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Best Online Degrees in: Engineering Technology

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Engineering Technology

Value
The University of Massachusetts – Lowell (UMass Lowell) offers online bachelor’s degrees in electronic engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology, and both of these degree programs win the award for best value. According to the compensation data company PayScale, the annual return on investment (ROI) for UMass Lowell graduates is 9.6% for students who do not have financial aid, and 10.7% for students who do receive financial assistance. PayScale also notes that 65% of students receive some form of financial assistance.

Flexibility
ECPI University‘s mechatronics program offers the greatest amount of flexibility. All classes are available online, and course materials – including lectures, notes, and discussions – are always accessible. College Prowler gives ECPI an A ranking for academic flexibility.

Career Support
The University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte) offers a completion program that awards students a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology. Its career support services outrank those of other schools that offer bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology. The university’s career center provides guidance, resources, and support to students as they explore opportunities beyond school. Online presentations, seminars, and workshops are available to distance education students. The center also offers job-related advice on networking, resume building, and mock interviews.

Technology Support
UNC-Charlotte provides the best technology support to students among schools that offer online bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology. The HelpDesk Online provides technical assistance to distance education students. The department can be reached by phone for extended hours.

Disability Support
UNC-Charlotte‘s Office of Disability Services ensures that the needs of all students are addressed. The office will determine eligibility and identify reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Library and Research Support
Distance education students at UNC-Charlotte have access to a number of library resources for research purposes. Students can also have library materials delivered to their home or desktop via the interlibrary loan service. Through this service, scanned journal articles are available online, and books are mailed to students’ homes via UPS with a pre-paid return label. In addition, subject librarians are available to provide research and instructional assistance. Students can call or email librarians with research-related questions, and in-depth consultations are also provided. A number of online databases are also available to students.

Learning Support
UNC-Charlotte offers excellent academic support services to students. The Office of Extended Academic Programs works closely with Center for Academic Excellence to bring academic services and support online to serve all students. For instance, online workshops provide advice on studying, organization, note-taking, and more. Electrical engineering technology students who are required to take Math 1121 after admittance will have access to supplemental instruction video-taped sessions. The writing center is also available to online students, who can schedule online appointments and send papers to the center’s instructors for review. Academic advising services are also available.

Faculty Accessibility
UNC-Charlotte wins this category based on two criteria: students can expect faculty members to respond to emails within 24 hours, and instructors hold two office hours per week; they also monitor the frequency of student logins. UNC-Charlotte also ranks on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top online bachelor’s programs in this category.

Prior Learning Options
Grantham University offers an online bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology. Grantham wins this category for recognizing the prior work and life experience that many students have obtained. At Grantham, prior military experience, employer training courses, and equivalency exams (such as CLEP) may be evaluated for transfer credit. Students may have to pass further examinations or submit a portfolio for credit.

New Online Student Orientation
UNC-Charlotte provides a complete New and Current Student Guide, available online. The orientation covers topics such as student computing, course registration, textbook orders, and information related to student services. A technical orientation will teach students how to use the learning management system Moodle and the online collaboration tool Saba Centra.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Technology

An engineering technology degree is related to the mechanical, electronics, manufacturing, and telecommunications engineering disciplines, and focuses on design and production methods. An engineering technology degree may require a student to choose a discipline in electronics, telecommunications, or manufacturing and mechanical engineering. Engineering technology students may find careers in sales, installation, manufacturing, or maintenance of specialized equipment.

Class Curriculum

Foundational course work for all engineering technology students, regardless of discipline, may include calculus, English composition, CAD software, and physics. Mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology students may require course work in thermodynamics, general mechanics and a corresponding lab requirement, manufacturing processes, machine design, and manufacturing technology. Electronics engineering technology course work may consist of signal processing, circuit manufacturing, microprocessor architecture, and communications course work. Below are a few course descriptions that may be required in an engineering technology degree:

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD). Students learn the basics of Computer Aided Design software like AutoCAD or SolidWorks. Students learn the CAD software interface, how to create simple objects and patterns, and how to create models, sketches, and assemblies.
  • Calculus. Calculus covers single variable differentiation, infinite series, function integration, vector and multi-variable calculus, matrices, double and triple integrals, and other concepts applicable to engineering. Calculus course work will most likely span more than one course throughout an engineering technology degree.
  • Mechanics. Mechanics may be split between statics and solids surveys. Students learn the equilibrium of mechanical systems, centers of mass, trusses, frames, and machines to solve practical engineering problems.

Engineering technology course work will require problem sets related to lecture and laboratory course work, reading assignments on problems within engineering technology, and Computer Aided Design and other course-specific projects. Engineering technology students may be required to collaborate on projects throughout a given course.

Building a Career

Engineering licensure is required for government contracts, to offer consulting services, and to be the principal of a firm. Licensure requires an engineering degree accredited by ABET, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, and a passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. An ABET-accredited engineering degree qualifies you for the FE exam; passing the FE exam qualifies you to take the PE exam.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the mean annual wage of mechanical engineering technicians was $52,810 in May 2011. The mean annual wage for electronics engineering technicians, as reported by the BLS, was $57,240 in May 2011. The BLS projects employment for engineering technicians to increase by 5% between 2010 and 2020. Keep in mind that wages and employment prospects vary due to factors like where you live, your employer, your experience, and your position.

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