Earning a bachelor degree online fast is not only a smart way to save time and money, but a fast degree could also put you on a fast track toward a satisfying career.
While other students are still completing their degrees through on-campus programs or more traditional online programs, you could have your degree in hand. With proper planning and commitment, you could also have a job offer in hand.
The following are the top 10 ways to earn your bachelor degree online fast so that you can be on your way to degree completion and the job opportunities that await you.
The more of these ways that you incorporate into your educational process, the better chance you have at finishing your degree in the fastest time possible, but with the best chances of getting hired in your field.
1. Accelerated Programs
Accelerated programs are the #1 way to earn your bachelor degree online fast, because they are designed specifically to accelerate the degree process. Most students in these programs are dedicated to earning their degree fast and getting on the job market. Many accelerated program students are older than the average age of college students and already have work experience.
Accelerated programs will enable you to finish your bachelor’s degree in less than the 4-5 year average. If you can earn credit in various ways (discussed below), you might have the potential to earn your degree in as little as 2 years. The average time for an accelerated degree is about 3 years.
2. Accelerated Courses
If you don’t have access to a fully accelerated program or an accelerated program feels overwhelming to you, accelerated courses might suit your needs better. Instead of accelerating your entire degree, you can take individual accelerated semesters which are typically much shorter than the average 16 week semester. This way, you can take an accelerated course for 6-8 weeks when you have the time and ability to dedicate yourself to a fast-paced class. This might work for those who have jobs that have a slower period at some point during the year.
3. Completion Programs
If you already have an associate degree or a handful of college courses under your belt, completion programs are an efficient way to keep the ball rolling. These programs will accept up to a certain number of credits (some as much as 60 credits, or half of your entire bachelor’s degree) that you can use toward earning your degree. These programs are a great way to earn your bachelor degree online fast, because you can use what you’ve already done to your advantage. There’s really no need to start from scratch.
4. Exam Credit
If you remember the AP exams in high school, you’ll have an idea of what national exams are like. Exams like the CLEP or DSST exams are easy and affordable (about $80 per exam) ways to knock out the basic requirements of your degree. Some exams can even earn you credit for more than one class in your program. If you have foundational knowledge in those core subjects like Math, History, English, and Social Sciences, consider these exams as an easy way to not only accelerate your degree but to eliminate the hassle that it is for many students to take those basic courses.
5. Life and Work Experience Credit
Many online programs will give students credit for certain life and work experiences they’ve had in related fields. If you have military or other similar training, you may be able to receive credit toward basic requirement courses like Criminal Justice or History. Some programs will even accept other work experience as credit, so be sure to inquire before you rule out this possibility because you don’t have any of this kind of training.
6. Degree Choice
Certain degree options take slightly longer than others, especially those that require you to obtain licensure or certification before you can apply for a job. For example, in order to become a public school teacher, you’ll need to obtain licensure in the state in which you desire to teach. Some programs offer the training within the bachelor’s degree to be able to sit for and pass the required exam(s) in order to obtain licensure, but some don’t. To become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), you have to have completed 150 course hours before you can sit for the exam.
Choose degrees like Business Administration, Finance, Graphic Design, Criminal Justice, or Information Technology. These degrees enable you to get right into the work force and their fields don’t require licensure or certification to get started in a high-paying role.
7. Course Load
Though you shouldn’t overload yourself to the point of exhaustion, consider grabbing an extra class a few semesters over the course of your degree pursuit. This can cut down on the time it takes you to complete your degree. Some programs limit the number of hours you can take any given semester, so be aware of these restrictions before you begin a program.
Earning your bachelor degree online fast takes focus and commitment, so taking on extra courses will be demanding on you as a student. It’s important to be fully aware of this extra burden before taking on more courses than you can handle. If you know a particular semester is light on advanced courses toward your major, add an additional elective or core course. Finding a balance between the types of courses on your plate at once is more beneficial and revealing than simply counting the number of course hours for which you’ve registered.
8. Degree Completion Time
Many people’s dreams of completing their degree get derailed because of interruptions. These can be the result of financial instability, family or personal issues, or lack of motivation. Try not to begin a cycle of taking a semester off or you may end up working toward your degree for years beyond what you had originally planned for. If you keep on task and take at least one course per semester (even during difficult semesters), you’ll be in a much more advantageous position to finish your bachelor degree online fast than if you’re constantly taking time off for various reasons.
If you can already predict that you won’t be able to afford your classes in the near future, that you’ll be moving or undergoing other potential stressful and time-consuming life changes (like getting married or having a baby), you may want to reconsider starting your degree until you’re in a more reliable position.
9. Study Habits
This may seem obvious, but developing and maintaining effective study habits is essential if you want to finish your bachelor degree online fast. If you fall behind in a class, you might fail it and have to retake it another semester. This will significantly slow down your progress. Here are a few essential study habits to establish while pursuing your degree:
- A structured study schedule
- Access to a study group or classmate to review for quizzes and exams
- A quiet, accessible study space with little distractions either inside or outside your home
- An effective method to record and keep track of due dates and exam dates
- A reliable means to communicate with your instructor(s)
- Procrastination avoidance plan(s)
- Willingness to take breaks when needed
If you implement the above study habits, you’ll have the best chance at completing your degree quickly. Having to retake a course will not only cost you time, but also money. These study habits are key in courses where you only have a small number of assessments or exams each semester. Creating a study plan before you begin your degree can go a long way to accelerating your degree. Plus, the more you actually learn in your class (beyond merely passing them), the more marketable you’ll become as a job candidate. You’ll gain the confidence and knowledge it’ll take to land your dream job fast.
10. Work Opportunities
While having a job interview lined up or job prospects on your horizon won’t technically speed up your degree, it can motivate you to finish on schedule. Some companies will interview and hire potential employees before they’ve completed their degree, agreeing that the degree will be finished at the start of or shortly into employment.
In other words, don’t wait until you’ve finished your degree to consider applying for jobs. If you’ve shown satisfactory progress toward your degree and are almost finished (a few months out, for example), companies may consider you for a position once you have your degree in hand.
Additionally, just because you’ve finished your degree quickly doesn’t mean there will be work opportunities. So you completed the most accelerated degree in history, but have made no work connections. Keep an eye and ear out while you’re working toward your degree for potential work opportunities. This can definitely accelerate your degree to career timeline, and you’ll not only earn your bachelor degree online fast, but you’ll land an interview and potential job fast, too.