Online Engineering Schools in Pennsylvania
Aspiring engineers in Pennsylvania (PA) should be encouraged to learn that the state fosters a supportive environment for these professionals, in effect fueling the growth of employment opportunities. There’s a wealth of professional organizations in the state, including the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania, and the Structural Engineers Association of Pennsylvania, to name a few. In general, these societies offer benefits to members such as continuing education resources, professional advocacy, job placement assistance, and networking events throughout the year.
In addition to ample professional support, engineers in PA also enjoy relatively high job growth and compensation. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (October 2016) predicted a significant increase in openings across the country in engineering between 2014 and 2024; among the subfields, biomedical engineering leads the pack with a projected 23.1 percent increase in fresh openings nationwide, much higher than the 6.5 percent average growth anticipated across all occupations during that same decade. This national trend is echoed within Pennsylvania as well. There’s an expected 24.1 percent increase in biomedical engineers employed, a jump from 1,040 to 1,290 positions statewide. Notably, environmental and civil engineers in PA are also expected to see relatively high job growth at 11.6 and 8.3 percent, respectively.
So what are currently the top-employing specializations? The BLS (May 2016) reported that there were a total of 100,460 professionals in architecture and engineering across Pennsylvania. The most popular engineering subfields were mechanical (13,440 employed in PA), civil (12,490), industrial (9,310), and electrical (6,980). As mentioned above, these professionals also enjoy relatively high salaries. In fact, the BLS (May 2016) reported that all of the architecture and engineering professionals in Pennsylvania earned an annual average salary of $77,490, much more than the mean wage for all jobs in the state ($47,540). Of course, some specializations command higher salaries than others. Some of the top-paying subfields in PA were nuclear ($101,190 annual average salary), chemical ($100,150), aerospace ($99,930), and electronics ($94,950). In short, engineers in PA enjoy a relatively high-growth and high-paying career.
Ultimately, the promise of significant compensation and future job growth are compelling reasons to become an engineer. In addition to choosing an appropriate specialization of interest, prospective engineers in PA must also consider their education, training, and credentialing. To that end, some engineers attend traditional degree programs with face-to-face classes, but there’s a growing number of PA-based online engineering programs as well. These degrees typically combine online coursework and hands-on opportunities through labs, companies, or other facilities under the guidance of approved mentors. Some distance-based programs can be completed 100 percent online, while others require some on-campus visits. It’s important to note that most online engineering programs are available in computer-related specializations or at the graduate degree level when a student has developed more autonomy.
This guide explores online engineering programs in Pennsylvania, including the expected coursework and accreditation information.