Most institutions of higher learning expect students to finish their degrees in four years. Taking the conventional route in a university means three things – 3,600 coursework hours outside the class, 1,800 coursework in class and approximately $133,920 or $38,600 in private and public in-state respectively.
Now, the million-dollar question is, do you have the resources (read money and time) for all that?
Is there any way you can attain your bachelor’s degree within two years? Can you spend less money?
On this primer, we’ll show you that it is not only possible to get a degree in two years but also how to do it.
Note: You do not have to change your program. What you are altering is the swiftness, to terrific fast!
Why The Hurry?
Why should you take two years compared to the normal four years to earn a degree? There are countless benefits to shortening the period you spend in a university. They include:
- Save money – The fact that you are taking a shorter time at the university means you save cash on things such as potential living costs and tuition.
- Save time – when you spend less time on campus, you can join the job market at the earliest opportunity. Hasten career – One effective way of speeding up your career and enhancing job prospects is by completing your degree in two years and then enrolling for a master’s degree. Once you complete the latter in less than three years, you can begin earning right away.
- Keep track and prosper – Taking a gap year? Desiring to start afresh? Two-year bachelor’s degree programs ensure you catch up and stay on pace with peers
Two-year University Courses (Step-by-Step Guide)
Generally, it takes only two years for a student to get an associate’s degree.
Step #1: Obtain Credit
Must you attend class to get credit? No! It is possible to get credit before starting your college life.
In the United States, degree programs usually have a host of general requirements. Most of them are the same from one state to another. One of the requirements to sit for an exam is attending classes.
Because you are smart and want to take the shortest time possible, there is an option of sitting for an examination to demonstrate you are familiar with the units to be handled in class. If you pass such an exam, the university grants you credit and thus you can avoid classes. Ultimately, you save the time you could have spent in class.
The good thing is that most schools only need you to score 50% for you to get credit.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Select an examination. Register for it.
- Pay the exam’s registering fee.
- Pick an effective study guide. Take your time and pass through it word by word.
- Sit for the exam and crash it.
- Enjoy credits without attending class.
It is as simple as that …
By doing that, you will have covered an entire freshman and half of sophomore year.
Note: Before sitting for an exam, it is prudent to pass through the fine print of your college/university. While more than 3,000 institutions of higher learning usually give credits, each institution has its policies. The policies touch on things like the least minimum passing score and the highest number of credits you can earn. Therefore, before sitting for an exam in your quest to get credits, ensure you pass through the academic catalog.
So, which are some of the exams can you take to get credit? CLEP is the most common one. With CLEP, 33 examinations are available. More than 3,000 colleges accept them. Others include:
- DSST – 34 examinations are available
- ECE – 52 examinations are available
- TECEP – 38 examinations are available
- The NYU Language (50 languages) Examinations – 12 credits
Each exam attracts 3 – 6 credits. Most CLEP examinations are multiple-choice. You can complete them within one and a half hours. As aforementioned, you do not need to score 100% in your examinations.
Another strategy you can use to get credit is through work experience. Some colleges or universities grant credits based on the number of years one has worked in a certain field or industry. For instance, you could have worked in the traveling, law enforcement, piloting, business or even health care niches. All you need to do is submit your portfolio or credentials for assessment.
Here are some of the skills that can earn you credits in college/university:
- Border patrol
- Project management
- Youth Ministry
- Human resource
- Real estate
- Financial planning
- Property management
Finally, yet importantly, you can get credit because of prior learning. For instance, your military or professional experience can count. Here’s what you need to do:
- Choose a class that you are certain you know everything about
- Attempt 5 questions
- Add the following:
- Newspaper clippings
- Work samples
- Job evaluations
- Verification letters from supervisors
Once you have done all the above, pay $100. Give the examiners 5 days to notify you of approval or otherwise.
Step #2: Consider Accelerated Classes
When it comes to degree courses, you can choose between faster and conventional timetables. It is akin to a choice of caffeinated or decaf coffee. Accelerated classes, which are mostly online, do not demand a lot from your side. All you need to do is write papers, watch lectures, read textbooks and take part in group work with your classmates on a simulated discussion board.
While you do the same assignments with those in an offline class, you log in to do and submit yours at your convenient time. The best attribute about studying online is the fact that stagnating your life is the last thing you will ever have to worry about.
So how do you go about it?
Primarily, you choose an institution that provides an 8-week, 6-week, or 5-week virtual lesson. Once you have settled on an option, the next step is to fulfill all the requirements of the school in terms of accelerated learning.
Step #3: Customize Your Fast-Tracked Bachelor’s Degree Blueprint
Of great importance to note is that there aren’t any ”official” degree courses that take two years. However, since you are responsible for your education, it is possible to come up with a customized two-year program for yourself. Fortunately, following the conventional plan is not mandatory.
Here is a step-by-step guide on exactly how you can about it:
- Choose a school. This comprehensive list of online colleges should sort you.
- Pick a degree. Later in this primer, we’ll delve more into some of the degrees or courses you can settle for.
- Find out all what is required of you to undertake the degree. How do you do this? In Google, type your university name, desired course, and these words ” degree requirements.”
- Once Google returns the results, click on ” degree completion plan,” or ” degree requirements.”
- Come up with a table containing three columns. You can do this on Excel or a piece of paper.
- Indicate all mandatory classes in the first column. To attain 120 credits, your school may require you to attend 40 classes.
- Match the class list against that of credits.
- On the second column, indicate classes you will target for ‘prior learning’ credit.
- Visit the CLEP platform to ascertain the ”test out” classes. Still in the second column, indicate ”take exam” adjacent to every ”test out” class.
- Take your time to evaluate all the empty sections. You must take all the classes in the empty sections in the second column. By now, the look should be clearer.
- Review the institution’s course catalog to find out the class timetable. You will notice that some classes are available round the clock while others are rotated through summer, spring, and fall. Primarily settle for the rotated ones. The last thing you want is to slow down because of unnecessary delays.
- The third column should information touching on the exact time you will be attending every class. In this regard, you must be very thorough. Ensure you account for all classes.
You now have a customized blueprint with a roadmap on how you will attain your two-year bachelor’s degree.
The following are some of the introductory level examinations that can earn you 30 credits in the first year:
- Marketing Principles: 3 credits
- Management Principles: 3 credits
- Introduction to Business Law: 3 credits
- Information Systems: 3 credits
- Natural Sciences: 3 credits
- Human Development and Growth: 3 credits
- Introductory Sociology: 3 credits
- American Government: 3 credits
- College Composition: 3 credits
- American Literature: 3 credits
As you draw nearer to completing your degree, most if not all of the required programs become more precise. Nonetheless, if your school gives you the opportunity for elective credits, you need to take it. Doing so goes miles in helping you complete your degree faster.
Of great importance to note is that every institution of higher learning has the least number of classes which you must attend for you to graduate. Often, it goes by the name residency requirement. If your course requirements provide some wiggle room allowing you to finish let’s say 5 300/400 level examinations, it is possible to finish within 11 months. This means that you could have ample time for your summertime holiday.
Do degree completion courses still exist? Yes, they do! Most colleges refer to this when talking about their two-year degree programs. The truth of the matter is that they are not favoring you in any way. All they are doing is to give you credits. Any certified institution of higher learning can do it.
Completion programs are handy to assist learners with complete degrees which they have already begun. For instance, you can already have a diploma or the credit, and now you desire to undertake a degree.
These programs are ideal if:
- You have finished two years of study. An equivalent of the same is allowed
- You currently have credit. Normally not less than 60 hours
An institution that provides a completion program online facilitates your completion of a degree by shifting your current credits to your desired degree. Such colleges also provide accelerated and virtual lessons.
Here’s how you go about it:
- Apply to your preferred institution
- Submit transcripts
- Be patient as your application is reviewed
- Once you have been accepted, consult your course advisor. He or she will give you a roadmap to graduation
Something you should know as well: 7 Hardest College Majors: 2020 Guide With Salaries
Conventional vs. Accelerated Classes
Speed is the major difference between these two. Other distinguishing factors include:
- Lesser periods between learning new material and exams
- Greater demand for structured study regime
- Class projects in accelerated classes tend to be more highly-focused and concentrated
If you are stuck for time and need to complete your degree within the shortest time possible, then you need to consider undertaking an accelerated degree.
List of Two-Year Degree Programs
Are you good with numbers? Finances? If yes, then you need to consider to be an accounting professional. Usually, a career in this field entails taking care of financial management and the book of accounts of individuals or organizations. To effectively prepare you for this job, taking accounting classes is necessary.
Some of the modules you will cover include math, taxation, auditing, data analysis and some bits of law. Various kinds of accounting are taught in college. They include cost accounting, managerial accounting, and financial accounting.
The course also delves into business topics like corporate law, ethics, and management. Once you graduate, it is prudent to undertake a CPA course.
2. Business Administration
If you are business-minded, rather than take a program in accounting, management or finance, you can opt for a more general degree. Enter this degree. When undertaking this program, you cover areas like management, economics, accounting, finance, and marketing. Studies in college adequately prepare you for different professions such as financial analysis, human resources, banking, and sales.
While its broad scope is its strong point, many students specialize during the latter stages of the program. Hospitality management and supply chain management are just examples of the areas of specialization.
3. Computer Science
Computer science is one of the most rewarding courses presently. It entails the studying of computers, their internal mechanisms, and components. Computer scientists not only build computers but also enhance their designs and make tweaks to the software. These professionals can also handle any other task related to technology.
Earning a degree in this course touches on things such as mathematics, algorithms, networks, and databases. The coursework might also cover areas such as operating systems and programming languages. Upon graduation, you can opt to work in a tech department, be an app designer or start your own business.
4. Criminal Justice
A criminal justice degree is handy when you are applying for jobs within the court system or law enforcement. The degree touches on areas like criminal law, diversity, violence, criminology, and psychology. Within the program, you can learn the relationship between gender and crime. You understand how the country’s juvenile courts work.
Police departments are one of the areas graduates can find jobs. Others become dispatchers, game wardens or bailiffs.
5. Teaching and Education
There is no deeper satisfaction than a career in teaching and education. Sharing knowledge is rewarding to the soul. Prepare to be a tutor by earning an accelerated education degree. Once you have earned it, you must be licensed within your state. In college, some of the things you will study include child development, classroom management, teaching methods, and curriculum. Lecturers will also teach you different subjects like science, reading, and math.
Some of the areas of specialization include special education, secondary education, elementary education, and childhood education.
6. Environmental Policy
Are you passionate about planet earth? How about you turn this affection into a career by enrolling for a class in environmental policy? There is no doubt that government regulations are pivotal when it comes to environmental practices. Certain degree courses focus more on public policy, politics, and law.
When you undertake this course, you will study budgeting, ethics, conservation technology, sustainability, and management. Upon completion, you can work in a state agency or alongside public establishments. Alternatively, you can opt to be an educator in matters touching on the environment. Other areas of interest include being a lobbyist or becoming an expert on land use.
Further education can lead you in the path of being an advocate of the environment or environmental scientist.
Words hold power. If you consider yourself ‘wordy,’ then studying English is a welcomed idea. A major in English prepares you for an array of careers in areas like public relations, editing, education or journalism. Alternatively, you can be a freelance writer or a professional author. The course covers literature from various historical times.
Most English programs focus on American and British authors. However, foreign works are also available. Topics covered in this course include poetry, persuasive writing, creative writing, and grammar.
8. Emergency Management
Disasters are unpredictable. Before one strike, it is prudent to be prepared. You can do so through supports and systems. By attaining an emergency management degree, you will be equipped with various strategies that are handy during stressful circumstances, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Infrastructure, administration, recovery efforts, disaster prevention, and risk assessment are some of the areas that you will study when undertaking this course.
Working in public entities like FEMA or Home Security are just examples of work possibilities once you graduate. Other options are becoming an emergency management coordinator or security officer.
Taking a finance major helps you delve into the world of money. You become an expert at handling different financial tools and resources. In your course of study, you learn about risk management, equity, venture capital, capital markets, budgeting, accounting, and economics. Finance students come up with strategies that help organizations and companies to make sound financial decisions especially when it comes to using or investing their money.
Some of the possible career paths include financial consulting, insurance, real estate, and banking. One can also become a venture capitalist, fund manager, loan officer or stockbroker.
10. Fire Science
This is the best course for those with a dream of being a firefighter. Learners of this course study fire prevention, safety codes, fire suspension, hydraulics, and combustion. By undergoing classes on human resources and management, students can acquire skills that are handy at helping them be leaders of their firefighting teams.
On top of equipping you with everything you need to become a forest firefighter or municipal firefighter, the degree can also assist you to be a construction code inspector or prevention specialist. Some colleges provide courses that specialize in fire inspection.
11. Health Science
This degree is an entry point to an array of healthcare jobs. It is a flexible and rewarding program for those who are open to any career in the healthcare industry. With the appropriate specialization like pre-pharmacy, undertaking a health science degree gives you all the skills you require for specific programs.
Healthcare administration, global health, and nutrition are other areas of specialization. Some potential career options are medical technician, health services manager, pharmaceutical salesperson, and paramedic.
12. Crime Scene and Forensic Investigation
Crime scene and forensics experts are trained to uncover truths and mysteries in cases of criminal nature. This degree teaches you about ballistics, firearms, photography, fingerprinting and evidence collection. Studies demand that you become savvy in sociology, psychology, chemistry, and mathematics. Extra coursework equips you to submit findings in court or via reports.
Many graduates of this degree are hired as private detectives or in law enforcement. The prudent thing to do upon graduation is to undertake CSI licensure within your state.
13. Healthcare Administration
Alongside nurses and doctors, the healthcare industry depends heavily on administrative staff work. Earning this degree is necessary for you to head departments that offer wellness and health services. A doctor’s office, nursing home or hospital system are some of the areas you can work in. You can also partner with drug manufacturers, rehab facilities and government agencies.
The coursework covers health topics such as hospital accessibility, insurance, and epidemiology. Learners also learn business principles such as budgeting, human resources, and marketing.
14. Public Administration
Have you always been interested in an organizational or managerial job within a non-business entity? If yes, you should consider undertaking a public administration degree. If you get this degree, you can hold positions in a government agency or nonprofit organization. Based on your interests, you can work with philanthropy, public relations, programming or budgets.
Classes cover areas such as statistics, management, government, and economics. The internship experience gives you the chance to practice what you have studied in class. For those that desire to specialize, some of the specialization options include healthcare, nonprofit administration, public policy, and local government.
A psychology degree is necessary to comprehend how the human mind works as well as how our thoughts play a role in behavior. Psychology classes cover aspects like statistics, human development, and cognition. An undergraduate degree prepares you for a career as a sales expert, parole officer or case manager. You can also work in other areas like career counseling, addiction rehabilitation, mental health, and childcare.
To work as a clinical psychologist, you must have a doctorate. Earning a psychology degree is a good step towards that direction.
Nutrition is a program that equips learners with the capacity to help others consume balanced and nutrient-rich foods. Ultimately, the goal of a nutritionist is to assist your clients to attain healthy-living goals. Graduates of this degree work in marketing, dietetics, community health, culinary arts, and food science. Coursework covers an array of disciplines like diet, technology, lifespan development, human anatomy, and behavioral health.
After completing this program, you can undertake certification to be an accredited dietitian which qualifies you for licensure in your state. For those that opt for this path, it is wise to select a school that ACEND certified.
One of the most lucrative niches in the market today is nursing. Numerous educational programs can propel one into the nursing industry. By attaining a nursing degree, you get the qualifications to be a registered nurse. Having a degree in the nursing field means you get more responsibilities compared to those with fewer qualifications. It also allows you to earn a higher salary.
It is because of these reasons that some diploma graduates return to school to get a degree. Some of the things you will study in this program include mental health, human development, nutrition, and health assessment. Clinicals provide students with practical experience.
Taking a marketing degree will lead you to the path of advertising. Nonetheless, this is not the only career that the degree can inspire you to become. Other appropriate fields are brand recognition, sales, public relations, product development, retail, and market research. Coursework touches on areas like product management, economics, human behavior, finance, and management.
Some of the skills that can assist you in the marketing industry include critical thinking, clear communication, and creative thinking. Being a team player also plays a big role in making you successful in this field. To be an effective marketer, you must be influential and persuasive.
Ever desired to work as a supervisor? Majoring in management is exactly what you need to do. Many people take this program to be a business degree. A management degree prepares you to lead companies, stores, and teams. The program helps you study a mixture of leadership skills and business concepts. Classes in business touch subjects such as marketing and budgeting.
When it comes to leadership, you learn about navigating organizational change, coordinating human resources and managing projects. Areas of specialization include entrepreneurship, accounting, and supply chain management.
20. Liberal Arts
A liberal arts degree prepares you for countless possibilities. Through this program, you can study various disciplines such as philosophy, art, history, and language. Classes in this course also provide the chance to sharpen your soft skills like teamwork, interpersonal communication, and creative thinking.
The best attribute about this program is the fact that career opportunities are endless. Top on the list includes public relations, communications, and customer service.
21. Legal Studies
A legal studies degree helps launches your career in the courts and law. You enjoy a foundational understanding of how the laws of the land, legal proceedings and court system functions. By the time you are completing this course, you will have known the basis of judicial decisions.
You have the option of joining the workforce immediately once you complete this program and work as a court reporter, human resource expert, court clerk or paralegal. Other opportunities like being a magistrate judge might be available based on your state.
Furthering your education can make you become a lawyer.
22. Information Technology
A background in IT equips you with the necessary skills to manage computer systems. In addition to this, you can assist business entities to take advantage of tech to enhance their operations. Classes in college cover modules touching on databases, networks, operating systems, and programming.
Areas of specialization include database administration, web design, and cybersecurity. Upon graduation, you can be part of an IT team in a company or offer consulting services. If these are not your cup of tea, you can develop software, prevent cybercrime or build computer networks.
13. Human Services
Human services degree is appropriate to those with the burning desire to assist others particularly in times of need. Coursework covers public health, ethics, diversity, and sociology. This program presents the opportunity to partner with the masses directly. Many graduates play administrative roles behind the scenes.
Other roles that graduates can play is being a director or coordinator in rehab facilities, food stamp programs, long-term care centers, foster care agencies, and corrections facilities. Possible specialization areas are addiction, leadership, public relations, informatics, and long-term care.