Online Engineering Programs in Illinois (IL)
Engineering provides an abundance of opportunities for professionals throughout Illinois (IL). The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) reported that there were 80,930 engineering and architectural jobs in the state, which comprises almost one-and-a-half percent of all occupations statewide. The bulk of these professionals were mechanical engineers (12,520 workers in IL), industrial engineers (12,480), or civil engineers (10,500).
Not surprisingly, these in-demand fields are relatively well-paid. The average salary for all occupations in the Land of Lincoln was $58,070, while the average annual salary of all architectural and engineering professionals was $86,820 (BLS 2020). 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 ($106,620 annual average salary), electrical engineers ($99,130) environmental engineers ($97,650), mechanical engineers ($95,810), industrial engineers ($92,760), civil engineers ($91,520).
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 (May 2020) projected significant growth in many fields of engineering between 2019 and 2029 across the country. The following subfields are expected to boast the highest growth percentage over that period:
- Industrial engineering – 30,000 new jobs (10 percent increase)
- Electrical engineering – 9,000 new jobs (5 percent increase)
- Bioengineering and biomedical engineering – 1,000 new jobs (5 percent increase)
- Mechanical engineering – 12,400 new jobs (4 percent increase)
- Chemical engineering – 1,400 new positions (4 percent increase)
The growth projections within Illinois are slightly different. By illustration, Projections Central (June 2021) predicted that the fastest-growing subfields in the state between 2018 and 2028 would be:
- Industrial engineering – 780 new jobs (7.9 percent increase)
- Computer hardware engineering – 70 new jobs (7.1 percent increase)
- Environmental engineering – 80 new jobs (5.6 percent increase)
- Chemical engineering – 40 new jobs (4.4 percent increase)
To support the various fields of engineering, there are several prominent professional organizations in Illinois. These offer several 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:
- Illinois Society of Professional Engineers
- Illinois Society of General Engineers
- American Society of Civil Engineers – Illinois Section
- Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Iowa and Illinois Section
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.