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Launch your career as a technician with an accredited online associate’s degree in energy! Our research team went on a mission to find you online AAS and AS degrees with practical courses and real-world training sessions. Compare distance learning programs in renewables, nuclear power, petroleum, energy management, and more. Find out what you should be looking for in an online AAS in energy technologies. Or use our comprehensive listings to start making a shortlist of options!
- Online associate degrees in energy are designed to prepare graduates to work as energy technicians. These 1.5 or 2-year programs are usually offered by community & state colleges.
- Because they are training you for practical work, online AAS programs in energy almost always contain in-person labs and bootcamps.
- In our listings, you’ll find online AAS specialties that cover everything from energy systems & technologies to sustainable & renewable energy. Look for programs that include internships & fieldwork and prepare you for professional certifications.
What Online AAS Degrees in Energy Are Available?
Take a gander at our listings and you’ll see that online associate degrees in energy are almost always Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs. AAS degrees are designed to get you straight into the workforce after graduation. You can start as an entry-level technician in an energy field (e.g. electrical, wind, nuclear, solar, petroleum, etc.) or take your first steps to becoming a Certified Energy Manager (CEM®). Or you can apply the coursework to your current job in order to qualify for a promotion.
Sound like what you’re after? Keep in mind that online AAS programs in energy fields:
- Come in a wide variety of flavors, including energy technology, renewable energy, energy management, and niche fields
- Typically take two years to complete on a full-time basis (although they can be much longer with part-time study)
- Are usually offered by local community colleges or state colleges who are happy to cater to working professionals
- Often include mandatory on-campus elements—employers expect energy technicians & operators to have some hands-on experience
If you really can’t afford to travel to school, the AAS programs in our listings are predominantly online. But it’s worth mentioning that there may be a hybrid program in your neck of the woods that would suit you better.
One important thing to note—anyone considering a bachelor’s degree in energy engineering should be planning to pursue an Associate of Science (AS) in a field like electrical engineering or mechanical engineering from a regionally accredited school. It will be much easier to transfer credits from an AS program!
How to Choose an Online Associate’s Degree in Energy
Online AAS Degrees in Energy Technology
Online AAS programs with titles like Energy Systems, Energy Technology, and Energy Technical Specialists are customizable—you can choose what kind of energy field you’d like specialize in. Each program is a little different, but you’ll usually be required to tackle:
- General Education Credits: Expect to take courses in college algebra, composition, and chemistry and/or physics.
- Foundational Coursework in Energy Principles: This will give you a strong base in mechanical & electrical systems. Think of subjects like thermodynamics, basic hydraulics, electrical theory, vacuum technology, etc.
- Relevant Work Topics: These are courses that address real-world tasks and workplace concerns. We’re talking about classes in programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Auto CAD, industrial safety, business communication, and more.
- Energy Specialization: After completing foundational coursework, you’ll be allowed to choose 3-4 elective courses in your area of interest (e.g. Nuclear Energy, Petroleum Technology, Renewables, etc.).
For example, Minnesota West’s Online AAS in Energy Technical Specialist has specializations in Wind Energy, Ethanol, Biodiesel, Fossil Fuels or Nuclear Power Generation. And NMJC’s Online AAS in Energy Technology contains emphases in Nuclear Energy or Petroleum Technology. Just make sure that you’re happy with the core coursework as well as the electives!
Online AAS Degrees in Sustainable & Renewable Energy
Interested in operating & maintaining solar systems and wind turbines? Then we recommend you narrow your search to online AAS programs with “Renewable Energy” in the title. Examples include Bismarck State’s Online AAS in Energy Services & Renewable Technician and Colby CC’s Online AAS in Sustainable/Renewable Energy. You’ll notice that these programs often include:
- Core coursework in electromechanical basics (e.g. mechanical fundamentals, applied electronics, power systems, etc.)
- Specific credits in renewable energy systems (e.g. wind turbine systems, solar photovoltaic systems, and safe work practices)
Each program is unique, so take a look at the curriculum links in our listings to see if it has enough (or too much) technical training for your needs. And be sure to ask how this training is delivered!
Online AAS Degrees in Energy Management
At the AAS level, energy management usually refers to the study of how energy is distributed, managed, and stored within buildings and facilities. As urban centers continue to grow, energy conservation has become a huge issue of concern for businesses. They need managers who know how to keep buildings green.
If you’re interested in this field, take a look at programs in our listings that feature Energy Management in the title. For instance Lane CC’s Online AAS in Energy Management with Building Controls Technology is chock-full of core coursework in energy control strategies, lighting fundamentals, commercial energy commercial HVAC controls, energy accounting, AC system analysis, and more. It can also prepare you for Certified Energy Manager In Training (EMIT) certification.
Not finding what you want? You may need to expand your search to hybrid or on-campus programs in your area. Energy management is a hands-on discipline.
Online AAS Degrees in Niche Energy Fields
Before we barrel on, we want to highlight Bismarck State College (North Dakota’s Polytechnic Institution). Its National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE) has been offering online courses since 1999, so it’s built up an arsenal of online AAS degrees & certificates in energy topics. We’ve mentioned the program in renewables, but there are also undergraduate options in:
- Nuclear Power Technology
- Petroleum Production Technology
- Power Generation Technology
- Electric Power Technology
- and more…
They’re not 100% online—some courses require brief in-person labs or job shadowing experiences on the Bismarck State campus or at an approved facility—but they’re highly specific and backed by results. Energy graduates report job placement rates of upwards of 90%. So if you’re interested in a niche energy field, pay a virtual visit to the NECE.
Online Associate of Applied Science in Energy: What to Look For
Regional accreditation is a basic quality marker for colleges & universities in the USA. There are six regional accrediting organizations (e.g. HLC, NECHE, SACSOC, etc.) in the country—make sure your school is accredited by one of them. Attending a regionally accredited institution will make it easy for you to apply for loans & scholarships, qualify for good jobs, and transfer your associate degree credits to bachelor’s programs.
All of the schools in our listings are regionally accredited. But you’ll notice that DeVry’s Online AS in Engineering Technology: Renewable Energy and Sustainable Power is offered by a for-profit institution. Talk to your mentors, read reviews, and chat to alumni before you apply. For-profit schools that offer online programs vary widely in quality—some are brilliant; some are terrible.
Online Delivery & On-Campus Requirements
Already have a busy schedule? Make sure you know what you’re signing up for! When you’re comparing online AAS programs in our listings, you may want to ask the program coordinator:
- How is online coursework delivered? Is it primarily asynchronous (on your own time) or synchronous (real-time)?
- How do AAS students interact with each other? Are team-based projects included in the curriculum? Can you attend virtual office hours with your professors?
- How does the online program deliver technical training? Are there simulations? What kind of equipment is needed at home?
- Can you view a sample course? Can you participate in a real course for a day?
Be sure to confirm how much time you’ll need to spend on campus and/or on job sites for training. As we mentioned, online AAS programs in energy fields often have mandatory in-person elements. For instance:
- Bismarck State’s program includes a Technician Applications & Troubleshooting course with one week of labs on the BSC campus in North Dakota.
- Colby CC’s program contains Saturday “boot camps” for hands-on training. Boot camps occur every eight weeks in the fall and spring semesters.
Internships & Fieldwork
We love the fact that many online AAS programs in energy include internships and fieldwork. It means you don’t have to spend any time awkwardly explaining your real-world experience to potential employers. You may even find a job before you graduate.
Here are a few examples of how it’s done:
- Lane CC’s Online AAS in Energy Management with Building Controls Technology includes hands-on training opportunities with public utility companies in the Western U.S. and internship options through the Cooperative Education department. Locals can also enroll in a paid Registered Apprenticeship Program in the state of Oregon.
- NMJC’s Online AAS in Energy Technology includes an internship as an elective. You may also wish to consider a technician certificate with embedded practicums.
- Colby CC’s Online AAS in Sustainable/Renewable Energy contains a mandatory internship in the second year.
Professional Certification Preparation
The best online AAS programs will prepare you for professional certifications in your field of interest. To get a sense of what’s expected, take a look at recent entry-level job descriptions to learn what certifications are required (or preferred). Then check with the program coordinator to see if the AAS includes certification prep. For instance:
- Bismarck State’s Online AAS in Energy Services & Renewable Technician contains a course in Solar & Distributed Grid Systems that will enable you to take the NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate Exam.
- Lane CC’s Online AAS in Energy Management with Building Controls Technology will help you train for Certified Energy Manager In Training (EMIT) certification.
Give yourself the option to pursue your education further. Once you’ve earned an associate’s degree, you may wish to earn a bachelor’s degree at some point down the line. So before you enroll in an AAS or AS degree, ask the program coordinator if the college has articulation agreements with 4-year colleges and universities. Those schools will be happy to accept transfer credits from your associate degree.
For example, Lane Community College has guaranteed articulation agreements with Bismarck State College (Online BAS in Energy Management), South Seattle College (Hybrid BAS in Sustainable Building Science Technology), and Cascadia College. Plan ahead and you may be able to save quite a bit of money when it comes to your bachelor’s!
Top Online Associate’s Degrees in Energy
Best Online Associate’s in Energy Programs
The best online AAS or AS in energy is going to be the best program for your career goals. We wouldn’t want to push you towards an energy technical specialist degree if you’re determined to be a green building sustainability manager. To make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, use our listings to dig deep into the curricula, chat to recent alumni, and spend some time with the program coordinator.
Having said all that, we will point out the Bismarck State College is often ranked among the top public schools in the regional Midwest and has strong student reviews for online programs. The National Energy Center of Excellence (NECE) also has a long track record of quality.
Cheapest Online Associate’s in Energy Programs
Community colleges and state colleges try to keep their prices low—have a look at the tuition links in our listings to get a sense of overall costs. Some public colleges will have separate in-state, regional, and out-of-state tuition rates for part-time or full-time study. Others may have a special per credit online tuition rate.
At a small public college, in-state students might be looking at less than $9,000 in total tuition for an online AAS degree in energy and out-of-state students could be looking at $12,000-$13,000. But don’t forget to account for extra fees and any travel costs to the campus for in-person training sessions. When in doubt, ask the program coordinator for a sample budget.
Fastest Online Associate’s in Energy Programs
Standard online AAS degrees take two years to complete on a full-time basis. To get through 60-66 credits of undergraduate coursework, you’re going to need that time! You can talk to the school about the possibility of accelerating your program by adding more courses per semester, but they’ll probably have concerns about your workload.