If you’re looking to get your degree as quickly as possible, then you should consider an accelerated program. These programs, offered by a small but growing number of schools, help students earn their degrees in a fraction of the time it would take them to complete the degree requirements otherwise. Students can shave months or even years off of their education and save money in the process. While accelerated programs exist at both online and traditional schools, they are particularly popular with distance learning students. In fact, EdTech magazine found that 37 percent of students surveyed cited accelerated courses as a reason why they chose online college to further their education.

Accelerated Degree Options at Online Colleges

You can find accelerated online college degree programs at every level, from associate’s to bachelor’s and even graduate degrees. Accelerated online degree programs require the same amount of courses as their traditional counterparts, but the schedule on which students take these courses is different. They may take numerous courses at a time, or take a series of short but intensive classes in rapid succession – or even a combination, taking multiple condensed courses at once.

What to Expect From an Accelerated Degree Program

Online college students who are considering an accelerated degree program should know that their workload will be intense. Online courses are often as challenging as face-to-face courses, if not more so. Students who take accelerated programs are taking on even more work than students attending traditional full-time courses. This means that they will need to be willing and able to devote a good deal of time and work to their studies.

Different accelerated programs take on different formats. Often, the courses are condensed into a tight schedule of eight, six or even five weeks. Unlike in non-accelerated online courses, students in accelerated programs may need to log into their online learning platform every day.

Is an Accelerated Degree Program Right for Me?

An accelerated degree program can go a long way to helping you accomplish your goals, but it’s not right for every student or every situation. If you already work full-time or have extensive family responsibilities or other obligations, it may be difficult to balance your priorities and complete all of the work required in a short span of time. However, if earning your degree quickly is currently your biggest priority, an accelerated program can help you significantly reduce the amount of time it will take you to graduation – sometimes cutting the length of your studies in half.

Choosing an accelerated program is only one of the ways students can earn their degrees faster by taking online college courses. There are also other ways to speed up the process of earning a degree, like enrolling at a school that awards competency-based credit for the skills and experience they already have. Students with previous college credit can seek out degree completion programs designed to work with transfer students and help them earn their degrees.