Accelerated Degree Programs for Military Veterans

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams allow vet­er­ans to com­plete degrees faster than tra­di­tion­al pro­grams, which is ide­al for those eager to join the work­force or advance their careers.
  • Many pro­grams offer sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial sup­port for vet­er­ans, includ­ing cov­er­age of tuition and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al expens­es through the GI Bill and oth­er schol­ar­ships specif­i­cal­ly designed for vet­er­ans.
  • Vet­er­ans can choose from var­i­ous learn­ing for­mats such as online or on-cam­pus, and full-time or part-time, depend­ing on their per­son­al com­mit­ments and learn­ing preferences.
  • Some accel­er­at­ed pro­grams offer cred­it for mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence, which can fur­ther reduce the time and cost to com­plete a degree.

As a mil­i­tary vet­er­an, a good part of your life was like­ly spent on the front­lines, serv­ing your coun­try. As the aver­age age of a vet­er­an is between 35 and 54, there is a good chance that you will enroll in the army right after receiv­ing your high school diplo­ma. In this sce­nario, you may have not obtained a degree yet, with your pre­vi­ous role not offer­ing the time and place to do so.

Now that you are home, you may want to enter the work­force. How­ev­er, at this point in your life, enter­ing a 4‑year pro­gram might be too time-con­sum­ing for you. In this arti­cle, you may learn more about accel­er­at­ed degrees for vet­er­ans to deter­mine if they are the right choice for your needs.


Benefits of Accelerated Degree Programs for Veterans

Get­ting mil­i­tary vet­er­ans’ edu­ca­tion at an accel­er­at­ed rate can bring many ben­e­fits, includ­ing the following:

1. Time Efficiency

The aver­age bachelor’s degree takes around 4 years to com­plete. This time­line might be incon­ve­nient for vet­er­ans, espe­cial­ly if they want to join the work­force and earn an income as soon as pos­si­ble. With an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, you can get your degree in 2 years or less, allow­ing you to pur­sue your career goals at a faster rate. 

2. Financial Benefits

Per­haps one of the best rea­sons for vet­er­ans to get their accel­er­at­ed bachelor’s degree is that they can eas­i­ly obtain financ­ing. For the most part, vet­er­ans can get plen­ty of finan­cial ben­e­fits, includ­ing edu­ca­tion­al cov­er­age through the GI Bill. Not only can this cov­er tuition, but it can also help you han­dle hous­ing, school fees, sup­plies, and books. There are plen­ty of GI Bill eli­gi­ble pro­grams out there, and many of the insti­tu­tions offer schol­ar­ships and grants spe­cial­ly designed for veterans.

3. Career Advancement Opportunities

Despite the urban myth that the mil­i­tary can set you up for life, an aver­age of 7.5 per­cent of the vet­er­ans still live under the pover­ty line. Even if your income is still decent, your time away could have pre­vent­ed you from devel­op­ing skills nec­es­sary in the work­force. An accel­er­at­ed degree can make you eli­gi­ble for high­er-pay­ing jobs, improve job sat­is­fac­tion, and offer over­all finan­cial stability.

Types of Accelerated Degree Programs Available

Fast-track bachelor’s degrees come in dif­fer­ent forms, and you can choose based on your pre­ferred learn­ing style. These are the most com­mon options for veterans:

1. Online vs. On-Campus Programs

Vet­er­ans can often choose whether they want to study online or if they wish to join a cam­pus pro­gram. Both have some ben­e­fits and chal­lenges that you should consider.

· Online Programs

Accel­er­at­ed online pro­grams are often the pre­ferred choice for those look­ing for flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing. As many lec­tures are pre-record­ed, you can view them when­ev­er you can with­out com­mut­ing to the loca­tion. You can access them from any­where, as long as you have an Inter­net con­nec­tion, mak­ing them great if you relo­cate often.

· On-Campus Programs

If you are into net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, on-cam­pus pro­grams could be exact­ly what you are look­ing for. Class­es are tak­en inter­ac­tive­ly, mak­ing them a good option for those who thrive in such a learn­ing envi­ron­ment. While it requires your phys­i­cal pres­ence and offers lit­tle flex­i­bil­i­ty in cre­at­ing a sched­ule, you get the advan­tage of using their resources and materials.

2. Full-Time vs. Part-Time Options

Next, you may want to con­sid­er whether you should go for full-time or part-time accel­er­at­ed col­lege pro­grams. Full-time pro­grams are more inten­sive but allow you to enter the work­force much soon­er (usu­al­ly in around a year). Part-time pro­grams are less inten­sive and take 2–3 years to com­plete, but they make it eas­i­er for stu­dents to cre­ate a bal­ance. These are gen­er­al­ly good options if you have a job or a fam­i­ly to take care of.

High­er edu­ca­tion for vet­er­ans can take on dif­fer­ent forms, depend­ing on your area of inter­est. Here are the most pop­u­lar fields of study:

  • STEM Fields: Stand­ing for Sci­ence, Tech­nol­o­gy, Engi­neer­ing, and Math­e­mat­ics. This can land you a job in areas like engi­neer­ing, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, com­put­er sci­ences, and more.
  • Busi­ness: Busi­ness man­age­ment has become very sought-after in recent years since more than half of Gen Z are look­ing to start their own busi­ness. For that to hap­pen, they need some basic busi­ness skills, which they can acquire through an accel­er­at­ed program.
  • Edu­ca­tion: Those who want to trade their desk job for a class­room can look into the best col­leges for vet­er­ans to get their license. Whether you are search­ing for a career in cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment or as a teacher with your own class­room, such a degree will give you the nec­es­sary skills.
  • Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy (IT): IT is a notable career path nowa­days, as the pay­ment can be quite good. These online degrees for vet­er­ans can land you a role in soft­ware devel­op­ment, net­work admin­is­tra­tion, IT man­age­ment, and more.

In the end, your choice of career will most­ly depend on your affin­i­ty and goals for the future, as well as the skills you already have.

Evaluating the Best Accelerated Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans

Online degrees for vet­er­ans can be very effi­cient for get­ting you fur­ther into your career. The issue is that you must choose the pro­gram as smart­ly as possible.

Key Factors to Consider

No two pro­grams are the same, and you will have to eval­u­ate all aspects and fea­tures before apply­ing. This could include the following:

· Accreditation

The pro­gram you opt for needs to be accred­it­ed by a body rec­og­nized by the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion. There are count­less such bod­ies out there, and you should look for one rel­e­vant to your field.

· Support Services

Vet­er­ans can have a more chal­leng­ing time tran­si­tion­ing to civil­ian life, which is why they often need addi­tion­al sup­port. Look for pro­grams that offer a smooth mil­i­tary to col­lege tran­si­tion, includ­ing coun­sel­ing ser­vices, ded­i­cat­ed advi­sors, and more.

· Military Training Credit

Some pro­grams offer cred­it for under­go­ing mil­i­tary train­ing. This way, if you go through such class­es or train­ing options, you can speed your grad­u­a­tion up by trans­lat­ing vet­er­ans col­lege credits.

Programs Known for Their Veteran Support

There are plen­ty of vet­er­an-friend­ly uni­ver­si­ties where you can get your edu­ca­tion. Here are some of the most pop­u­lar options you can consider:

  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Campus
  • South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty Online
  • Ari­zona State University
  • Uni­ver­si­ty of Phoenix
  • Lib­er­ty University
  • Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty Global

All of these pro­grams usu­al­ly offer access to pro­grams such as vet­er­an schol­ar­ships and more. You could choose them based on prox­im­i­ty, but you should ensure they meet your edu­ca­tion­al needs.

Application Process for Accelerated Programs

Vet­er­an pro­grams have a sim­i­lar admis­sion pro­gram to the oth­er fast-track pro­grams, with per­haps just a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions that we will explain below:

1. Average Admission Requirements

Most pre­req­ui­sites include a diplo­ma for grad­u­at­ing high school, where­as some might need you to pro­vide stan­dard­ized test scores. If you com­plet­ed pre­vi­ous course­work, some may require you to pro­vide it, along with a let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion and a per­son­al statement.

2. Trading Experience for Credits

Many pro­grams offer mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence col­lege cred­it exchange, allow­ing you to fin­ish your class­es faster. This could also save mon­ey in the long run, as tuition is gen­er­al­ly paid through cred­its. Check whether or not the pro­gram of your choice offers this ben­e­fit and make your choice accordingly.

3. Seeking Financial Aid

One advan­tage of being a vet­er­an is get­ting access to var­i­ous finan­cial aid to com­plete your stud­ies. Besides the GI Bill, you also have options such as the Yel­low Rib­bon Pro­gram or Mil­i­tary Tuition Assis­tance (TA) for active-duty ser­vice personnel.

In addi­tion to ben­e­fits offered by the gov­ern­ment, you could also qual­i­fy for a vari­ety of finan­cial options like grants and schol­ar­ships. Most col­leges have their own tuition assis­tance pro­grams, so you should look into what they offer you.

Resources and Support Systems for Veteran Students

Vet­er­an stu­dents often have access to a vari­ety of resources and sup­port sys­tems, includ­ing on-cam­pus and online pro­grams. Whether you are look­ing for com­mu­ni­ty and sup­port forums or coun­sel­ing and career ser­vices, there are plen­ty of options for you to go for.

For exam­ple, Stu­dent Vet­er­ans of Amer­i­ca (SVA) clubs are found with­in mul­ti­ple uni­ver­si­ties in the Unit­ed States. The U.S. Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs (VA) also offers vet­er­an edu­ca­tion ben­e­fits through dif­fer­ent col­leges. You should do your research and look into each pro­gram to see what resources they offer.

The Bottom Line

It is nev­er too late to get your edu­ca­tion, even if you are a mil­i­tary vet­er­an. Once you put it in your mind to start study­ing, accel­er­at­ed pro­grams can make the tran­si­tion much more man­age­able. They are flex­i­ble, have a short­er dura­tion, and allow you to keep your day job while you get your edu­ca­tion. Plus, as a vet­er­an, you get plen­ty of oth­er ben­e­fits that you would not have got­ten as an aver­age civil­ian. You just need to learn how to take advan­tage of them and choose the pro­gram with the most features.



US Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs