Two-year bachelor’s degree programs sound like a hoax because squeezing four years of study into 24 months would be too good to be true. However, two-year bachelor’s degrees do exist with one caveat: they’re reserved for transfer credits from community college. Two-year bachelor’s options are really degree completion programs intended for returning adults who’ve finished associate degrees or equivalent semester hours at other accredited colleges.
Nontraditional students taking this accelerated track usually attend evening, weekend, or online courses to build atop their A.A/A.S. degree foundation. Some graduate faster than two years by transferring more credit hours from community college, taking CLEP exams, and getting credit for work experience. Today’s higher education market is increasingly flexible for students aged 21 and older to advance in two-year bachelor’s degree programs, and then to a graduate degree.
Why Get a 2-Year Bachelor’s Degree?
Earning a degree to get your career started or to increase your earning potential in your current career can feel overwhelming and even confusing at times. Many people are discouraged when they consider that a bachelor’s degree program will usually take up to four years to complete. If you are already employed or if you have other obligations right now, this can seem like an impossible amount of time. An associate degree takes two years, not a bachelor’s.
The good news is that there are ways to earn a regular bachelor’s degree in only two years. This type of undergraduate degree program usually takes four years to complete with traditional methods, but with careful planning and by using alternative credit earning methods, such as you can earn in community colleges, you can speed up this process.
These types of programs allow students to fast-track their educational goals so that they can get started on their careers or further their careers quickly. If you have been wondering can you get a bachelor’s degree in 2 years, here are some frequently asked questions to help you navigate this great educational option.
What Are The Benefits of A 2 Year Bachelor Degree?
One of the most important things to consider is the why behind making this type of decision concerning your undergraduate degree. When most university students are perfectly happy to take four years to complete their bachelor’s degree program, why are you considering a two-year option? There are many benefits to this route.
Money- The less time you spend in school the less money you will spend as well. Most colleges calculate tuition based on credit hours. When you can decrease these credit hours, you can cut your tuition costs way down. College costs are constantly on the rise in the U.S. Any way that students can save on expenses will help them start their careers with better financial security. Community colleges are also low-cost ways to earn college credits toward a professional degree.
Time- When you are getting ready to start your career, time is an important consideration. Many students are wondering can you get a bachelor’s degree in 2 years because they are anxious to get their careers started. For those who are already employed, they may be needing to increase their earning potential. As the cost of living is increasing in our country, these are legitimate considerations and worries that students have. The more quickly you can get yourself established in a solid career, the better you will be able to provide for yourself and your family. A 2-year bachelor degree in professional programs can help you accomplish this.
Starting Late- If you got off to a slow start with your education, or you chose to take a gap year in between high school and college, a 2-year bachelor degree can help you catch up and stay on track. For many people, starting their career by a certain age is a top priority. However, life sometimes gets in the way of these plans. If your educational path got sidetracked, or you purposefully took time off, you may be wondering can you get a two-year bachelor degree to catch up. You can use this educational option to keep your dreams on track.
How Do Two-Year Bachelor’s Degrees Work?
Colleges usually put their own unique spin on two-year bachelor’s programs, but all require satisfying 60+ credit hours bachelor’s degree requirements for the liberal arts and sciences core before a degree completion program. A general liberal studies program can be a foundation for many majors, not just a liberal studies bachelor.
General education courses like fine arts and computer science are some of the most common college classes and the basis of associate degrees. Adults then complete two years of primarily major-related, upper-division college courses for field advancement. For example, a B.A. in Psychology degree completion program would likely constitute courses for brain science, personality, stress management, and clinical counseling rather than history or English.
Two-year bachelor’s degrees frequently compress these advanced topics into five-, eight- and 10-week sessions for accelerated learning. Online college might have a set login time or 24/7 free-reign access for their baccalaureate degree completion programs. Though convenient, remember two-year bachelor’s degrees will be just as rigorous as the junior and senior year on-campus.
Can I Use Work Experience To Earn Credit Quickly?
Another great way to speed up your bachelor’s degree is to use work experience to earn credit hours. Most schools will allow students to use relevant work experience to apply toward their higher education degree.
Work experience policies for bachelor programs vary greatly from school to school. A liberal arts college may be less likely to take work experience for undergraduate programs than a research-oriented university, for instance. Professional degrees may happily accept work experience, on the other hand – a professional studies program will love students with experience. It will be important for you to do your research to find out what the policies are at your particular school.
It is also a good idea to research policies at many different schools. If you are wondering can you get a bachelor degree in 2 years then you will want to set a priority on attending a school that has very generous policies on earning credit in non-traditional ways, such as through work experience.
Is Prior Learning Accepted for College Credit?
Prior learning is yet another way you can quickly earn a bachelor’s degree in 2 years. Just like with work experience, each school will have its own unique policies regarding this option. You will need to do a lot of research to fully understand how these policies work for each school’s bachelor degrees. You will then want to plan out how you will use these policies to your advantage.
Most schools will have a procedure for evaluating your prior learning. This prior learning could have come through job training or real-life experience you have participated in.
Will Fast Track Courses Help Me Earn A Degree Quickly?
If you are wondering can you get a bachelor degree in 2 years, you will definitely want to check out schools that offer fast-track courses. A fast-track course (accelerated programs) will give you the opportunity to work through the course material at an accelerated pace so that you can complete college credit quickly.
This option is best suited for students who are highly motivated and have a great tolerance for self-guidance. If you need a professor walking you through each step of the way, accelerated degree programs will not be a good option for your bachelor degrees.
It is important that you can organize your educational tasks efficiently and meet deadlines precisely in order to make this option work best for you.
Benefits of Finishing a Bachelor’s in Two Years
Adults heading back to college will discover that two-year bachelor’s programs are the most easily scheduled around work or life obligations. Degree completion students maximize their credit transfers, using their existing college credits to finish a bachelor’s that’s virtually required in many fields. Two-year bachelor’s graduates find new careers like sales engineer, software developer, financial advisor, airline pilot, operations manager, and secondary teacher suddenly opened.
Since bachelor’s degrees are so respected by employers, graduates have a lower unemployment rate (2.7 percent) than associate holders (3.6 percent). Pursuing the two-year bachelor’s degree could make you appear more ambitious, well-rounded, skilled, and innovative during interviews. A CareerBuilder survey found that 56 percent of employers have raised their degree requirements.
Unless you’ve chosen a technical job like chef or electrician, a bachelor’s degree will help get your foot in the door and better secure your position. Employers value higher education, so you’ll be less likely to get axed during the next recession. According to the College Board, this security translates into job and life satisfaction with 70 percent of bachelor’s grads reporting regular exercise. Bachelor’s-level jobs more frequently add economic perks like insurance, 401k retirement plans, vacation time, and bonuses. This builds even greater value atop the higher average starting salary for bachelor’s grads ($43,200) than associate grads ($35,100). Many folks attending two-year bachelor’s programs also simply want to expand their wealth of knowledge.
Getting your bachelor of arts or science degree quickly from a regionally-accredited school also means you can move on to a graduate degree faster, like master’s degrees, law degrees, and even doctoral degrees (but not medical degrees). Some doctorate degrees allow student to jump right in, earning their master’s degrees along the way. A doctoral degree, and graduate degrees in general, are a whole other kettle of fish, though. Your master degree can make a difference, even if it’s not your final degree.
Tips for Finding Credible Two-Year Bachelor’s Programs
Research is essential to select the right two-year baccalaureate and avoid falling for money-wasting scams. Always prioritize regional accreditation because it means the college exceeds quality standards, is recognized for credit transfers, and gifts federal financial aid. The NCES reports that the enrollment of adults over age 24 hit 8.1 million in 2015, so look for colleges that attract higher percentages of nontraditional students than fresh-faced freshmen. Search helpful resources like the College Navigator for bachelor’s distance education by your major and budget limit. Review published rankings; for instance, Washington Monthly updates the “Best Colleges for Adult Learners” each September. Also check into two-year bachelor’s programs’ transfer credits policies, scheduling flexibility, cohort sizes, reputation, and prices.
Can I Sit for Exams To Earn A 2 Year Bachelor Degree?
Most students do not realize that attending classes and completing courses is not the only way to obtain credit for college. Understanding the many different ways you can earn credits towards your degree will be crucial to completing your 2 year bachelor degree – the same length as a master’s degree.
The best way to earn credit without spending time in class is to sit for CLEP exams. These exams will evaluate your grasp of many core classes more than your grade point average. You can study for these exams independently and then pay a fee for the test itself. The fees associated with these exams are far less expensive than the price you would pay for the course itself. Choosing CLEP exams for credit will save you both time and money. You should take some time to review which credit you can obtain through CLEP exams so that you can plan your 2-year bachelor degree accordingly.
It is important to talk with the school you plan to attend to find out if they accept these exams for credit. Some schools provide their own exams for credit which can still save you time and money (which you can put forward to your graduate degree).
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Accredited Two-Year Bachelor’s Degree Examples
Using the above methods, we’ve stumbled across hundreds of worthy two-year bachelor’s degree completion programs recognized by the colleges and schools commission, so let’s review some of the brightest examples. Regionally-accredited programs are important. Palmetto College is a University of South Carolina branch that has 14 online two-year bachelor’s options, including the B.S. in Hospitality Management, B.A. in Elementary Education, and B.S. in Health Promotion. On the other coast, Azusa Pacific University is a California-based Christian school with nine 2+2 programs like the B.S. in Organizational Leadership, B.A. in Liberal Studies, and B.A. in Criminal Justice. Marylhurst University in Oregon lets working adults choose from nine two-year baccalaureates, such as the Interior Design B.F.A., English Literature B.A., and Business Management B.A.S.
If you’re lacking the credits requisite to begin two-year bachelor’s degrees, don’t fret because other accelerated pathways exist. Online colleges are especially famous for shortening class times for graduating faster after a high school diploma too. For instance, ECPI University in Virginia offers an SACS-accredited schedule of 2.5 years for degrees like the B.S. in Cloud Computing and B.S. in Radiologic Sciences. Similarly, speedy online sessions at Herzing University could lead to a B.S. in Healthcare Management or B.S. in Marketing in 36 months.
If you’re lacking the credits requisite to begin two-year bachelor’s degrees, don’t fret because other accelerated pathways exist. Online colleges are especially famous for shortening class times for graduating faster after a high school diploma too. For instance, ECPI University in Virginia offers an SACS-accredited schedule of 2.5 years for degrees like the B.S. in Cloud Computing and B.S. in Radiologic Sciences. Similarly, speedy online sessions at Herzing University could lead to a B.S. in Healthcare Management or B.S. in Marketing in 36 months. Alternatives to two-year bachelor’s degree programs spread your study year-round for getting your two-year degree in hand faster.
Major coursework and electives in accelerated courses make online bachelor’s degrees much faster. Some examples of great career paths include:
- healthcare administration
- human resources
- information technology
- project management
- nursing BSN
Part-time online learning can make the process easier for online students, because the course load for a four-year degree can be spread out. A college degree like a business degree can lead to job opportunities right away.
How Do I Make This Happen?
The first thing you need to do in order to earn a 2-year bachelor degree, will be to do your research. You need to find schools that provide fast-track courses, have generous credit policies for credit exams, work experience, and prior learning. By putting all of these different types of credit-earning options together, you can plan out a 2-year bachelor program that works for you.
It is imperative that you plan your time wisely so that you can move through these credit-earning options quickly. You will most likely still need to take some classes through traditional methods as well. You will want to include the time these classes will take for completion in your timeline.
If you plan carefully and utilize the different types of credit-earning available, you can earn a bachelor degree in two years. This can help you move ahead with your career and educational goals more quickly so that you can achieve your dreams.