Is an Accelerated Degree Program Right for Me?

Accelerated degree programs offer flexible options that enable motivated students to graduate in less time and enter the workforce more quickly.
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Updated on December 15, 2023
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  • Accelerated programs allow students to complete their degrees and enter the workforce more quickly.
  • Most successful students in accelerated degree programs hold clear career goals.
  • An accelerated bachelor's degree program typically requires a great deal of self-motivation.

Many top online schools offer accelerated degree programs for working adults and other students looking to complete their degrees more quickly. These programs allow them to graduate ahead of schedule with a degree that reflects the same rigor as a traditional program.

The accelerated timeline typically means lower tuition rates and fewer additional costs associated with higher education. However, students can generally expect the same amount of coursework and academic standards, so they should be prepared for a higher workload each week.

Accelerated degrees will appeal to students with existing college credit, students who can earn credits for previous work experience and professionals who want to further their education, switch careers, or expand their job prospects.

What Is an Accelerated Degree Program?

Online accelerated programs are condensed programs that allow students to complete their degree faster. Many accelerated programs offer asynchronous classes that allow students to complete their assignments and exams at their own pace.

Most traditional college courses last 15-16 weeks. Full-time bachelor's degree students need 4-5 years to complete all required courses. In contrast, accelerated degree programs offer compressed classes that last 5-10 weeks. Students typically take 1-2 accelerated classes at a time. This can allows students to earn a four-year degree in 2-3 years.

Accelerated programs generally off the same content, structure, and academic rigor as a traditionally-paced program. Many schools offer accelerated degrees in computer science, management, data analytics, liberal arts, communication, cybersecurity, nursing, and several interdisciplinary studies. Degree levels for online accelerated programs range from associate to doctorate degrees.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Pros and Cons of Accelerated Degree Programs

Accelerated courses and degree programs typically work well for people with prior work, military, or volunteer experience. Most successful students have also earned an associate degree or have 30-60 college credits that they can apply toward their accelerated degree.

These programs also suit students who juggle family obligations or need to schedule classes around their work schedules. Students who want to graduate and enter the workforce quickly might find accelerated courses more attractive than students who want to take more time to enjoy the traditional college experience.

Students in an accelerated program should be prepared to dedicate more time each week to their studies than in a traditional online program.


  • Students typically spend less time in school and enter the workforce sooner.
  • Graduating in a shorter time frame usually means paying less tuition and other fees.
  • Students can benefit from more flexibility in how many courses they take and their studying schedule.


  • Online learning, especially in an accelerated asynchronous format, typically reduces interaction with peers and instructors.
  • Earning a degree in less time requires most students to work harder and take on heavier workloads.
  • Successful completion of accelerated courses usually requires more self-motivation and discipline.

Why Choose an Accelerated Degree Program?

If you want to enter the workforce quickly, you might find accelerated degree programs attractive. Many students who choose accelerated programs already have jobs, want to change careers, or desire professional advancement. Some professionals might want to finish a degree program they previously started or wish to pursue an advanced degree.

Students who wish to graduate in a relatively short amount of time should have a clear idea of their major and career goals. Regardless of education and background, students considering an online accelerated degree increase their likelihood of success if they possess a strong work ethic and can motivate themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Programs

How do I find an accelerated degree program?

Many resources exist to help prospective students find top-notch accelerated degree programs. You can search college or university websites to find accelerated courses or bachelor's or master's degrees. Also, an online search for the top schools that offer accelerated classes can yield several options.

Students should look for programs in institutions with the appropriate accreditation, which verifies that they meet and exceed academic requirements and standards for rigor.

Are accelerated degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

Accelerated degrees from accredited institutions generally hold the same prestige and credibility as degrees from traditional schools. Although few employers ask whether job candidates received their degree online, students should not feel compelled to hide that they graduated from an accelerated program.

Given that earning such a degree often implies ambition and a strong work ethic on the student's part, a prospective employer might view accelerated programs in a positive light.

How much do accelerated degree programs cost?

Bachelor's degree students pay $300-600 per credit hour for most accelerated courses. Tuition will likely be higher at a private school or if enrollees pay out-of-state rates. Overall, the cost of an online accelerated degree might be less than a traditional one because students would not pay for housing or parking. However, they might pay more in assessment or technology fees.

Students should consider the true cost of an online program to determine how miscellaneous expenses and forgone income will impact the affordability of their degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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