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Engineering Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Beth Waweru - February 25, 2022


Engineering associate degrees are a stepping stone for students who want to study and specialize in the engineering field. They are short-term compared to other degree programs since they only take two years to complete. Below are the different engineering associate degree requirements and the top colleges you can enroll in to kickstart your engineering career.

What Is Engineering?

Engineering is the use of science and math principles to solve specific problems. Professionals in this field apply scientific principles to design and build machines, roads, tunnels, and other structures. It’s an important part of human civilization. Some key historic engineering feats include the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, and the Eiffel Tower.

What Is an Engineering Associate Degree?

An engineering associate degree offers a foundation for engineering studies to students planning to take a university engineering program. It involves lower-division coursework and basic science and mathematics coursework that engineering majors require. Credits earned through an associate degree typically transfer to a university undergraduate program.

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Engineering Associate Degree Requirements

Engineering associate degree requirements differ from one university to another. However, the common admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Other entrance requirements include high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and application documents, such as letters of recommendation and essays.

How Much Does an Engineering Associate Degree Cost?

According to a report by CollegeBoard, for the 2021-2022 school year the tuition for a two-year associate degree cost an average of $3,800 per year for public in-state students. The tuition for out-of-state students ranges from $1,430 to $8,600 depending on location.

Engineering Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Engineering Degree

You can pay for your engineering associate degree with different financing options, such as scholarship awards and student loans. You can apply for a direct loan from the federal government to help you cover your tuition fees.

You can also opt to apply for a scholarship. Unlike student loans, scholarship awards are free, allowing you to complete school and apply for your dream job without pressure. Some scholarship grants fund all of your expenses, including tuition fees, accommodation, and other school necessities.

Best Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Alpena Community College Associate in Science in Pre-Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Carroll Community College Associate in Science in Engineering (Chemical/Biomedical Concentration) Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Halifax Community College Associate in Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Imperial Valley College Associate in Science in Pre-Engineering Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Mississippi Delta Community College Associate of Arts in Pre-Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Moorpark College Associate in Science in Engineering Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Richmond Community College Associate in Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
State Fair Community College Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Design Technology Higher Learning Commission
Ventura College Associate of Science in Engineering Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Wilkes Community College Associate in Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Engineering: Top Engineering Associate Degree Programs

Once you have all the engineering associate degree requirements, you can choose from the following best colleges to apply to for engineering associate degree programs.

Associate in Science in Pre-Engineering | Alpena Community College

Alpena Community College is located in Michigan and provides 75 programs, including an Associate Degree in Pre-Engineering. The school has great financial awards you can leverage to acquire your degree.

Associate in Science in Engineering (Chemical/Biomedical Concentration) | Carroll Community College

Carroll Community College offers an Associate in Science in Engineering , with a special focus on chemical and biomedical engineering. Its coursework includes a mix of general education and electives. The program allows you to complete essential courses while exploring different areas in engineering.

Associate in Engineering | Halifax Community College

This two-year college offers a 60 or 61 credit-hour degree program for learners who want to pursue engineering degrees. You can complete this program within four semesters. Then, you can transfer seamlessly to any state-funded Bachelor of Engineering program.

Associate in Science in Pre-Engineering | Imperial Valley College

Imperial Valley College offers a pre-engineering program that builds strong foundational knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, and physics. To earn this degree, you have to complete 60 credits, 27 of which are related to the engineering field.

Associate of Arts in Pre-Engineering | Mississippi Delta Community College

Located at Moorhead, Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) offers students the flexibility of studying a pre-engineering course in any of its three campuses. The 72-credit course is specially designed for learners who plan to advance their education in the engineering field.

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Associate in Science in Engineering | Moorpark College

Moorpark College provides students with a strong foundation for upper-division coursework in advanced degrees. It also prepares them for entry-level job opportunities in this field. Besides the general coursework education, you have to complete 45-60 specified credits to earn this degree.

Associate in Engineering | Richmond Community College

As one of the top colleges, Richmond Community College offers hybrid programs, including an Associate in Engineering . In this program, you’ll learn fundamental mathematical skills and computer courses. This degree will help you fulfill all the requirements of advanced engineering degree programs in public universities.

Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Design Technology | State Fair Community College

State Fair Community College (SFCC) offers a 67-credit program that entails basic courses and preferred courses according to specialization: civil, chemical, mechanical, or electrical engineering. In case you’re planning to advance your education, this college can provide transfer agreements with another four-year college or a university.

Associate of Science in Engineering | Ventura College

Ventura College offers two associate programs you can choose from if you want to advance to an engineering bachelor’s degree in the future. Both programs have 68 credits and focus on equipping students to make engineering decisions and solve engineering problems. Learners get to experience experimentation, data analysis, and results presentation.

Associate in Engineering | Wilkes Community College

Depending on your first-class placement testing, you can complete this schools’ associate degree in engineering within two years. The program provides a solid foundation for any student who plans to advance their education in the engineering field. Moreover, its class sizes are small and designed to meet all student needs.

Best Online Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Central Texas College Associate of Science in Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Associate Degree in Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission
ECPI Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Associate of Science in Engineering Fundamentals Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Grantham University of Arkansas Associate of Science, Engineering Management Technology Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Henry Ford College Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Northcentral Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology Higher Learning Commission
Penn Foster College Associate of Science in Engineering Technology Distance Education Accrediting Commission
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Associates in Mechanical Engineering Technology New England Commission of Higher Education
University of Wisconsin-Platteville Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering Higher Learning Commission

Best Colleges for Engineering: Top Online Engineering Associate Degree Programs

Top online engineering associate degree programs help you further your education while attending to other things like work or parenting. Below are the best colleges to pursue an online associate degree in engineering.

Associate of Science in Engineering | Central Texas College

Engineering students enrolled in this college for an associate degree can complete the 60-credit course in less than two years. Besides the standard education requirements, students will study calculus, mechanics of materials, and engineering mechanics.

Associate Degree in Software Engineering | Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

This college offers an Associate Degree in Computer Programming and Database Management program with a major in software engineering. It also provides transfer options that students can leverage regardless of the college or university they prefer to advance their studies.

Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology | ECPI

This associate engineering program offers a Mechatronics concentration to working adult students. This online course will cover topics such as 3D modeling, static fundamentals, and materials sciences. This associate degree is most useful for a manufacturing or robotics career.

Associate of Science in Engineering Fundamentals | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Associate of Science in Engineering Fundamentals program strengthens students’ foundation in mathematics and physics. Through basic modeling and simulations, engineering students learn to do practical designs.

Associate of Science, Engineering Management Technology | Grantham University of Arkansas

This program aims to equip engineering students with fundamental skills for working as technicians. Every student must attend online classes to establish a foundation in circuit theory, analog electronics, and business. Then, they can attend lab courses for practical learning.

Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering | Henry Ford College

Henry Ford College has a pre-engineering program that covers the courses in the first two years of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. Engineering students take math, physics, and core courses required by most engineering colleges or universities. After taking this program, students can enroll in a four-year course to specialize in areas like aerospace, biomedical, or chemical engineering.

Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology | Northcentral Technical College

Northcentral Technical College offers three associate programs in engineering: Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Manufacturing Technology, and Safety Engineering Technology. All these associate degree programs share some general education courses but their elective courses differ.

Associate of Science in Engineering Technology | Penn Foster College

Penn Foster College offers an associate engineering program with unique features to meet every student’s needs. The school’s learning platform is mobile-friendly, so you can access your class anywhere. It also allows you to attend class at your preferred time and keep track of your objectives.

Associates in Mechanical Engineering Technology | University of Massachusetts-Lowell

The mechanical engineering technology program at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell has a broad-based education for learning technical skills on engineering technology. It prepares students to work in the design and manufacturing of devices, products, and systems.

Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering | University of Wisconsin-Platteville

This pre-engineering program is suitable for students who are uncertain about the major they want to pursue. It covers easily transferrable courses to engineering fields including environmental, civil, industrial, electrical, and mechanical.

What’s the Average Engineering Associate Degree Salary?

Three engineers use a laptop to program a vehicle. Engineering Associate Degrees
You can use your associate degree in engineering to apply for your dream job in the field of engineering.

According to Indeed, the average annual salary for an associate engineer graduate is $70,497 . Some cities pay higher average wages such as Chicago, Illinois at $90,983 per year and San Jose, California at $88,816 per year.

Top Engineering Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Engineering Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Electrical Engineer Technical Designer $100,830
Mechanical Engineer $90,160
Civil Engineer $88,570
Mechanical Engineering Technician $58,230
Machinist $45,840

Best Engineering Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Electrical Engineer Technical Designer

  • Average Salary: $100,830
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 313,200
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, California, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington

An electrical engineer technical designer develops and maintains mechanical drawings, system designs, and data. The role involves teamwork, so you must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Mechanical Engineer

  • Average Salary: $90,160
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 299,200
  • Highest-Paying States: New Mexico, District of Columbia, Maryland, California, Louisiana

Mechanical engineers perform basic duties, such as basic engineering calculations, material and equipment recommendations, and component validations. You’ll also test prototypes, then identify and troubleshoot mechanical design issues.

Civil Engineer

  • Average Salary: $88,570
  • Job Outlook: 8%
  • Number of Jobs: 309,800
  • Highest-Paying States: California, New York, New Jersey, Alaska, Oklahoma

Civil engineers focus on designing and constructing infrastructure. They also build public structures, such as sewer systems, dams, bridges, public buildings, and viaducts.

Mechanical Engineering Technician

  • Average Salary: $58,230
  • Job Outlook: 6%
  • Number of Jobs: 40,400
  • Highest-Paying States: New Mexico, North Dakota, California, Louisiana, Washington

Mechanical engineering technicians assist mechanical engineers to develop, design, test, and manufacture engines, machines, tools, and devices. They also make rough layouts and sketches to support mechanical engineers project implementation.

Machinist

  • Average Salary: $45,840
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 363,000
  • Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Wyoming

Machinists operate and maintain milling and lathing machines. They also analyze drawings, blueprints, and instructions to ensure accurate production. Other duties involve taking precise measurements and selecting the right machine for specific tasks.

Engineering Bootcamp vs. Engineering Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

An engineering coding bootcamp is a short-term training program that equips students with the essential skills and experience to secure job opportunities in the engineering field. On the other hand, an engineering associate degree helps aspiring engineers gain the foundational knowledge to advance their studies in the future.

Benefits of an Engineering Associate Degree

  • Advanced studies. An engineering associate degree provides a solid foundation for engineering students who plan to further their education in this field, such as a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
  • High-paying entry-level jobs. With an associate degree in engineering, you can find a high-paying entry-level job like a mechanical engineering technician.
  • Career development. Building a successful career demands advancing your education given the job market’s stiff competition. With this two-year engineering degree, you can have a strong foundation for a career in this field.
  • Saves time. An Associate Degree in Engineering takes less time to complete compared to a four-year college program like a bachelor’s degree.
  • Job outlook. Earning an associate degree increases your chance of landing a role in the in-demand engineering field. Due to the importance of engineering around the world, you can be sure to find numerous viable career opportunities.

Benefits of an Engineering Bootcamp

  • Hands-on training . Bootcamps focus on equipping students with the necessary practical skills to perform their duties exceptionally.
  • Job-ready in the short term. Engineering bootcamps are short-term. They only take three to six months to complete, after which you are prepared to work entry-level jobs.
  • Affordable. Unlike any engineering degree program, an engineering bootcamp is affordable, allowing you to pursue your studies without financial strain.
  • Market-led curriculum. An engineering bootcamp follows a curriculum that prepares learners for the job market, so you won’t have challenges finding a good job opportunity.
  • Company approval. Companies and business owners acknowledge that bootcamp graduates are ready for employment. This acknowledgment and support means you can find work in your chosen field sooner through the shorter bootcamp programs.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Engineering?

Yes, you should get an associate degree in engineering as it helps you kickstart your career in this field. With this credential, different types of engineering job opportunities including entry-level civil engineer, machinist, and mechanical engineering technician await you.

If you’re working and can’t manage a campus schedule, online engineering associate degree programs are also available from the best colleges in the country.

Engineering Associate Degree FAQ

Should I go to community college for engineering?

Yes, you should go to a community college for your Associate Degree in Engineering, as they offer engineering programs at a lower cost. This will help you avoid financial strain while still receiving a quality education.

Can I complete an engineering degree in three years?

Yes, you can earn an engineering degree within three years, depending on your school’s flexibility. A regular engineering bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, whereas an associate degree will take two years.

Is engineering difficult to study?

Yes, engineering is considered one of the toughest disciplines to study since it combines science and mathematics principles. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible to earn an associate degree or any other degree in this field.

Which is the best associate engineering degree?

The best associate degrees in engineering include chemical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, and biochemical engineering. They can land you in highly specialized fields with high-paying engineering job opportunities .

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Beth Waweru

About the author: Beth is an experienced content writer who has most recently been creating SEO content for clients in the SaaS, home and living, and digital marketing spaces. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Kenyatta University, a Certificate in Digital Marketing from Hubspot Academy, and a Content Marketing Certificate from Hubspot Academy.

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