your degree in computer engineering.

Best Online Computer Engineering Degrees

A computer engineering degree really has three separate components on which you can focus. Each concentration is a little bit different in exactly what it involves and what you’d do in that profession.

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 careers, 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. They design circuit boards, processors, memory devices, and more.

As with all engineering degrees, a computer engineer should have a heavy interest in and talent for all the STEM-related fields. Technology and engineering play a huge role, but science and math are just as important.

If you’re interested in this field, good communication and explanation skills, the ability to solve complex problems, active listening skills, and the ability to make sound, effective decisions are all qualities you should 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, you’ll still need to be good in math, science, and other STEM-type subjects. 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 need a strong grasp of computer operating systems, software development, and programming languages.

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 puts more of an emphasis on diagnosing and then repairing computer problems and the computer/tech field as a whole, but you’ll still take most of the necessary classes to become a computer engineer in a computer science degree plan.

You’ll 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 allows you various potential 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 – In this class, you’ll be introduced to some of the most important elements of computer programming such as programming languages, algorithm programming, program design, and more.
  • Fundamentals of Software Design – Here you’ll learn about using object-oriented languages and UML to design software. You’ll also learn to troubleshoot new software in its earliest stages.
  • Beginning and Advanced Logic Design – In these courses, you’ll learn about memory elements like registers, counters, and latches. You’ll also begin designing things like decoders, multiplexers, adders, and combinational circuits.
  • Circuit Theory – Here you’ll learn all about circuit theory, electrical circuit analysis, Fourier problems, three-phase, steady power, and Ohm’s and Kirchhoff’s laws.
  • Computer Organization – This course will cover hardware and software interactions. You should also learn about cache memory, ALU and memory design, pipelining, machine code, and more.
  • Fundamentals of Internet Technologies – This class should teach you all about the most commonly used internet tech. You should also cover topics like style sheet language, website design, scripting languages, markup language, and more.
  • Intro to Microprocessors – Here you should learn about the roles microprocessors play in electronic design. Microcomputer architecture should also be covered.
  • Web Usability – This should be a very hands-on course that teaches you about front-end web development and design. There should be a graphic design element as well as a human/computer interaction element.
  • Calculus (I, II, & Possibly III) – In these courses, you’ll learn all about 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 should cover such communication-related topics 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’ll have a bit more variety in your elective courses.

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

Computer Engineering Careers & Salaries

The pay for people with bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering is higher than the national average for American workers.

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

Careers Annual Mean Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360
Software Developers $110,000
Database Administrators $93,750
Computer Programmers $86,550
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $83,510

Most of these jobs can 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 do this by taking some key factors and comparing them between colleges. These factors can include any of the following –

  • Cost – One of the most important things 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. Find a program that offers tuition rates and additional fees 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 in which you want to major. If a particular college doesn’t offer your chosen degree – or at least a degree similar enough to allow you the job you want – you probably want to find somewhere else.
  • Campus Requirements – Although you’d think there’d be no campus requirements with an online degree program, that isn’t always the case. Check to see if the program you’re interested in requires you to come to campus for anything. If so, check to see how often you have to come and make sure that fits with your schedule.
  • Credit Transfer Policy – If you have previous college experience, check 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 – Check to see how long it takes to earn a degree in your desired field.

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 in which you’ll want to enroll.

Admissions Requirements

computer engineering student writing her essay

Once you’ve found the perfect online program for you, the next thing to do is check out the school’s admissions requirements. Every school’s requirements will be a little bit different, but there are a few things you can expect every school to request from you.

  • Application and Essay – Each school will require you to submit a completed application with basic information like your name, contact information, the desired program of study, list of previous schools, etc. They’ll also usually require you to write a one- to two-page 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 require you to meet certain GPA and standardized test score benchmarks before they’ll accept you into a specific program. Even the ones that don’t – the ones with open admissions policies – will still want you to give them your GPA and test scores, though. This will give them an idea of where you are academically.

Other admissions requirements could include an application fee/fee waiver, letters of recommendation, or filling out your FAFSA.

Online Computer Engineering Degree Levels

computer engineering student studying online

There are several different degrees you can 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 make sure to do your research before choosing the best one for you. For instance, the best online masters in computer engineering degrees will ultimately be based on your preferences and expectations.

Accreditation

Computer Engineering accreditation

No matter which level degree you’re working on, you want 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 should also transfer to any other college in the United States.

You can usually find any prospective online or on-campus school’s accreditation status listed on it’s website. Be aware that 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 for which you might want to apply for membership.

  • Association for Computing Machinery – This is a global professional organization for those working in the fields of programming, software/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 have access to development training courses and career advancement help through the organization.

Any of these professional organizations could potentially help you further your career in the computer engineering field. At the very least, they 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 four-year degree in an engineering field along with four years of work experience as an engineer. You also have to pass two separate, very comprehensive exams in order to be designated as a professional engineer (PE).

Although it takes some work, the PE designation is 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 can help you. In addition to student loans, which you can get through the federal government, a bank, or other lending institutions, there are also scholarships and the federal Pell Grant.

You 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, almost always with interest.

Scholarships usually don’t have to be repaid. You can find scholarships on your college’s website under the “financial assistance” tab. You can also find them on dedicated scholarship websites, through your employer or local and community organizations, or by doing a simple Google search.

Unlike loans and the Pell Grant, scholarships almost always have to be earned or won through 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 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 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.

You can almost always find a good computer engineering program at a college or university near you. 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?

No two people are likely to agree on what the best college for computer engineering is because what’s good for one person might not work so well for the next.

Find a program that fits your budget and schedule, that has your desired major and whose teachers teach in a way that suits your learning style.

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

You can earn your bachelor’s degree in computer engineering by enrolling in either an online or on-campus university, preferably one with regional accreditation.

If you’re starting at the beginning, it generally takes you about four years to earn your degree, although you can shorten this time by taking accelerated programs or summer courses.

If you’ve already earned your associate’s degree, it should only take you about an additional two years to earn your bachelor’s degree at an accredited university. Again, you can sometimes shorten this time frame 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 potential job opportunities for you once you’ve earned your bachelor’s degree in computer engineering.

In addition to becoming a computer engineer, you could also be eligible for a job as a network architect, software developer, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, and more.

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

Much of your focus in a computer engineering program will be on programming languages, scripting languages, software development, internet technologies, web usability, circuit theory, logic design, and other related fields.

You should also get quite a broad overview of the entire computer science field.

Universities Offering Computer Engineering Online Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer computer engineering bachelor’s degree online.

#1  Arizona State University

Arizona State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Committee.

#2  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.

#3  Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University

  • BS in Information Technology – Software Systems Engineering

Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  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.

#5  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.

#6  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.

#7  National University

National University

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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

#8  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.

#9  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.

#10  Regent University

Regent University

  • BS in Computer Engineering

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

#11  Regis University

Regis University

  • BS in Computer Science – Software Engineering

Regis University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Saint Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University

  • BS in Software Engineering

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

#13  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.

#14  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.

#15  University of Arizona

University of Arizona

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

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

#16  University of Colorado – Boulder

University of Colorado - Boulder

  • BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering

CU-Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#17  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.

#18  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.

#19  Upper Iowa University

Upper Iowa University

  • BS in Software Engineering

Upper Iowa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#20  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 get paid well to do their jobs. Computer engineers, specifically, are in high demand right now, with a projected job growth outlook of 6% until the year 2028. That being said, it’s a great time to be 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 you can find great programs in both, the online programs are by far the most convenient. They allow you to work from home on your own schedule. There are also a lot of financial aid options out there that can help you pay for your education.

If you have any interest in STEM, computer science, and specifically computer engineering, you should enroll in an online program today.

Sarah Walker
WRITTEN BY
Sarah Walker