Online learning is a great way to earn your degree conveniently, but is it necessarily faster? Not really. Assuming that you want to earn your business degree from an accredited institution - and you should - your business degree online will require the same number of courses, with similar content, as a business program at any traditional brick and mortar school. This means that you can anticipate spending two years on an associate's degree, four years on a bachelor's degree, and an additional two years beyond bachelor's to earn a master's degree. However, many schools do offer an accelerated business degree online.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Traditional Business Degree?
One of the ways that many online universities offer somewhat accelerated degrees is by running their entire university on a quarterly system rather than the old fashioned semester system that is common to most brick and mortar schools. In a traditional semester based system you usually have two 16-week semesters in which to take courses, as well as one or two brief, accelerated summer sessions. To go full time you usually take four courses a semester, then one or two for summer, making it a total of ten courses a year.
An accelerated degree in business online could almost describe any online business degree that runs on quarters. That is because you would have four quarters a year, and normally a full time load would involve three or four courses per quarter, which would mean you would take 12 to 16 courses per year, much more than a semester / summer design. In this way every quarter based degree is accelerated, and many online programs (especially those at dedicated online universities) are quarterly.
Now, that explains how an online school could offer an accelerated business degree without even trying. However, some online schools take this a step further and offer full fledged accelerated business degrees; if you are truly concerned with how to get your degree online fast look into these programs.
Can I Earn an Actual Accelerated Business Degree Online?
Some schools, particularly in the highly competitive for-profit, exclusively online arena, are starting to offer an accelerated business degree online. These are most likely to be offered at the master's or doctoral level. With these accelerated degrees (assuming the school is regionally accredited) you are still required to earn the same number of credits and take the same courses as any other degree. However, the school accelerates their program by allowing you to earn those credits and complete those courses in alternative ways. Most often this is through either taking an exam to "test out" of a course or by applying for credit for your prior learning and field knowledge.
Essentially, if you already have an undergraduate education in business, and you are experienced in the field, you may be able to earn an accelerated business degree online. You will want to check with the individual schools you are considering to see how their accelerated programs work, what type of semester / quarter structure they have, and whether they allow credit by exam or credit for prior learning. With such a program you can earn your master's degree in as little as 12 months, and become all but dissertation on your PhD in just an additional 12 months.
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