Online options in mechatronics may be available through select engineering programs, but such programs are very rare. A more commonly available option may be to study mechatronics through a bachelor's degree program in electrical engineering technology.
Engineering and engineering technology are distinct areas of study. Where an engineering program will prepare an individual to become an engineer, an engineering technology program will prepare an individual to become an engineering technician or technologist. Thus, an engineering technology program would not prepare a graduate to become a certified engineer. Also, while online options may be available for students interested in studying mechatronics, these programs may be offered as hybrid programs that require both on-campus and online courses, and also may require students to complete lab work onsite. Students also have the option of completing a mechatronics engineering certificate, which can be done online except for a one week lab.
BS - Electrical Engineering Technology
Those who want to pursue an online degree that features concepts of mechatronics can do so through a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electrical Engineering Technology (EET). In addition to mechatronics work, this program emphasizes core EET concepts such as microprocessor design, signal processing, digital electronics, analog electronics, programming and communication systems. Graduates are prepared to work as consultants, researchers or developers in a variety of industries. Applicants must have a high-school diploma or its GED equivalency to be admitted into the program.
Information and Requirements
The average length of a B.S. in EET program is 126-140 semester-hours, and it can be completed in about four years for full-time students. While coursework can be completed online, some programs require students to attend in-person lab sessions. Some programs also require students to take exams under the supervision of an assigned proctor in the area in which they live.
Students must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, updated operating system and satisfactory Web-browser. Course material is often delivered through streaming video and downloadable multimedia, so the computer must have video and audio playback capabilities.
These programs have general education requirements as part of the curriculum, including English, mathematics, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Some core, general education and elective classes may be available online, depending on the school.
This course covers the multi-disciplinary engineering field that draws from computer, electrical, mechanical, control and systems design engineering fields. Concepts covered include signal processing and conditioning, transducers, sensors, actuators, dynamic system response, systems models and controllers.
Microprocessor Systems Engineering
Closely related to a class in mechatronics, this course emphasizes personal computer microprocessors and the hardware and software that accompany them from a systems-operating perspective. Students learn the classifications of computer memory as well as various interface applications.
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates from a B.S. in Electrical Engineering Technology program can gain entry-level employment as an electrical engineer technician. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for electrical and electronics engineering technicians was $61,130 as of May 2015. The BLS also reported that the employment for this occupation will likely decline by 2% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov).
Students interested in mechatronics can study this field within bachelor's-level electrical engineering technology or mechatronic engineering certificate programs. The certificate program is more online-friendly, as only some of the courses in a bachelor's program can be completed online.