Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Want to jumpstart a career in education? BestColleges spotlights the best accelerated education degree programs of 2022.
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), education is the 10th-most popular college major. During the 2018-2019 school year, 83,900 students earned bachelor's degrees in education.

The education field is popular for several reasons. Learners can pursue a stable profession making a difference in others' lives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education, training, and library occupations paid a median annual salary of $57,220, which is $12,000 more than the median annual wage for all jobs. These jobs are projected to grow 10% from 2020-2030, slightly faster than average.

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Ready to Start Your Journey?

Some education students pursue accelerated bachelor's programs, which feature heavier course loads and faster timelines to allow learners to graduate in under four years. Accelerated programs are similar to degree completion programs but do not always require incoming students to have prior college coursework.

Students pursuing an online accelerated degree in education have many program options. Read on to learn more about these programs, including admission requirements, courses, and career options.

How Fast Can I Get an Online Bachelor's in Education?

In most cases, an accelerated bachelor's in education program lets students graduate within three years, including summers. Other accelerated programs may allow learners to earn their degrees within two years. Weekly time commitments vary by program, but in general, accelerated learners should think of their studies like a full-time job.

The fastest way to get a bachelor's degree is through a degree completion program. However, to gain admission to these programs, you must have already completed significant college coursework like an associate degree. Aside from degree completion programs, accelerated degree's offer the fastest path to a bachelor's for students without transfer credits.

What Can I Expect From an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

Driven, empathetic, and hard-working students may do well in online bachelor's in education programs. Nevertheless, no matter your traits, those willing to put in the time and effort can succeed in accelerated programs. If you have the capacity for a full course load and a desire to enter the workforce as quickly, an accelerated program could be right for you.

You can often pursue various concentrations and majors in online bachelor's in education programs. Possible options include grade levels, content areas, educational technology, and educational leadership. If you enroll in a program that leads to state teaching licensure, you will likely have to complete student teaching and a practicum to meet requirements.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

Introduction to Education

This survey course introduces students to education, pedagogy, and teaching as a profession. Coursework delves into education from sociological, psychological, and historical perspectives.

The Science of Reading

Usually offered in early childhood and elementary education programs, this course delves into evidence-based research into how children learn to read. Covered topics may include phonemic awareness and vocabulary building.

Growth and Development

In this course, students learn the basics of lifespan development. Coursework often covers the biological, psychological, and social changes that humans experience at each stage of development.

Education in a Global Society

This course prepares future educators to create an inclusive classroom environment for students. Possible topics include differentiation and how to best meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Student Teaching or Practicum

If a bachelor's in education program leads to licensure, it must include some form of supervised classroom experience, which usually takes the form of student teaching or a practicum at a local school.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

On-campus and online bachelor's in education programs feature similar admission requirements. In addition to the typical requirements listed below, some programs may require a resume, professional work experience, or an interview with an alum or member of the admissions department.

Application

All online bachelor's in education programs require prospective students to fill out an online application form, which collects basic background information. Undergraduate applicants can sometimes apply to multiple programs at once through application systems like the Common App and Coalition App.

Test Scores

Some online bachelor's in education programs use standardized test scores to evaluate applicants. Other schools have eliminated this requirement or maintain test-optional policies. If you plan on sending in scores, try to sit for the ACT or SAT early so you can take it again if you are not satisfied with your scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Most bachelor's in education programs require applicants to send in 2-3 letters of recommendation. If you are a recent high school graduate, you can ask former teachers, counselors, or mentors for these letters. Applicants can also ask professional supervisors.

Essays

Many undergraduate programs ask all applicants to write 1-3 short essays. Schools that use the Common App usually ask for one shared essay and 1-2 essays specific to the school or program. Common prompts include a statement of purpose and a time you overcame a challenge or difficult situation.

Official Transcripts

All accredited schools require applicants to submit official transcripts from all prior schools they have attended. If you have taken some community college courses, you should submit those transcripts, as you may be eligible for transfer credits.

What Can I Do With an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Education Degree?

Career Outlook

Education is the 10th-most popular major among undergraduate students. The education field offers steady demand and slightly higher median salaries.

For example, the BLS reports that education, training, and library professionals earned a median annual wage of $57,220, higher than the $45,760 median annual wage for all occupations. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects 10% job growth for these careers, which eclipses the 8% growth for all occupations during that period.

Public school teaching careers require a license, but most bachelor's in education programs prepare graduates to meet licensure requirements. Education degree-holders can also pivot their careers to pursue jobs as training and development specialists, creating skill-building programs for corporate employees.

See where a bachelor's in education can take you. Learn more about education careers.

Career Paths

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers teach basic skills to students ages five and under who have yet to enter kindergarten. These teachers work at childcare centers, private preschools, and head start centers. They usually need an associate degree in a relevant field, so a bachelor's in education can provide job candidates with an advantage.

Median Annual Salary: $30,210

Childcare Center Director

Childcare center directors hire and manage staff, handle budgets, and create programs at early childhood facilities. Job candidates usually need a bachelor's degree and relevant experience, although some centers require a child development associate professional certification.

Median Annual Salary: $47,310

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers create lesson plans to provide their students with foundational skills in reading, writing, math, and science. To work in public schools, elementary school teachers need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field and a state teaching license. Private school teachers do not need a license.

Median Annual Salary: $61,350

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators create curricula and coach teachers to meet standards within a school or school district. Some schools hire coordinators with bachelor's degrees, but many positions require a master's degree and significant teaching experience in the classroom.

Median Annual Salary: $63,740

High School Teacher

High school teachers create lessons, provide mentorship, and teach classes in a specific content area, in addition to teaching general academic skills. Job candidates need a bachelor's degree to qualify for positions, and public school educators need a state teaching license.

Median Annual Salary: $61,820

Education Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is fairly common for those with a bachelor's in education. All public school educators must complete a specified number of continuing education/professional development hours to renew their license. They can attend workshops or pursue certifications to meet this requirement.

Many graduates with a bachelor's in education go on to pursue a master's degree in the field. An advanced degree opens the door to leadership positions like instructional coordinator, principal, and assistant principal. Furthermore, most public school districts use salary schedules that pay master's degree-holders higher salaries than their counterparts with bachelor's degrees.

How Do I Choose an Accelerated Online Bachelor's in Education Program?

Cost

Total costs for an online bachelor's in education program can vary widely by school. The NCES reports that the average cost of tuition and fees for students at a four-year institution was $16,618 during the 2020-21 school year. For the best savings, consider enrolling at an in-state public university. Accelerated programs that charge by semester rather than credit, can also be less expensive.

Program Format

All online learners, no matter their discipline, should consider whether they prefer synchronous or asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning involves live, scheduled online sessions, while asynchronous learning does not. Online students should also determine whether they prefer full-time, part-time, or accelerated enrollment.

Location

Even when you enroll online, you may still consider picking a school that is close to you. Education programs almost always include in-person requirements in the form of student teaching or a practicum. It may be easier to arrange placement sites at local schools if you live near campus.

Accreditation

You should only enroll at schools that hold accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid. Accreditation means that evaluators overseen by the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation have determined that a school meets educational standards.

Student Support

Learners should research what student support services their prospective college offers before enrolling. Top services include academic advising, mentorships, career services, tutoring, and internship placements. Some schools may also offer alumni networking events. Online students should verify that they have remote access to these services.

Fastest Accredited Online Bachelor's in Education Programs

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#1 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $280
Out of State | $371

Credits to Graduate
180 quarter credits

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Indiana's Purdue University Global provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to complete both a bachelor's and master's degree in an accelerated fashion. Those pursuing a bachelor's in early childhood administration can simultaneously complete some of the requirements for a master's degree in areas such as public administration, educational psychology, human services, or legal studies.

Core academic requirements include classes like young children with special needs, early childhood administration, and leadership in practice. Before graduation, students complete a capstone project involving fieldwork in a professional setting.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,920
Out-of-state
$13,356
Retention Rate
100%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
38,138
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Pfeiffer University

  • Misenheimer, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $460
Out of State | $460

Credits to Graduate
48 (120 total)

Program Information

Program Accreditation | National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

Pfeiffer University is a North Carolina-based institution that offers a 48-credit degree-completion program in education. Core academic requirements for this bachelor's in education include courses like introduction to education, educational assessment, and lesson and curriculum design.

Applicants to this degree-completion program typically enroll after completing general education requirements at an accredited associate degree program. Prospective students must submit an application and official transcripts.

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,800
Out-of-state
$29,800
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
1,277
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online and In-Person Field Experiences | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $169
Out of State | $644

Credits to Graduate
124

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a bachelor's in education through its distance learning program. This option is offered in collaboration with Coastal Carolina Community College, where students can complete basic university courses before transferring to UNCW. Learners complete classes covering topics like teaching diverse learners, communication arts, and literature in the elementary school.

Those seeking licensure also complete three field experiences totaling about 120 hours. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.7 GPA along with all relevant prerequisites.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Regis University

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hybrid | Self-Paced Classes and Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Based in Denver, Colorado, Regis University is a Catholic institution that offers an accelerated bachelor's in elementary education. Featuring flexible online and hybrid coursework, this education track allows students to transfer in up to 81 credits to expedite graduation. Core classes include teaching exceptional learners, classroom management, and curriculum design.

Prospective students must submit an online application with their academic transcripts and a resume. They must also sit for an admissions interview and pass a criminal background check.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,830
Out-of-state
$37,830
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
6,908
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Maranatha Baptist University

  • Watertown, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $549
Out of State | $549

Credits to Graduate
128

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Maranatha Baptist University offers a flexible bachelor's in educational studies that teaches students the foundational skills needed to pursue alternative certification and teach at Christian schools. Core academic requirements include classes such as foundations of education, secondary school reading, and technology for teaching and learning.

In addition to holding a high school diploma or GED certificate, candidates need to pass a Christian-based character assessment. Applicants must demonstrate the development of biblical character traits.

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
985
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

BestColleges.com 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.

#6 Fastest Online Education Degree Programs

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $915
Out of State | $1,119

Credits to Graduate
120

Program Information
Program Accreditation | N/A

Arizona State University offers a bachelor's in educational studies that that prepares graduates for careers in various education settings. While this is a non-licensure track, the program features 11 concentration options in topic areas like business, community health, and nonprofit administration. 

Cousework requirements include classes like designing learning environments for inclusion, social embeddedness of educational endeavors, and literacy and critical inquiry. Prospective students can apply online and must submit official transcripts.

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,710
Out-of-state
$28,800
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
11,420
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Frequently Asked Questions About Fastest Online Education Programs

Can I get a bachelor's degree in one year?

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In most cases, an accelerated bachelor's degree takes at least two years to earn. If you have prior college credits or can earn credit for prior life, military, or work experience, you might be able to complete your bachelor's degree in 12 months. However, in most cases, an accelerated bachelor's degree takes at least 2-3 years to complete.

Most accelerated programs also require heavy course loads and coursework over the summer, so make sure to factor that in when considering completion times.

Are accelerated degree classes worth it?

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The value of any degree depends on each individual student's goals and personal circumstances. However, if you do not have significant professional or family commitments and want to enter the workforce quickly, an accelerated bachelor's degree may be worth it.

If you have obligations that prevent you from studying full time, a part-time program might be a better fit. Accelerated programs require a significant weekly commitment.

Are accelerated bachelor's degrees as valuable as traditional degrees?

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Yes, accelerated bachelor's degrees are just as valuable as traditional degrees. Employers do not distinguish between accelerated bachelor's degree-holders and traditional bachelor's degree-holders when making hiring decisions or choosing whom to promote.

Furthermore, colleges generally do not list on diplomas whether the degree was accelerated or not. Accelerated programs and traditional programs generally cover the exact same material, just with different timelines.

Is an accelerated bachelor's degree in education right for me?

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It depends on your goals and your personal circumstances. If you work full time or have childcare responsibilities, an accelerated bachelor's degree in education likely isn't right for you.

However, if you know you want to work in education and can commit to studying full time, an accelerated bachelor's in education could be an excellent fit. You can graduate more quickly and earn licensure and start earning a salary and gaining experience in a shorter period of time.

Are accelerated degree programs affordable?

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Accelerated degree programs are usually just as affordable as four-year bachelor's programs. If your school charges tuition per credit, you will generally pay the same amount of money as you would in an accelerated program. Students from both programs complete the same amount of credits.

However, if your school charges tuition by semester, you can often save money through an accelerated program because you will generally spend fewer semesters enrolled in school.

BestColleges.com 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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