Online learning continues to grow in popularity as more and more people take advantage of its ease and accessibility. Adult learners who are hesitant to seek further education and high school grads who are nervous to attend campus now have a viable option for higher education. Read on to learn more about the fastest online degree programs of 2020.
Online learning has quickly become a more than viable option for those who benefit from remote studies, even before 2020. In fact, a 2019 study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics reported that out of nearly 20 million college students in the country, almost seven million were engaged in distance learning.
This may seem like a staggering figure. However, if you take a closer look at the reasons behind the shift to online education, you’ll see why it is growing in popularity. You may even decide that it’s right for you.
What Can Fast-Tracked Online Students Expect?
Although ‘fastest’ sounds great, you need to keep in mind that the fastest online education is not necessarily the easiest one or the one with the least work. That’s an understandable and unfortunately widespread misconception.
Fortunately, online programs are more robust and accommodating than ever. A huge bonus to online degrees, accelerated or otherwise, is that it involves a huge amount of self-paced, or asynchronous, learning. This basically translates to you doing work on your own time and setting your own schedule.
For someone swamped with a full-time job, a family to feed or other obligations, this should be a breath of fresh air. Earning an accelerated online bachelor’s degree can get you out of the drudgery of everyday life and provide a re-established sense of direction towards career goals.
Online Learning is Cost-Efficient
A huge part of this significant shift to online learning over traditional on-campus programs is the cost. The traditional college experience is astoundingly expensive, even with scholarships and financial aid. Earning a bachelor’s degree and attending a traditional four-year college program with all the trimmings (dorms, dining plan, etc.) is a significant financial investment.
Online learning offers a more cost-effective option for those hesitant to take such a financial plunge. No dorms, no food costs and no costly and time-consuming commutes. It doesn’t cost anything to get out of bed and head to your computer. Even hybrid programs, where students complete coursework online and also engage in person with professors and students, offer a cheaper alternative.
However, this isn’t to say that online college is basically free. The cost still hits the thousands, but it isn’t through the roof when compared to how much many families spend on college tuition.
You’d be surprised how many people above the age of 30 enroll and take part in online college courses. Students over the age of 30 make up a sizable chunk of online learners, with an average age of 32. While many recent high school graduates jump right into online learning, they make up a smaller portion of the distanced learning population.
Top 5 Fastest Online Degree Programs
Now that we have some background, let’s dig into some notable college programs and accelerated courses that can lead to degrees in as little as 12 months.
The online courses below are those that allow for accelerated degrees, transfer credits and fast-tracked programs to get you certified or graduated in a short amount of time. That may translate to you cramming more difficult subjects in a short amount of time when other students may have twice the amount of time to complete them.
1. Linfield College
Located in McMinnville, Oregon, Linfield College is a windfall for many students. It is one of the many colleges and institutions that actually offer students college credit for having experience in a prior subject. This opens up a ton of potential for people who are hesitant about starting a degree after seeing the list of required credits.
Some of Linfield College’s fastest degrees include majors like:
Students can become product managers or even historians in a short amount of time with Linfield’s 20 majors and certifications. The college even has options for those who aren’t 18 yet.
2. Capella University
Although it is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Capella University delivers most of its educational services entirely online, making it a fantastic option for accelerated degree programs. Its almost 40,000 students engage in multiple bachelor’s majors, including criminal justice, psychology, business and information technology.
Capella also offers extensive master’s and graduate programs. Some of these degrees include cybersecurity, social work, human resource management, and a PhD in education or business management. And that’s only scratching the surface, so Capella is a slam dunk for those who want to branch out with their options.
Certificates are abundant at Capella University as well, with some major ones being business, counselling, education, nursing and health science.
3. Arizona State University
Arizona State University is famous for offering a vast amount of options to its students, regardless of online or in-person learning. Students will be pleased to discover that courses last around seven to eight weeks, offering a flexible way to learn without a major time commitment. For those wondering, an average semester at a traditional university or college last about 15 weeks. These classes halve that.
Arizona State University puts emphasis on over 300 online degree programs and certifications. With such a staggering amount of options, Arizona State University is easily one of the top choices for those who want a flexible, quick and efficient online program.
Of course, you are able to take the old reliable majors like business administration and accounting, but some more specific and impressive majors include:
- Community Advocacy & Social Policy
- Sustainable Food Systems
- Urban Planning
- Religious Studies (Religion, Culture, and Public Life)
- Psychology (Forensic Psychology)
- Software Engineering
4. Gwynedd Mercy University
Gwynedd Mercy, located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a fantastic option for accelerated degree programs. Their accelerated courses run as follows:
- Undergraduate degrees and certificates: Five-week courses
- Graduate degrees and certificates: Seven-week courses
This allows for a tremendous amount of flexibility outside the classroom (virtual or otherwise) to live your life. Gwynedd Mercy University has a ton of variety in its accelerated programs, with over five main categories, each with multiple majors. As with Arizona State University, the variety and specificity of these programs is breathtaking.
For example, the accelerated nursing program contains online degrees like:
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing
- Accelerated Master of Science (MS) in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist (Adult-Gerontology)
- Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator
- Accelerated Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Gwynedd Mercy also ensures that students will form meaningful bonds with instructors due to smaller class sizes and access to valuable one-on-one time they receive in the online environment.
5. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University is a fully accredited university that offers a variety of options for students seeking higher education. You can choose to earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or even a doctorate. The school also offers various certificate programs for many subjects and specifications.
Eastern Kentucky University maximizes accessibility by allowing six different start dates, allowing for some serious flexibility in students’ distance education. The university also boasts flat tuition rates, eight-week classes, and comprehensive online tutoring and resources available around the clock.
Having a reliable tutor for any problem you may encounter, as well as technical resources for any glitches or hiccups, can be a lifesaver. Not everyone who starts online college classes is used to the different interfaces and user experiences, so access to these resources will cut the learning curve in half.
Some notable degrees you can receive at Eastern Kentucky University are:
- Business – Risk Management & Insurance
- Police Studies Associate’s Degree
- Child & Family Studies
- Criminal Justice
- Computer Science
- Homeland Security
- Doctor of Occupational Therapy – OTD
- Doctor of Nursing Practice – DNP
- Paramedicine Associate Degree
There are more than a handful of universities and accredited institutions that give students with hectic and unreliable schedules a fair shake at a degree or certification. Many allow students to enroll and earn credit for jobs, internships, and previously-completed courses. Choosing any of the above universities for a fast online degree program is a smart and prudent move. In half the usual time, you can easily complete your chosen program and enter the workforce.