Full-time students enrolled in a traditional bachelor’s degree will usually graduate in four years’ time or, sometimes, even longer. Such a time frame seems too long to some students, especially those who plan to get a job and earn money the soonest and those who are already working but plan to return to school. This is where accelerated online degree programs come into the picture.
In the context of accelerated degree programs, learners receive an equal level of education but spend less time studying. This article lists down the top online schools with accelerated bachelor’s degrees, as well as the most sought-after accelerated bachelor’s programs, typical program time frame, and accelerated bachelor’s degree program cost.
Top Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Table of Contents
Now, the question is: what is an accelerated online degree? An accelerated online degree typically comprises compacted online classes (Online Schools Center, n.d.). While students still take similar courses like in a traditional college, they do so under a shorter time frame. When used for virtual setups, on-campus materials make online degrees highly rigorous.
An accelerated online degree mostly interests students who have huge attendance gaps in college and first-time professionals or returning students who cannot afford to leave their jobs or familial obligations but aim to advance their academic and professional backgrounds (Best Colleges, n.d.). Students can attend these classes on a flexible schedule and wherever they may be.
Is there a special requirement for an accelerated degree program?
General admission requirements, such as a high school diploma, GED certificate, official transcripts, essays, recommendation letters, SAT/ACT scores, and an application fee, may still be required from applicants. Some programs may also expect a work experience in the major course, in which, professional portfolios would be required. Others may require an associate degree or transfer credits as well (CollegeChoice.net, 2021).
Accelerated degree programs are indeed faster to finish, but students must enroll full-time to keep abreast with the coursework. There are no special requirements for these programs, but you need to be a nontraditional and a fast learner. You may also equip yourself with relevant resources, reference materials, and necessary guides before starting your class (Fremont College, n.d).
Can you get an online degree faster?
The next question is: can you get an online degree faster? The time it takes to finish an online degree varies by school, the statutory number of credits, and the number of weeks the accelerated programs last. (Best Colleges, n.d.). Classes in these programs typically last four to 10 weeks, and the entire degree can be earned in a span of three years or less.
Willingness, determination, motivation, and discipline also play huge roles in finishing this degree as it still entails in-depth yet fast-moving coursework.
What American Students Look for in an Online Learning Program
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Source: EducationData.org, 2021
How do employers perceive accelerated online degrees?
Sean R. Gallagher, EdD led the Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy‘s national research survey titled “Educational Credentials Come of Age: A Survey on the Use and Value of Educational Credentials in Hiring.” A total of 750 human resources (HR) leaders of various industries participated in this study. One of its key points is how online credentials are now becoming more common and, in turn, changing employers’ views toward it. “As of 2018, a solid majority of HR leaders—61%—believes that credentials earned online are of generally equal quality to those completed in-person, as described in the figure below.”
Source: Northeastern University College of Professional Studies, 2018
The growth in the recognized quality of online credentials is navigated by a number of elements. “Each year, millions more Americans are completing credentials online, and as a result, this once novel mode of educational attainment is something HR leaders have encountered or experienced more often. 71% report that they have personally hired someone who holds a degree or credential completed online. Yet, it is also notable that for well over one-third of employers (39%), the notion that online credentials are second-class still remains.”
Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Program Cost
Based on National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, the median attendance cost (inclusive of tuition, fees, and room and board) for full-time bachelor’s degree first year students at public schools is $19,204. Saving a semester or two off a degree could make you put more than $9,500 in your pocket. Nevertheless, the real amount that could be saved with accelerated degree programs will depend on tuition, scholarships, and required credits (Gobel, 2021).
Are accelerated bachelor’s degrees a worthy investment?
With less time spent in school, students pay less for the cost of an accelerated bachelor’s degree. This degree allows students to become qualified job candidates in the shortest time possible and professionals to switch careers and earn a higher income.
A college degree leads to varied career paths. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, predicts that accountants and auditors, registered nurses, and other college graduate jobs will grow by over 100,000 between 2016 and 2026 (Best Colleges, n.d.).
Top 10 Colleges Offering Accelerated Programs
So, what colleges offer accelerated programs? Enumerated below are the top online schools with accelerated bachelor’s degrees. Learn more about how each school can provide you with a solid academic background by visiting their respective websites.
1. Trine University
Accelerated Program Length: 6 – 8 weeks
TrineOnline, Trine University’s online branch, imposes policies suitable for transfer students. The online university comprises a competent faculty and a robust roster of accelerated online bachelor’s degrees. Online students at TrineOnline benefit from lifetime access to the university’s career hub, which can help them search for jobs and other helpful resources.
Some accelerated programs offered on TrineOnline are accounting, human resource management, information systems, communication, and psychology, just to name a few.
Trine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university’s business degrees are also endorsed by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Tuition: $399/credit hour
2. Arizona State University
Accelerated Program Length: 7.5 weeks
Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the leading research institutes in the U.S. The university offers more than 60 different online accelerated degrees to students, which can be finished in three years or less.
Accelerated programs at ASU include applied science, art, biochemistry, biological sciences, business, communication, computer information systems, economics, and more.
Tuition: $399 – $1,153/credit hour
3. Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Accelerated Program Length: 7.5 weeks
Pennsylvania State University offers accelerated programs in nursing through World Campus. These programs enable registered nurses to upgrade their qualifications and fast-track their career paths while working at the same time.
Most accelerated degree requirements can be fulfilled online, but they involve clinical hour prerequisites that must be fulfilled in person.
Tuition: $576 – $617/credit hour
4. LeTourneau University
Accelerated Program Length: 5 weeks
LeTourneau University (LETU) is a well-recognized polytechnic university that carries out career training courses based on Christian ideology. Being one of the best online colleges with accelerated programs, LETU alumni have a 95% graduate placement percentage in a span of six months and an exceptional licensure examination passing percentage. More than a quarter of LETU’s students take their degrees online.
The online programs at LeTourneau are computer information systems, human services, criminal justice, cybersecurity, psychology, and more.
Among online schools with accelerated programs, LETU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university’s programs in engineering, nursing, and education are all accredited.
Tuition: $355 – $800/credit hour
5. Regis University
Accelerated Program Length: 5 – 8 weeks
Regis University is ranked as one of the best private universities in Colorado. The university delivers four online undergraduate degrees, with accelerated accomplishment options. It also implements a 13-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, guaranteeing that students can interact well with their teachers.
Regis offers accelerated programs in elementary education, computer science, communication, and business administration.
Tuition: $450 – $850/credit hour
6. University of North Dakota
Accelerated Program Length: 3 – 5 years
University of North Dakota (UND) online students have four options when it comes to accelerated education and public health programs. All study options merge bachelor’s with master’s degrees to expedite students’ path to sophisticated credentials.
UND boasts an alternating class schedule, letting students enroll anytime and learn at their own pace. These classes can be completed within three months.
Accelerated programs available at UND are public health, elementary education, and early childhood education.
Tuition: $342/credit hour
7. University of Louisiana at Monroe
Accelerated Program Length: 2 years
Virtual learners have 14 fast online bachelor’s degree programs to choose from at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Other students complete programs in two years, with some reducing their timelines even more due to transfer credits. The university also supports prior learning assessment (PLA) options, attracting students planning to upgrade their academic credentials while working.
ULM offers accelerated programs in criminal justice, political science, modern languages, history, psychology, business administration, marketing, management, nursing, and more.
In three years or less, online students of Bay Path University can already finish their courses. The university’s 16 online bachelor’s degree programs have accelerated options that can help students save one or more years. These programs are available to students with at least a 3.0 GPA.
Bay Path’s American Women’s College only accepts female applicants with other major qualifications. Accounting, business administration, marketing, interior design, and small business development are some of the accelerated programs offered at this university.
Tuition: $400/credit hour
9. University of Alabama
Accelerated Program Length: 4 – 6 semesters
University of Alabama has an accelerated program in nursing, a viable option for registered nurses seeking to improve their career path and salary potential. Students must complete the remaining requirements on fundamental general education first before enrolling.
Required nursing online classes include informatics in health care, organizational and systems leadership, and research and evidence-based practice. Students must finish three courses to complete 540 clinical hours, and they also have the choice to write a thesis.
Tuition: $375 – $420/credit hour
10. Southern New Hampshire University
Accelerated Program Length: 3 years
Southern New Hampshire University identifies its accelerated programs as “degree in three” study journeys. This roster includes 11 majors, as of the 2019-2020 academic year. Students planning to finish their degrees in compressed timelines gain from instructions that are focused on applied learning. Some students who prefer to take substantial community-based and on-campus seminars and events to boost their studies can personally attend the classes.
The university offers accelerated programs in accounting, business administration, business analytics, economics and finance, fashion merchandising and management, and more.
Tuition: $295 – $320/credit hour
Most Sought-After Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Nearly all types of degrees can be taken either partially or fully online nowadays, but some majors are more popular than others. Students commonly enroll in accelerated degree programs in marketing, business, IT, psychology, and communication. These majors all have the same distinct attributes: they offer flexibility and lead to a promising career path (College Consensus, n.d.).
Bachelor’s in Marketing. A bachelor’s in marketing trains students in selling a product or service, as well as in communicating with people. In this major, students will be taught how to match marketing approaches with company goals and maintain business ethics at the same time.
Bachelor’s in Business Administration. In the bachelor’s in business administration major, students will learn how to run an organization. These programs emphasize skills in problem-solving, leadership, and entrepreneurship to equip students for managerial roles. Programs in business administration may include specializations in accounting, finance, and human resource management.
Bachelor’s in Information Technology Management. Bachelor’s in information technology management programs teach students about the ethics of using technology in business. These programs also teach data manipulation, organizational restructuring, and system design and maintenance strategies.
Bachelor’s in Psychology. Bachelor’s in psychology programs teach students about psychological theories. These programs also teach organization, data analysis, ethics, and communication skills.
Bachelor’s in Communication. A bachelor’s in communication covers approaches in communication across media platforms. This program may offer specializations in news media, business communication, and public relations.
Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Program Jobs
Landing an esteemed occupation is one of the many reasons why students go to college. Here are some of the best accelerated degree program jobs.
Computer and Information Systems Management. Computer and information systems managers are tasked to oversee computer-related activities and processes in organizations. They make sure that computer systems operate efficiently. This role is expected to have a 10% increase rate until 2029.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Management. Marketing entry-level positions require at least a relevant bachelor’s degree, while managerial ones require a bachelor’s degree in journalism or advertising. This role is projected to grow by 6% until 2029.
Technical Writing. Technical writers create articles, manuals, how-to guides, and other write-ups planned to disseminate technical information. These writers are mostly desired in computer technology and engineering industries, and they are also qualified in many sectors such as education and manufacturing. This role is predicted to grow by 7% in the next 10 years.
Management Analysis. Management analysts play a vital role across industries as they recommend the best approaches to improve business operations. The career growth percentage for this role is stable at 18%.
Human Resources Management. Human resources managers are needed in companies of all types and sizes as they plan and direct the entire administration of an organization. They hire, recruit, and mediate between employees and management; hence they serve as an organization’s strategist and diplomat. This role is predicted to have a 6% growth over the next 10 years.
How much do accelerated bachelor’s degree holders earn?
Accelerated bachelor’s degree holders can expand their career options and improve their earning capacity. According to the BLS, the average salary for a computer and information systems manager is $146,360; advertising, promotions, and marketing manager is $135,900; technical writer is $72,850; management analyst is $82,450; and human resources manager is $116,720.
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Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S.
Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S. Computer and information systems manager: $146,360
Computer and information systems manager
Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S. Advertising, promotions, and marketing manager: $135,900
Advertising, promotions, and marketing manager
Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S. Technical writer : $72,850
Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S. Management analyst: $82,450
Earning Capacity of Accelerated Degree Holders in the U.S. Human resources manager: $116,720
Human resources manager
Choosing an Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree
Even before the COVID-19 struck the world in 2020, online learning has already been rampant. In the NCES 2019 study, it was revealed that nearly seven million out of 20 million college students in the U.S. were enrolled in online classes (Wirtz, 2020). But how do you choose the right online degree?
Research your target school and program first as employers will ensure the legitimacy of your obtained degree (Cromwelle, n.d.). Regional accreditation is more preferred because it enables students to quickly transfer credits between accredited schools. Accreditation may also be awarded to individual programs.
Accreditation indicates the quality of a school, and it also means that you will be eligible for federal financial help (OnlineU, 2021). Bodies that accredit a school or program are as follows:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
New England Commission of Higher Education
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
WASC Senior College and University Commission
Students taking accelerated bachelor’s degrees are still eligible for financial assistance. In fact, most of these degrees offer financial help through grants, scholarships, or loans.
Diversity of Majors
Choose a major that will let you major in your desired area of study. If undecided, choose a school that will provide you with diverse major options.
Online Accelerated Programs: To Take or Not to Take?
Online accelerated programs make learning more accessible and manageable for students who find traditional schools unappealing or inconvenient. (Online Schools Center, n.d.). These programs may now be also deemed a practical option for many. However, speed does not necessarily mean easy and they do not guarantee a hassle-free education. Some students also like to take their time by having personal interactions with their classmates and instructors while learning, which makes the traditional setting more suitable for them.
Not all students are alike, especially in terms of advantages, strengths, limitations, opportunities, and expectations. If you choose your degree based on quality and your objectives, you will never have to worry about dealing with crucial problems that may arise (Nelson, 2017).
Best Colleges. (n.d.). The Best Online Schools with Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees. Best Colleges.
College Consensus. (n.d.). 10 Easiest Online Degrees to Get for the Future. College Consensus.
College Consensus. (n.d.). Top 25 Best Online Degrees Most Likely to Get You a Job. College Consensus.