|Career Outlook for California Engineers By Field, 2014-2024|
Biomedical Engineers (41.1 percent)
Computer Hardware Engineers (22.1)
Environmental Engineers (21.1)
Chemical Engineers (16.7)
Health and Safety Engineers (13.8)
Most Annual Openings:
Computer Hardware Engineers (600 jobs added annually)
Civil Engineering (500)
Mechanical Engineers (290)
Industrial Engineers (260)
Electrical Engineers (250)
Even with steep demand, the best opportunities generally go to engineers who invest in the right education and training. And employers are willing to pay for it: in fact, the EDD data places engineers among some of the highest-paid professionals in California. The types of engineers who earned the highest median wages in 2016:
Each job listed above represents a different engineering specialty. Students considering online engineering degrees in California should decide which interest them most before choosing a major.
Nearly every industry needs engineers. According to the National Society of Professional Engineers, however, the engineer title is often misused: think sales, automotive, and culinary engineers. This lingering point of contention for engineering organizations can make it difficult to research relevant careers and programs. For a list of the most common types of online engineering programs in California (and elsewhere), please see our list of engineering degree types.
The BLS reports that most entry-level engineering jobs require bachelor’s degrees, but master’s degrees can improve one’s career and earning potential. It is not uncommon for bachelor’s degree holders to attend graduate school online while working full-time. Nonetheless, an online bachelor’s in engineering can help get one’s foot in the metaphorical door. Computer science and engineering are perhaps the most common options, but online schools increasingly branch into new disciplines by incorporating local internships or apprenticeships. Here are a few of the online engineering bachelor’s degrees in California.
More students seek online master’s in engineering degrees than ever. The ability to work and study likely contributes to the trend, as do increasing employer expectations. Because much of an engineer’s hands-on practical training takes place at the undergraduate level, online engineering master’s degrees are more prevalent than bachelor’s degrees. Graduate programs build upon one’s undergraduate studies, deepening students’ understanding of the field and preparing them to advance their careers. A few of California’s online engineering master’s degrees:
Most online engineering students in California seek bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but the options don’t end there. A limited number of online associate degrees give students a head start in their training and there are droves of specialized online engineering certificates as well. Examples of these online engineering programs in California:
Most students researching online colleges ponder the same basic characteristics—i.e., program availability, school reputation, and cost—but it is just as important to consider online education as a medium. Knowing the ins and outs of web-based learning ensures students ask the right questions as they review California’s online engineering schools. Examples:
Not all program considerations are a matter of preference: accreditation and state authorization can define what a degree is worth, assuming it’s available at all.
Students can only attend online engineering schools authorized to operate in their state. Californians who attend online programs based in the state are unlikely to have trouble, but programs based in other states may not admit be able to admit students from specific states. Therefore, out-of-state students considering an online engineering degree based in California should review state policies before applying for admission. Fortunately, many online schools in California list this information on their websites (e.g., University of Southern California’s state disclosures page).
Finding the right engineering school pays off, but only for students who get into them. Online engineering schools in California typically have the same admissions standards as those with campuses. While specific requirements vary by school and program, some criteria are common. The following breaks them down by program level:
The following California engineering professors are known not only for their teaching excellence but their notable contributions to their respective fields.
Dr. Jiann-Wen “Woody” Ju – University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Woody Ju is a professor in UCLA’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering where he teaches online courses in the area of structural engineering. He is very active in academic publishing and holds editor or editorial board positions for such journals as the International Journal of Damage Mechanics, Advances in Structural Engineering, Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering, and the Journal of Composites. A highly-regarded educator, Dr. Ju has been a visiting professor at universities in China, Paris, and Hong Kong. His primary research interest is the micromechanical damage mechanics of brittle composites, though his full list of foci is extensive. Dr. Ju holds master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Ellis Meng – University of Southern California
Dr. Ellis Meng is an associate professor of biomedical and electrical engineering at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, where she also chairs the Women in Science and Engineering program and the Biomedical Microsystems Lab. She has earned a number of honors and awards in her field. Dr. Meng was, for instance, named a “TR35 Young Innovator Under 35” for her work in drug delivery and a “Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry’s MedTech 40 under 40.” She is an advocate for the use of microtechnology in medicine, an inventor, and a textbook author. Dr. Meng holds a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science, M.S. in Electrical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Caltech. She often serves as a research mentor at USC.
Christopher C. Pascual – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Dr. Christopher C. Pascual is a mechanical engineering professor at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He teaches several courses for the University’s online M.S. in fire protection engineering program, including fire dynamics, fundamental thermal sciences, and the culminating (i.e., capstone) experience in fire protection engineering. He was instrumental in founding the University’s FPE program—an effort that earned him the Society of Fire Protection Engineer’s “Person of the Year” in 2010. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the organization. According to his faculty bio, D. Pascual’s areas of professional interest range from fluid mechanics and turbomachinery to heat transfer, energy conversion, and fire protection.