What Are the Prerequisites for Accelerated IT Degree Programs?

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Being famil­iar with com­put­er sys­tems, pro­gram­ming, and net­work­ing basics often serves as a foun­da­tion for accel­er­at­ed IT programs.
  • Some pro­grams want you to have a bach­e­lor’s degree or class­es relat­ed to the field. But if you have job expe­ri­ence instead of for­mal edu­ca­tion, some pro­grams might still accept you.
  • Stan­dard­ized tests like the SAT, ACT or spe­cif­ic IT-relat­ed tests may be required to gauge appli­cants’ tech­ni­cal and ana­lyt­i­cal abilities.

Accel­er­at­ed IT Degree pro­grams are a good way for work­ing adults to get fast IT degrees. An accel­er­at­ed pro­gram can offer more flex­i­bil­i­ty when their busy sched­ules won’t allow them to attend a tra­di­tion­al pro­gram full-time. If you work in the IT field espe­cial­ly, you may real­ize that pro­mo­tion is far away with­out a degree, mak­ing it a neces­si­ty to earn one.

That said, while just about any­one can enter an accel­er­at­ed IT pro­gram, not every­one is rec­om­mend­ed to. Par­tic­u­lar pre­req­ui­sites are nec­es­sary so that you can qual­i­fy for such a degree. In this arti­cle, you will learn more about accel­er­at­ed IT degree pro­grams so that you can deter­mine if you are eligible.


Understanding Accelerated IT Degree Programs

Before learn­ing the IT degree pre­req­ui­sites, you need to under­stand what these pro­grams are. This way, you can see whether or not they are the cor­rect choice for you:

What Are Accelerated IT Degree Programs?

An accel­er­at­ed IT (Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy) degree pro­gram is a short­er ver­sion of a tra­di­tion­al uni­ver­si­ty one. Here, you can study the same amount of course­work in a short­er time than at a con­ven­tion­al uni­ver­si­ty. This can save you time and help you move for­ward with your career.

Typical Duration and Structure

The dura­tion of an accel­er­at­ed IT pro­gram is 8 weeks per semes­ter, half of the 16 weeks that the tra­di­tion­al pro­gram requires. The accel­er­at­ed bachelor’s pro­gram takes around 1–2 years to com­plete, which is a great time saver com­pared to the 4 years of a typ­i­cal uni­ver­si­ty pro­gram. With that in mind, the dura­tion could also depend on the type of pro­gram you opt for, as some are longer than others.

Types of Degrees Available

Depend­ing on your goals, there are dif­fer­ent types of degrees that you can go for, includ­ing the following:

  • Associate’s Degree in IT: A type of post-sec­ondary degree usu­al­ly obtained right after high school that lasts an aver­age of 6 months.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in IT: Avail­able for under­grad­u­ates after reach­ing their final years of the first uni­ver­si­ty cycle, the accel­er­at­ed course can last 1–3 years.
  • Master’s Degree in IT: Proof of advanced knowl­edge, they are opt­ed for once a bachelor’s degree has been obtained and can last 8–12 months.
  • Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in IT: It’s a type of cre­den­tial offered to those who have demon­strat­ed a par­tic­u­lar skill and can be com­plet­ed in as lit­tle as 3 months.

Know­ing your lev­el before opt­ing for the degree is essen­tial so you can get the most ben­e­fits out of it.

General Prerequisites for Accelerated IT Programs

For the most part, accel­er­at­ed IT degree pro­grams are avail­able for every­one wish­ing to obtain their degree or get deep­er knowl­edge on a spe­cif­ic mat­ter. With that in mind, the pre­req­ui­sites below apply to most accel­er­at­ed IT degree programs.

1. High School Diploma or Equivalent

Ide­al­ly, when opt­ing for an accel­er­at­ed IT degree, it is rec­om­mend­ed to have a high school diplo­ma or some equiv­a­lent that’s proof of edu­ca­tion. Ide­al­ly, your major should be in com­put­er sci­ences as well, but you can also apply if you took class­es on the subject.

2. Relevant Work Experience or Prior Learning Assessments

Some peo­ple begin their career in IT not through edu­ca­tion but with pre­vi­ous work expe­ri­ence. Per­haps you got into an entry-lev­el job that did not require too much knowl­edge on the sub­ject or received an intern­ship where you learned how to do the work. In this case, get­ting the degree might help advance you into a high­er position.

3. Standardized Test Scores

Stan­dard­ized test scores such as SATs or ACTs are pre­req­ui­sites for fast IT degrees. These are nec­es­sary because they show your per­for­mance in a spe­cif­ic top­ic. While the score does not nec­es­sar­i­ly need to be the high­est, it must be a pass­ing one.

4. Technical Skills or Foundational Knowledge

If you have a high school diplo­ma that shows you grad­u­at­ed, but it’s not in IT, one pre­req­ui­site could be fun­da­men­tal knowl­edge or tech­ni­cal skills. Per­haps you taught your­self how to work with spe­cif­ic IT pro­grams and want to get a degree to prove your knowl­edge. In that case, an accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram could help you obtain qual­i­fi­ca­tions to acti­vate in the domain. 

Specific Prerequisites for Different Types of IT Degrees

Each type of IT pro­gram might have spe­cif­ic pre­req­ui­sites, as their lev­els are dif­fer­ent. This can include the following:

1. Associate’s Degrees

An associate’s degree in IT pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment may have dif­fer­ent pre­req­ui­sites, depend­ing on the pro­gram that you are going for. That said, most of them require that you have at least a high school diplo­ma or a GED cer­tifi­cate. Some might also ask for a min­i­mum GPA to apply.

2. Bachelor’s Degrees

Most bachelor’s degree pre­req­ui­sites are more or less the same as the associate’s degree. How­ev­er, some might also require trans­fer cred­its if you fol­lowed oth­er pro­grams like Inter­na­tion­al Bac­calau­re­ate (IB) or Advanced Place­ment (IP). Pre­vi­ous learn­ing assess­ments or work expe­ri­ence could also be required.

3. Certifications and Bootcamps

Cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and IT boot­camps have few­er pre­req­ui­sites, as they are less inten­sive than bachelor’s degrees. In this case, you will like­ly need a train­ing course, some work expe­ri­ence, or min­i­mal edu­ca­tion­al back­ground. For boot­camps, you will most­ly need just some basic skills, such as the abil­i­ty to use stan­dard com­put­er programs.

How to Choose Affordable Programs

Not all accel­er­at­ed IT pro­grams are priced the same, so you must do your research to find the most con­ve­nient ones. Below is a guide to some afford­able IT degrees that you can follow.

Tips to Consider when Doing Your Research

Find­ing the best IT cer­ti­fi­ca­tions fast track can be pret­ty chal­leng­ing if you do not know what to look into. Here are some aspects to keep in mind:

  • Com­pare Tuition: Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are often less expen­sive than the tra­di­tion­al ones, but they aren’t all the same. Con­sid­er the tuition costs for the entire course for mul­ti­ple pro­grams and cross-ref­er­ence with the class­es they cov­er. This way, you want to get the most out of your payment.
  • Con­sid­er Online Class­es: There are afford­able online IT cours­es you can go for, and the main advan­tage is that you won’t have to pay for the class­room space or com­mute to attend them.
  • Explore Pri­or Learn­ing Cred­it: Some accel­er­at­ed IT degree class­es could help you earn cred­it through pre­vi­ous learn­ing (i.e., indus­try cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, past class­es, and work expe­ri­ence). This could help bypass some of the cours­es, cut­ting the tuition costs.

The soon­er you start research­ing your course options, the bet­ter your chances are of find­ing an afford­able alter­na­tive. Bear in mind that the cheap­est quick IT cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are not always the best. So always check the course­work and ensure it meets your needs.

Researching Financial Options

Some insti­tu­tions offer finan­cial aid for IT degrees to those who enroll in their accel­er­at­ed pro­grams. Check if the one you want to choose offers schol­ar­ships, grants, or loans that you could use. While the total tuition cost for a reg­u­lar pro­gram is around $60,000, you could still have to pay between $20,000 and $40,000 for the accel­er­at­ed option. Find­ing financ­ing for it could make things easier.

Application Process and Useful Tips

Once you find the best course option, it is time to apply. Below, you will find an IT degree appli­ca­tion guide to make mat­ters more man­age­able for you.

How to Apply for Accelerated IT Degree Programs

When opt­ing for accel­er­at­ing learn­ing in IT, there are cer­tain steps that you have to go through, including:

  1. Research the pro­gram to find one that has the prop­er struc­ture for your needs
  2. Review the admis­sion require­ments to ensure you meet all of them
  3. Pre­pare the required appli­ca­tion materials
  4. Com­plete your appli­ca­tion form with rel­e­vant data
  5. Write a com­pelling essay or per­son­al statement
  6. Gath­er let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion from your employ­ers or past teachers
  7. Sub­mit your appli­ca­tion before the deadline

All that is left at this point is to wait for the response and pre­pare for a poten­tial interview.

Importance of Meeting with an Academic Advisor

Before opt­ing for accel­er­at­ed learn­ing in IT, you might want to con­sid­er talk­ing with an aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sor. They could guide you through the process if you haven’t found a course that meets your require­ments. An advi­sor could also help you find a course that com­ple­ments your expe­ri­ence, eval­u­at­ing poten­tial trans­fer cred­it options.

Recommendations for Balancing Speed, Cost, and Quality

Before apply­ing, ensure that the phys­i­cal or online IT degree you opt for comes from a rep­utable insti­tu­tion. Flex­i­ble pro­grams are the best option, espe­cial­ly if you bal­ance a job with your class­es. You should also make sure that the com­ple­tion time aligns with your per­son­al goals, espe­cial­ly if you want the degree for advance­ment. It’s no use apply­ing for an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram if you can’t obtain your degree when it’s actu­al­ly needed.

The Bottom Line

Pre­req­ui­sites for accel­er­at­ed IT pro­grams are often less com­plex than the ones need­ed for tra­di­tion­al cours­es, but you should still con­sid­er them care­ful­ly. Browse through the options and see which one you qual­i­fy for with the knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence, and diplo­mas you own.