The number of online engineering programs has exploded over the past few years. With this, many incredible opportunities have been created not only for people interested in getting started with an engineering career but those who are currently licensed engineers but who want to gain more knowledge and expertise.
As most people know, there are numerous branches of engineering, civil, mechanical, and chemical engineering. Biomedical engineering jobs are in particularly high demand as of late. Although education is always available through conventional colleges, universities, and vocational schools, we see a growing number of people taking advantage of online programs for a variety of reasons, although convenience is among the most common.
Because there is so much to understand when it comes to online engineering degree programs, we felt it would be important to provide an overview of some of the key pros and cons. With this information, an individual would have a much easier time deciding if this career and educational opportunity is the right path or if perhaps something else would be better.
Pros of Online Engineering Degree Programs
To begin, we want to focus on the positive aspects of gaining education online. Remember, the pros apply to someone just getting started in an engineering career but also someone who already has a career but has interest in expounding on current expertise.
- Complete Education – Even though online education has been offered for a long time, there remains some level of misunderstanding with some people believing the level of education offered online is somehow less than education through a conventional educational institution. The truth is that online engineering Degree programs cover the full scope of study. This means that academic standards are high and coursework comprehensive. In other words, completing education online does not mean sacrificing on quality of education.
- Pace – Another one of the benefits that comes from completing online engineering programs is that most are designed to allow a person to study and test at a comfortable pace. Rather than a person getting locked into a rigid timeline, online classes make it possible for an individual to work at his or her own pace according to learning ability but also personal schedule.
- Technology – There are many excellent schools that provide high-tech solutions for engineering programs. For instance, a person would have the opportunity to join actual classrooms via video and audio, participating in studies, interjecting ideas, asking questions, and more. For many people, being able to attend virtual school makes the learning process much more effective but of course, there are just as many schools that provide straightforward online classes without high-tech educational solutions, if preferred.
- Convenience – The main reason a person chooses online engineering degree programs is convenience. The truth is that most people have extremely busy lifestyles so trying to squeeze in time for school can be a major challenge. However, having the ability to gain knowledge and expertise from the comfort and privacy of home makes just about anything possible when it comes to getting a solid education.
- Unique Learning – Online engineering programs offer a great level of flexibility. Due to such high demand for online education, classes are now created to cover both traditional and non-traditional topics specific to engineering. Therefore, the person who chooses to learn online is given a unique perspective to gaining knowledge about the engineering industry.
- Cost – For the most part, it costs less to attend school online than it does with a traditional school. Most online colleges and universities still have tuition for both in and out-of-state students but overall, savings is quite impressive. Now, because there is such a broad range of costs for online engineering programs, it would be important for a person to look at multiple options to find the one with the lowest price but highest quality curriculum.
- Forgiving – A huge advantage of online engineering degree programs for many people is that most schools are very forgiving when it comes to high school grades. For a person to be admitted into college, several factors are considered with one of these being high school grades. If a person’s GPA were too low, they may not be accepted into the college or university of choice for conventional programs but with online schools, a person’s high school GPA is not as important.
Cons of Online Engineering degree Programs
Along with the many benefits that come from earning an education in engineering online, there are some negative aspects that should also be understood.
- Completion Timeframe – Typically, the time it takes to earn a degree in engineering via the internet is longer than earning a degree through conventional education. For example, a person could attend a brick and mortar school and get a Bachelor’s degree in four years but with most programs online, the same degree would take approximately six years to earn.
- Reputation – Another one of the negative aspects of online engineering degree is that currently, there is no baseline used for school and curriculum comparison. Therefore, it becomes imperative for an individual to conduct in-depth research to find a school with a solid reputation, one that provides both classroom and practical fiend testing, and curriculum that meets or exceeds industry standard specific to the branch of engineering interested in.
- Hands-On Training – When going through programs on a college or university campus, an individual would have the opportunity to participate in a variety of field training sessions but this would obviously not be the case when getting an education online. Because hands-on training is a key part of gaining knowledge and expertise in the field of engineering, this presents a real disadvantage. Now, some online colleges and universities have teamed up with conventional educational institutions whereby some degree of hands-on training can be arranged.
There are additional pros and cons of online engineering programs that a person should investigate but overall, choosing to earn an engineering degree or enhance existing knowledge and expertise using the internet is a sound decision.