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Colleges and universities offer online degree completion programs to allow students who already have some amount of credits from previous upper-education courses, and are looking to go back to school to complete their degree. Therefore, the amount of time it will take to complete your degree will depend on the amount of credits you are transferring in. Many schools allow up to 90 credits to transfer, meaning that you would be able to finish up your Bachelor’s degree in one year or less.

Most online degree completion programs are designed to support students who work full-time job by utilizing the schedule flexibility of online classes to complete their degree. Increasing your academic credentials can often lead to promotion in your current career field, allowing your investment into an online degree completion program to be paid back quickly.

For reference to some of the fastest online Bachelor Degree programs, check out our list of the 30 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degrees. Let’s take a look at some of the best strategies that can help you finish your online degree completion program in as little time as possible.

Transfer Credits

If you are looking for a degree completion program, that means that you have already earned some amount of credits that will count towards your degree. Maybe you went to community college after high school and earned some credit hours. In order to complete your degree in the least amount of time, you will want to transfer as many of those college credits as possible.

Most schools require you to complete some amount of their courses to be eligible for their diploma, but the minimum requirements differ by school. Some schools only allow Bachelor degree students to transfer 60 credits from other institutions, but there are a handful of schools that allow you to transfer more than that. Schools like Fisher College, Indiana Wesleyan, and Becker College allow their students to transfer up to 90 credits towards their Bachelor’s.

There are also schools, like Liberty University, that will award you credits for professional experience, work experience, or internships, so you should be sure to exhaust all of your options for transferring the maximum amount of credits into your online college degree completion program.

You may also place out of courses with CLEP exams or Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school.

Find Accelerated Courses

The typical college semester takes 15 weeks to complete, though there are many schools which offer accelerated online courses (also called fast track) that can be completed in a shorter amount of time. Your course load will be lower, but accelerated degree programs stack up college courses in 6-8 week blocks so learners take less time. Enrollment can often start multiple times a year, and a full-time student can finish in a little as a year (though part-time will take longer). While some accelerated courses are in-person, online education is more common.

Schools like Lamar University, Park University, and Charter Oak State College offer accelerated online classes that can be completed in eight weeks. Some schools, like Upper Iowa University, offer Self-Paced degree programs that allow students to complete their coursework as fast or slow as it suits them. Finishing quickly also means less in financial aid.

For more information on whether or not an accelerated online degree is right for you, check out our article that goes into detail about Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Programs: The Advantages and Disadvantages.

Take a Heavier Credit Load

The typical credit load for a single semester in a Bachelor degree program is 15 credits, and most schools will allow you to take 18 credits. Many schools allow students to take more than the 18 credit limit if they have special permission from their academic advisor. In addition, many schools offer accelerated summer courses that allow students to finish the credits they need for a fast graduation.

A four-year degree, like a traditional bachelor of arts or bachelor of science, is the standard of higher education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that college graduates make more than workers with only a high school diploma. Your career path will be clearer, and your earning potential will be higher.


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