Online learning continues to grow in popularity as more and more people take advantage of its ease and accessibility. Adult learners who may have been hesitant to seek further education and high school grads to nervous to attend campus now have a viable option to expand their studies.
Online learning is quickly becoming a more than viable option for those who benefit from remote studies. In fact, right before 2020, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that out of the almost 20 million college students in the country, nearly seven million were engaged in distance learning.
This may seem like a staggering figure, but if you take a closer look at the reasons behind the shift to online education, you’ll see why it is growing in popularity and may even decide it’s right for you.
What Can Fast-Tracked Online Students Expect?
Although ‘fastest’ is a term that 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.
Don’t fret, however, as online programs are more robust and accommodating than ever. A huge bonus to online degrees, accelerated or otherwise, is that there is a huge amount of self-paced, or asynchronous, learning going on. This basically translates to you doing work on your own time and setting your own schedule.
For someone who’s swamped with a full-time job, a family to feed or other obligations, this should be a breath of fresh air. Hopefully getting an accelerated online bachelor’s degree can get you out of the drudgery of everyday life and give you some much-needed purpose and reinvigoration.
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.
If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree and plan on attending a traditional four-year college program with all the trimmings (dorms, cafeteria, etc.) you will be forking over a ton of money.
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 online college is basically free; the cost still hits the thousands, but is not through the roof, especially in comparison to how much some families spend to send a child away for college.
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 those who take part in remote learning, with the average age being 32. While there are no doubt students fresh out of high school who jump right into online learning, they make up a smaller portion of the overall population.
Top 5 Fastest Online Degree Programs
Now that we have some background nailed down, let’s dig into some of the more notable college degrees 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 where other students may have twice the amount of time to complete them.
1. Linfield College
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 courses they’ll have to complete.
Some of Linfield College’s fastest degrees include majors like:
- Computer Information Systems
- Product Management
Become a product manager or even a historian in a short amount of time with Linfield’s 20 majors and certifications, including options for those who aren’t even 18-years-old yet.
2. Capella University
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 the city of Philadelphia, 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 of 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 in Nursing
- Accelerated Master of Science 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, as well as the 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 bunch of different options for prospective students. 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 having six different start dates for students to begin their work, allowing for some serious flexibility.
Some of the most important selling points for attending Eastern Kentucky University is its 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 the learning curve will be cut in half with the help of these resources.
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 previously-completed courses and life experiences like internships and jobs. 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.