What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Electrical Engineering Program?

Electrical engineers must possess a strong foundation in physical science and mathematics with a broad knowledge of engineering techniques. Earning an online master’s in electrical engineering helps you learn more about electricity and all the technology used to support it. Your advanced degree can help you turn your passion for all things electric, electromagnetic and electronic into a lucrative career with career paths in almost every industry. Master’s programs offered fully online are typically designed for professional electrical engineers already working in their chosen field but benefit any student seeking the flexibility of completing coursework on their own time. Because master’s programs in electrical engineering vary considerably based on your personal and professional commitments and goals, compare curriculum, concentrations, delivery format and cost to find the right program for you.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is often offered as a concentration within a master’s in engineering program. When electrical engineering is offered as its own master’s program, the two most common concentrations are photonics and communications and networking. However, there are numerous focus areas and technical specialization tracks you can follow to further customize your online master’s in electrical engineering degree program.

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Photonics Concentrations in photonics delve into the creation and improvement of systems and products that use photonics, including imaging, optics, fiber optics and lasers, in the telecommunications, medicine, manufacturing and construction industries. Electrical engineer, photonics engineer
Communications and Networking Concentrations in communications and networking cover communication systems engineering and networking, including coursework in electromagnetic transmission systems, wireless technology, satellite communications systems, computer and data communications networks and fiber-optic communication systems. Electrical telecommunications engineer, networking and communications engineer, electrical engineer, electronic engineer

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering

Many online electrical engineering master’s programs require participation in a seminar or culminating capstone course to finish your degree. Because there are so many specialized tracks you can take, some programs are more focused than others. While electrical engineering curriculum differs at each school, typical coursework covers broad engineering concepts and in-depth courses based on your concentration. Many core courses require an advanced understanding of computer systems with some common courses including:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Wireless Communication Cover satellite and cellular systems and wireless computer networks, including wireless technology and the analysis, design and performance of wireless communication systems.
Digital Signal Processing Digital filter analysis and design for discrete signal processing, including spectral analysis and fast Fourier transform.
Communication Systems Engineering Principles, performance and applications of communication systems, including noise and interference in analog and digital modulation/demodulation systems.
Statistical Methods and Data Analysis Statistical methods, including statistical techniques and appropriate use of methodologie.
Electronic Materials Delve into the materials, interfaces between materials, functions of electronic devices and systems and application of materials to the design and fabrication of electronic components, including integrated circuits and electronic boards, modules and systems.
Advanced Circuit Design Analysis and design of analog integrated circuits in advanced MOS and bipolar technologies.
Principles and Models of Semiconductor Devices Transport, carrier generation and storage in semiconductors, including physical principles of operation and related devices, such as solar cells, LEDs and detectors.
Fundamentals of Energy Processes Scientific and engineering basics of renewable heat-related energy processes, including thermodynamics, solar thermal, geothermal and biomass.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering?

The completion time for an online master’s in electrical engineering program depends on a variety of factors, such as whether you’re enrolled full-time or part-time and whether the program is delivered individually paced/asynchronous or cohort-based/synchronous. Additionally, some concentrations require more extracurricular activities that lengthen the time it takes to finish. Some programs may also require an internship or research project, especially if your goal is a senior position in an electrical engineering niche. Your program plan and area of focus may factor into the number of credit hours required, which also impacts completion time. Credit requirements vary by school, but a typical online master’s degree in electrical engineering involves 30 to 45 credit hours. Most programs can be completed in two years but may take up to five years when attending part-time.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Prepares For

CONCENTRATION CERTIFICATION
Professional Engineering License After earning your bachelor’s degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program, take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and become an Engineer in Training. After relevant work experience, usually a minimum of four years, take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam and earn your Professional Engineering license. Earning your master’s in electrical engineering helps better prepare you for passing both exams. Exact requirements vary by state, so contact the licensing board in your state to verify specifics.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degrees

When choosing a school, begin by validating accreditation to ensure your eligibility for federal, state and many private financial aid opportunities. Colleges and universities should be regionally or nationally accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation. In addition to institutional accreditation, some engineering programs also hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. While many programs accredited through ABET are bachelor’s degree programs, there are also a limited number of accredited graduate level programs.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Electrical Engineering Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

To begin your career in electrical engineering, an undergraduate degree is usually the minimum amount of education you need to be considered competent in your field. However, some postgraduate study is recommended, especially if you plan to work in highly technical development, fundamental research, leadership roles or teaching at the junior college level. While career opportunities and salaries vary among electrical engineers, your online master’s in electrical engineering, along with professional experience, positions you to earn a higher than average salary. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, electrical engineering professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median salary of $93,000 while those with a master’s degree earn a median salary of $112,000.

Expected Salary

Because you can focus your online master’s in electrical engineering studies to prepare for numerous career paths, salary expectations vary. Below are salary ranges for popular careers you may seek with your advanced degree in electrical engineering.

Job Title Salary Range
Electrical Engineer $55,778–$108,360
Electronics Engineer $48,508–$117,457
Computer Hardware Engineer $49,863–$139,033
Electrical Engineering Manager $87,890–$150,909
Electrical Design Engineer $53,131–$104,043

Source: PayScale.com

Earning your master’s in electrical engineering makes you a highly desirable job candidate, but so does your experience in the field. The table below demonstrates the expected salary of the same careers listed above at different levels of professional experience.

Average Wage vs Experience Level in Various Electrical Engineering Jobs

Source: PayScale.com

Career Opportunities

Electrical engineering professionals are increasingly in high demand, especially within the fields of power, telecommunications, manufacturing and renewable energy. However, electrical engineering jobs exist in nearly every industry. Constant innovations in technology also create numerous opportunities for you to advance within your chosen field and your graduate degree in electrical engineering makes you a prime candidate. Below are common occupations for graduates of electrical engineering online master’s programs.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Electrical Engineer Electrical engineers design, develop, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment to ensure products meet required specifications and codes, and devise new ways to develop new or improve existing products. They often work with project managers to ensure projects are completely appropriately, on time and within budget. $95,060 per year 9%
Electronics Engineers Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, including broadcast and communications systems, and ensure it meets safety standards and applicable regulations. They design the electronic components, software and/or systems in products for application in the commercial, industrial, scientific, medial or military sectors. $102,180 per year 4%
Electro-mechanical Technicians Electro-mechanical technicians work with electric and electronic circuits and mechanical technology and use their knowledge in testing, operating and maintaining automated, unmanned or robotic equipment. $56,740 per year 4%
Computer Hardware Engineer Computer hardware engineers research, design, develop and test computer systems and components, including circuit boards, processors, routers, memory devices and networks. These components may be used in automobiles, medical devices and home appliances that have built-in internet-ready computer systems. $115,120 per year 5%
Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, inspect, test, diagnose and repair various types of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities and other industries. $57,210 per year 1%

Professional Organizations

Electrical engineers are continually challenged to keep current on new and changing technology. Joining professional organizations is one way to stay on top of new developments. Whether you are just beginning your career or are a veteran, continuing education opportunities offered by many organizations help you keep current on professional licensure and industry standards. Seek organizations that offer networking opportunities and provide professional journals and other ways of accessing up-to-date industry information. Below are some notable organizations for electrical engineering professionals.

National Society of Professional Engineers: NSPE membership provides you with the tools and services you need to be better informed about the engineering industry and stay connected with other professionals in your field. Your membership includes free online seminars, on-demand courses and live educational events, webinars and conferences for professional engineers. It also provides the information and resources you need to earn and maintain your professional engineering license, plus a job board and career center.

Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: IEEE membership offers cutting-edge industry information, professional networking and continuing-education opportunities and a wide range of quality publications. Members also have access to a learning library, a career navigator and job board, and various other exclusive member benefits.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology: The IET is a leading professional engineering institution that helps you take your career to new heights by allowing you to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing industry, obtain personal and professional support and network with other professionals in your field.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree

While online programs typically cost less than on-campus programs, it can still be challenging to finance your education. However, online graduate students in electrical engineering are eligible for many of the same types of financial aid as traditional students. This includes a variety of federal and state loans, grants and scholarships, plus scholarship and fellowship opportunities offered by private and non-profit companies and organizations. Start your search for financial assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA helps you explore numerous funding opportunities and is usually required by colleges and universities to determine financial aid eligibility. Consult the resources below to learn more about funding your online degree.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

LGS Innovations STEM Scholarship Program

Award: $5,000

Deadline: March

Eligibility: Graduate students enrolled in an ABET-accredited STEM program, seeking a degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or computer engineering.

Alabama Home Builders Foundation

Award: Varies

Deadline: March

Eligibility: Alabama residents enrolling in an accredited Alabama university in residential construction-related curriculum, including electrical engineering and electrical technology.