An accelerated liberal arts degree online program can help you finish your degree faster than traditional programs and prepare you for a variety of careers.
Forbes online states that “employers in every sort of industry are interested in people with [liberal arts] majors.”
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With a liberal arts degree, you may continue on to become a:
- Computer programmer
- Fashion designer
- Business owner
- Museum curator
- Sales Manager
- Graphic designer
- Social Media Manager
Forbes also lists Leidos, one of the biggest defense, intelligence, and homeland security contractors in the US, as topping the list of companies who want to hire graduates with liberal arts degrees.
Types of Accelerated Liberal Arts Degree Programs
There are dozens of different concentrations that you can choose from when earning your liberal arts degree. Typically, a liberal arts degree is a Bachelor of Arts, and then you can choose to focus on a subject or even a combination of subjects.
Some possible majors you may focus on in your liberal arts degree are:
- Humanities (English Literature, Modern Languages, History, Philosophy)
- Social Sciences (Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Finance, Psychology)
- Creative Arts (Fine Art, Theatre, Speech, Creative Writing)
- Sciences (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science)
Accelerated Liberal Arts Degree Programs Overview
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that all industries look for employees who can:
- Solve problems
- Write well
- Speak well
- Bring multiple perspectives to decision making
- Be good managers
- Be cross-culturally competent
The goal of most liberal arts degree programs is to help students develop these skills.
Earning your liberal arts degree can help you develop a broad and diverse range of knowledge, prepare for a variety of different careers, and develop the tools needed to succeed beyond just getting a job.
The classes taken in liberal arts programs are very diverse and will vary based on the program you are in and what topics you decide to focus on. Some possible classes you might take are:
- Business Communication
- Public Speaking
- Public Relations
- Graphics and Layout in Print Media
- Introduction to Journalism
- Social Media
- Editing for Media and Publication
- Writing for News Media
- Writing and Publishing
- World Civilizations
- Making History
Instead of focusing on technical skills that may be obsolete by the time you graduate, you may learn how to use new technologies while also learning how to be forward-thinking, innovative, and creative.
The ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world is one of the most important skills a liberal arts degree program can help you develop.
Careers with an Accelerated Liberal Arts Degree
What kind of career can you get after getting an accelerated liberal arts degree? The possibilities are numerous! You can’t just walk into a job interview thinking you will automatically get a job with a degree in liberal arts, though.
Even if you are only pursuing an associate’s in liberal arts, to be successful, it is important to view your degree as a starting or launching point and think carefully about the classes you take. You can think about the careers you are interested in and add classes that will help you develop knowledge and skills in those specific fields.
Studying topics like marketing, business, social media, graphic design, data analysis, computer programming, IT, communications, management, and operations can help prepare you for a number of different jobs.
You may add these skills through extra business or technical classes, entrepreneurship, an internship, or work experience.
Many liberal arts students go on to earn a master’s degree in any number of fields or even strive for a master of liberal arts online degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the careers that can be pursued with a liberal arts degree:
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$151,150|
|Market Research Analysts||$65,810|
|Elementary School Teachers||$60,940|
Some of the jobs may require further training, education, or experience to obtain.
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The Benefits of an Online Accelerated Liberal Arts Degree Program
Besides being a versatile degree, there are three primary benefits of taking a liberal arts online degree program through accelerated classes.
Start Your Degree Now!
Are you ready to get started and excited about the broad range of classes you could take? There may be no reason to wait. Almost every college and university that offers accelerated liberal arts degrees have new start dates each month.
If you go to a traditional university, you’ll likely be committing to a 16 week semester, which is about 4 months to finish each class. An accelerated class may allow you to earn the exact same credit but in 6 to 8 weeks. This means you could potentially take the same classes and learn the same information twice as fast.
Work on Your Own Schedule!
With online classes, you won’t need to drive to or move onto campus to attend class at certain times. Many online courses don’t have required meeting times either. This means it is up to you when you want to do your classwork and listen to lectures.
3 Ways to Accelerate Your Liberal Arts Degree Even More
While accelerated online classes can shorten the time it takes to get your liberal arts degree, there are other ways you may be able to shorten the time even more. Here we’ve listed 3 strategies that you may use to move through your degree much faster than the typical 4-year plan.
These tips can also help you cut the overall costs of earning your degree.
1. Test Out of College Classes (Save Up to 1 Full Year)
Many colleges will allow you to earn credit by exam. You can register with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and take the exam needed to meet your course requirement. In just 90 minutes, you could potentially earn the credits for that course.
Most colleges will allow for up to 30 of your credits to be obtained in this way.
You can buy a study guide, spend some time studying, and then take the exam. All you need is 50% to pass and earn the credit.
2. Get College Credit for Your Life and Work Experience (Save Up to 1 Full Semester)
What have you done before deciding to head back to school? That valuable life experience might count for credit toward your liberal arts degree.
At most schools, you can find this listed as Credit for Prior Learning. Each university has a policy for how the process works, but the general idea is that you prepare a portfolio listing your training, credentials, experiences, and letters of reference. This portfolio is submitted to your faculty member for approval.
Many schools will allow you to earn up to 15 credits this way. This is a whole semester of credit in traditional programs!
3. Stay Continuously Enrolled with the Max Courseload
Most college students take two 15-credit semesters a year. The faster option is to maximize your course load every semester with 18 credit hours. That gives you 6 extra credits per year.
Many schools have summer semesters as well. In 1 year, you may take 3 semesters of 18 credit hours each and end up with 108 credits in just 2 years. If you used this strategy alone, you could potentially be done with your degree in 2.5 years.
Bonus: Transferring Your Existing College Credits
Pre-existing college credit is golden for a liberal arts degree. No matter what college classes you took before, they may fit into your new degree.
Here are the necessary checks to make sure your class is transferrable:
- You attended a college that was accredited
- You earned at least a C in the class
- Your new program allows transfer credits
- You can find a spot for the class in your liberal arts degree
Even if there isn’t a perfect fit for your pre-existing class, you might have the option of transferring the class in as an elective. Any credit is good credit and can potentially save you time and money!
How to Lower Tuition Costs for Your Liberal Arts Degree
Most liberal arts degrees require 120 credit hours to graduate, which can be quite costly.
As we’ve discussed, you may lower your college expenses by reducing the number of classes you take. If you earn a portion of those credits by exam or through your Prior Learning portfolio, you won’t have to pay for those classes. Yes, there will be a fee for each, but it will likely not be nearly as much as tuition would be.
The next step is to apply for financial aid.
When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can see which grants and loans the federal government will approve you for. You can also apply for state funding and scholarships from universities and businesses and ask your employer about tuition assistance.
Looking for financial aid from a number of sources can help you lower your final bill as much as possible.
Liberal Arts Degree Accreditation
You might think you can save even more money by getting a liberal arts degree from a budget online program, but this could potentially cause you to waste your time and money. If your school isn’t accredited, you could end up with a degree that is worthless. That would save you nothing!
Accreditation is a process that a college or university goes through to prove the validity of their school. They may be accredited regionally or nationally.
Regional accreditation is more widely accepted and recognized in the US. Regional accreditation comes from the following boards:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Regional accreditation from one of these boards will give your degree the gold stamp of approval that employers and grad schools need to see.
Study What You Want… Quickly!
An online accelerated liberal arts degree program can help set you up for success. You could join the ranks of Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, and Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, who are both proud liberal arts degree holders.
If you play it smart and see how many classes you can test out of, submit a portfolio for prior learning, and transfer in any credits you already have, you can potentially earn your degree even faster.
Using this attitude of flexibility, adaptability, and innovation, your liberal arts degree may take you in whatever direction you set your mind to.