Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

ASO Staff Writers
Updated September 20, 2023
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A four-year bachelor’s degree confers both transferable and major-specific skills. Most 120-credit programs feature three components. First, learners take general education courses in English, the humanities, and the sciences. Second, they complete major-related coursework. Finally, degree-seekers take electives in different subjects or complete a second major or minor.

Fast Bachelor’s Degrees Explained

Learning outcomes for on-campus and online bachelor’s degrees include a solid foundation of knowledge and skills alumni can further hone in a graduate program or use in the workplace. Bachelor’s degree-holders benefit from higher lifetime earnings than workers who possess only a high school diploma. The Social Security Administration calculates that college graduates earn $900,000 more over a lifetime than individuals with only a high school education.

Application requirements for a fast online degree vary by school but often include graduating high school or passing the GED exam. Some schools request recommendation letters, a resume, or standardized test scores.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor’s Degree?

An online bachelor’s degree qualifies graduates for entry-level positions related to their academic major. These positions often pay the least but allow workers to advance within their organization. On the job, professionals use and hone their subject-specific expertise. They also build on the communication, writing, and research skills they learned as undergraduates. Bachelor’s programs emphasize these skills in general education courses.

In addition to helping workers find entry-level jobs, a bachelor’s degree also plays a role in professional certification. Agencies and organizations that award certifications use education and experience requirements to recognize experts in their field. Like work experience, a certification can lead to a promotion, salary raise, or both. Professionals with a certification also possess an advantage in the job market.

For many students, a bachelor’s degree is often a step toward a master’s or doctoral program. The following section covers the benefits of a master’s degree.

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Do I Need a Master’s Degree?

The answer depends on your goals and your employer’s requirements. Some employers restrict management positions to workers who possess a master’s, significant work experience, a certification, or all three. Other employers encourage lower-ranking employees to pursue a master’s by offering a tuition reimbursement program. Through a tuition reimbursement program, the employer pays for the degree if the employee agrees to work for the organization for a specific number of years after graduation. Employees who break the agreement pay back the degree’s cost.

Professionals who choose not to earn a master’s might still achieve career advancement through certifications or joining professional organizations. Many professional organizations host member-exclusive job boards and provide career tips.

Accreditation for an Online Bachelor’s Degree

The fastest online bachelor’s degrees should provide students with an outstanding educational experience and set them up for career success. When researching on-campus and online bachelor’s degrees, prospective students should only consider programs at regionally accredited schools. In the United States, the Department of Education charters six regional accreditation agencies to review schools’ academic programs. Learners who graduate from a school without this essential accreditation may face difficulty attaining a job.

Prospective enrollees should also check whether their desired schools are nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The DEAC determines whether a school’s online programs offer the same rigor and learning outcomes as its on-campus programs. Online learners who enroll in a DEAC-accredited school can rest assured that they will receive a quality education.

Some academic majors feature programmatic accreditation. Agencies that provide programmatic accreditation focus on a single discipline. Their experts review a major or department’s academic requirements and grant accreditation to only the best programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

question-mark-circleHow much does an online bachelor’s degree cost?

The cost of an online bachelor’s degree varies by school and whether students pay for housing, a meal plan, and other expenses. Public institutions typically charge less than private ones.

question-mark-circleHow long does it typically take to get a bachelor’s degree?

Most students can complete a bachelor’s degree in just four years. Full-time learners take 3-4 courses each semester and earn approximately 120 credits.

question-mark-circleHow fast can I earn a bachelor’s degree?

Students can earn a fast online degree if they possess transfer credit. Other methods to earn credit before college include passing Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams while in high school.

question-mark-circleWhat is the quickest degree to get?

The answer depends on the individual student. Learners with a passion for and prior knowledge of a specific subject may complete coursework faster than their peers.

What Are the Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree?

Bachelor’s degree-seekers complete general education and major courses. Learners work with an advisor to select appropriate courses in both categories. Advisors play an essential role in helping accelerated students graduate as soon as possible. Degree-seekers also take electives or complete a minor to attain a well-rounded education.

Graduation requirements can include maintaining a specific GPA, developing a portfolio, or completing a capstone. Online bachelor’s degree-seekers may complete additional requirements, including an extended essay or presentation to professors and peers. Prospective students should contact a school’s counselors for information regarding the undergraduate academic experience.

Courses in an Online Bachelor’s Program

In major, general education, and elective courses, students develop and hone essential research, analytical, and communication skills. Nearly all employers that hire recent college graduates expect applicants to possess these skills and a desire to improve them on the job. Coursework in a bachelor’s program emphasizes these skills through assigned reading, essays, and projects.

Most schools require the following courses in their general education curriculum. Prospective enrollees should note that academic requirements and course content vary among schools.

Common Coursework Covered

Certifications and Licensure for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Professionals with an online bachelor’s degree can increase their career and salary potential by earning one or more professional certifications or a state-issued license. Organizations offer certifications to members, signifying that professionals possess expertise in their field. Professionals in some fields, such as teaching, need a license to practice in their state. Certification and licensure candidates may need to pass an exam, attain work experience, or pay a fee.

Professional Organizations for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Professional organizations allow members to network, find a mentor, and research the latest career opportunities on private job boards. These organizations may also offer discounts on professional insurance and other goods and services. Joining an organization may require a one-time or annual fee.

Scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Students pursuing an online bachelor’s degree can access the same financial aid opportunities as on-campus degree-seekers, including scholarships. The five scholarships below award funding to undergraduate learners. Please use the embedded links, as application requirements, deadlines, and award amounts may have changed since this article’s publication.

Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degrees

#1 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

LeTourneau University

  • Location-markerLongview, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$30,520
  • Out-of-state$30,520
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate45%
  • Students Enrolled3,150
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment60%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

Lewis University

  • Location-markerRomeoville, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$33,270
  • Out-of-state$33,270
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate64%
  • Students Enrolled6,359
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment43%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

  • Location-markerSeattle, WA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,370
  • Out-of-state$37,071
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate52%
  • Students Enrolled47,576
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment8%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

Northwest Nazarene University

  • Location-markerNampa, ID
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$30,550
  • Out-of-state$30,550
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate86%
  • Students Enrolled2,111
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment50%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Fastest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2024

Baker University

  • Location-markerBaldwin City, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$29,300
  • Out-of-state$29,300
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate88%
  • Students Enrolled2,595
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment43%
  • AccreditationYes

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