Fast Online Degrees: Your Guide to the Fastest Bachelor Programs & Schools

Looking for the fastest online bachelor degree? Fast degrees + accelerated classes from accredited colleges. Check out the Top 50 Fast Online Degrees here.

Searching for fast online degrees? Want to get your bachelor’s degree online fast? This guide can help!

With accelerated classes, you can finish college in less time.

accredited degrees online

You can complete your degree at a faster than average pace with accelerated online courses.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of fast degree programs.

The Fastest Online Bachelor Degrees

These programs offer 5-week, 6-week, or 8-week fast online classes:


bachelors degree online fast

Every business needs an accounting team or at least a go-to accountant who can sort out the numbers and pay vendors on-time. For those who want to work with money and help companies spot opportunities and problems, accounting could be the top online program for you. Companies are always looking for individuals who can fastidiously analyze data and solve even the toughest financial challenges.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

With an online bachelor’s degree in accounting, you could quickly move into any graduate business degree, allowing you to become a successful CFO in the future. These degree programs involve classes in income taxation, auditing, ethics, data analysis, profit and loss, economics, regulatory laws, and many other courses around financial fundamentals.

In the end, you can easily set yourself up to pass the CPA exam and became a certified accounting or auditor. You’ll need at least 120 credit hours at an accredited university. Online programs in accounting are best for those who have great time management skills and can easily work on problems on their own, but any accounting online program worth its salt will have collaboration and online meeting capabilities.

Business Administration

business administration

Entrepreneurs, marketing majors, and soon-to-be business executives typically get their start with a business administration degree. Online baccalaureate programs in business administration challenge students to be analytical decision-makers who can turn problems around with creative solutions.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Online business programs are one of the most popular choices among students. In fact, 6 million American workers currently have an undergraduate degree in business. A bachelor’s in business will help turn you into a business leader, whether you decide to get into business, marketing, manufacturing, hospitality, finance, or technology. It’s simply a versatile degree that can help with multiple fields of study.

One major benefit to this online program is that you can keep your job full-time and earn a degree that could bump up your salary to $71,000, which is the average for those who hold a business degree.

Computer Science

cheap online degrees fast

For those who want to immediately get into a technology field, computer science online degree programs may be one of the best ways to go. Forbes actually reported that computer science graduates go on to make the most right out of college with an average of $59,000 per year.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

In this fast, digital landscape, individuals with a tech degree can work in a variety of fields, including web development, software engineering, information technology, or cyber security.

In addition, technology jobs are in high demand, meaning that you will likely be able to find a job quickly depending on what you specialize in. The best online computer science programs allow you to pick tracks that are popular in today’s ravenous tech fields, such as web development, network security, network administration, cloud computing, database management, data analysis, and other web sciences.

Typical computer science programs can be tailored to the programming language you want to learn or the skill that you’ll need to succeed in a particular field of technology, preparing you for graduate school or the workforce. It’s one of the best degrees to go for if you want to work in technology and earn a high salary quickly.

Criminal Justice

Fast online bachelors degree program

When you study criminal justice, there are a world of opportunities in legal fields, law enforcement, psychology, and cyber security. Online programs are so diverse that many programs allow you to specialize in studies that prep you for a number of in-demand careers after graduation.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Cyber security is a rapidly increasing field that needs more people who understand technology, software, data analysis, and coding. If you have a slight love for computer science or information technology, this degree can take you extremely far in law enforcement, including positions at the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

For those interested in these programs, you’ll be happy to note that the average salary after graduation is $58,000 with the highest paid earners being detectives and criminal investigators who make about $70,000 per year.


Degree quickly

If you want to be a teacher, elementary education is a great place to start, and it’s one of the top majors in the world currently in-demand. In addition, those who earn this degree are more than likely to become mentors, role models, and coaches for the next generation. For those who love to motivate and teach others, this could be the right field for you, and it’s easy to earn this degree online.

Accelerated 5-week, 6-week, or 8-week classes:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 250,000 new teaching jobs would be available by 2020. Special education and English teachers are in high demand, as there is a particular shortage in this concentration. Online bachelor programs for education usually provide courses to help you pass the certification exam to get your license, but you’ll still need to take a master’s program in order to become a licensed teacher.

The best online tracks for education include programs that help with instruction planning, new technologies for the classroom, and theories on different learning styles.

Emergency Management

Fastest Degree Programs Online

Emergency management is often listed under a public administration degree. However, earning a bachelor’s degree in emergency management is important if you plan to work in government, community, or medical-related fields.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Students in these programs will learn project management, communication skills, social skills, civil rights and ethical leadership, hazard planning and preparedness, and human resources.


Fastest Online Bachelor Degree

While it may seem like a broad degree, online English degree programs allow you to explore literature, learn creative writing, study philosophy, and even learn about films and screenwriting. There are so many ways to use an English degree professionally as well. It’s even a fast track into law school because English degrees require a ton of writing and study.

Similarly, a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies or Communication gives you the flexibility to explore a variety of literature and perfect your writing skills.

Accelerated 6-week or 8-week classes:

Students who want to earn an English degree can go into a variety of fields, however. Some go into digital marketing because of their copy writing abilities and strategy needs, and others go into journalism or web content creation. You can become a teacher, social media manager, foreign language teacher, or a novelist.

What you do with your English degree is up to you, but it’s a great starting point for a master’s or law degree. Reports show that most English majors go on to earn degrees in education, law, and literature. Since there are hundreds of online programs out there, it’s important to pick one with an official accreditation and pick a track that will bring you success after graduation.

Environmental Policy

Accredited Environmental Bachelor

Environmental policy programs focus on the relationship between private and public agencies involving protecting society and the environment. Online programs in this field have courses related to sustainability and facing environmental challenges. These programs typically require 120 credits depending on the university and the track that you select.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

These programs prepare you for research and leadership positions, where you’ll be required to know methods and tools related to analyzing information and data. You’ll also learn theories, principles, and concepts related to environmental management, policy, and global disasters.

Careers in this field typically place students in environmental protection positions or other scientific fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental policy makers are in demand, and there are almost 90,000 jobs available in this field. The average pay for those in this field goes up to $71,000. Most undergraduates will need to get into a master’s degree program in environmental science or environmental law.


Accredited colleges

Every business needs those who are skilled with finance, including accountants, planers, analysts, and managers. Online finance degree programs give you some leeway into specializing for the career you want, but most students will have to learn business and financial operations.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Coursework in these online programs takes students through accounting courses, investments, risk management, financial planning, corporate finance, business analysis, and related accounting tools, such as Microsoft Excel. The top graduates in these programs can go into incredibly lucrative careers, and if you earn an MBA, you could become an executive or CFO.

When choosing a degree program in the finance field, you should pick a college that has ties to a great business college so that you can access award-winning professors and coursework. You can look for schools with accreditation by AACSB.

Fire Science

Fire Science

Firefighters go into fire science online programs to jump into higher positions and earn larger salaries. Bachelor’s in fire science allow you to learn about emergency management, hazard detection, and coordinated response. It’s also about learning the new technology related to fire prevention and suppression. Firefighters work closely with law enforcement, so you’ll have courses in legal studies and investigation as well.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

The main coursework in this program pertains to emergency service response. Graduates are able to go into fire inspection and firefighting with a fire science degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this job will continue to grow, but there is a higher demand for fire inspectors.

If you are interested in working in the public sector and want to help law enforcement, firefighting and investigation is a great way to go. You’ll be able to earn an average salary of $50,000 at, but you can earn more as a fire inspector or fire investigator. There are also specializations in forest fire management and emergency medical technicians, or paramedics.

Forensics / Crime Scene Investigation

Forensics CSI

Have you ever wanted to work a crime scene? Do you like working on puzzles? Do you have an analytical personality? Working in forensics and crime scene investigation may be the right path for you. This Bachelor of Science program in forensics can also take you into cyber security and network defense as well, depending on your specialization.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Lab technicians who earn this degree can earn around $56,000 a year at first, but as you grow and gain experience, studies show that you could earn up to $75,000 a year. Along with your coursework in crime science investigation, forensics, ballistics, chemistry, and criminal justice, courses may also take you through cyber-criminal cases, psychology, and legal studies.

For those who want to use their forensics degree to go into CSI or law enforcement, it’s important to maintain a high GPA and get certified upon graduation, which may require additional coursework and a master’s degree in criminal justice. Many jobs related to cyber security and hacking are in demand.

Health Science

Health Science

Health science degrees are perfect for those who want a career in the healthcare field. While you can use your baccalaureate degree to get ahead in both clinical and non-clinical settings, most bachelor earners go on to master’s programs for occupational therapy, chiropractor studies, healthcare informatics, athletics, nursing, and other healthcare roles.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Since the rise of technology, many health sciences degrees have popped up with tracks that can take you into becoming a surgical technician or a paramedic, but the most popular is occupational therapy, physical therapy, and radiation therapy. These are specialized fields that may require additional study and certification after earning your baccalaureate degree.

Jobs have increased exponentially in this field as more therapists and administrators are needed. In the medical and health service managerial role, graduates can earn up to $96,000 a year, but occupational therapists find their jobs more rewarding and make an average of $80,000 per year.

Healthcare Administration

Healthcare Administration

The medical field has always needed skilled doctors and nurses to take care of patients, but there are a ton of jobs available for administrators and managers in healthcare. With new technology, the field has expanded even more, requiring new specialists and skills for the latest medical advancements.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Health Administration degrees are for those who want to work in the medical field on the business side. You may work in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, nursing homes, and other medical locations.

Coursework walks students through accounting, leadership positions, finance, economics, and ethics. You may also take courses related to laws and liability handling for hospitals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 70,000 new jobs would be available by 2020. Most entry-level healthcare administrators earn around $40,000, but your salary increases after a few years.

Human Services

Human Services

Human service degrees mainly center around social work and community services, such as administrative roles and criminal justice positions.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Social work is one of the 10 majors that can help change the world, and many in this field take on these roles because they want to make the world better. Curriculum focuses on ethics, research, management, and theory. Students are able to specialize in social and community advocacy, including global health services, public health needs, criminal justice, intervention, and family guidance.

These online degree programs also can be used to go into many other fields of study at the graduate level, including healthcare, psychology, political leadership, education, and law.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be an increase by 2020 for jobs in social work. These services are also necessary to help the aging population in America, as well as a new rise in drug addiction treatment needs. Average salary for human service graduates ranges from $33,000 to start up to $82,000 for administrators in medical offices and nursing homes.

Information Technology

Information Technology

The IT field is always expanding. While it used to be a role for network administrators and computer engineers, it now includes web developers and even web designers.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

The information technology field is quite broad, so it’s important to pick a specific online program that is perfect for your interests. For example, if you’re interested in programming, then you would want to take up a software development and programming specialization.

You can also go into a STEM field rather quickly using an IT degree. The most popular jobs include network and computer systems administrators, computer network specialist, data analyst, database administrator, and cyber security specialist.

The average salary for someone in IT is $80,000 per year. While tech jobs are expected to grow, you should pay close attention to new technologies and look for internships that help you learn in real situations, too.

Paralegal Studies

Legal studies degrees can help you get into a number of different legal fields, depending on the track and specialization that you choose. For example, there are paralegals and criminal justice majors who tailor their legal studies program towards their careers.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Online programs in legal studies typically require 120 credits with your core curriculum comprising of different government studies, policies, cases, ethics, torts, and business laws.

Most law schools look for excellent marks in undergraduate studies, so if you’ve got your eye on law school, it’s important to keep your GPA over 3.0.

Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts

For those who want to go into political science, teaching, psychology, and other science studies, liberal arts degrees may be a good option. Students with a wide variety of interests can excel in an online liberal arts program. It allows you to study art, philosophy, theory, history, literature, and more.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Students can use their degree to immediately go into an administrative position, but typically, students will need to complete a master’s or certificate program to get into a better position with a good salary.

Much of the courses in liberal arts programs revolves around writing fiction, studying different cultures, sociology, anthropology, and arts-based courses. While all programs are different, you can expect to take 120 credits in these courses.


Quick online degrees

Want to get ahead in your current position? Business management degrees focus on building your leadership and improving your skills in communication, as well as project management and human resources.

Accelerated 6-week or 8-week classes:

There are a number of management degrees, so it’s important to pick the one that will take you to the career you want. For example, you can use this degree to become a department manager, operations analyst, sales manager, and so forth.

Most of these programs require 120 credits and take you through business law, marketing, project management, employment law, and international business coursework.



Online marketing programs combine creative writing, sociology, theory, public relations, social media strategy, communications, and business in a rather unique way. New technology is also helping marketers use digital tools to create incredible opportunities for advertising.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

While marketing majors have to be strategic and creative, many of these programs revolve around communications. Being an effective speaker is important to pursuing a position in marketing or public relations.

Many schools offering this degree focus on communities, philosophy, business strategy, digital marketing technology, marketing development, and economics as well as business laws regarding infringement. Online programs are rigorous and require that students collaborate on marketing projects that may take several weeks to complete.

The top online programs in marketing will set you up to work in the business field as a digital marketing manager, marketing executive, digital strategist, marketing analyst, advertising specialist, or copy writing for marketing. Marketers typically start out earning $40,000 a year, but the highest earners are over $100,000 per year.



For those who want to take your current RN credential to the next level, an accelerated RN to BSN might be a good choice.

Accelerated 8-week classes:

Online degrees can be rigorous and difficult for those who are not a fan of chemistry, anatomy, biology, and other sciences, but it’s worth it if you want to advance in the medical field.

In addition, new technology in nursing has made it necessary for new courses and specializations, which could increase your salary potential. Data management, health care delivery platforms, and other data analysis are also going to be important to help medical offices and hospitals use new technology correctly.

If you want to get into a higher managerial position or even become a director, then earnings are around $75,000 a year.



Nutrition degrees help students learn about different diets and human health problems related to what they eat.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

Most nutritionists take courses in organic chemistry, food science, human anatomy, and other medical courses related to human diseases such as obesity. There are a number of careers in this field, but most graduates will go on to careers as dietitians.

Students will take courses in nutrition science, human biology, physiology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. The highest paid earners pursue master’s degrees or medical degrees as well.



Psychology degree programs provide students with a knowledge of sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, and psychology theories. Students will understand different neuropsychology theories, development psychology, and behavioral sciences.

Accelerated 6-week classes:

These programs are mainly designed to prepare you for graduate psychology programs or medical school.

Other options include going into criminal justice fields or counseling.

Public Administration

Public Administration

For those who want to go into policymaking, political leadership, city management, and human resources. Online degree programs in public administration teach students to help people in various professional situations as a leader and manager. Policy analysis, ethical leadership, ethics, and legal studies help these graduates work in government positions at local, state, and federal government.

For these programs, you’ll be expected to take coursework in policy, community development, ethics of public service, administrative law, finance, and project management.

Baccalaureate programs in public administration prepare you for nonprofit management, business, and human resources. Your specialization depends on the track and courses you select. It’s important that you have organizational skills, excellent communication, and a desire for legal knowledge to be successful.

Things to Consider

Searching for the quickest online bachelors degree?

Some colleges and universities offer accelerated online classes, meaning you can take multiple classes in the span of one year, rather than being restricted to a semester schedule. Rather than the traditional 16-week academic semester, accelerated classes are usually eight weeks in length, giving you the opportunity to take twice as many courses during the time period of a normal semester. Some programs even offer accelerated classes that are shorter (five or six weeks), giving you even more opportunity to complete a large number of credit hours in just one calendar year.

The most beneficial part about accelerated classes is that you can still take only two or three at a time, depending on your schedule, but earn 30 or more credit hours in a year (instead of only 12 or 15), as with a traditional semester schedule. While the daily course load may be larger, you won’t be overwhelmed with trying to focus on five to six courses in one semester, which would be difficult even for the most dedicated students. Instead, you can spend eight weeks intensely focusing on just two courses.

Accelerated courses are offered online, giving you the flexibility and convenience of working from home. There is no commute, so you don’t have to re-arrange your schedule to complete your course work.

Degree Completion Programs

Some fast degrees cater to students who need to finish a degree they already started. Whether because work, life, or other factors got in the way of you completing that degree, degree completion programs can help you finish it in an efficient, cost-effective way.

Some requirements to gain admission into these types of degree completion programs might include:

  • Specific number of credit hours toward a degree
  • Credit hours in specific courses (like general education requirements)
  • Work or volunteer experience
  • Computer proficiency (to complete online courses)
  • Minimum grade point average (at previous institutions)
  • High school diploma or GED certificate

Every program will require different admission’s criteria, but the above are fairly common. Many of these completion programs use cohorts, meaning students will work with a handful of others in their same position. They will follow the completion program together, having each other for support.

Most courses offered through completion programs are accelerated, and multiple terms (rather than only two or three semesters) are offered throughout the year to conveniently fit students’ schedules. A number of these completion programs take approximately two years to complete, though a student could conceivably finish in less time.

Whether you’re a working adult looking to put your foot in the door of a professional career or a recent high school graduate looking to forego the traditional college experience to save time and money, accelerated programs provide a unique opportunity. These programs are not for everyone, though, and demand dedication and commitment to completing the course work on a fast-paced timeline.

quick online degrees students studying

There are a variety of programs that can get you from where you are to where you want to be.

The following accelerated programs offer multiple types of fast degrees, whether it be from start to finish, completing a degree you began previously, or accelerated class options that allow you to complete more credits each semester than traditional programs.

All programs are not all alike. Some cater to students who already hold a bachelor’s degree, while others allow students to complete a bachelor’s from start to finish with no prior experience. Both undergraduate and graduate programs are offered by a number of accredited colleges and universities through online study.

An accelerated degree may be for you if…

You hold no prior degree, but want to earn one.

If you only have a high school diploma or GED certificate and desire to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, there are quite a few accelerated programs that can help you do so. With no prior degree, most accelerated bachelor’s can be completed in two to three years and most accelerated associate’s can be completed in one year, depending on your educational background and experience. The good news is, accelerated degree programs cater to working, adult students. So, you don’t have to give up life as you know it to earn your degree in a reasonable period of time.

You hold a degree, but not the one you need or want for your career.

If you already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or have a license in your field (such as Nursing), but wish to pursue an additional degree to advance in your career, an accelerated degree can help you reach those goals.

student graduating

For example, one of the most popular accelerated programs is for students who already hold a nursing license as an RN (Registered Nurse) and wish to earn their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). In this degree program, licensed nurses can earn their BSN quickly and without having to give up their careers as nurses. With a BSN, they demonstrate increased knowledge in their field, get a nice salary boost, and are more marketable when advancing in their positions as nurses. These RN to BSN can take approximately one year to complete.

In addition to the nursing field, there are a number of programs available for students who already hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue additional studies at an accelerated pace.

You already hold an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field.

There are several types of accelerated bachelor’s available to students, including Business Administration, Healthcare Management, Information Systems, Finance, Accounting, Communication, Psychology, and Leadership, among many other majors and concentrations.

Accelerated Master’s

college campus with accelerated programs

Earning an accelerated master’s degree can either mean a salary bump in your current job or a promotion to a new position. It can also open up new career opportunities within your field. Accelerated graduate schools allow you to achieve these goals within months, rather than years, as with a traditional program.

Accelerated programs in Business Administration (MBA) and Healthcare Management and Administration are common, but you can also find some accelerated degree programs in Accounting, Teaching, and Communication. Most accelerated master’s programs take around 12 months to complete and require that you hold a bachelor’s degree in the same or similar area of study.

Credit for Prior Learning

Most people don’t know that they can receive credit for life experiences, licenses, certificates, or other exams and professional activities that they’ve completed. Many accelerated programs will allow you to transfer up to half of the credits required to graduate.

For example, if you’re applying to an accelerated bachelor’s degree program that requires 120 hours of completion, you might be able to transfer up to 60 hours from previous experience, work, and credit by examination. Credit policies vary widely by institution, so it is advisable to do your research in advance.

In addition to traditional credit transfer of courses completed at another institution, the following are the ways in which you may be able to receive college credit:

  • Work Experience: Some programs offer transfer credit for hours you’ve spent working professionally. Specifically, if you work in law enforcement or public safety, certain training programs you went through can make you eligible to receive credit for courses like Criminal Justice. Many programs will look at work experience on a case-by-case basis and determine whether or not your work experience will qualify you for transfer credit. In most cases, your work experience will need to align with the college course for which you are seeking credit.
  • Military Experience: Most programs offer transfer credit for experience you’ve had in any military branch. You’ll need to submit an official military transcript to be eligible.
  • Exams, Certificates, and Licensure: Certain exams can also count toward transfer credit, like AP or IB exams at the high school level, DSST, CLEP, and DANTES exams (which are designed to give college credit), and other exams specific to individual fields. Licensure that may make students eligible for transfer credit include real estate and aviation pilot licensure, among others.

The requirements vary widely by university, but as an example, I was able to get college credit for 21 credit hours (nearly one year of college) by submitting a credit for prior learning portfolio at my university. It was time consuming, and at times, a tedious process, but not nearly as tedious as taking 7 classes would have been to earn the same credit! I’ll discuss this in greater detail later.

Online Bachelor Degree Programs

Because of the popularity of online programs, colleges and universities now offer all levels of courses in almost any field you can imagine. You can find associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. You can find programs in the fields of Education, Psychology, Business, Computer Science and Information Technology, Criminal Justice, Healthcare Management, Religion, Accounting, and beyond. It’s important to know how to get college credits quickly.

If you choose a fully online program, you can apply to any program in the country and you won’t be limited by your geographic location.

University Campus vs. Online Programs

Another way in which to determine which programs are a cut above others is by considering whether or not a program has a campus affiliation. Large state universities or more prestigious private colleges that offer fast degrees carry over all the accreditation and name recognition to those degrees, so you can be assured that the degree you’ll receive will be just as valuable as if you had enrolled on campus as a more traditional student.

If you follow the accreditation tips above, you should easily be able to find an online program that will offer a valuable degree. Some accredited programs offer hybrid programs, too. This simply means that most course work will be completed online, but you will be required to show up in person a few times (or more) over the course of your degree to attend seminars, workshops, or class sessions.

Top 50 degrees list

All of the programs listed here are offered at a variety of colleges and universities across the country.

No matter the degree program you choose, make sure it is accredited so that you’ll earn the most valuable degree possible.

For most career fields, accreditation is the single most important feature of an institution from which someone earns their degree.

But what accreditation is the most important and why?

Accreditation simply means that a respected accrediting organization has recognized the program as competent and satisfactory in its ability to train students professionally in the career fields for which they are earning their degree. It doesn’t matter if you work your tail off to complete your degree and receive all high grades if you didn’t attend a program that was accredited, either regionally or nationally.

The general rule of thumb is that regional accreditation is more respected and sought after than national accreditation. Here’s a breakdown of each type of accreditation.

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation is seen as the king of accreditation, because the requirements for an institution to become regionally accredited are much more stringent. While regionally accredited institutions may cost more, require more effort and materials to apply to, and ask students to complete more general courses in the humanities, they are the most respected institutions.

In fact, most institutions are regionally accredited. Because of this, you should be cautious of institutions that only have national accreditation.

Regional accreditation is more specific and sometimes more stringent than national accreditation. If regional accreditation is possible for your field, consider applying only to programs that have obtained it. Some regional accrediting agencies are:

Regional accreditation also means that students can receive tuition reimbursement from their companies, apply for state licensure in various fields, and transfer most of the credits they earned from a regionally accredited institution.

National Accreditation

National accreditation is often awarded to institutions that specialize in trade and vocational training. Nationally accredited institutions are often more affordable, have less requirements for application, and oftentimes require less general core requirements. These institutions, however, may not be as well respected in the employment world of many fields as regionally accredited institutions. Courses may also be self-lead rather than taught by trained instructors, and credits earned at these institutions may not be transferable to other institutions or qualify for licensure in certain fields like Education, Psychology, and Accounting.

There are many national accrediting agencies that grant accreditation to many types of programs, from psychology to education to business administration. Just a few of the most recognized accrediting agencies include:

  • Distance Education and Training Council
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Dental Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Programs proudly display accreditation in their information materials, online and in print, so if you do not see accreditation listed, inquire about it. Some programs indicate that they are in consideration for or waiting on accreditation. Accreditation often takes time, so you may want to consider alternative programs if you see this kind of announcement.
a group of college students smiling on cameraWhen you need to boost your earning power, or you want to have financial and job security, it pays to invest in your education.

A Real Five-Year Degree Plan

Numbers don’t lie, and with statistics from the Department of Labor and from the Department of Education showing the benefits of a degree, the time to enroll and learn to earn is now.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the workforce, taking care of family commitments, returning to or still in school, an accelerated program of study for fast degrees online in growth fields can help you get where you want to go.

When students used to talk about a “five year plan,” it was a joking reference to taking five years to obtain their bachelor’s degree, and thus delay entry into the workforce until the job market was more favorable. However, it’s been statistically proven that a bachelor’s or master’s degree pays off in the long run in terms of finding a job, having job security and being paid a better salary.

When added up over the course of years, the financial advantages to having a degree mean greater financial stability, more resources to weather hard economic times, more resources available to raise and provide for a family, the ability to invest income, and the ability to plan for a comfortable retirement. Delaying entry into the workforce by procrastinating over your degree only means that someone else gets there ahead of you and is climbing the ladder while you sit in Starbucks, nursing a four dollar coffee, sending out resumes on the free Wi-Fi.

Using the net to enroll in college degree programs is nothing new.

Fastest online bachelor degree programs

Looking at the most recent data available from the Department of Labor’s statistics bureau, it’s really easy to see just how concrete those payoffs and advantages can be. For instance, the unemployment rate for the average person with a master’s degree was 3.4 percent, compared with 6.1 percent average for all levels of education. A person with a master’s degree brought home an average of $1,329 per week compared to the average of $827. That’s $502 per week, or $26,104 in wages above the median income of $43,004 for a total median income of $69,108 per year. A bachelor’s degree gives a 4 percent chance of unemployment and an average wage of $1,108 per week, or $14,612 above the average wage for the year for a total average income of $57,618.

It’s when looking at the statistics from the same study that the differences for people with only a high school diploma, or a diploma plus an unfinished degree really kick in. Someone with a high school diploma has 7 percent chance of being unemployed and will bring home an average of $651 in wages; that’s $176 a week less than average and $9,152 less than median per year for a total annual average of $33,852.

Someone with a little college credit brings in a slightly better $777 average per week, but that’s still $50 a week less than average, and they stand only a half-point advantage in their chances of being unemployed. Educational achievements, and the hard work it takes to earn them, pay off in dollars and in job security.

Everything Starts with 101

Earning a five-year master’s degree might sound like a get rich quick scheme, but it’s not. Many colleges and universities recognize the challenges of the job market, and have risen to the occasion by expanding their course offerings, offering night courses, taking their classes online, and reaching out to students already in the workforce as well as on campus.

Online degrees can help you finish your degree faster.

Looking at the total master’s recently conferred, the numbers from the National Council of Education Statistics show that the business and education categories led the pack. These were followed respectively by the health professions, public administration and psychology.

The bachelor’s granted that same year are more numerous, and trends in majors are easily seen. The top 10 baccalaureate degrees are below, with strong growth shown in communications, biological and biomedical fields, and engineering.

Business   365,093
Social sciences and history   177,144
Health professions and related programs   143,430
Education   103,992
Psychology   100,893
Visual and performing arts   93,956
Biological and biomedical sciences   90,003
Communication, journalism and related programs   83,274
Engineering   76,376
English language and literature/letters   52,744
Homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting   47,602

Transfer College Credits to your new University

All students seeking higher education, whether at a community college, four-year college or university, start with the core curriculum of the undergraduate, which are required courses in the arts, humanities and sciences, how you choose your major and the timing of those courses can be critical to closing in on your own five-year goal of obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Core curriculum requirements for undergrads are meant to impart a breadth of knowledge, and instill a set of common culture referents that will teach critical thinking and help the student to develop insights into human nature, understanding of the sciences, and appreciation of the arts: fastest online bachelor degree programs.

Accredited Online Colleges

The CLEP examinations in mathematics and sciences, history and social sciences, composition and literature, languages and business cover 33 separate undergraduate subjects. With each examination passed, it’s possible to trim three to 12 college credits from your undergraduate course load, depending upon your school’s individual policies. The examinations are prepared by the same people who produce the SAT and AP examinations and can be taken by anyone who wants to pay the $80 fee instead of the tuition for taking the undergraduate course.


Online courses can also be a way to leapfrog ahead to your fast courses online, but choosing an accredited institution is very important. Without accreditation, your courses and the hard work you’ve invested in them might not be transferable to another school, or to a master’s degree program.

Most colleges and university list their accrediting organizations somewhere in their literature or on their website, and with that information the student can check their standing with the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Selecting a school or program that is not accredited could even stand in the way of receiving loans, grants or financial aid.

Accreditation might seem like a hassle, and there are accreditation mills the same way there are degree mills; if someone pays the fee, they receive the paper whether it’s a degree or the ability to say they can grant one. Accreditation has four goals:

  1. To assure students that they are receiving a quality education.
  2. To assure students that the credits earned at one institution will be shown to be of acceptable quality for transfer credit to another school, promoting student mobility.
  3. Assuring future employers that the students schooling and degree meet certain standards.
  4. Provides access to state and federal financial aid, loans, and grants for students at such accredited institutions to help pay for their schooling.

What good is all that work, all the time, and the financial investment in obtaining a degree when an H.R. director looks at your resume and thinks that they didn’t think that school could grant someone a potholder, much less an advanced degree? Some of the stigma that follows distance learning comes from degree mills, but by choosing an accredited program that can be checked and verified, you assure the future financial value of your degree over your working lifetime.

Courses taken online are as valid as those taken in the classroom and allow students to proceed at their own pace and learn at times that are convenient for them. Many students balancing work and life needs against continuing education and find online course work a valuable resource for completing their coursework, and even students already in traditional, campus-based classes find that taking classes toward extra credits puts them ahead of their peers. On evenings, weekends, and summer semester and even on holidays – whenever it’s convenient – the virtual classroom is open to everyone.

Take Your Time

When you start planning for your future, take your time comparing programs and financing and planning for the addition of coursework to your working and family schedules. The key to finding quick online degrees is dedication, willpower, and the ability to make the most economical use of your time. Just as there is no such thing as a good cheap car, there’s no such thing as an easy bachelor’s or master’s degree. Above all, keep in mind that you’re not just learning, you’re making an investment that will pay off in the long term.

fast degrees

When comparing colleges and universities, you’ll discover fairly quickly that no two programs are alike. Some colleges have smaller class sizes, others have better financial aid programs. Considering the investment of time and money, it pays (literally) to do a bit of research before jumping into a fast degree program, especially if you are on the lookout for cheap online degrees fast. Below are a few of the more common criteria you will want to check out.

Admission requirements

Start here when considering programs. If you do not meet the minimum requirements to apply (the minimum number of hours for a degree completion program, for example), it would be a waste of your time to consider the program.

There may also be computer requirements to complete online colleges, which may mean additional fees if you don’t already have the minimum hardware and software requirements to get started.

Tuition and Fees

One of the appeals of online programs is that you usually end up saving money on your degree. Not all associate and bachelor programs are alike though, and with many of these programs being for-profit, make sure there aren’t any hidden fees that you’ll be charged per course or per course cycle. Understand that sometimes tuition includes the entire program, but other times includes only individual credit hours. If you’re confused about what the program will cost, contact an admissions adviser to help answer your questions.

Semester Start Dates

Some fast degrees only have one program start date, meaning you might have to wait an entire year to begin your course work. Most accelerated programs, however, have multiple start dates throughout the year. Make sure the start date matches with your schedule and availability.

Fastest Online Bachelor Programs

It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into accredited online colleges. Some programs that offer fast degrees can take multiple years to complete, especially if you’re working toward a degree and have no prior college credits or work experience. Three years to complete a bachelor’s degree from the beginning is still much faster than the four to six year average it takes to complete one in a traditional college setting. Don’t assume that an accelerated degree will only take a few months of your time. In addition to accelerated programs, there are also a number of schools offering some of the fastest online degree completion programs.

You may also find this article interesting: Quick degrees that pay good salaries

Student/Faculty Ratio

Some online courses are loaded with students, which means that if there’s only one faculty member assigned to that course, you may not get much time for guidance with that faculty member. If this type of bachelor degree programs to your learning experience, make sure to choose a program that has a low faculty to student ratio (1:25 versus 1:100, for example) so that you can get the help you need.

List of Universities with the Fastest Online Courses

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description

American Intercontinental University

AIU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association to award associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

Brandman University

Brandman is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Brenau University

Brenau is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associates, baccalaureate, masters, specialist and doctoral degrees.

Cameron University

Cameron is unconditionally accredited through the Higher Learning Commission.

Central Texas College

CTC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees and certificates of completion.

Charter Oak State College

COSC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

College of DuPage

COD is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

College Of Southern Nevada

CSN has been continuously accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) since 1975.

Colorado State University

Colorado State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Colorado Technical University

CTU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia College

Columbia has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1918.

Davenport University

Davenport is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Elizabethtown College

Elizabethtown is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Ellis College of NYIT

NYIT is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Excelsior College

Excelsior is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Fisher College

Fisher is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Granite State College

LOCATIONNew Hampshire
Granite State is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Indiana Institute 0f Technology

Indiana Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana Wesleyan University

IWU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Keiser University

Keiser is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award certificates and degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels.

LeTourneau University

LeTourneau is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees.

Liberty University

Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.

Lynn University

Lynn is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mount Olive College

LOCATIONNorth Carolina
Mount Olive is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees.

North Carolina Wesleyan

LOCATIONNorth Carolina
NCWC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees and the Master of Criminal Justice degree.

Northcentral University

NorthcentralU is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Park University

Park is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Peirce College

Peirce is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Post University

Post is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA) since 1913.

Regent University

Regent is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.

Regis University

Regis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Leo University

Saint Leo is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.

Southern New Hampshire University

LOCATIONNew Hampshire
SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Houston – Downtown

UHD is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Thomas Edison State College

TESU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Troy University

Troy is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees.

University of Maine at Augusta

UMA is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Maryland – University College

UMUC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Upper Iowa University

UIU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Take the next step…

Now that you have a vast amount of information about online bachelor degree programs and how they can benefit you, it’s time to start comparing programs. Take your time before deciding on one. Even though these fast online degrees are accelerated and take less time than traditional programs to complete, education and knowledge take time to cultivate, so it will be a time and energy commitment either way.

With jobs hitting the market by the thousands these days, there’s no reason for you to be stuck in a job that’s not satisfying. Take control of your future and make the choice to earn a degree that could mean a brighter future ahead.

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Joy Miller
Joy Miller
  1. Refilwe Mphahlele says:


    1. Joy Miller says:

      Hi Refilwe,

      Happy to help! In order to pursue a master’s degree, you will need to have already earned your bachelor’s degree. Depending on the university where you earned your diploma in management, some of those credits may transfer into a BBA program. It will depend on the university and their transfer requirements. Purdue offers a bachelor’s in business online if you want to check them out.

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