Accelerated Bachelors Degree Online [2019 Ultimate Guide]

Don't waste your valuable time. Graduate faster with an accelerated online bachelors degree. Plus, we'll give you 7 secrets to finish in half the time.

Looking for an accelerated bachelor’s degree online? Let us show you how it’s done.

Accelerated Bachelors Degree Online - 7 Ways to Finish Your Degree Fast

Purdue offers 6-week online classes, making them an excellent choice to help you get your bachelor’s degree faster. Another good option is Liberty University which offers 8-week online classes.

Most Popular Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees

The first step to finishing a degree is deciding where to start. If you already know what you want to study, skip down to the strategy section. If you’re still trying to decide, here are a few ideas:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Communications
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Programming
  • Economics
  • Education / Teaching
  • English
  • Healthcare Administration
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

If the degree you want isn’t on the list below, no worries. The chances of a program offering it somewhere in an accelerated format are high; you may just have to do some digging. And the best part is, if you find an online program, you won’t have to worry about relocating or commuting a long distance to pursue your degree.

7 Ways to Finish Your Bachelor’s Degree Fast

Here’s how to get your bachelor’s degree as quickly as possible.

  1. Select one major, no minor.
  2. Get credit for your military training.
  3. Take accelerated online classes.
  4. Stay continuously enrolled with the max course load.
  5. Get credit for your life experience.
  6. Take advantage of External Learning Opportunities.
  7. Earn Credit by Exam.

Bonus: Do-it-Yourself Accelerated Bachelor’s Schedule

Following these strategies could help you finish a 4-year degree in half that time.

Strategy #1 – Select One Major, No Minor

By selecting only one major and no minor, you will be able to keep your options open. When you declare a minor, it simply adds more requirements to your degree plan (which will slow you down).

Focusing on just one major generally gives you more elective courses. These can be fulfilled quickly by taking CLEP exams or applying for college credit for prior learning.

Let’s say you are working in a nice office job. You are also working on completing a degree with a major in Business Administration. You don’t choose a minor because you know that you are more likely to get Credit for Prior Learning credits (life experience credits from your office job) that you can apply to your elective credits. 

Strategy #2 – Get Credit for Your Military Training

If you served in the military, you should be able to get some college credit for your experience.

The Department of Defense, along with the American Council on Education (ACE), will review your military training and experience and recommend the appropriate college credits you could receive. You will then be issued a document called the Joint Services Transcript.

How you get this process started is:

  1. Log into the Joint Services Transcript website
  2. Click on “Official Transcript Request”
  3. Select your school
  4. Choose to have the transcript delivered electronically or via U.S. Postal Service

It really is that simple. You already put in the hard work by serving in the military!

Strategy #3 – Enroll in Accelerated Online Classes

It is always faster to do things online, right? Well, this is also true for college classes. You can complete an accelerated class in 8 weeks or less.

Some colleges, like Purdue University, offer 6-week online classes. Compare this to a typical 16-week semester, and you can see how this can speed things up a bit.

Enrolling for an online class is the same as enrolling for any other class. It is just online.

Strategy #4 – Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Maximum Course Load

So, now you are in… you are enrolled in online classes. Don’t stop now! This is where you can really get the momentum going. Each school has a 6-9-hour credit hour maximum course load.

Use your superpowers and take the max number of credits you can. Then, do it again every 8 weeks. The steps are simple:

  1. Enroll for 2-3 online classes every 8 weeks
  2. Repeat

This is the strategy that will get you to the finish line faster.

Strategy #5 – Get Credit for Your Life Experience

Depending on your professional experience, you may qualify to receive college credits for life experience.

Yes. Credit for being alive. Most universities and colleges refer to this as Credit for Prior Learning.

At Stark State College, credit is awarded for “demonstrated college level-learning.”

Here’s how you get that credit:

  1. Enroll in a degree program with your school
  2. Put together a portfolio that describes what you have learned
  • Life experiences
  • Clubs
  • Volunteering
  • Hobbies
  • Training
  • Recreational pursuits
  • Travel
  1. Describe how your experiences have already covered material you would learn in a class
  2. Support this with any documents, awards, or letters of recommendation that you have received
  3. Submit your portfolio to your assigned faculty member to evaluate
  4. Earn up to 15-30 credits just for what you have already done

Getting credit for life experiences will drastically reduce the amount of time (and money!) invested in getting a degree.

Strategy #6 – Take Advantage of External Learning Opportunities

Did you know that there is another way to earn credit that is (almost) free and can be done at your convenience?

We like to call it an external learning opportunity. All that means is that it is a chance to take classes (for free) from a place other than your school.

Saylor Academy, for example, offers 31 courses that can give you up to 91 credit hours. With no tuition.

You can take the courses online, whenever you want. They are available 24/7. You also work at your own speed.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Check with your school that you will get credit for completing a course with the Saylor Direct Credit program. Even if it is free, you don’t want to waste your time
  2. Choose your courses (yes, as many as you want)
  3. Learn a lot of important stuff (like mechanics, psychology, sociology, computer science, chemistry) by completing the course associated with the exam
  4. Take the practice exam
  5. Schedule your proctored exam. They cost $25-40 per exam
  6. Take that exam!
  7. Request to have your transcript sent to your school

This option offers some beautiful advantages that Credit by Exam doesn’t. You get all the materials you need, and you don’t have to self-study.

Did I mention the classes are free? How often do you get free classes in college?

Strategy #7 – Earn Credit by Exam

The seventh secret of quick online degrees is Credit by Exam. With this strategy, you may pass quickly through college.

Credit by Exam allows you to earn college credit for classes in 90 minutes or less.

Each university and college will have a maximum number of Credit by Exam tests you can take. Whatever that number is (whether 18-30 credit hours) MAXIMIZE it! You will save large amounts of time and money.

Check out these options for Credit by Exam and how much they cost per exam. Each exam will earn you 3-16 credit hours

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) $80
Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST) $80
Thomas Edison States Credit (TECEP) $75
New York University (NYU) Language Exams $450
Excelsior College Exams (ECE) $110

The process is basic:

  1. Choose an exam on a topic that you already have knowledge of or can learn quickly.
  2. Choose one of the Credit by Exam options above.
  3. Register for the exam online and pay your fee.
  4. Choose a study guide recommended by the site administering the exam.
  5. Schedule a time to take the exam at a test center, college, or (for TECEP) online.
  6. Study! Study! Study!
  7. Take your exam.
  8. Rejoice at your credits earned quickly and (relatively) pain-free.

Using Credit by Exam is one of the strongest and most powerful strategies to knock off credit hours without sitting through classes and completing assignments.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree – Do-It-Yourself Schedule

Here’s a sample of how you can get 120 college credits quickly.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

Choose one major (no minor)


Military training credit



First Year of College
Start Date End Date Accelerated Bachelors Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated classes (max course load)


August October Credit for Prior Learning Portfolio


October December Accelerated classes (max course load)


January January External Learning (BUS203 Principles of Marketing,


January Feb Accelerated classes (max course load)


Feb April Accelerated classes (max course load)


First Year Total

45 hours


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

College Credits Earned

May May Credit by Exam: CLEP (Analyzing and Interpreting Literature)


May June Accelerated classes (max course load)


June June Credit by Exam: CLEP (Natural Sciences)


June August Accelerated classes (max course load)


July July Credit by Exam: CLEP (English Literature)


Summer Total

30 hours


Second Year of College
Start Date End Date Accelerated Bachelors Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated classes (max course load)


October December Accelerated classes (max course load)


January Feb Accelerated classes (max course load)


Feb April Accelerated classes (max course load)


Second Year Total

24 hours

Total Credit Hours

120 hours

Most universities will allow a maximum of 6 credit hours every 8 weeks. But they don’t realize you have superpowers of dedication, focus, and hard work. Colleges like Arizona State University will allow you to take 9 credit hours in 8 weeks.

Using this to your advantage, you can shave an additional six months off the time to complete college.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees vs. Traditional Degrees

If sitting in class for the next four years of your life to complete a bachelor’s degree sounds daunting, expensive, and time-consuming, accelerated bachelor’s degree programs could be just what the doctor ordered.

Students just like you who have jobs, families, and other responsibilities are pursuing bachelor’s degrees through accelerated programs online from the comfort of their homes and communities.

An accelerated bachelor’s degree is no different in merit and value than a traditional bachelor’s degree. In fact, it may even be more valuable to you since you’ll be saving time and money.

Benefits of an Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree

Depending on what you’re looking for in an accelerated degree, some or all of these benefits might sound attractive to you.

When I was searching for a program and pursuing my degree online, these benefits were invaluable to my experience as an accelerated online student. They made pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s degree possible when attending my local university in person just wasn’t.

Getting College Credit Without Taking Classes

Yes. You read that correctly!

A very little-known fact among students is this: You can earn college credit for what you already know. In most university circles, this is called Credit for Prior Learning. It comes in a variety of formats.

Taking Classes from Home

According to the Babson Survey Research Group, over 7 million students in higher education took at least one online course last year.

Online courses and fully online programs (like accelerated bachelor’s degree programs) are extremely popular. One of the primary reasons for this popularity is that students can take these courses from the comfort of their own homes.

This way, students are less likely to skip class and course instruction because they can even stay in their pajamas if they want to in order to attend online classes.

Or, if you have small children crawling up your leg like I did when I completed my degree online, or a job that requires you to work odd hours, you can pause and resume class lectures when you want.

This was probably the most beneficial feature of an online accelerated program for me because it allowed me to continue to enjoy my normal life while also pursuing my degree.

Another added bonus is that at home, you can feel comfortable taking quizzes, exams, and other assessments in a setting that is peaceful and calming, even if you have to wait until midnight to get that peace and quiet!

Saving Money On Your Courses

What prevents many people from completing a bachelor’s degree are the exorbitant costs. Four-year colleges and universities charge expensive fees for students who attend classes on campus.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that 60% of college students borrow money annually to help pay for tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. The average loan of all age groups is nearly $25,000.

Accelerated bachelor’s degrees are often much more cost-efficient than attending a 4-year program. In my research, I found that accelerated programs were not only affordable but that I didn’t even need to acquire any loan debt to pay for them.

I saved money for my program and paid a little each month; many programs offer monthly payment plans instead of sticking you with a large semester or term bill.

Variety of Accelerated Courses Offered

If you’re limited to your local college or university for course selection, you may never get to take the classes that really interest you or the classes you need for your degree and career path.

Online programs have the capability to offer an impressive selection of courses since logistics like classroom space don’t need to be arranged. So, you can choose a program that has the courses you’re interested in rather than the program that’s accessible via transportation in your home town.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees Save Time and Give You Flexibility

If there’s anything more important to people than money, it’s time. Transportation to and from a classroom and the rigid schedule that an on-campus education demands can be daunting and stressful for people with busy lives.

As someone with an unpredictable schedule, taking classes online in an accelerated bachelor’s degree program was the only possibility if I wanted to finish my degree. Classes were convenient for my schedule, and I was able to squeeze in an hour here and an hour there to listen to lectures, take assessments online, and study.

Of course, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in an accelerated program requires dedication and a sizable time commitment since you’ll be finishing your degree faster than the average college student.

However, the flexibility to complete course work when you’re available during the week rather than when someone tells you that you have to go to class is an invaluable benefit of these accelerated programs.

Top Professors and Instructors

The most respected and experienced professors and instructors in their fields are now teaching courses online. Top colleges and universities are putting more and more courses online these days, meaning that you can get a top-notch education without ever sitting in a classroom at one of these premier institutions.

Just like those students who did sit in class, you’ll be trained by the best, and your resume will reflect that impressive training, making no mention that your degree was earned entirely online.

Quality of Courses

Don’t think that because you’re choosing the online route that you’ll be getting a lesser education. Online courses have been increasing in quality over the years, and many even outperform on-campus courses in terms of student satisfaction and content delivered.

The Babson Survey Research Group surveyed 2,800 colleges and found that 74% of professors and instructors rated online courses as equal to or superior to face-to-face classes. In other words, most people find online classes as high or higher in quality compared to those they have taught in the classroom.

Networking Opportunities

Since you’ll be in class with a diverse group of students of all ages, backgrounds, and work experience from all over the country (and beyond), you’ll have the opportunity to network with these folks. Maybe someone in one of your online classes will introduce you to a potential job opportunity. Since online classes usually draw more diverse students than traditional on-campus programs, the chances of meeting someone who could help shape your future increase.

Financial Aid

Just because you pursue your accelerated degree online doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for financial aid and support. Many online accelerated bachelor’s degree programs offer financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, or federal funding through loans.

The cost, even though it’s often less than attending a college or university in person, shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your dream of completing a bachelor’s degree.

Types of Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees

Not all accelerated programs offer students the same paths toward completing a bachelor’s degree. Here’s a brief overview of the different types of programs you may encounter while searching for accelerated bachelor’s degree programs. They are vastly different and appeal to a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

Degree Completion Programs

Degree completion programs are beneficial if you already have college credit to apply toward your degree.

Say you didn’t quite finish the last program you were in because life got in the way or you lost your motivation. Some of these programs may require you to be of a certain age (23 is a common age) and that you hold a GED or high school diploma.

You’ll also have to supply proof that you received credit at another institution (either in the form of a completed or partial associate’s degree or a partial bachelor’s degree).

There’s no need to start from the beginning if you already have credit hours under your belt from a former institution. Chances are, you can likely transfer most of those credits to your new accelerated program. You may even be able to finish your bachelor’s degree in a year’s time. Now, that’s an accelerated degree!

Accelerated Degrees for First-Time Students

If you’ve never gone to college before and are looking to start from the beginning, look for programs that label their degrees as accelerated degrees. These will be listed on a school’s website and in any literature about the programs.

These programs and degrees are designed for people who want to forego the traditional college experience and complete their degree in a timely manner (fast!). Most of these programs take 2-3 years to complete, but that’s still far less than the 4-6 years it usually takes students to finish a bachelor’s degree on campus.

Accelerated Online Classes

Some programs offer online classes that are accelerated (typically 8-week courses), either within a traditional online degree program (meaning you could turn your degree program into an accelerated bachelor’s degree program on your own by taking multiple classes) or as part of an accelerated program.

Some programs offer these accelerated classes within their already-accelerated degree programs, making it possible to finish in even less time. Keep reading for more details about these accelerated class formats.

How to Accelerate Your Bachelor’s Degree Even More

Since most accelerated bachelor’s degree programs still take years to complete, you can accelerate your degree even more by taking accelerated classes or earning credit for the life and work experience you already have.

Accelerated Courses

Accelerated classes forgo a traditional semester schedule and instead only take around eight weeks to complete (rather than 16 weeks).

Accredited universities offering accelerated 8-week classes online:

These classes are intense, as you’ll still have to cover the same amount of information as you would in a 16-week class. If you’re ready to put your nose to the grindstone and work diligently toward your degree, accelerated classes can help you finish your degree faster than traditional, 16-week on-campus classes.

Getting College Credit without Taking Classes

A lot of people don’t know that you can get credit for prior life and work experience that you have under your belt. You can even get credit for simple exams that take little to no time to complete but can prove your knowledge in a subject area.

CLEP Exams & DSST Exams

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers 33 tests in five subject areas. All tests cost $80 to complete, which is much cheaper than paying for the up to 12 credit hours that you could earn by passing them.

For example, if you pass the CLEP American Literature exam, you can earn as much as six credit hours in just the 90 minutes it took to complete the exam.

DSST also offers similar exams at the same cost to both military personnel and civilians in a variety of subjects. Whether you have knowledge of math, history, English, or a foreign language, chances are that you can earn college credit easily and affordably through these testing programs.

If you have experience in the military, law enforcement, or fire and rescue training, you can even receive college credit in an accelerated program. For example, just having served one year in the military could earn you up to eight hours of elective credit. Credit awarded varies widely by college, so be sure to do your research.

College and University Accreditation

Before you apply to any program, accelerated or not, always research and confirm accreditation. Accreditation is probably the most important consideration for your future career potential when selecting a program. Most employers will make sure that the program you received your degree from is a recognized, accredited program.

  • National Accreditation: This is the most basic level of accreditation. Accrediting agencies like the American Psychological Association and the Distance Education and Training Council give accreditation to programs that they feel meet standards in their field. If your field has a general, national accrediting agency, make sure your program has been given accreditation by it.
  • Regional Accreditation: Regional accreditation is often more stringent than national accreditation. If the program you choose has regional accreditation (like by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities), that’s a great sign that the program fulfills all requirements needed to ensure you’ll be professionally trained in your field.

Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs offer students the benefits of a convenient, affordable online education in a fast-paced format. These programs are suited to those of you who want your degree fast in order to move up in your current field or start a new career path soon.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees Offered with Accelerated Courses

Check out this list of universities that can help you get through your degree fast!


We only listed accredited schools with online, accelerated classes for bachelor students.

List of Colleges with Accelerated Online Classes Length of Online Courses
American Intercontinental University 5-week courses
Brandman University 8-week courses
Brenau University 8-week courses
Cameron University 8-week courses
Central Texas College 8-week courses
Charter Oak State College 5-week courses
College of DuPage 8-week courses
College Of Southern Nevada 4-week courses
Colorado State University 8-week courses
Colorado Technical University 5.5-week courses
Columbia College 8-week courses
Davenport University 8-week courses
Elizabethtown College 5-week courses
Ellis College of NYIT 8-week courses
Excelsior College 8-week courses
Fisher College 8-week courses
Granite State College 6-week courses
Indiana Institute 0f Technology 5 weeks and 8 weeks
Indiana Wesleyan University 8-week courses
Keiser University 4-week courses
LeTourneau University 8-week courses
Liberty University 8-week courses
Lynn University 8-week courses
Mount Olive College 8-week courses
North Carolina Wesleyan 8-week courses
Northcentral University 8-week courses
Park University 8-week courses
Peirce College 3 weeks or 8 weeks
Post University 8-week courses
Purdue University 6-week courses
Regent University 8-week courses
Regis University 8-week courses
Saint Leo University 8-week courses
Southern New Hampshire University 8-week courses
University of Houston – Downtown 8-week courses
Thomas Edison State College 8-week courses
Troy University 9-week courses
University of Maine at Augusta 7-week courses
University of Maryland – University College 8-week courses
Upper Iowa University 7-week courses
Walden University 8-week courses

Check each university’s admission requirements and costs before applying. Also, check that your university will accept credits from these schools if they are not your primary institution.

Ready? Go!

No magic. No tricks. Just 7 well-thought-out proven strategies to help you finish college faster.

These 7 strategies are well-recognized and supported by most major universities and colleges. But most students don’t know about them.

Consider yourself one of the lucky ones! You are now sitting on 7 ideas that can blast you through college at warp speed.

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This article is brought to you by
Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson
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Joy Miller
  1. Mike says:

    I’m living in Brazil and I want my teaching degree as quick as possible, I’ve already been teaching for 4 years. It would be great to get some guidance because I’m a little bit confused about what to do next.
    Any help would be appreciated

    1. Hannah Davis says:

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment. Generally speaking, there are a few options to get your degree at an accelerated pace. One way is to test out of general education classes via the CLEP exam. I am not sure if you plan to study in Brazil or somewhere else as the rules are different for alternative credit. There is not a testing center in Brazil but you can look for other locations to take the CLEP exam. Also since you have four years of teaching experience this may also work to your advantage if the university to which you apply offers college credit for this experience. Another primary way to complete your degree faster is to take online classes. A number of universities offer accelerated online classes. This article lists several that may interest you. I wish you the best as you pursue your teaching degree.

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks for your reply

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