How Long Does It Take To Get a Bachelor’s Degree With an Associate’s Degree?

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If you have an associate degree and want to continue your education, you’re eager to do it quickly. Continuing your education after earning your associate’s degree can expand your skill set and knowledge in your field. Plus, a bachelor’s degree also increases your chances of getting a job. And, of course, those with a bachelor’s degree are likely to earn more than an associate’s degree holder.

It’s thrilling when you’ve decided what you want to do next, and you’re here because you want to pursue a quick online degree! The good news is, that getting your bachelor’s degree doesn’t have to take an excessive amount of time. In this article, we will show you some ways to go from an associate’s degree program to a bachelor’s quickly. We will answer the question: “What is the fastest way to get a bachelor’s degree if you have an associate’s degree”?

Fastest Way to Get a Bachelor's Degree

What Is an Associate’s Degree?

Exactly what is an associate degree? An associate’s degree is the first level of the undergraduate degree. It is the foundation of all other academic degrees. An associate’s degree program typically consists of 60 credits. An associate’s degree includes required general education courses in science, mathematics, and language arts. These are introductory courses that prepare you for further studies. Courses specific to your chosen area of interest (major or minor) are also included. These are referred to as “electives”. And they are a way to customize your associate degree program. On average, an associate’s degree takes two years of full-time dedication to complete.

Can You Earn an Associate Degree Online?

Absolutely! There are dozens of schools all over the country offering many associate’s degree programs. This means you don’t even have to leave home to earn your associate degree. Instead, you can choose from hundreds of associate degrees across a broad range of fields. This way, you can find an associate degree that is perfectly suited to your interests and goals.

With an online associate degree, you have unparalleled convenience and flexibility. Many schools feature self-paced associate degrees. This means you can study when it is convenient for you. And you can work on your associate’s degree courses anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. It’s the best of both worlds. 

Associate’s degrees online are generally taught by the same experienced instructors who teach on campus. And you’ll earn the exact same associate’s degree you would if you attended in person. Moreover, associate degrees that are online often feature more affordable tuition rates. But even in cases where the tuition for the associate degree is the same, you’ll still save money. Why? Because you won’t need to commute back and forth to college. You’ll save on transportation costs, meals, and everything in between. 

The advantages of pursuing an online associate’s degree are clear. Next up, we feature five great schools that offer an online associate degree. 

Five Popular Online Schools for Obtaining an Associate Degree

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University
community college: associates degree
Manchester, New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University is a private university located in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1932. The school offers eleven online associate’s degree programs. Some of these include:

  • Associate Degree in Computer Science
  • Associate Degree in Fashion Merchandising
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Digital Photography
  • Associate Degree in Marketing

Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University
community college: associates degree
Marios, Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical university located in Marion, Indiana. It was founded in 1890, and it remains the largest private University in Indiana. The school offers thirteen Associate’s programs in an online format. A few of these include:

  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Computer Information Technology
  • Associate Degree in Operations Management
  • Associate Degree in Business

Columbia College

Columbia College
community college: associates degree
Columbia, Missouri

Columbia College is a private, nonprofit, faith-based university. The school’s online associate degree programs help distance learners develop skills for jobs and career growth. They also assist students in obtaining transfer credits for four-year degrees. CC provides tools like online writing help, tutoring, career services, and academic counseling. Some of the associate degrees online include:

  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Human Services
  • Associate Degree in Environmental Studies
  • Associate Degree in  Organizational Leadership

American Public University System

American Public University System
community college: associates degree
Charles Town, West Virginia

American Public University is a military-friendly school. It is a private, for-profit distance education college. The school offers a huge range of online associate’s degree programs in a variety of subjects. These online degree programs are ideal for students who need mobility and schedule flexibility. The school also provides remote access to employment services, academic advice, and library resources. Some of the online associate’s degrees include:

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Counter-terrorism
  • Associate Degree in Military History 
  • Associate Degree in Culinary and Food Service
  • Associate Degree in Legal Studies

Massachusetts Bay Community College

Massachusetts Bay Community College
community college: associates degree
Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts

MBCC is one of the top public community colleges on our list. It was founded in 1961. And this community college now provides more than ten fully online degree programs. Online students study the same course materials as their on-campus counterparts. Online tools include IT help, academic/transfer counseling, and career services. Some of the featured online associate’s degrees include:

  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in English
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Mathematics
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
Fastest Way to Get a Bachelor's Degree when you have an associate's degree

What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

After obtaining an associate’s degree, the next step to a successful career is a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree program includes specialized courses in your major.  Supplementary areas of study that relate to your career path are also included. 

The typical bachelor’s degree program consists of 120 credits and takes an average of four years to complete. If you already have an associate’s degree, you can take courses focused on your major. Most schools accept transfer credits from other institutions, including community colleges. This allows students to use their associate’s degree to fast-track their bachelor’s.

Online Learning:  A Quick Way To Go From Your Associate’s Degree to Your Bachelor’s Degree

Online Bachelor’s degree programs are as comprehensive as the traditional on-site programs. They meet the same educational standards but are more convenient. The courses are administered by the same professors who teach the on-site classes. Furthermore, the diploma you receive does not distinguish between the formats. It gives equal value to each type of degree. 

Online degree programs are flexible. Students can complete courses at their own pace. You can work faster and finish the degree earlier than on-site programs. An online bachelor’s degree program has other benefits too. You can move around freely and have a flexible schedule.

Next up, we feature seven of the most popular online schools with bachelor’s degree programs.

Seven Popular Online Schools for Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina State University is a public university founded in 1887. It is the largest University within the Carolinas. The school is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. NSU offers an award-winning online Bachelor of Arts – Leadership in the Public Sector. It also offers many other online associate degrees. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits the University.

Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. The school was founded in 1875. It is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It offers six online Bachelor’s degree programs, including Applied Technology and Professional Studies. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public university. It was founded in 1867 and is the flagship university of the University of Illinois system. It is one of the largest public universities in the United States by enrollment. The school is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. U of I has online undergraduate degrees in early childhood education and social work. There is also a bachelor’s degree program in environmental sustainability.

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, New Jersey

Thomas Edison State University is a four-year public university. It serves roughly 9,700 students. Almost 100 online programs are available at TESU. They include 35 bachelor’s programs. Among the areas of study include business, healthcare, technology, and homeland security. 

Bellevue University

Bellevue, Nebraska

Bellevue University is a private, nonprofit institution. It enrolls about 12,000 students across all academic disciplines. In the institution, almost 90% of the students enroll in online programs. The school offers 84 online degrees ranging from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. Areas of interest include business, education, computer science, healthcare, and more.

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public land-grant research university. It was founded in 1848 as the first public university established in Wisconsin. It remains the oldest and largest public university in the state. US-Madison is the flagship university of the UW system. It is recognized as a Public Ivy League college. You can find many online undergraduate degrees here. They have different start dates and course lengths of 8 or 16 weeks. 

Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Liberty University is a private university. It was founded in 1971 as the Lynchburg Baptist College. It is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia. It is classified among “Doctoral/Professional Universities”. The school is honored by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security as a top Cyber Defense Education center. LU is the biggest non-profit university in the US. It is also one of the largest Christian universities in the world. The majority of the school’s students are enrolled online. The university offers more than 130 online bachelor’s programs.

There are many colleges and universities offering remote programs. You might want to check out our rankings of the best online colleges.

fast bachelor's degrees

Degree Completion Programs: The Fastest Way to Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree completion programs can also help bridge the gap between degrees. These programs are offered both on-site and online. Degree completion programs can be the fastest route to obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. Especially if you have previous college education credits and an Associate’s degree. 

The acceleration is built into the structure of the program in several ways. There is ample room to bring in credits. If you have your associate’s degree, you already have at least 60 credit hours. Degree completion programs usually accept up to 100 credit hours. This includes credits from your Associate’s degree and other alternatives. 

Course duration also gives you a leg up to an accelerated degree. Courses can be as short as seven weeks each! Many schools offering degree completion tracks have longer terms or year-round schedules. This means you can avoid taking any time off if you don’t want to. The acceleration has a built-in feature that allows you to take more credit hours at once. This is not possible in a traditional format.

Accelerated online programs are definitely the fastest way to get a bachelor’s degree when you already have your associate’s degree. Next, we feature ten of the most popular online schools for bachelor’s degree completion programs.

Ten Online Schools for Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program

Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne, Florida

Florida Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit college. It was established in 1958 as the Brevard Engineering College. The school is now a research-focused university renowned for its laser Optics work. FIT offers 18 bachelor’s degree programs in an asynchronous online format. Enrollment takes place six times a year, with courses that last for eight weeks. 

Northeastern University

Boston, Massachusetts

Northeastern University is a four-year private university. It’s well known for its academic rigor and competitive admissions. The school is classified as an R1 doctoral university with very high research activity. NU offers online Bachelor’s degrees through its Fast Track program. The quickest program can be completed in just 18 months. 

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Lutheran College is a private non-profit institution founded in 1973. The school has fast programs to finish degrees through the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. WLC offers an online completion program in Business Management and Leadership. Students can transfer up to 80 credits from another Institution. 

University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Amherst, Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public university founded in 1863. It is the flagship university of the University of Massachusetts system. Umass offers Bachelor’s completion programs online through its University Without Walls. The school features 14-week sessions. There are also six-week summer sessions and a three-week winter session. 

Drexel University 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Drexel University is a private, non-profit university. It was founded in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. In 1996, this Institution was one of the first to offer distance learning programs. Drexel offers 18 bachelor’s degrees in an accelerated online and asynchronous format. Students can transfer up to 135 credits from another institution. The courses are divided into four quarters per year, each lasting ten weeks. 

Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona State University was established in 1885 as the Territorial Normal School. ASU is now one of the largest public universities in the United States. And it offers many online bachelor’s degrees in an asynchronous format. Classes are 7 1/2 weeks long, and students can take up to 18 credits at a time. The University also offers summer sessions for faster completion of the degree program. 

PennWest California

California, Pennsylvania

PennWest California was formerly known as The California University of Pennsylvania. It is a public university founded in 1852. The school offers over 75 degree programs through its Cal U Global U campus. The online, asynchronous format allows for completion in as little as four semesters. In addition, students can transfer up to 90 credits from another Institution. Six start dates are available each year. 

Utica College

Utica, New York

Utica College is a private, non-profit university. It was established in 1946 and is now renowned for its cybersecurity programs. Utica offers accelerated bachelor’s degree programs in an asynchronous format. The Nursing and Criminal Justice bachelor’s degrees can be completed in as little as 16 months. 

University of Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma is a four-year public university. It was established before Oklahoma was even a state. OU features some excellent online bachelor’s completion programs. They are offered through the College of Professional and Continuing Studies. The asynchronous courses are offered in five 8-week sessions throughout the year. Students can transfer 90 credits from another school. They can take up to 19 credits each semester to finish faster. 

Walsh University

North Canton, Ohio

Walsh University is a private Roman Catholic university. It was founded in 1951 as the LaMennais College. WU offers online Bachelor’s degree programs through its School for Professional Studies. More than 11 bachelor’s degree programs are available in an asynchronous format. You can transfer up to 92 credits from another school. There are six start dates every year. Courses are compacted into five and 8-week sessions to accelerate the completion time. 

Degree Completion Programs

PLAs And Testing Out: Two Other Fast Ways To Go From an Associate Degree to a Bachelor’s Degree

PLA stands for Prior Learning Assessment. And it’s a great way to add extra credits, especially when you already have an associate’s degree. Essentially, you can speed up your bachelor’s degree by doing a Prior Learning Assessment. PLAs evaluate and grant credit for learning that occurred in nontraditional settings. After you earn your associate’s degree and work in the field, you can skip courses to get your bachelor’s degree. PLA credits are typically offered through specialized testing or by presenting a portfolio of your accomplishments. 

Testing out of courses can also accelerate the time it takes to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges give tests in certain subjects. If you pass these exams, you get credit without finishing the class. These tests are common in associate’s degree-level courses, and some bachelor’s level courses also have them.

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