Online Engineering Programs in Minnesota
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there’s an abundance of opportunities in engineering. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016) reported that there were 54,400 engineering and architectural professionals in Minnesota (MN), a figure which is expected to increase in coming years. Projections Central (2017) predicted that some subfields of the discipline would grow faster than others between 2014 and 2024; the top three specializations in MN were biomedical, environmental, and civil, which were expected to see openings swell 22.6, 13.5, and six percent, respectively. Incidentally, these were also the fastest growing specializations nationally. The BLS (October 2016) projected that opportunities in biomedical engineering would grow 23.1 percent, followed by environmental (12.4 percent) and civil (8.4 percent) during that same decade.
Of course, for many prospective engineers, one of the most compelling reasons to enter this field is the relatively high compensation. By illustration, the BLS (May 2016) reported that the 54,400 architecture and engineering professionals in MN earned an average annual salary of $78,790, significantly more than the average salary for all occupations in the state ($51,330). Some subfields commanded higher salaries than others. Among the top-paying engineering specializations in MN were aerospace ($110,550 annual mean salary), computer hardware ($109,120), and biomedical ($101,710). Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (2016) found that the top-paying municipalities in the state for engineers were concentrated around the Twin Cities, not surprisingly. In sum, engineering is a fast-growing and relatively lucrative occupation in Minnesota and beyond.
In addition to a strong job outlook and high salary expectations, engineers in Minnesota also enjoy the support and advocacy provided by various professional societies and organizations. Here are some of the groups which offer resources such as continuing education, networking events, and regular publications to engineers:
Prior to becoming an engineer, it’s important to pursue the appropriate training and credentialing. In Minnesota, there’s not only an array of on-campus degree programs, but there’s also a growing number of online engineering programs as well. These generally combine distance-based learning with some in-person component completed either with sporadic campus visits or under the guidance of qualified mentors close to a student’s home. It’s important to note that the majority of distance-based engineering programs are concentrated at the graduate degree level or in fields closely related to computers.
This article examines some of the accredited online engineering programs in Minnesota, including discussions of three exceptional professors, featured coursework at all degree levels, and typical admissions requirements.