On This Page:
Your hunt for the best online bachelor’s degree in energy ends here! Our research team has been hard at work finding ABET-accredited and leadership-focused programs that are offered via distance learning. Explore coursework & costs for online BS degrees in energy engineering, renewable energy, and energy management. Use our advice section to make important decisions about your undergraduate education. Or jump ahead to our listings to choose a school.
- Online bachelor’s degrees in energy come in a wide variety of flavors, from ABET-accredited programs in energy engineering to degree completion programs for students with existing college credits.
- You can offset employer concerns about distance learning by choosing a 4-year BA or BS degree in energy with real-world projects, networking opportunities, and energy internships.
- Although prestigious universities have stuck to on-campus offerings, you’ll still find a number of reputable online bachelor’s degrees in energy in our listings. Bear in mind that even a relatively affordable online BS could cost $45,000 or more in tuition.
What Online BS Degrees in Energy Are Available?
The good news is that large public universities are now willing to offer online BS programs in energy engineering & energy systems, as well as majors in renewable energy. Working professionals who are looking for career advancement will also discover a number of online BS degrees in energy management and degree completion programs. You’ll find them all in our listings.
Earning an online degree in an energy field is going to be a challenging (if not grueling) experience. If you’re already working part-time or full-time, an online BS might take 5-10 years. You may not have a huge amount of in-person support. And you will need to be self-disciplined to stay on top of coursework. Here’s what alumni of distance learning programs in energy are saying about their experiences:
- Anything related to electrical & energy engineering is going to be intense. Management-focused degrees may be a little easier.
- If you’re a recent high school graduate, you may wish to keep your options open. For instance, an ABET-accredited online BS in electrical engineering or an online BS in mechanical engineering or chemical engineering with some energy-related electives (e.g., power, renewables, etc.) may suit you just fine and give you more flexibility down the road, as compared to a specific degree in Energy.
- Degree completion programs and specialist options (e.g. renewable energy) may be more useful if you’re already working and have a specific job in mind.
At this stage of your education, you have plenty of leeway. If nothing in our listings rings your bell, you could consider attending a local university or satellite campus with a hybrid program. Evaluate all your options before making a decision.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Energy
Online BS Degrees in Energy Engineering
Energy engineering is a complex—and emerging—technical field, so some universities are still wary of offering online study at the undergraduate level. It’s not always easy covering topics such as sustainable energy, plant engineering, and energy systems through virtual learning. But it’s certainly possible!
Start by looking at ABET-accredited online BS programs in Electrical Engineering (EE) in our listings that skew toward energy topics. These will be challenging and rigorous. For example:
- ASU’s Online BSE in Electrical Engineering: Electric Power and Energy Systems includes plenty of power technical elective credits and a senior design capstone project in electric power & energy systems. Graduates have the option to pursue an accelerated master’s degree.
- WTAMU’s Online BS in Electrical Engineering: Electric Power & Energy Systems is built on similar lines, though it may include occasional in-person elements such as an orientation, laboratory, exam review, or an in-person test.
Bear in mind that combined programs like UND’s ABET-accredited Online BS and MS/MEng in Energy Engineering are also available.
Online BS Degrees in Renewable Energy
Many undergraduates choose an EE degree in energy systems so that they have a lot of job flexibility after graduation. Employers will instantly know what kind of training was involved. But if you’re passionate about renewables, you might wish to explore a specialist degree such as ENMU’s Online BS in Electronics Engineering Technology (EET): Renewable Energy Emphasis or TTU’s Online BS in Renewable Energy.
We’ve included curriculum links in our listings so you can get a sense of whether these degrees have enough technical coursework to suit your aims. For instance, ENMU’s online BS in EET covers a lot of ground in areas like electrical systems, fuel cells & batteries, semiconductor devices, and the like.
Online BS Degrees in Energy Management
First off, many of the online energy management and energy policy undergraduate degrees in our listings are not technical engineering degrees. Online BS programs in energy management are often focused on “big picture” topics such as energy and the global economy, the management of alternative & renewable energies, supply & demand, and more. These kinds of online qualifications will set you up for roles like:
- Green Construction Manager
- Natural Resource Manager
- Energy Consultant
- Energy Marketer
- Sustainability Coordinator
- Compliance Specialist
Since they aren’t as tech-heavy, they may be offered at small non-profit environmental colleges (e.g. Unity), big public universities (e.g. Penn State), and even large for-profit entities (e.g. National American University).
All of the schools in our listings are regionally accredited, but it pays to do your homework. Ask about graduation and job placement rates. Dig into the curriculum to see if it’s relevant to your current position. And talk to mentors about the value of an undergraduate energy management degree.
Online Energy Degree Completion Programs
Do you already have college credits, an associate’s degree, or relevant work experience? Before you commit to a 4-year online undergraduate BS in energy, see if any of the degree completion programs in our listings would fit your needs. For instance:
- ODU’s ABET-accredited Online BS in Engineering Technology (BSET): Power Systems Technology is designed for students with some college credits. It’s packed with technical coursework that will also prepare you for engineering licensure.
- Bismarck State’s Online BAS in Energy Management is open to anyone with an AAS, certificate or diploma in an approved energy-related program from a regionally accredited institution. Previous college credits, industry work experience, and military training may also be considered.
- Ferris State’s Online BS in HVACR Engineering Technology and Energy Management is a 2-year online degree completion program that’s aimed at applicants with an AAS in HVACR or candidates with a related degree who have HVAC work experience.
Online Bachelor of Science in Energy: What to Look For
Accreditation & State Licensure
Accreditation means that an independent, third-party organization has evaluated an institution or a program through a formal process of assessment. There are a lot of shady characters offering online energy qualifications, so it’s critical that your undergraduate degree is accredited. Look for:
- Regional Accreditation: Regional accreditation is granted to colleges & universities by one of six regional accrediting organizations (e.g. HLC, NECHE, MSCHE, etc.) in the USA. It’s a baseline quality marker for employers and graduate schools—they usually won’t accept online degrees from nationally accredited institutions. That’s why all of the schools in our listings are regionally accredited.
- ABET Accreditation: Thinking about applying for an online BS program in energy engineering? Look for accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. ABET accredits all types of engineering programs (e.g., computer engineering), so double-check that your specific degree carries ABET accreditation before applying.
Graduating from an ABET-accredited program is the first step to becoming a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in your state. For example, New York State requires New York professional engineers to have an ABET-accredited BS in engineering or engineering technology or the equivalent international standard. ABET-accredited online BS degrees in engineering can lead to professional state licensure, but check with your State Licensing Board if you are in any doubt.
Program Flexibility & On-Campus Requirements
Online undergraduate degrees in energy majors are designed to be flexible—up to a point. Good schools will want to preserve their reputation for quality, so they’re going to keep an eye on your progress. Before you start filling out the application form:
- Learn how much of the coursework will be asynchronous (on your own time) or synchronous (real-time). Many online BS programs will give you access to prerecorded lectures and course modules, but you may prefer lab time with fellow students, team discussions, and virtual hours with your professor. What suits you best?
- Find out if there are any on-campus requirements. Online BS programs in energy engineering may have in-person elements such as WTAMU’s senior design lab sessions. These are helpful for learning, but costly for commuting.
- Think about the possibility of earning your freshmen & sophomore credits at a local college and then transferring those into a degree completion program. You’ll get the benefit of in-person learning followed by the convenience of online study. Before going down this route, talk to the online BS program coordinator to ensure your credits will transfer.
- Discuss all of the foreseeable challenges with your employer and/or family. Coursework in online undergraduate programs in energy engineering will really start to ramp up in your junior and senior years. Can you switch to part-time work at some point in the process?
Career Preparation & Industry Connections
Regionally accredited online degrees have lost of a great deal of their stigma since the COVID-19 pandemic, but employers may still have some questions about your experience (especially if you’re focusing on energy engineering). You can put those questions to bed by selecting an online BS in energy that prepares you for the job market. Look for programs that contain:
- Real-World Coursework: Foundational coursework is critical. But if you can show a potential employer that you have completed real-world projects in your junior and senior years, you’re showing them instant value. That’s why ASU’s online BS contains a two-semester Senior Design Laboratory.
- Energy Internships: Find out if the School of Engineering or Business has ties to any utility & energy industries in the area (e.g. WTAMU and wind farms) or national organizations (e.g. UND’s government partners). And ask about work-related opportunities that are embedded in the coursework. For example, Penn State’s Online BS in Energy and Sustainability Policy contains a mandatory senior-year course in foreign studies or a domestic internship.
- Networking Opportunities: Will you be invited to attend any energy-related conferences or symposia at the university? Can you belong to student engineering clubs (even if you’re virtual)? Will your professors help you arrange Zoom meetings with folks in IEEE, AEE, or NSPE? Connections matter.
- Career Support: Online students can sometimes play second fiddle to on-campus students. Chat to recent alumni to get a sense of how they were treated in the program. Did they feel like the coursework was relevant to their current work? Were they encouraged to explore intriguing research avenues? Could they access career support services? You deserve support.
Top Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Energy
Best Online Bachelor’s in Energy Programs
“Best” is a relative term in the world of online degrees. The best undergraduate programs in energy-related fields tend to be offered by flagship campuses at major public universities (e.g. UC Berkeley, UM College Park, UW Seattle, UIUC, etc.) or prestigious private schools like MIT, Caltech, and Stanford. It’s rare that these universities offer online BS degrees in energy or electrical engineering.
However, ASU-Tempe often features in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for Best Universities for Energy & Fuels and Electrical Engineering, so might be worth investigating their ABET-accredited Online BSE in Electrical Engineering: Electric Power and Energy Systems. It’s a distance learning version of the STEM-certified on-campus degree from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. There’s also an accelerated BS/MS program that takes 5 years and an ASU Local version that’s offered at satellite campuses.
Cheapest Online Bachelor’s in Energy Programs
We’ll give it to you straight—online BS undergraduate degrees in energy are not going to be cheap. Even a reasonably priced online BS in energy might cost you upwards of $45,000 in total. Higher end programs could be in excess of $80,000. On the whole, lesser known state universities like ENMU and Bismarck State will be significantly cheaper than options like Penn State and ASU.
Public universities offer in-state tuition discounts, but be sure to visit the cost links in our listings to get an honest sense of the price. This number may go up if you decide to switch to part-time study. You’ll also have to budget for in-person elements and equipment costs.
Fastest Online Bachelor’s in Energy Programs
Just like their campus counterparts, online bachelor’s degrees in energy engineering or energy management take four years to finish. However, that doesn’t mean you’re locked into this schedule! If you have any previous college credits, military training, certifications, or work experience, think about a degree completion program. Or ask the university if you can speed up a traditional 4-year degree. Many programs have generous credit transfer policies.
Are you eyeing a master’s degree sometime in the future? Be aware that schools like ASU and UND offer accelerated online BS/MS programs. Your BS will still take four years, but your MS may only take one year instead of two. For instance, at UND, the Online BS in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) can quickly lead to the MS or MEng in Energy Engineering.