Online Engineering Programs in Illinois
Engineering provides an abundance of opportunities for professionals throughout Illinois (IL). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016) reported that there were 90,510 engineering and architectural jobs in the state, which comprises more than one-and-a-half percent of all occupations statewide. The bulk of these professionals were mechanical engineers (14,500 workers in IL), industrial engineers (13,270), or civil engineers (10,710).
Not surprisingly, these in-demand fields are relatively well-paid. In fact, the average salary for all occupations in the Land of Lincoln was $51,500, while the the average annual salary of all architectural and engineering professionals was $80,260 (BLS 2016). Of course, some specializations are better compensated than others. Four of the top-paying engineering subfields with at least 1,000 people employed in IL included electronics engineers ($100,070 annual average salary), computer hardware engineers ($95,270), mechanical engineers ($92,290), and electrical engineers ($91,080).
Not only is engineering a lucrative occupation in Illinois and nationwide, but also job opportunities are expected to grow in the coming decade; as proof of point, the BLS (October 2016) projected significant growth in many fields of engineering between 2014 and 2024 across the country. The following subfields are expected to boast the highest growth percentage over that time period:
- Biomedical engineering – 23.1 percent growth in job openings
- Environmental engineering – 12.4 percent growth
- Marine engineering – 8.9 percent growth
- Civil engineering – 8.4 percent growth
- Mechanical engineering – 5.3 percent growth
The growth projections within Illinois during that same decade are slightly different. By illustration, Projections Central (2017) predicted that the fastest growing subfields in the state between 2014 and 2024 would be biomedical (25.8 percent); computer hardware (17 percent); environmental (15.6 percent); and civil (8.8 percent). Considering that the average expected growth in openings across all occupations in the U.S. is 6.5 percent, these estimates bode well for people interested in this discipline.
To support the various fields of engineering, there are several prominent professional organizations in Illinois. These offer a number of benefits for engineers such as networking, journals or newsletters, conferences, continuing education opportunities, and credentialing services. Here are a few of the well-regarded engineering societies that operate in the state:
With the relatively high salaries, bright growth outlook, and ample professional support, becoming an engineer in IL can be an enticing prospect. While some of these workers seek preparation for the career through traditional, on-campus degrees, there’s a growing trend toward online engineering programs, particularly in computer-related specializations and at the graduate degree level. For engineering students who work full time, have family commitments, or live in rural regions of the state, a distance-based degree may be a more convenient starting point in an engineering career.
This guide features several online engineering programs in Illinois, exceptional professors, and accreditation information.