Earning a Master’s in Engineering Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Engineering Online?

An online engineering master’s degree offers industry professionals the opportunity to advance their careers while building valuable knowledge and skills. Undergraduate engineering majors who want to work as managers benefit from advanced study through coursework and experiential learning exercises that build leadership and organizational competencies.

An online master’s degree in engineering allows students to work while earning a degree. Learners can complete a degree at a pace that works best for their schedules. Online engineering master’s degrees give learners a chance to complete specialized programs, including specific subsets of engineering like construction engineering and engineering management. Graduate programs in engineering provide students access to a community of engineering professionals while simultaneously helping them develop critical-thinking and analytical skills that are applicable to real-world situations.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Engineering Graduates

Master's in Engineering Salary

Engineers with master’s degrees earn annual mean wages above the national average in many parts of the U.S., including states with high industrial employment. Engineers in Washington, D.C. earn $20,000 more annually than their counterparts around the country. In states with strong industrial sectors like Texas, engineers see high levels of employment and above average wages.

With more experience and advanced skills, engineers increase their earning potential. Entry-level mechanical engineers earn $66,000 annually, but with more time on the job and movement into managerial and administrative positions, mechanical engineers can earn over $100,000 annually.

Top Paying States for Engineers, All Other

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 2,720 $130,550
Maryland 4,790 $119,950
Virginia 4,640 $115,650
Texas 10,760 $114,590
Alabama 3,580 $113,700
United States 131,500 $99,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Mechanical Engineers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $65,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $78,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $89,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $100,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Engineering Careers

Online master’s degrees in engineering allow professionals to gain advanced knowledge of a specific subset of the field, including chemical engineering and engineering management. By concentrating on an engineering specialty, engineers can pursue individual interests while broadening their professional opportunities.

Engineers can pursue careers in industrial settings where they develop, implement, and maintain engineering processes. They also research, instruct, and train colleagues and new engineers in academic and organizational environments. Engineers may assess problems related to engineering techniques, investigate applications of engineering principles in daily life, and use advanced technology to maintain engineering standards.

Civil Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $84,770
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Civil engineers focus on infrastructure in the private and public sectors. By assessing maps, surveys, and operational reports, civil engineers plan, design, build, and maintain bridges, roads, tunnels, and other building projects. Civil engineers also assess transportation systems, materials, and existing structures using safety guidelines, government regulations, and cost efficiency criteria.

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $97,970
Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Electrical and electronics engineers evaluate electrical power usage and systems of electrical delivery. Electrical and electronics engineers design and test electrical equipment, using consumer needs and government regulations to improve and implement its use. They also assess the efficacy of electronics equipment and make recommendations for modifications based on tests, complaints, and cost-saving concerns. These engineers use design software to create devices and applications for public and private use.

Environmental Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $86,800
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Environmental engineers apply biological, chemical, and soil science principles to engineering concerns and problems. Environmental engineers use environmental reports, assessments, and regulations to design water purification and reclamation systems, to combat air pollution, or to minimize environmental risks. Environmental engineers may assist in clean-up after an environmental disaster or inspect and monitor facilities using industry and government standards.

Chemical Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $102,160
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Chemical engineers use theories, principles, and practices of chemistry, biology, and mathematics to assess interactions among chemical substances. They design methods for separating chemicals, monitoring hazardous materials, testing manufacturing processes, and maintaining safety protocols. Chemical engineers also test, manage, and troubleshoot problems that arise from chemical manufacturing processes.

Mechanical Engineers

Annual Median Salary: $85,880
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Manufacturing engineers design, test, implement, and maintain mechanical and thermal devices used in tools, machines, and small- or large-scale manufacturing operations. Mechanical engineers may specialize in automobile engineering, heating and cooling systems, or robotics. Mechanical engineers also develop prototypes, run simulations, and investigate problems related to equipment use and failure.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Engineering Program?

Curricula for online engineering master’s degrees vary by school, but many programs offer classes in the fundamentals of engineering to build foundational knowledge. Students may enroll in specialized master’s degrees in engineering, focusing on a subset of the field like industrial engineering, engineering management, or environmental engineering. Master’s degrees in engineering online may also include group projects and collaborative learning experiences to build teamwork and leadership skills among engineering professionals.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Engineering

  1. Machine Learning: Machine learning courses provide broad information about using computers without explicitly programming them. Students learn theories of machine learning and how to apply them in addition to algorithm development and design. Learners study artificial intelligence and the automatic improvement of computer performance while learning to apply it to robotic control, data mining, autonomous navigation, and bioinformatics.
  2. Software Systems Engineering: Software systems engineering classes, particularly important for computer engineers, focus on designing and developing software and software systems. Learners study theories and approaches of development, system maintenance and repair, and how systems vary in different contexts. Students work through case studies to explore software systems limitations and innovations.
  3. Advanced Energy Solutions: An advanced energy solutions course introduces students to theories and concepts related to energy needs, usage, and demands before exploring methods of creating and expanding power production. Learners study byproducts of power production and strategies to combat problems and issues related to power and energy production. Students also assess energy storage, transportation, and renewability.
  4. Advanced Optimization: A course in advanced optimization explores techniques for maximizing efficiency in the logistics of manufacturing, production, and transportation. Learners study methodologies including linear programming, integer programming, and constraint programming as they develop skills to design and implement optimization processes in fields including computer, manufacturing, software, and chemical engineering.
  5. Materials Science: Materials science coursework presents learners with information about manipulating mechanical, electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of materials. Computer, chemical, electrical, and civil engineers benefit from the study of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, and electronic materials, and how their properties and performance relate to heat, cold, operational conditions, and other factors.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Engineering Prepares For

  • NCEES Licensure: The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) provides licensure for engineers and surveyors in addition to information regarding state requirements. Engineers can obtain a professional engineer (PE) license through NCEES by completing a principles and practices of engineering exam. To qualify for the exam, engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a requisite number of years of professional experience.
  • Engineering Manager Professional Certification: Offered through the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), the EMPC assesses skills and knowledge of managerial aspects in engineering through a formal exam. By successfully completing the EMPC certification process, engineers demonstrate global and technical expertise and a dedication to productivity and innovation. To qualify for the exam, engineers must meet degree and career experience requirements.