Most entry-level jobs in engineering require a bachelor’s degree. An online program may make it easier to earn a degree while working and honoring other obligations. While there are currently no online bachelor’s degrees in engineering from MT-based institutions, there’s one distance-based program designed to level up an engineering technologist or technician’s skills, as well as an online engineering program in a neighboring state.
This MSU Northern Extended University program in trades management degree prepares students to manage skilled trade businesses. It pairs applied engineering knowledge with accounting, business, and management training. The ideal candidate has an A.A.S. degree in a trade such as plumbing, energy technology, welding technology, sustainable energy technology, or electrical and construction trades.
Due to Montana’s small size, online engineering bachelor’s degree programs are limited. However, neighboring states also have online degree programs which admit Montana’s students.
This Brigham Young University program prepares students for software engineering careers. Coursework includes software development, software design, data structures, human-computer interaction, computer security, and systems security. The online program promotes interaction and community among each year’s cohort of students.
As mentioned, expert engineers with master’s degrees may have additional opportunities in design and management. Master’s degree graduates also typically command a higher salary and greater responsibility. Here are two online programs from Montana universities:
The Montana State University interdisciplinary master’s program is a business-focussed MBA-style program, bridging business management and engineering and technology. Foundation courses seek to expand a civil or construction engineer’s technical knowledge. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of professional experience.
Montana Tech and several companies collaborated in developing this online master’s degree program. It focuses on providing students with the necessary tools to excel as project managers. Courses include project and engineering management, legal issues related to PE&M, management, economics, and accounting, systems safety and management, and more. The combination of management and technical skills can make candidates highly desireable to large and small companies.
In addition to Montana, neighboring states also offer online certificate programs ot enhance one’s engineering competencies:
The University of Idaho offers an online certificate focused on power systems and protection and relaying through the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. This 12-credit-hour program includes two required courses in power systems analysis and power system protection and relaying. Students also take two electives in subjects like communication systems, digital filtering, or symmetrical components.
Since engineers are in-demand and well-compensated in Montana, students will want to shop around for the best program for their needs. Here are some things to consider when choosing an online engineering degree or certificate program:
As mentioned, be sure to choose an accredited program as this indicates that the college and the courses meet quality standards. Seek programs accredited and approved by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
For bachelor’s programs in engineering, both online and on-campus, look for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). It is known as the gold standard for accreditation. ABET comprises 35 member societies (e.g., American Society of Civil Engineers [ASCE], American Institute of Electrical Engineers [now IEEE], American Society of Mechanical Engineers [ASME], etc). They include more than 2,200 experts from government, industry, and education.
The other accreditation entity of note in Montana is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Admissions requirements for online engineering programs vary by the program, degree level, and the college. Some common admissions requirements include:
The following professors teach at universities with online engineering programs.
Dr. Kumar Ganesan – Montana Tech
Dr. Ganesan is a professor and department head in environmental engineering. He came to Montana Tech in 1983 with a wealth of experience in environmental engineering including consulting and working for government agencies. Much of his work focuses on improving air quality, water quality, and other innovative solutions. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Madras, India and his doctorate from Washington State University in 1981. Notably, he’s a board-certified environmental engineer through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEE&S).
Dr. Penny Knoll – Montana State University
Dr. Knoll is an associate professor and the contact person for Montana State University’s outstanding construction engineering management program. In addition to her academic career, she has an extensive construction project management and project engineering background. She has won numerous awards and is a six-time “Professor of the Year” in the College of Engineering. She has been active in regional and national professional organizations including the Montana Building Industry Association (the state chapter of NAHB); the National Association of Homebuilders 2000-2006, where she served as the the Faculty Chapter Advisor; the Associated Schools of Construction; and the Montana Building Industry Association. Notably, she’s a certified professional constructor (CPC) through the American Institute of Constructors and a member of the National Association of Women in Construction.
Dr. Brock J. LaMeres – Montana State University
Dr. LaMeres is an award-winning associate professor in electrical and computer engineering. He is known for his innovative education and research. In 2015, he developed an MSU online course that introduces robotics to students around the country to improve STEM education. His prior awards and honors include “Outstanding Instructor in Electrical and Computer Engineering;” the MSU James & Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence; the MSU Alumni Association & Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence; and MSU’s Teaching Innovation Award.