One advantage of online education is the opportunity to earn your degree faster. In fact, 18 percent of online students surveyed reported choosing distance learning because of a faster completion time, and 37 percent appreciated the accelerated course options, EdTech magazine reported. Between smart scheduling plans, short academic terms, numerous start dates, transfer credits and competency-based curricula, online graduate education programs offer plenty of ways for students to earn their degrees in less time.

The Times to Earn Degrees at Top Online Programs

Not all online programs allow you to earn your degree more quickly than traditional programs. Some take just as long as their counterparts on brick-and-mortar campuses. However, a number of the top – and most affordable – online master’s in education degree programs in the nation allow students to earn their degrees quickly.

For example, the average Oregon State University Master of Education students finishes the degree program within 2.5 years, but ambitious students can complete the requirements in just two years. If you’d rather extend your education and study part-time, you can – for up to seven years.

Whether they start in the fall or in the spring, Master of Science in Education students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout can earn their degree in just two years. At Grand Canyon University, students can earn their Master of Education degree in as little as 15 to 18 months.

Ways You Can Earn Your Online Master’s in Education Degree Faster

If you have taken some college courses or gained some professional experience, you can get credit for what you’ve already done – as long as you choose the right school. The University of the Southwest, for example, allows students to transfer as many as 12 credits earned at other schools to their Masters in Education degree program. This means that even if you already started earning your degree but never finished, the classes you took in the past aren’t wasted.

Then there are schools like Western Governors University, which feature competency-based learning that focuses more on what you know than how much time you spend learning in a formal (if virtual) environment. Students at competency-based programs can often “test out” of courses when they already have knowledge and experience in the subject, allowing them to finish their degree requirements more quickly.

Many of the top online master’s in education programs offer multiple start dates and shorter terms. Choosing one of these programs means you can get started earning your degree sooner – and that allows you to graduate earlier.

Your graduate college education is much more than a race to the finish line. However, when the lack of a degree is the only thing standing in the way of reaching your goals, you’re eager to make progress quickly. The time it will take to earn your degree is one of many factors to consider when making your college choice.

Also see:

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Education