Automation Engineering Degrees: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Automation engineers design, create and test automated equipment and system processes. Learn about what automation engineering degree programs are offered, potential coursework, online options and what jobs are available after graduation. Schools offering Industrial Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Automation Engineering Degrees Are Available to Me?

Automation engineers use mathematical and scientific principles to design, develop, program and test automated machinery and processes. There are few colleges and universities that offer automation engineering training, but you should be able to find associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in the field. Certain automation engineering programs are offered in conjunction with education in robotics technology.

Some automation engineering associate's programs will allow you to transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree. For baccalaureate programs, you'll typically need to fulfill general education requirements, in addition to core coursework. Some 4-year programs also include a capstone automation technology project, for which you might collaborate with classmates. For 2-year master's degree programs, you'll likely be required to take core courses, as well as a specific number of electives.

Program Levels Associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree
Common Courses Electrical circuits, robotics, fluid power, CIM systems, manufacturing tools
Online Availability Some courses are available online; fully online programs are rare
Possible Careers Calibration mechanic, automation engineer, drive controls specialist, field service technician, process control technician
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% (for Electrical and Electronics Engineering)*
Median Salary (2019) $75,041 (for Automation Engineer)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and **

What Courses Will I Take?

In general, your undergraduate program will focus on manufacturing tools and processes, as well as computer technology. These programs also might cover technical topics, such as graphics, electrical circuits and fabrication processes. Additionally, you'll likely take courses on robotics and fluid power. Within a graduate degree program, you might learn about systems utilizing computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) and computer-aided design (CAD).

Can I Complete a Program Online?

Due to the hands-on nature of automation engineering, fully online programs are rare. However, you might be able to find a program that offers some of its courses online. Typically, you'll need specific computer equipment and software applications to complete online coursework.

What Types of Jobs Can I Seek?

With an associate's or bachelor's degree in industrial automation engineering, you should be eligible for numerous entry-level positions. Almost every type of industry utilizes control technicians to keep automated systems up and running. Examples of jobs include the following:

  • Drive controls engineer
  • Process control technician
  • Field service technician
  • Calibration mechanic

With a master's degree in automation engineering, you might be able to locate a senior-level job. This could include a position as an automation engineer or specialist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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