Best Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees Online – 2024

February 13, 2024

accelerated bachelor's degree online nursing bsn

Perhaps you’re interested in the benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree, but less interested in the part where you live on a college campus and attend in-person classes. Or maybe you’d like to graduate in 3-years to maximize efficiency while making your way into the job market. In any case, it may be worthwhile to look into accelerated online bachelor’s degree programs. Below, you can read about programs that offer accelerated online degrees in areas ranging from Education, to Computer Science, to Graphic Design.

Interested in nursing? You can also discover ABSN (Accelerate Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs. These accelerated BSN programs allow those with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees to more-quickly earn nursing qualifications.

Continue reading for more information on accelerated bachelor’s degree programs in a number of popular (and lucrative) fields, as well as tips on locating the best program for your interests, goals, and needs.

A bit about accelerated bachelor’s degrees

Though accelerated bachelor’s degrees are becoming increasingly popular as efficient and often less-expensive options, here are some things to keep in mind before you apply to programs:

  • Fast pacing: While accelerated bachelor’s degree programs can help you complete your degree from home, they are by no means easy shortcuts. While traditional bachelor’s degrees are usually completed in 4-years of full-time study, accelerated bachelor’s degrees involve the same amount of work (120-credits worth) in a shorter amount of time. This means that either the program will accept your previously earned credits, or your classes will be faster-paced, or you will enroll in more classes per semester (likely with fewer breaks throughout the year). This intensive pacing is important to keep in mind, especially if you are concerned about your time-management skills or non-academic commitments.

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  • Asynchronous class schedules: Not only is time-management required for the fast pacing, but also for the asynchronous structure of these programs. This means that scheduled, face-to-face classes will likely be replaced by pre-recorded lectures and assignments to complete on your own time. This flexibility can be great for students who prefer learning autonomously. However, asynchronous work requires significant discipline.
  • Accreditation status: Especially if you’re considering transferring to an accelerated bachelor’s degree program from a previous degree program, it’s important to make sure it will accept the credits you’ve already earned. Programs will either offer regional or national accreditation. Regionally accredited institutions will usually accept credits from other regionally accredited programs, while nationally accredited institutions will accept credits from regionally and nationally accredited programs. This status could affect your completion time, as well as your eligibility for financial aid. You can find the accreditation status of most schools in this database, which is run by the U.S. Department of Education.

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  • Non-profit vs. for-profit institutions: Some accelerated bachelor’s degree programs are run through non-profit institutions, while others are for-profit. Make sure you know which kind of institution you’re looking at. If an institution is non-profit (all the ones we’re listing), it must invest its revenue into educational programming (faculty/staff salaries, student services, infrastructure, etc.). On the other hand, if a school is for-profit, it’s designed to earn money, which means that it can invest its profit however it wants, and quality education might be less of a priority.

10 Common Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree Areas

Continue reading for some popular fields in which students pursue accelerated online bachelor’s degrees, along with information on leading programs in each.

1) Accounting

 In 2022, accountants in the US earned a median salary of $78,000 (U.S. News & World Report). If you’re good with numbers and interested in topics related to business and taxation, this could be a great area of study for you. To efficiently prepare for an accounting job, as well as roles as financial analyst, auditor, tax manager, and more, you may consider an accelerated online degree.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst has a highly rated Online Accounting major through the Isenberg School of Management. The curriculum prepares students in a broad range of topics, including accounting, auditing, and consulting services. Though the program is online, it includes top academic mentorship with advice personalized for each student.

2) Business Administration

 Business administration is one of the top majors for undergraduates in the US, due to its applications across many industries. Degrees in this field can lead to entrepreneurship opportunities, as well as lucrative management and consulting positions. For maximum affordability and flexibility, a number of top universities offer accelerated online business administration degrees.

For example, Oklahoma State University’s online Business Management program offers courses that prepare students for careers in Human Resource Management, Business Law, and Sports Management, among other areas. The program boasts affordable and accessible courses that offer opportunities for student collaboration.

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3) Computer Science

Accelerated online bachelor’s programs in computer science are likely to prepare you for careers in software engineering, computer support tech, web development, and more. In this day and age, computer scientists have extremely high earning potential and a wide range of career opportunities.

You may consider Oregon State University’s B.S. in Computer Science, mentioned in the top online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report. Developed by innovative Oregon State faculty, this program comes with support such as free online tutoring and library services.

4) Counseling

 If you are interested in making a difference in people’s lives as a counselor, you could consider this accelerated bachelor’s degree, in which you will focus on human behavior and psychology. Counseling specialties range from school counseling, to substance abuse, to human services, to family therapy. Many counseling programs involve internships or other forms of hands-on experience. With an accelerated online bachelor’s degree, you could complete your bachelor’s and master’s within 5-years.

A top online counseling degree program is Arizona State University, with a B.S. in Counseling & Applied Psychological Science.

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5) Education

 Accelerated programs in education can prepare you for a career as an entry-level teacher. Depending on location, public school teachers with bachelor’s degrees generally make between 50k and 60k a year, and that salary increases with a master’s degree in education.

Consider Texas Tech University’s B.S. in Education, a fast-track teacher preparation program that allows students to earn a B.S. and a teaching certificate in one year. The program involves mentorship and classroom coaching, as well as special certifications in English as a Second Language and Special Education.

6) Graphic Design

 If you have an artistic side that you’re considering channeling into a graphic design career, an accelerated online degree may be a practical step to reaching your goals. A program in this area will likely include classes in web design, 3D modeling, motion graphics, and publication.

Check out Arizona State University’s online graphic design program through The Design School. This program emphasizes the creation of strategic visual communication applicable to the contemporary world.

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7) Healthcare Administration

For career opportunities in hospital administration, nursing home administration, and related areas, consider an online bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration. These jobs are essential for the running of medical facilities, and they are also well-paid.

You may consider Drexel University for this degree, which offers an excellent B.S. in Health Services Administration, known for its comprehensive and interdisciplinary curriculum.

8) Marketing

 An online accelerated bachelor’s in marketing can prepare you well for market analyst and marketing manager positions, applicable across many industries, from entertainment, to tech, to fashion. You can also earn a high salary with a marketing degree—in 2022, marketing managers made a median salary of $140,040.

For an online degree in Marketing, consider Louisiana State University’s B.S. program, with concentrations available in international business, hospitality, and sales. This 100% online program emphasizes adaptability and entrepreneurial thinking.

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9) Public Relations

 Are you more interested in the social media and press side of business? Public Relations (PR) jobs involve utilizing a range of media to influence public opinion. PR specialists work to develop and maintain positive images for companies, organizations, and individuals, public and private.

If you’re considering an online degree in this field, you may consider University of Florida’s online B.S. in Public Relations as a starting point, which emphasizes written and analytic skill development. Specializations offered by this program include Corporate Public Relations (preparing students for jobs in corporate settings) and Public Interest Communications (preparing students to direct PR careers toward social change in the US and around the world).

10) Social Work

Accelerated online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degrees qualify students to work as social workers, family counselors, welfare specialists, and a variety of related positions that positively impact individuals and communities.

Check out the Online BSW program at Simmons University, which includes live online classes with expert faculty. This program emphasizes supporting society’s most vulnerable members, and promises student preparation for “a lifetime of community leadership and advocacy.”

Nursing: Accelerated BSN advantages and prerequisites

Last but certainly not least, another particularly popular field for earning accelerated bachelor’s degrees is nursing, through ABSN (accelerated bachelor of science in nursing) programs. These programs focus on subjects such as pharmacology, mental health, nursing research, surgical nursing, pediatrics, and community, health, among others. They usually take between 11 and 18 months to complete, and require some campus residency time for fulfilling clinical hours and gaining hands-on experience.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are especially useful for students who have already taken some university-level courses and would like to direct these credits toward becoming a nurse. After receiving an ABSN, students often choose to attend graduate nursing programs for better salaries and higher-ranking positions.

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Here are 5 highly ranked ABSN programs as you begin your search:

1) Baylor University (Waco, Texas) is considered a top nursing school in Texas. Designed for Texas residents, the program allows students to complete their degrees in 1-year while gaining clinical experience and using hybrid interactive learning courses.

2) Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio) has a 16-month, full-time program that builds real-world skills and offers comprehensive academic support, including two residencies in downtown Cleveland. This program promotes health equity and inclusivity.

3) Elmhurst University (Elmhurst, Illinois) offers an award-winning and full-time ABSN program. Students complete their BSN degrees in 16 months and gain confidence through simulated scenarios led by faculty.

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4) Marymount University (Arlington, VA) offers mentorship through a unique Success Advisor program. This ABSN program is ideal for students who aim to gain nursing experience while living and working in the D.C. area. Students must complete online courses, attend one residency, and complete 592 clinical hours.

5) Wilkes University (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) offers its nursing degree from a small university setting. Graduates have found success working for leading healthcare providers such as Lehigh Valley Health Network, Vanderbilt, and University of Pennsylvania.

So, how do I choose an accelerated bachelor’s degree program?

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to accelerated bachelor’s degree programs. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding where to apply.

Cost: While you won’t be paying for campus living, accelerated bachelor’s degree programs still come with tuition, ranging from a few hundred dollars to just over a thousand per credit. As with in-person degrees, private institutions generally come with higher tuition than private ones. Student residency status (in-state vs. out-of-state), enrollment status, and military status also impact tuition. Additional fees may come from technology, textbooks, and other costs.

Location: While learning may be asynchronous, some programs require campus orientations, occasional visits, clinical hours, and internships. If this is the case, you should consider a school in a location that makes sense for you. Plus, state schools will offer lower tuitions for residents.

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Learning format: Asynchronous formats may vary. Most programs operate in 5- to 10- week sessions, and many provide full-time or part-time options. The more you do at once, the more quickly you’ll earn your degree. However, you might want to seek out a more spread-out course load if you’re also working jobs or you just prefer less multi-tasking.

Student support: Types of student support offered by accelerated bachelor’s degree programs include professional mentorships, internship connections and placements, and other forms of career guidance. Support from a program can make way for a successful learning experience, as well as employment opportunities at the end of the road. Make sure that the programs that you’re looking at offer the forms of mentorship and support most beneficial to you.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Online – Final Thoughts

We hope that you’ve found this information useful! For more information about online learning, we recommend this article on the 12 most affordable online colleges in 2024. If affordability and staying close to home are priorities for you, it might also be useful to read about the pros and cons of community college, and opportunities to even attend community college for free.

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