Accelerated Degree Programs [2020 Guide]

Accelerated degree programs help you finish college in less time. Shave up to 2 years off your time to graduation with accelerated degrees online.

student studying on her computer

This accelerated degree guide will help walk you through accelerated degrees program types – you can earn your degree faster through a combination of different options – from accelerated online classes to getting legitimate college credit for life experience (credit for prior learning).

Accelerated degree programs can help you finish college faster.

  • Earn your college credits more quickly
  • The ability to take a full-time course load without over-extending yourself
  • Complete your degree online without sacrificing time with your family or leaving your job
  • Save money on tuition
  • Have a more flexible schedule

Earning your degree is a major accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean that you are looking forward to spending years sitting in college classes.

Accelerated Degree Programs [Ultimate Guide]

This guide will put you in the driver’s seat of your degree program. With new and creative ways to fast-track your degree, like credit for life experience or credit by exam, these proven methods can quickly add 60+ college credit hours to your transcript without stepping foot in a college classroom.

Universities like Purdue University, Colorado Tech, and other well-known, accredited colleges and universities are helping students like you finish their degrees faster.

When you’re finished reading this guide, you’ll have a much better idea of how quickly you could start and/or finish your degree.

Accelerated Associate’s Degrees Online

student studying on his computer

There are two types of Associate’s degrees, an Associate in Arts (AA) and an Associate in Sciences (AS). They’re like identical twins of degrees. Hardly anybody can tell them apart. You can get an AA or an AS in Business.

To graduate, you need 60 credit hours which will typically take 2 years of full-time study. But we are all about acceleration here, so let’s look at how you could do an Associate’s degree much quicker.

  1. Use Credit by Examination (CBE) to test out of 15 credit hours. Check first with your school what the maximum CBE credits they allow. It can be anywhere from 15-30. Testing out of 15 credit hours would cut off one semester from your schooling meaning you finish in 18 months.
  2. Another option is to add Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) credit. Most schools will allow up to 15 credits for this. Now, you’re done in 12 months.
  3. Take 2 online classes every 8 weeks, giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year), you’ll have 36 credits. You might not even need 36 credits if you had 15 from CBE and 15 from CPL. You would be done in less than a year. 40 weeks to be exact.

BONUS TIP: Most schools have a maximum course load of 2 classes every 8 weeks. But some schools will allow you to take up to 3 online classes every 8 weeks. Imagine how fast you could fly through that Accelerated Associate’s Degree!

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees Online

person studying on her computer

The 2 main types of Bachelor’s degrees are a Bachelor in Arts (BA) and a Bachelor in Science (BS).

One degree to note is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which allows a nurse already practicing as an RN to earn a BSN through an accelerated BSN program. This is ideal as a nurse’s shiftwork will often not accommodate traditional classroom study. An accelerated BSN program allows a working RN to take online classes around night shifts and 12 hour days.

Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree takes 120 credit hours, which is often spread out over 4 years. But if you take an accelerated bachelor’s degree online, you could be done in 2.5 years.


Here’s how:

  1. Use Credit by Examination (CBE) to test out of 15-30 credit hours. Check first with your school on the maximum CBE credits they allow. If you test out of 30 credit hours, that would cut off 2 semesters from your schooling.
  2. Add Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) credit. Most schools will allow up to 15 credits for this. That would knock off another semester.
  3. Take 2 online classes every 8 weeks, giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year), you would have 36 credits. In 2 years and 24 weeks, you would earn 90 credit hours.

The fast pace of an accelerated Bachelor’s degree would prepare you for a job in any field! It will take a lot of effort, but it is possible with a bit of dedication and a strong work ethic.

Accelerated Master’s Degrees Online

person studying on her computer

A Master’s degree not only makes you sound really smart but also opens up more job opportunities.

The 4 most common are:

  • Master’s of Arts (MA), which will typically be in history, communication, political science, or other subjects such as the humanities and social sciences. A thesis is optional in many of these subjects.
  • Master’s of Science (MS) is typically granted for studies in sciences, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. Most of these programs will include writing a thesis.
  • Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) will focus on areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations, and statistics. The wide scope of classes is ideal for completing an accelerated MBA, 1 Year Masters Programs, or a 1 Year MBA Online. Executive MBA programs are also available to complete in one year, which is a great fit if you are already working in the field and want to further develop your management or leadership skills.
  • Master’s of Public Health (MPH) will provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to be an administrator or leader in the field of public health in less than one year.
  • Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepares a registered nurse for positions in management or as a nurse educator. Accelerated nursing programs allow busy working nurses to progress quickly through an MSN.
  • Master’s of Social Work (MSW) allows you to expand your knowledge gained as an undergrad while specializing in a specific area. A faster-paced MSW will prepare you for licensure, which will also enable you to earn a higher salary in a shorter amount of time.

Earning an accelerated master’s degree online typically takes 36 credit hours. There is no Credit by Exam (CBE) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits that allow you to test out of classes. You will have to complete classwork for each credit.

If your goal is to finish as fast as possible, you will want to look for a program that does NOT require a thesis. When it comes to accelerated graduate programs, the fastest way to finish your degree is by enrolling in online classes. You can take 2 online classes every 8 weeks, giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year), you’d have the 36 credits you need and be finished.

Accelerated PhD Degrees Online

person studying on his computer

Earning a doctorate brings you to the next level of earning potential and job opportunities. It also allows you to introduce yourself as Dr.

The most common accelerated PhD and related doctorates available online  are:

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Credit hours required to complete a doctorate vary by program.

A DNP from the Duke School of Nursing will require 35 credit hours if you already have a master’s degree. If you completed an accelerated nurse practitioner program, you would be done in a year.

As you can see, there is a wide variety in the credit hours required for a doctorate. But these principles will apply to all programs.

  • There is no Credit by Exam (CBE) credits allowed
  • There is no Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) awarded

Your quickest bet to accelerate a doctorate is to enroll in a doctorate degree program online with no dissertation. They are out there! You will just have to look a little harder.

The second tip is to enroll in the shortest doctoral programs online via online accelerated classes. If you take 2 online classes every 8 weeks, you earn 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year), you’ll earn 36 credits. If you were in the DNP program at Duke and following this schedule, you’d be done in a year!

Accelerated Online Degree Programs for Working Adults

male professional working on his computer while commuting to work

As a working adult, the dream of completing a degree program seems hopeless. You are already working hard. You don’t have extra time, and you can’t quit your job to go back to school. It feels like you are stuck.

An accelerated online degree is the ideal fit for your lifestyle. There is no commute, no hours spent in class, no awkward class schedule. You can log in anytime and anywhere. You can choose from a variety of popular majors from many top schools.

Many schools will also have payment plans available, so you don’t even have to go into debt. Also, you can check with your employer if they have a tuition reimbursement program available.

Whether you already have 59 credits or zero, you can start right away and finish in far less time than you think. Without putting your already busy and full life on hold.

Accelerated Online Degree Completion Programs

woman working on her computer

An accelerated online degree completion program is for you if you started university or college but something happened and you weren’t able to complete your degree.

But not all hope is lost. You can still complete your degree online. As long as you already have earned at least 60 credits you can apply to finish your degree at a different university than you first attended. Often known as a 2+2 degree.

Using the accelerated online degree approach you will have the chance to finish your degree without quitting your job or moving back to your old university.

Competency Based Degrees

male student working on his computer

A competency-based degree allows you to work at your own pace and submit an assessment or portfolio once you have mastered the material in the course. There are no grades assigned. Only a pass or fail is given. Of course, you will get a pass!

Classes are scheduled in 3 to 6-month terms and are offered online. You are your own teacher! You set your own schedule and will work independently. You can quickly move through the classes you have already mastered.

Competency-based programs allow you to focus on developing an understanding of real-world skills. Skills you will actually use in employment after you graduate with your degree. No sitting through pointless classes.

Typically, you will pay tuition for one 3-6-month term and can complete as many competency units as possible during that time. That’s right. You are not limited by what is offered in a certain semester. As a motivated learner, you can quickly complete units and get through many courses each term.

Accelerated Schools

Accelerated Degree Programs Accelerated Schools

If you are trying to find an accelerated school, please don’t Google “accelerated schools.” They don’t really exist! An accelerated school is just a traditional college with a regular brick and mortar campus that also happens to offer online classes you can take at an accelerated pace.

Online classes are typically offered in 8-week terms. You can take 2 classes at a time (sometimes even 3) in an 8-week term, which will speed you through faster than a traditional program.

You can choose how fast you go through the program by taking advantage of the accelerated classes and max out your course load by taking 2 online classes at a time.

Are Fast Online Degrees Legitimate?

People shaking hands after an interview

Earning a degree is a huge commitment. It takes a lot of effort and money. You want to make sure that the degree you earn is legitimate and is not going to end up being worthless.

Although online degrees are fairly new in the education world, they are quickly gaining acceptance. A study conducted by NYU found that employers who have had experience with online classes are twice as likely to hire a candidate with an online degree.

The study concludes “as more people attend online schools over time and the number of graduates of online schools sitting on the hiring side of the desk increases, we can anticipate more favorable treatment of online university graduates.”

Online degrees are becoming more commonplace with a reported 5.8 million students having taken an online course (reported by the Babson Survey Research Group. Almost half of those students have taken all of their courses online or through distance education.


Accelerated online classes are offered by many well known reputable universities such as Colorado State University, Northeastern University and Boston University. Even educational giants like Harvard are starting to offer online classes for credit.

We can obtain almost anything we want online, and the value of doing so is becoming more commonplace. But just as you have to check that the iPhone you order off eBay is legit, you want to check that your online program is also legitimate.

Regional accreditation is the gold standard for degree programs. You will want to check that your school is recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accelerated online classes are widely available and accepted by these institutions. The degree that you earn will not have any notation on it that your class was taken online. Your transcript will only show that you completed the class and the mark you received.

When you earn an MBA from Colorado State University, for example, that is what you will have to show your employer. Your MBA taken via online accelerated classes has no asterisk saying *not a real degree. A degree granted from a reputable university is a degree. Few employers will question which of your classes were online or in class.

Accelerated Courses vs. Traditional Courses – The Pros and Cons

students walking across campus

It is a hard decision to make whether you should go the traditional route of taking a class or whether you are ready to try an accelerated course. Neither option is perfect. Both options do have pros and cons to consider.

An accelerated course offers you more flexibility. You can complete your classwork on your own schedule. You can work anywhere, anytime – from your office, on your lunch break, or during your summer vacation at the beach.

Accelerated courses are faster to complete, typically running 8 weeks.

Location doesn’t matter. Maybe you are living in a rural location with no colleges available to you. Or the program you want isn’t offered at your local college. Accelerated online courses allow you to take a class from ANY college ANYWHERE.  You could be living in Alaska taking a course from the University of Texas.

Your choice of colleges will not be limited to where you live. There is no uprooting your family to complete your degree.

Accelerated courses also cost less both in tuition and associated class expenses.

You can find accelerated courses that are given the same accreditation as a class offered in a classroom.

The downsides of completing a course online really come down to you. What you are willing to do.

You will need to be independent. You will not be interacting with a teacher face to face. You will have to find the strength in yourself to be self-disciplined and remain focused when it gets tough. Because it will be tough!

There are some majors that require in-person instruction, such as an MD, biochemistry, and sonography. These would not be a good fit for an online accelerated course.

How to Earn Your College Degree Faster

Many colleges around the country offer options for accelerated classes that are completed on a shorter schedule than a traditional college course.

  • Accelerated classes
  • Credit by examination
  • Credit for prior learning/life experience credit
  • Get college credit for military training (if applicable)
  • Advanced placement and dual enrollment options

This gives you the opportunity to cover more ground in your degree program in a shorter time-frame, helping you get one step closer to graduation.

Time to Completion – How to Earn Your College Degree in Under Four Years

You might be thinking that an accelerated degree sounds like a great idea, but how does it really work? There are 7 proven strategies that we provide to accelerate the completion of your degree. The table below will give you an idea of one of the ways this could work.

Pre-College
Credit Method

College Credits Earned

Military training credit

21

 

First Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

October December Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

January January External Learning

3

January Feb Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

Feb April Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

Feb April Credit for Prior Learning Portfolio

18

First Year Total

45 hours

 

Summer Between First & Second Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

May May Credit by Exam: CLEP (Social Sciences & History)

6

May June Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

June June Credit by Exam: CLEP (College Composition)

6

June August Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

July July Credit by Exam: CLEP (Natural Sciences)

6

Summer Total

30 hours

 

Second Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

October December Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

January Feb Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

Feb April Accelerated online classes (max course load)

6

Second Year Total

24 hours

Total Credit Hours

120 hours

Obviously, this is just one possibility. Instead of military training credit, you might already have 21 hours of transfer credit. Or your school might offer 6 terms instead of 5. The strategies are completely flexible to YOUR own experience and your particular college’s schedule and courses.

Admissions Requirements

This is the easiest part. Applying to an accelerated program is so simple. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Find a college that offers 8-week-long online classes (some even offer 5 week online courses).
  2. Choose the college that you like and has your major
  3. Go to the college website
  4. Apply!

Most accelerated degree programs online require the same materials and information as traditional degree programs. These may include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • School transcript(s)
  • Minimum GPA
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation
  • Application Fee
  • SAT or ACT scores (not required by many online colleges)

Some programs have a minimum age requirement. This age requirement is usually older than when most students begin college and is typically somewhere in the 20’s range. This is because many accelerated or degree completion programs cater to adult learners.

Curriculum

students in a classroom

The curriculum for an accelerated degree program is exactly the same as a traditional program curriculum. This means that whatever you would need for an in-person program is what you will need for an online program. Except you get more flexibility and can finish faster.

All universities in the United States will have a similar list of general education requirements. For example, for both an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree, you will need to complete 6 credits each in communication arts, mathematics, science and technology, humanities and social science.

An Associate’s degree will require 3 credits of additional liberal arts and 9 credits of interdisciplinary studies. A Bachelor’s degree requires 6 credits of additional liberal arts and 18 credits of interdisciplinary studies.

On top of that, you just need to add the requirements for your major and your electives. Just like a traditional program.

College Accreditation & Reputation

logos of the regional boards

Accreditation is a quality assurance step taken by the federal and state government agencies as well as non-government organizations. It’s a way to make sure universities and colleges are meeting acceptable levels of quality.

Going to an accredited school ensures that the program is high quality and that your degree will be accepted by other universities and your employer. Look to see that any college you apply to is accredited nationally or by one of these regional boards.

Accreditation is another way to safeguard your decision, your time, and your money.

What Are Accelerated Classes?

Think of your typical college course. Now condense it into just a few weeks. It might sound tough, but when you want to cross the finish line sooner, it can be the ideal way to speed up the process of graduation by taking shorter classes online. Typically, these classes are structured in an 8-week format instead of following a traditional 16-week course schedule.

Online accelerated classes are intense but highly flexible, making them a good option if you’re juggling work, school, or family obligations.

Online classes may even give you a leg up on the quality of your education, and Babson Survey Research Group reports that 77% of academic leaders rate learning outcomes for online courses as the same or better than traditional on-campus classes!

Do I Have to Take Accelerated Classes?

While most accelerated programs rely on students taking accelerated courses to quicken the pace of their degree, it’s not necessarily required in all programs. If you enroll in a program that only offers 8-week (or less) courses, then you’ll be required to take accelerated courses. If your program offers 16-week courses, though, you won’t necessarily have to take accelerated courses.

Without accelerated courses, though, it will be difficult to quicken the pace of your degree. The only way you could do so would be by coming into the program with a lot of transfer credits.

Here’s a list of universities offering accelerated online courses.

Tuition – What’s This Going to Cost Me?

Money (or a lack of) is often one of the things that will hold you back from completing a degree. Higher education is expensive! It can feel like getting a degree will push you back further financially than it will help you.

Who has $80,000 to $181,000 available to put into schooling? Not most of us! That’s for sure.

An accelerated online degree allows you to graduate from a recognized university at ⅓ to ⅕ of the cost. That’s savings of 67-85%, it’s amazing! All of a sudden, completing a degree doesn’t seem so impossible, right?

Public Four-Year

In-State

Public Four-Year

Out-of-State

Private Nonprofit

Four Year

Online Classes*

Not Accelerated

Online Classes*

Accelerated

Freshman Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Sophomore Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$240 (CLEP test fees)

 

No tuition costs earned 30 credits thru a combo of CPL & CLEP

Junior Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Senior Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Room & Board (4 years)

$41,760

$41,760

$47,560

$0

$0

Total Cost of

Bachelor’s Degree

$80,360

$141,480

$181,480

$34,800

$26,340

Source: The CollegeBoard. *Using Columbia College of Missouri as an example ($290 per credit hour)

For a typical bachelor’s degree from a public, in-state university, you are looking at paying $80,360. A degree earned through an accelerated online program costs $26,340. You save $54,020.

Even for an Associate’s degree, the savings would be significant.

What Should I Look for in an Accelerated College?

Choosing an accelerated school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your educational journey, and it pays to do your research!

The best accelerated degree programs online are accredited by a regional or national accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If you’re unsure if your school has recognized accreditation, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

Other ways that you can recognize top online schools include:

  • College’s name and status
  • College’s history
  • College resources, such as the library and students services
  • Faculty credentials
  • Alumni network


When comparing online programs, consider these important factors:

  • Admission requirements
  • Class and teaching style
  • Course content and presentation
  • Program length
  • Class size
  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Tuition and financial aid
  • Residency requirements
  • Ability to transfer credits

When your school is accredited, you can feel confident knowing that they hold themselves to high standards of quality and that your degree will hold weight once you’re ready to venture out into the workforce after graduation.

Job Outlook

Accelerated Degree Programs Job Outlook

In search of quick degrees that pay well? Here’s a list of 10 well-paying quick degrees that might interest you.

After all that work of completing your degree, are you going to find a job? Is it going to be worth it? Or are you going to find yourself working at the same job with a worthless degree?

Not according to NACE’s Job Outlook. Approximately 99% of employers plan to hire a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. That’s 99%! Those with Master’s degrees will be considered for 53% of the jobs. Even doctorate graduates have seen an increase in hiring, with 25% of employers planning to hire doctorate degree graduates.

The U.S. Department of Education reports that adults who hold a college degree make significantly more than adults who don’t. That math is simple.

Adults who hold an associate degree make, on average, $37,000 per year. Adults who hold a bachelor’s degree make, on average, $45,000 per year. And adults who hold a master’s degree or higher, on average, make $59,200 per year. If you don’t hold any degree except for a high school diploma, your average salary is projected to be just $30,000 per year.

Over the course of someone’s adult life, these differences amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars! For example, if you work for 40 years of your life at the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree, you will earn $600,000 more over your lifetime than someone without a degree. What could you do with $600,000?

Math aside, earning a college degree opens up job and career opportunities that simply don’t exist for those without a degree or any college experience. Gone are the days when you had to study for the SATs and apply to your local college or university to get your college degree.

Accelerated degree programs make it possible for you to earn a degree affordably and relatively quickly in comparison to attending an on-campus program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Accelerated Degree Programs

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have.

What Is an Accelerated Degree?

Let’s start with the basics: an accelerated degree simply means that you will pursue your college degree at a faster pace than the norm. These degrees are designed for working adults or adults who never had or wanted the chance to attend college in a more traditional format.

For example, instead of attending a college or university for four to six years, you’ll have the opportunity to complete your accelerated bachelor’s degree from start to finish in as little as two to three years. That’s half the time!

What Are the Advantages of an Accelerated Degree Format?

woman studying on her computer in pajamas

One of the primary advantages of an accelerated college degree format is that you can finish your degree much faster than if you were to attend a traditional on-campus program. This will get you into the job market with your new degree faster.

Another advantage of this format is the cost. Most accelerated degree programs cost less than on-campus programs. There are also more options for earning credit for work or training you’ve done in the past.

At a typical college or university, you can usually own earn credit for exams you took at the high school level, since most students are coming straight from graduating high school. With an accelerated program, however, you can earn credit for what you’ve done between graduating high school and where you are now. Going to school with other adults similar in age is another advantage.

If you’re a bit older and feel “too old” to sit in a classroom with college-age kids, you won’t have that experience in an accelerated program. In fact, many programs require applicants to be of a certain age (23 is a common age minimum), so you’ll connect with classmates who are similar in age and life experience as you.

What Are the Advantages of an Online Format?

So many students are choosing to take classes and complete full degrees online because online classes are of the same quality as on-campus classes. The Babson Survey Research Group reports that 74% of professors and instructors rate online courses as equal to or better than on-campus classes.

Online classes are becoming the norm. Over seven million students in higher education took at least one online course last year, according to the Babson Survey Research Group.

If you’re hoping to take easy classes that require little to no effort, you may need to look elsewhere. Getting a college degree takes effort and commitment, regardless of if you choose an online or on-campus format. Rigorous online courses that live up to on-campus course expectations and beyond are advantageous to you as the student since you’ll be well trained and prepared in your chosen major and field.

The more logistical advantages of an online format include saving time since you don’t need to commute anywhere. You can also be flexible with when you complete course work, really making it work for your schedule. If you were to attend night school at a local college or university, for example, it might take you up to 10 years to complete your degree.

For most, that is inconvenient and off-putting. Online classes and programs, and especially accelerated ones, allow you to complete many more credit hours since you can do the work at home and on your own schedule.

I Already Have Some College Credit. Are Accelerated Degrees Still for Me?

Someone handing in a portfolio

Yes, and you can most likely use that college credit to your advantage and accelerate your degree even more. Some accelerated college degrees can be earned through degree completion programs. These programs are designed for students who have some college credit from past educational experience but never finished their degree.

Many or all of your credits can transfer to a degree completion program, and you could be quickly on your way to completing that degree you may have left behind years ago.

How Do I Know Which Program to Choose?

Many colleges and universities offer accelerated college degrees, so the choices are vast. Since you’re choosing an online platform, you aren’t restricted by geography. Because of this, aim for the top schools in your field that offer accelerated degrees. Look for schools that are ranked, have a long history of offering quality education, and are nationally and regionally accredited.

Also, choose programs that offer exactly what you want to major in rather than a closely related subject. For example, if you want to major in Education with a specialization in special education at the early childhood level, choose a program that offers that specific area. Since your choices are almost endless when choosing an online program, there’s no reason to settle like you may have had to do if you had chosen an on-campus program.

Have you always had dreams of attending an Ivy League school, but it was never feasible? You may be able to now since many of those top-ranked schools are offering online and accelerated college degrees.

Can I Get Any Credit for Non-College Training and Experiences?

US military officers having a parade

Yes, and in fact, you can probably get more credit than you think. Just because you haven’t been to college before doesn’t mean you don’t have training, skills, and knowledge that can be valuable to your degree. And you don’t even need a certificate or other official document to earn credits, either.

Of course, certificates of fire and rescue or EMT training or an RN license can earn you credit, but there are other options as well that you may not have thought of. For example, you can earn credit for serving in the military.

If you think your work or training experience has prepared you for a certain area or subject in your degree, then you can also take exams to prove that knowledge. DANTES, CLEP, and DSST are all subject-based exams that are affordable (the CLEP exams are just $80 each), short (90 minutes is the average), and can earn you up to six college credit hours for each exam passed (with an average score of just 50%).

If you brush up on subject areas like English, History, and Natural Sciences, you could earn enough credits to have an entire year’s worth of college under your belt. The cost of that entire year of college would most likely be less than a single class would cost through an on-campus program, too.

Take the CLEP exams for example. At just $80 per three-credit-hour course, you can complete more than an entire semester of college for just $320 through this exam process.

How Long Will My Degree Take?

The length of your course of study depends on what type of degree you’re pursuing. A good rule of thumb to follow with accelerated college degrees is that they normally take about half the time, give or take, as traditional on-campus degrees.

To complete your degree the fastest, you’ll probably have to take accelerated classes. These classes enable you to take shorter sessions (five to eight weeks instead of the traditional 16-week semester) and complete more credit hours each year.

Keep in mind that these accelerated classes are demanding and fast-paced. It might be wise to get your feet wet first with a regular online course within your program before committing to accelerated classes.

These accelerated classes are usually specific to the online format. You won’t really find them offered as on-campus classes, which is another advantage of choosing an online accelerated degree program.

What Types of Degrees Are Available in an Accelerated Format?

Types of Degrees Available in an Accelerated Format

Almost any type of degree you can imagine is available in an accelerated and online format: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, one-year MBA, and Ph.D. degrees can all be earned in these formats. If you don’t currently hold a degree, then the first two types will be your options.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, then consider a graduate degree in this convenient accelerated format. If you complete your first degree and come to love the benefits of the accelerated college degree format and culture, then keep in mind that you can go on to pursue accelerated graduate degrees in your field.

Here’s a brief overview of the types of accelerated degrees that are available.

Associate Degree

The most basic and least intensive degree is an associate degree. In an accelerated format, you can complete this degree in less than two years.

Many people who earn associate degrees go on to pursue their bachelor’s degree, but there are a variety of associate degrees that are designed to push students right into the workforce upon completion (like paralegal studies or criminal justice). There are many accelerated online associate’s degrees available.

Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree, which is probably the most common and sought-after degree, and the one this article focuses on the most, is typically a four to six-year degree. The accelerated format is significantly shorter at two to three years, on average.

Accelerated bachelor’s degrees are available in almost any major or field.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is a graduate degree that students pursue after completing a bachelor’s degree. These degrees are designed to train experts in a specific field. Many accelerated master’s programs are also offered online, in subjects from Education to Business Administration.

PhD Programs

Believe it or not, many PhD programs are also offered in an accelerated format. You usually need a master’s degree in the subject before going on to pursue a PhD, though it’s not required for all programs. Accelerated PhD programs include fields like Behavioral Science, Counseling, and Economics. Some programs combine master’s and PhD degrees into one, meaning you can earn both degrees simultaneously.

If you enjoy and benefit from the accelerated format, you can pursue almost any degree you can imagine. The benefits of having a college degree and affordably and conveniently pursuing an accelerated college degree are compelling and clear. Apply to one and join other Americans who earn a higher salary, have more job stability, and more general career satisfaction because of their degrees.

Accelerated Online Degrees Are the Future of Education

student in a café working on her laptop

If you think back 10 or 15 years, you can list at least a dozen things that have changed. Everyday things, from how we order food (online!), research trips (online!), get a ride (online!), do our banking (online!), apply for jobs (online!) and keep in touch with friends and family (online!), all look much different than they did back then.

How we pursue higher education is changing as well. Accelerated online degrees fit the times now as well as how people will educate themselves in the future.

Apply to an online accelerated program now, and take advantage of everything this new platform has to offer.

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Hannah Davis
Hannah Davis
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Isaac Collins
Isaac Collins
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Joy Mays
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