Engineering is certainly one of the most lucrative career options out there with hundreds of different disciplines to choose from, tons of job opportunities in a variety of different industries, interesting career positions, great salaries, and lots of career progression on offer. If you want to move up the ranks as an engineer either into a more senior technical position or a career in engineering management, the good news is that there are now more opportunities than ever before for advancing your knowledge and skills with a degree program. Advanced degrees are becoming increasingly more required for engineers, and those who want to get into engineering management or move into another different senior role will often find that an advanced degree is an absolute minimum requirement.
If you want to move up the ranks in engineering, the type of advanced degree that you choose to study will largely depend on where you want your career to take you. Technical, engineering-based master’s degrees are the ideal choice for those who prefer to stay in a technical role but enjoy more seniority and responsibility, while those who would like to flex their people skills and get more involved in the business side of things could benefit from getting an MBA, which allows them to combine their technical knowledge with newly-acquired business acumen to get a stronger grasp on how everything works together in the organization.
Whatever type of degree you choose in order to advance your engineering career, studying online has quickly become one of the most popular options for making it happen. Online degrees are now available in every discipline at every level, from a wide range of respected schools. So, if you want to improve your engineering career outlook, what are the main benefits of turning to online learning to meet your goals?
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Range of Programs Available
Many engineers find that when it comes to choosing an advanced degree, studying on-campus might cause some serious disruption to their life. Unless you’re lucky enough to live next door to a well-respected college that offers the program that you want, chances are that you’re going to have to either commit to commuting to campus every day or even relocate to make your career goals happen. If this won’t work for you, then you could be very limited in what you can choose based on what’s nearby.
On the other hand, since online degree programs can be studied from anywhere that you like, you have your pick of both traditional and online schools around the country. More and more colleges are now offering online programs alongside traditional campus-based classes for those who prefer to distance learn. Opting for online learning means that there’s nothing holding you back from getting a degree from a respected college that could be hundreds of miles away physically, without any need to travel.
Many engineering professionals who decide to return to school and advance their career do so as a well-established adult. Factors that may not have mattered as much to you such as class times and campus location will certainly be much more important if you have a full-time job to go to throughout the week and kids to pick up from school after work. Studying on-campus is sometimes simply impossible when you have a lot of commitments to uphold, since it would mean putting a lot of important things in your life on hold.
If you couldn’t get to 9am lectures without quitting your job or would struggle to spend the time that you’d like with your family if you had to stay in another state to study throughout the week, online learning could be the perfect solution for you. These degree programs offer complete flexibility over when and where you prefer to study. While you will have set assignment and project deadlines to meet, everything else is up to you whether you prefer to take your work to the local library to get done in the mornings or prefer to study in the evenings from your home office or even from your couch.
The need to take a career break in the past would often hold engineers back from returning to full-time study to get an advanced degree and improve their job prospects. And no wonder; if you have a mortgage and bills to pay and mouths to feed at home, it would be irresponsible to take three years off work so that you can study. You might get to where you want to be eventually, but at what cost?
Since most people are simply not in the financial position to quickly put away enough savings to support themselves and their families while they study, and you might not want to put your spouse or partner in a position where they are the sole income earner, the idea of not working while you study might not be a very attractive one to you – and to thousands of others. That’s why online degree programs are so popular with adult learners; they provide you with the option to arrange your studies around working full-time so that for the most part, your normal life can go unaltered. You can easily continue to work your regular hours and bring home your usual wage while getting your advanced degree at the same time.
Aside from the cost benefits of being able to continue working while you study for your online degree, studying online also means that you can save money in several other ways when compared to traditional, on-campus studying. Not only are many online degree programs cheaper in terms of tuition fees, but you’ll also save a lot when you think about all the traveling that you won’t have to do to get to campus when you can study from home. Online students do not have to worry about a lot of the costs that on-campus students face such as working fewer hours, traveling to campus, or even relocating to a different city or state in order to be able to attend the college of their choice. And, since most of the course materials are provided to you online, you can often save money on textbooks and other learning materials.
Many people are of the misguided belief that online students are all on their own. And while studying alone from home compared to being in a classroom or lecture hall with other students can take a bit of getting used to, you certainly won’t be cut off from your peers as an online student. Any good online learning institution will understand the importance of making connections and networking, particularly for those who are studying for an advanced degree. As a result, most online colleges will provide students with a wide range of resources for getting to know each other from course-specific social media groups to online chat rooms and forums where you can enjoy the conversation.
Many online students will organize both formal and informal meet-ups; you might end up going to weekly meets with students in your local area or attending larger, national conferences held for students from all over the country to attend. In fact, because online degree programs do not have the same benefit of being in classrooms with others every day, they often prioritize networking very highly to ensure that this is compensated for sufficiently.
Respect from Employers
When online learning first became a thing, many people were highly skeptical of it. As is often the case when a new way of doing things challenges what people are used to, it took a while for both individuals and businesses to get used to the idea of having an online degree. But the idea that an online degree qualification is worth any less than one gained on-campus is now very antiquated and out-of-date.
Most people will agree that your online degree is worth just as much as one earned anywhere else and through any other method; after all, it’s the same curriculum. And, employers will often respect online degree graduates even more, since studying online helps you develop an even wider range of skills. Online degree students tend to be better self-starters, are better at researching, motivating themselves, and simply being trusted to get on with things because that’s what they’ve been doing for the past few years. Click here to learn more about the benefits of online MBA programs for engineers.
Do It Your Way
The high flexibility and customization options for online degrees make them one of the best options for engineers who want to advance their careers their way. You will often have a much bigger choice in the matter when it comes to the number of credits that you take per semester or how long it takes you to complete the program, which can be sped up or slowed down depending on your current personal and financial needs. If you want to take your time and save money or speed things up so that you can move into a better career quickly, an online degree is able to help you get there.
If you’re an engineer who wants to better your career outlook, there are several great reasons to consider getting an online advanced degree.