Wondering how to get a bachelor’s degree fast?
Purdue University now offers 6-week classes online, which is a huge help if you want to spend less time sitting in class.
In this guide, we will give you some insider secrets, like getting credit for job training or military experience. You can even take a few multiple choice exams to get college credits fast (accepted by 2,000+ accredited universities).
Have you found yourself saying, I need a degree fast? This guide can help!
Fast Bachelor’s Degrees
The first step is to decide what you’d like to major in. Maybe you already have plans for what to study. If you don’t, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Criminal Justice
- Foreign Language
- Fitness Studies
- General Studies
- Human Resources
- Liberal Arts
- Public Health
- Workplace Safety
You can earn your bachelor’s degree online in these and nearly any other field of study. Before you decide, it’s helpful to think about what you might study, what you could do when you graduate, and what type of person does best in each area.
Anthropology is an intellectually exciting field that encompasses the study of history, linguistics, and cultural mores from diverse groups of people. This emphasis on fostering a deeper understanding of each group’s roots creates fertile soil for understanding diversity.
In this day and age, this is fundamental knowledge for anyone who seeks to create new solutions for creating more egalitarian societies.
Anthropology graduates can find numerous job opportunities in academia and government organizations, in addition to cultural outreach programs and international relations.
An ever-increasing lifespan has made many people take the intricacies of life for granted – despite the fact that modern society requires ever more efficient solutions for food production, health, and environmental conservation.
For a biology major, these issues will be the bread-and-butter topics that need to be solved. Whether they choose a path in academia or in private research, biology majors will graduate with the necessary tools to transform the society and technology around them, based on the most fundamental units of life.
Communication is a daily part of life and one that is essential for human societies and relationships to form and develop. Despite the fact that communications are everywhere, true mastery of communications is equally rare and powerful.
By graduating from a Communications program, a student will become capable of disseminating (explicitly or subtly) large amounts of information to the society at large.
In this technical and globalized world, Communications can open many opportunities in social media management, design, marketing, public relations, and journalism.
A full course of studies in Criminal Justice will be devoted to the study of both theoretical legal principles and the practical effects that these have on society – both when they are being respected, and when they are not.
The development of legal systems and the way they impact modern society is also placed under the spotlight, as are the applications of justice that are used to correct large-scale social ills.
A degree in Criminal Justice can lead to careers in law enforcement agencies, public policy agencies, or as a starting step toward Law School.
As money makes the world go round, a degree in Finance provides an efficient way to access the organizations that move the hidden gears of our society. In addition to providing a thorough knowledge of the financial instruments that lie hidden from public view, a degree in Finance offers a solid foundation in micro- and macro-economics.
At the bachelor’s level, a degree in Finance offers the opportunity for pursuing further certifications and licensure as a financial advisor, real estate agent, or stock trader.
Foreign language programs are the gateway for true, deep immersion into a foreign culture. The goal of such a program encompasses mastery of a specific language or family of languages (such as the Romance languages), in addition to extensive experience in the major works of literature and art created in that language.
Further hands-on experience with native speakers of the language is usually required in the form of a year abroad.
For anyone who seeks to work at an international company or wants to move abroad or join the Diplomatic Corps, this is an invaluable degree. You could also stay in the US and work as a translator.
Fitness Studies take the science and passion behind physical activity to a professional, monetizable level. It encompasses a thorough study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. This is then taken as a starting point to learn the nutritional and exercise strategies needed to achieve peak performance.
A foundation of the economic aspects of the sports industry is also provided. This means that a Fitness studies degree can then be used to find work as a fitness instructor, the coach of a professional sports team, a personal trainer, P.E. teacher, or military instructor.
A Bachelor of General Studies is often confused with the stereotypical “undecided” or “undeclared” major in many American Universities. The concept of General Studies and of multidisciplinary degrees, however, has a long and proud history on the Old Continent.
Thanks to its relative flexibility and the possibility of designing ad-hoc concentrations, completing a program in General Studies is seen as proof that a person can be taught, and therefore can be nurtured into a leader across a variety of fields.
For companies all across the world, human resources are actually the hardest to recruit, manage, and preserve. A Human Resources graduate is a specialist who combines the knowledge of management tactics, leadership, and revenue-oriented organizations with a keen eye for talent and for people’s motivations.
This combination of psychology, sociology, and business management is highly sought-after by all sorts of companies, at both the bachelor’s and master’s level.
The days in which the Liberal Arts were the core of a gentleman’s education may seem like they have long past. Nowadays, jobs and positions seem to be more connected to specific specializations.
The value of a well-rounded education, however, has never really gone away. Sales, public organizations, diplomats, and lawyers alike can all benefit from the solid civil framework provided by the general study of Liberal Arts.
This is an ideal course of study for creative-minded people who are eager to keep their doors open and find an affinity for several channels of knowledge simultaneously.
The hardest and most prestigious branch of STEM fields is also one of the most lucrative and competitive ones, despite the fact that it feels incredibly alien for most people.
A degree in Mathematics is an achievement reserved for the best and brightest, and so are the job opportunities upon graduation. These include highly specialized research, financial speculation, economic planning, and computer programming positions.
If these fields seem very varied, it’s because Mathematics is fundamentally about problem-solving. Behind the equations, graduates of this program will strengthen their analytical and engineering skills tremendously.
Public health specialists are tasked with designing mid-and long term strategies that will impact the overall health levels of a large population. Generally, their focus is on a city, region, or country scale, rather than on an institution.
Public Health is one of the most delicate subsets of Public Administration and management. Its high degree of specialization should not be seen as a lack of applicability, however, at least where the job market is concerned.
Healthcare is a rapidly growing field, and governments around the world rely on experts to help regulate and improve this area of well-being.
At its core, Sociology is the study of society and of the forces that help shape it. While it is a field that doesn’t directly translate into many private-sector job positions, the skills and analytical ability of a trained sociologist are very valuable in the workplace and the business world.
By studying the in-depth values and forces in a specific culture or region, sociologists are able to predict and theorize many emerging trends, which can then be used to plan public policy or marketing campaigns, depending on your interests.
Statistics is a subset of mathematics that is devoted to collecting and organizing data with the express purpose of inferring trends. It is a very powerful tool with countless applications in medical research, market analysis, finance, and government alike.
A bachelor’s level Statistic program is an academically rigorous one designed for students who are willing to put in hard work and who have a natural knack for analysis and problem-solving. It is also a prestigious and lucrative field, as its applications encompass pretty much all available industries.
Workplace safety strategies are responsible for safeguarding thousands of lives on a daily basis. Naturally, this means that a Workplace Safety specialist is often regarded as a “must-have” manager in many operational fields.
An entry-level position in workplace safety often offers supervisor-level responsibilities at a work site. Further advancement often takes graduates to careers in which they design, promote, and implement safety protocols on a company or government level, meant to preserve the integrity of workers and citizens alike.
This is an in-demand field in the construction, mining, and oil business.
How to Get a Bachelor’s Degree Fast – A Step-by-Step Guide
With online degrees, you have more options. How fast you get your bachelor’s degree is really up to you (and the college you choose).
To help you pick the right schools and programs, we’ve created a guide to give you the info you need to make the best choice for you.
- Choose a college with alternative credit options
- Take accelerated classes online (6-week or 8-week)
- Get college credit for your experience
- Get up to 1 year of credit with CLEP exams
Don’t see an answer to your question? Drop us a line in the comments. We want to help you graduate college faster!
How Can I Get My Bachelor’s Degree Fast?
The first step is to pick a college that has generous credit policies for non-traditional credit. Think credit for life experience, credit by exam, credit for military training, and similar policies that help you speed through your degree fast.
The best ways to can earn college credits more quickly include:
- Credit by exam (multiple choice, 90 minutes)
- Credit for prior learning (sometimes called life or work experience)
- Credit for military training
- Accelerated courses offered online
We’re not talking about just one specific college. If you have your heart set on a certain college, you can get a fast bachelor’s degree from them, too.
But some colleges are just better suited for getting your bachelor’s degree fast.
The college you choose will determine exactly how fast you can complete your degree. It’s up to you!
Choose a College with Alternative Credit Options
The following universities offer a number of ways to qualify for college credit without actually sitting in a classroom on campus.
Here are some examples of college policies that may allow you to get college credit outside of the classroom.
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
- Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)
- Prior Learning Assessment
- Credit for Military Training (in accordance with ACE standards)
Although each school has its own policies regarding these programs, they function in a similar way. Typically, the primary difference is how many college credits you are allowed to receive as a result of participation and approval. For example, some schools allow you only 15 credit hours with the CLEP program. Others may allow you 30 credit hours.
Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) programs vary widely by school, but most use the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines to determine if your experience or training is worthy of college credit.
Here are two universities that offer some of these opportunities. They might look the same at first glance, but they have certain characteristics that set them apart.
If these schools aren’t a good fit for you, then carefully check your college’s policies to see if these opportunities are available.
#1 Purdue University – Global Campus
Purdue is a well-respected university with a rich history.
Even better, Purdue now offers accelerated 6-week online classes to help you complete your college courses at a faster pace.
Online bachelor’s degrees offered:
- Business Administration (several concentrations available)
- Criminal Justice
- Fire Science
- Health and Wellness
- Healthcare Management
- Human Resources
- Human Services
- Information Security
- Information Technology Management
- Internet Marketing
- Legal Studies
- Liberal Studies
- Nursing (Accelerated BSN)
- Supply Chain and Logistics
Purdue also accepts CLEP exams and prior learning assessments for consideration of college credit. Be sure to check with an advisor for the latest college-granting policies.
Request more information from Purdue University – Global Campus.
#2 Colorado Technical University
Colorado Tech has a program called CTU Fast Track that offers you a series of exams allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge in the courses you need. If you pass these exams, you earn college credit for what you already know.
Online bachelor degrees offered:
- Business Administration
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
- Cyber Security
- Healthcare Management
- Information Systems Management
- Information Technology
- Project Management
You also have the option of submitting an Experiential Learning Portfolio for credit.
Request more info from Colorado Tech.
You can see that each college has policies in place for getting your degree faster. But they are all different.
It always pays to check with your school to see what their policy is. You don’t want to end up spending more time in class than necessary. Check what your school offers, what their policies are, and you are on your way to a good fit.
Accelerated Online Classes – 6 Weeks or 8 Weeks?
Accelerated online classes are the other way to knock off classes quickly.
The time frame for the classes vary. Select the pace that best fits your schedule.
Using Liberty University as an Example
As an example of how quickly you can finish college with accelerated online classes, Liberty University allows you to take up to 3 classes per 8 weeks. Plus, they have a January intensive 3-week term.
- Take 3 classes during the Fall-1 term (8 weeks)
- Take 3 classes during the Fall-2 term (8 weeks)
- Take 1 class during the January intensive term (3 weeks)
- Take 3 classes during the Spring-1 term (8 weeks)
- Take 3 classes during the Spring-2 term (8 weeks)
- Take 3 classes during the summer session
Up for the challenge? Take a minute to see if Liberty University is a good match for you.
If you have the time (and energy) to maintain this course-load, you should be able to complete 16 classes in one year (48 credits).
Get College Credit for What You Already Know
Credit for prior learning (CPL) goes by a number of names. Sometimes, you’ll hear students ask if a university offers life experience credit or work experience credit.
The credit-granting policies vary widely by university, but it’s important to point out that accredited universities don’t just hand out college credits in exchange for a copy of your resume. To maintain academic quality and integrity, universities generally follow guidelines outlined by the American Council on Education (ACE).
With this in mind, some of the types of experience that may qualify include:
- ACE accredited corporate courses
- Excelsior Exams
- Advanced Placement Exams
- CLEP Exams
- Certified Professional Secretary Program
- Defense Language Proficiency Tests
- DANTES / DSST Exams
- International Baccalaureate
- Basic Law Enforcement and Corrections Training
- Military Service & Training (click here for detailed military credit information)
- Fire & Rescue Training Institute (FRTI) for the Associate in Science in Fire Service Administration
- Pilot’s License
- Real Estate License
- RN and LPN certification (for non-nursing degree students)
- Various types of professional licenses
Even if your experience is not listed here, that doesn’t mean your prior learning isn’t applicable to your degree. Reach out to a college advisor and ask them about their prior learning assessment program to see if you qualify.
Credit by Examination – The Fastest Way to Get College Credits
Instead of taking the classes, what if you just took a few multiple choice exams and got credit for it?
It sounds like a scam, but it’s completely legit and accepted by over 2,000 accredited universities.
The two most common exam programs that award college credit for passing scores are the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST).
- You choose an exam to take and register online, paying a small registration fee.
- Study like mad using a CLEP or DSST study guide (you can find these on Amazon).
- Set up an appointment at a test center near you to take the exam.
- Take the exam.
- Get college credits… without going to class!
Other Credit by Exam options available are:
- Thomas Edison State Credit (TECEP)
- New York University Language Exams
- Excelsior College Exams (ECE)
Most colleges will accept Credit by Exam as a way for you to get your credit hours fast.
How Fast Can I Get My Bachelors Degree?
How fast is fast? The average is usually 2.5 years due to university restrictions.
Regardless of the college you decide to attend, you can use these strategies; some colleges simply have more generous policies than others:
- Credit for prior learning
- Credit by exam
- Transfer credits
- Military training
- Professional licenses
- Similar non-traditional credit options
So, if you’re wondering how to get a degree fast (in the fastest time possible), select schools with the most generous policies.
I Need a Degree Fast!
Going back to school and getting a bachelor’s degree is really a life-changing decision. But it can be done quicker than you might think. Now that you know how to get a bachelor’s degree fast, are you ready to start changing your life?
What Is the Fastest Way to Get a Bachelor’s Degree?
The fastest way to get a bachelor’s degree is to:
- Enroll in accelerated online courses (6-week or 8-week online classes)
- Get credit for your experience (some colleges offer up to 1 year of college credit!)
- Test out of college courses
Using these three methods will allow you to earn college credits much more quickly. Plus, if you have any previous college credits, you should definitely transfer those credits into your new degree program (even if they simply fill up your degree program electives).
Don’t Forget Accreditation!
Before you get too excited and enroll in an online university, make sure it’s the real deal by checking its accreditation. Colleges that submit to and earn regional accreditation are respected by other educational institutions and employers. If a school isn’t accredited, there’s a high chance that its programs don’t meet the highest standards.
It’s best to enroll in a university that’s accredited by one of these independent 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)
When you attend an accredited school, you can be sure of receiving a high-quality education. Check the U.S. Department of Education’s database to see how each school ranks.
Financial Aid Opportunities
And, of course, don’t skip looking for all the financial aid opportunities available to you. You could qualify for:
- Deferred Loans
- Scholarships from the University or Private Organizations
- Work Programs
- Employee Tuition Reimbursement
Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Runners, to Your Mark!
Don’t waste any more time. There are plenty of online programs and ways to earn your college degree quickly. It’ll take some research to find the best school for you, and it’ll take some hard work finishing your degree. But you can do it! Thousands of students every semester.
Still have questions? Drop us a comment below!