How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree?

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Often the biggest benefit of earning your degree online is the flexibility. Whether you’re a single parent or juggling two jobs, the idea of traveling to and from campus may be overwhelming! It can be difficult to arrange childcare or take time off of work to further your education.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree

This is where online higher education comes in. With online courses, you may stay at home and learn when it’s convenient for you.

What if you’re looking to move up in your field of work, but the promotion requires a degree? It is possible to get fast degrees, but it may require you to set aside your other obligations and focus on earning your degree.

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In general, the amount of time it takes to earn a degree online is dependent on the degree you’re working toward, the requirements of your specific program, and the time and effort you dedicate to your learning.

Some can earn a degree in as little as 2 years! For others, it can take 5 years or more to complete a degree.

How Quickly Can You Get a Degree?

student taking his associate’s degree online

If you are working towards your associate’s degree, you may be able to earn your degree in 20 months to 2 years.

If you’re wondering how to get a bachelor’s degree online and how fast you can get it, it really depends on what degree you’re pursuing. In most cases, earning a bachelor’s degree online takes roughly the same amount of time as earning it in person: 4 years.

Accelerated learning tracks may be able to shorten that window to 3 years.

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How fast you can get a master’s degree online depends on a variety of factors, but it typically takes around 2 years to complete a 36 credit program as a full-time student. If needed, some programs will allow you to take 3 to 4 years to complete your degree, including a thesis project.

If you want to pursue a PhD or doctoral degree in your field, it will likely take 3 to 4 years of coursework, dissertations, and comprehensive examinations as a full-time student. In some instances though, it may take up to 6 years to complete.

Potential Obstacles in Online Degrees

student taking an online degree

You’re probably eager to jumpstart your education from home and save money. Before you overload yourself and take on the maximum amount of courses per semester, you may want to consider the following factors to set yourself up for better success:

  • Avoid complacency: Learning from home can be relaxing, but potentially too relaxing! Many students start very motivated but lose momentum midway through the semester. You’ll need to find ways to keep yourself engaged. It can be helpful to remember to take breaks to move your body and refresh your mind.
  • Accelerated coursework: It’s tempting to want to power through your classes and get those credits as quickly as possible. Fast degrees and accelerated courses condense 16 week courses into shorter timeframes, sometimes as little as 5 weeks, but that means you have a heavier workload in a shorter amount of time. These can be challenging to keep up with if you fill your schedule with too many of them, and failing them means a waste of time and money.
  • Verify accreditation: It’s important to make sure the online university you’ve applied to has regional accreditation. Schools with accreditation are looked upon more favorably by employers or other higher education institutions.
  • Familiarity with technology: Of course, an online program is going to be tech-heavy, but you must feel comfortable with technology and be able to troubleshoot on your own should issues arise. It’s also important to know how to back-up your work in the case of computer issues or viruses.

By planning ahead for these potential obstacles, you can avoid making common mistakes that wind up setting your education back. The last thing you want is for your hard work to not be recognized professionally or to overestimate your ability to take on a heavy course load.

At My College Guide, we offer real insights and tips on navigating the higher education sphere. Your degree doesn’t have to be out of reach when you have a support system to help you along the way!

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Isaac Scott
WRITTEN BY Isaac Scott

Isaac has a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His primary focus is accredited schools offering degrees online or in a hybrid format.