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 bachlor’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.
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!