It is widely accepted that a bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree but the truth is that only roughly 33% of students complete them on time. The average time it takes a student to complete a bachelor’s degree is 5.2 academic years. This is a huge undertaking for students, and sometimes life gets in the way. That’s why completion programs are so important. An online degree completion program allows students with an associate degree to take back the reins and finish what they started in a more manageable way. Some of the fastest options can have students finishing their degree in just six weeks, even the longer variety of these programs is 18 to 24 months, still less than half the typical timeframe.
Colleges and universities know that students need options to finish their degree faster because they’re ready to enter the professional world. They don’t have the time investment to make for something longer term, or perhaps traditional school was just too slow for them. In order to accommodate the needs of those students, they have implemented some fast-track online degrees to finish things up.
What is a Degree Completion Program and How Does It Work?
A degree completion program is an accelerated learning program that allows online students to continue their education and obtain a degree in a shorter period of time. This type of program is designed to help adult learners who may have had to take a break from their studies due to work or family commitments. The goal of these programs is to provide students with the opportunity to complete their degrees quickly and efficiently, while still providing them with the same quality education as traditional programs.
The degree completion program typically consists of an intensive course load that can be completed in less than two years. These courses are often offered online, allowing adult learners the flexibility and convenience they need in order to complete their studies on their own schedule.
Additionally, some degree completion programs offer accelerated courses so that students can finish faster than traditional four-year degree programs.
Degree completion programs provide students with the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and experience in a fraction of the time it would usually take for them to earn a full bachelor’s or master’s degree.
How Degree Completion Programs Benefit Working Professionals
For working professionals, completing a degree is often seen as an unattainable goal due to the demands of their job. However, degree completion programs provide an opportunity for working professionals to advance in their career and finish their education without having to put their current job on hold.
These accelerated college programs offer flexible schedules that allow students to fit college courses into their existing work schedule, allowing them to pursue higher education while still working full-time.
Furthermore, these programs also offer career advancement opportunities that can help students move up the ladder in their current job or even switch careers altogether. If a student takes a position within the industry, they can make great strides in their career.
Students and recent graduates can apply for funding to help cover the cost of tuition through these programs. Graduates of these programs in the past have been able to find fellowships that cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses.
The Pros & Cons of a Degree Completion Program
Completing a degree can be a great way to advance your career and open up new opportunities. But for those who have already started college and find themselves unable to finish, a degree completion program may be the answer. Degree completion programs offer adults the chance to go back and finish their degrees online, often with more flexible schedules and course options than traditional college programs.
But like any educational option, there are pros and cons to joining a degree completion program that should be considered before making the decision. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of joining a degree completion program so that you can make an informed decision about your future.
Pros of a Degree Completion Program
There are several benefits that may come with joining a degree completion program. Here are some of the most common:
1. A degree completion program may reduce the amount of time you spend studying by allowing you to take classes at your own pace and arrange your schedule based on your personal preference. Accelerated degree programs are just as good as traditional and online programs.
2. Some degree completion programs offer academic support programs that help students succeed while in school, such as tutoring sessions or a personal academic coach.
3. Some degree completion programs allow community college graduates to more easily transfer credits from other institutions, certificate programs, and online courses. This can be especially important for international students who might not have received the same quality education back home as they would in America. The fastest online degree programs often build on your associate’s degree.
4. Completing an online bachelor’s degree with a degree completion program may be less expensive than pursuing a traditional undergraduate degree, with added fees for parking, meals, extracurriculars, and more. An online program requires less than on campus students.
Cons of a Degree Completion Program
Degree completion programs are a great way for adults to finish their college degrees. However, there are some drawbacks to consider when deciding whether or not this type of program is right for you.
1. Accelerated learning programs can be expensive, and the courses may not provide the same depth of knowledge as a traditional degree program.
2. Fast track degree programs don’t always provide the same level of support and mentorship as traditional college courses.
3. An adult continuing education online bachelor may not offer the same networking opportunities as a traditional college experience. The student body of an accelerated bachelor’s program is likely to be other working adults, but they will be at the same professional level and not really helpful for recommendations.
What to Consider Before Choosing Online Bachelor’s Programs
Degree completion programs online are becoming increasingly popular as adults realize the importance of having a bachelor’s degree online to get ahead in their careers. For those looking for accelerated online bachelor’s degree programs to get their college degree, there are some important things to consider before making a final decision.
The benefits of an accelerated degree program should be weighed against the best online college courses for adults. It is important to research different online degree programs and compare their offerings, such as course options, cost, and time commitment.
Additionally, it is important to consider how the program’s curriculum will fit into your lifestyle and career goals. For example, a degree in business administration or business management may be of specific interest to you, but if the program is not affordable or does not provide a sufficient learning experience, it might be best to look for a degree that will better prepare you for your chosen career.
On the other hand, a major in science may seem like an appealing option because its principles are universal and can be applied to many fields. However, those who choose this path often struggle with finding employment because only STEM-related jobs are typically available.
In general, a fast online bachelor’s degree in a marketable profession, like computer science, is a better choice than something like liberal arts or political science. An accelerated online program in a professional area builds on your professional training and online classes. You may also take a prior learning assessment to place out of certain classes in your bachelor’s program. Fast track programs in health care administration are very marketable. Undergraduate programs in interdisciplinary studies may also allow you to tailor your college education to your specific career.
It’s also crucial to know that the accelerated bachelor’s degree programs you’re considering are accredited by the Colleges and Schools Commission. Unaccredited accelerated programs aren’t worth the trouble. Your accelerated bachelor’s degree program should be accredited by a regional body like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. If you want a bachelor’s in business administration, it should be accredited by a business accrediting agency like the AACSB. A computer information systems degree from an ABET accredited school is better than one without accreditation. Not all bachelor’s degrees are the same!
There are no easy online degree programs, but by taking all of these factors into consideration before choosing a degree completion program, you can ensure that you make the right decision for your future.
What are the Fastest Degree Completion Programs?
The fastest online degree completion programs have courses that only take six weeks; this is possible because of the condensed format of the courses and can also help speed things up because the transfer policies are incredibly generous, taking in sometimes up to 100 credits. Each of these has an excellent degree completion program that offers online bachelor’s degrees. Some also offer master’s degree programs that can be completed online.
The school with the fastest accelerated degree program is West Texas A&M University, which has a degree track that condenses a 16-week semester down to just six weeks.
West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University offers completion options for 10 different programs in popular fields like Economics, Criminal Justice, and Health Sciences. Each course accounts for three credit hours and costs students $699 per course. That breaks down to just $233 per credit hour, which is less than half of the national average cost, making this an affordable and flexible opportunity. Different institutions offer a broad range of different paces and price points, though.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University sees students paying from $510 up to $718 per credit depending on the courses that they’re pursuing. ASU’s accelerated options span 71 different degrees with multiple start dates throughout the year to truly help students graduate on their own time. Accelerated courses through this college are just 7.5 weeks, and the programs allow for up to 90 transfer credits. There are hundreds of schools in the country that have adapted their course formats to fit the needs of their students, and more programs are being created all the time.
Siena Heights University
Siena Heights University, which breaks things down into just eight-week terms, has 18 degree programs and credit for prior learning.
UMass, the University Without Walls serves almost 2,000 students affordably and flexibly. Classes are presented in six-week long online sessions. At UMass, students can bring in up to 100 credits. University of Massachusetts – Amherst has more than 40 online programs.
Other top programs include Western Governors University, Southern New Hampshire University, Saint Louis University, and Indiana Wesleyan University.
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