Degree programs in electronics teach students the basic skills they'll need to begin a career as an electronic circuit technician, electronics repair person, automated equipment specialist or electronic engineering technician. Students can pursue an online associate's or bachelor's degree in electronics technology, but many bachelor's programs are typically geared more towards engineering technology. Although some schools do offer these fields of study totally online, others require some on-campus attendance due to the hands-on nature of working with electronic or electrical devices.
Associate's degree programs are designed for those seeking entry-level employment in occupations like electronics repairer and installer or electronic engineering technician. Students who enter online bachelor's degree programs in electronics may be required to already have an associate's degree in the same field in order to be adequately prepared for the higher-level curriculum. Bachelor's programs also tend to include management courses along with the technical studies.
Although the requirements and time to complete the degree programs will depend on the institution and the enrollment status of the student, associate's degrees, offered through community colleges or vocational schools, typically take about two years to complete, while bachelor's degrees take about four years. Offered by four-year colleges and universities, online bachelor's programs in electronics may only require two years of study if students already have an approved associate's degree.
Program Information and Requirements
Students in online electronics degree programs learn from textbooks, but also from lectures that can be viewed online, interactive discussions, web-based modules and other materials. Students and instructors communicate through virtual discussion boards and, at times, online chat rooms or video conferencing. Virtual laboratory exercises and experiential assignments are also assigned to help students apply their skills in electronic technologies.
Although much of the learning can take place virtually and remotely, students may still need to complete some hands-on work in an on-site lab setting for certain programs. Schools may also require students to take totally on-campus courses, as well, as part of their electronics studies.
Associate's Degree in Electronics
An associate's degree program in electronics gives students the basic foundations they'll need in fields like science and math as well as major-specific courses in electronics. Students learn the basic theories of electricity, magnetic fields, electrical measurements, electrical instruments and circuits. To complete an associate's degree, most schools also require students to complete general education courses.
Some common electronics courses students take in an associate's degree program in electronics include:
- Technology orientation
- Fundamentals of electricity
- Technical mathematics
- Fundamentals of electronics
- Physical science
- Electronic circuits
- Basic drafting
Bachelor's Degree in Electronics
An online bachelor's program in electronics covers many of the same areas as an associate's program, but students learn the material in greater depth. Students delve into more advanced and technical material that may not be included in an associate's degree program. Students learn about electricity, electronic circuits, electronics technology, electronics engineering, digital circuits and mathematics.
Some common courses you might encounter in a bachelor's program in electronics include:
- Electronics technology
- Industrial electronics
- Wireless and electronic communications
- Electronics engineering
- Electronic circuits and devices
- Digital circuits
- Control systems and signal processing
Students completing an online degree program in electronics have a wide variety of potential career fields and jobs to choose from. Many industries need the skills learned in electronics degree programs, including manufacturing, communications, retail and information technology. Potential job titles include:
- Electronics designer
- Electronics technician
- Electronic communications specialist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for electrical and electronics installers and repairers, a common field for electronics technology degree holders, is expected to decline 4 percent from 2014 to 2024 from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). However, employment opportunities should be favorable for those who have an associate's degree in the field as well as professional certification. BLS data from May 2015 shows that electronics installers and repairers made an average wage of $58,990 working with transportation equipment, $31,360 working with motor vehicles and $55,690 maintaining commercial or industrial equipment.
Employment of electrical and electronic engineering technicians is also projected to change little if at all in the 2012-2022 decade, with a 2 percent decline projected. Opportunities in manufacturing industries are limited or in decline, but the BLS predicts that these technicians will be increasingly in demand in the computer systems design field. Electrical and electronic engineering technicians earned an average annual salary of $61,130, according to 2015 BLS data.
Fully online associate's and bachelor's degree programs can be found in fields like electronics technology and engineering technology, as well as programs that require some on-campus training. These degree programs will help students broaden their expertise in electronics and prepare for jobs as installers, repairers or technicians.