Finding the fastest online degree options or online degree completion programs is not always the easiest part of completing your bachelor’s degree online. Value Colleges has ranked the top 25 quick and easy online degrees, for those eager students who are ready to commit themselves to a new way of living. Many of the schools on the list offer degrees you can get in 6 months, if you have the right number of credits under your belt. These are the fastest degrees to get, and many of them are in fields that pay well. The flexibility offered by working on a fast track degree from home makes many of these the best online degrees for stay at home moms, full time workers, and anyone else who needs a non traditional approach to starting a new career.
Methodology: Ranking the Fastest Online Degree Completion Programs
For the ranking, our editors looked at dozens of schools that offer online bachelor’s degrees. The 25 that caught our eye had a few important things in common. One of these things were a great return on investment, as determined by the average salary by graduates ten years after graduation. Another was the cost of tuition, as reported to IPEDS. Finally, length of time, with a higher score for those programs that allow more degree credits for transfer, or the option to take as little time as possible to finish the online degree program.
Many of these programs offer several options for completion. From nursing, to business, to computer science, the fastest online degree completion programs are on this list. The careers that graduates of these programs stand to make would make a comfortable professional salary, in many cases six-figure incomes are possible. These fast track degrees are a great choice for people who have some credits, but not enough to feel finished with school. In 6 to 15 months, anyone who has started school and who is motivated enough, can finish with an easy online degree that pays well.
Purdue Global - West Lafayette, Indiana
Purdue Global is the online arm of Purdue University, and it is an excellent program option for students interested in earning a fast online degree. Purdue has always been a leader in offering online degree programs, and the ExcelTrack gives students more flexibility in their education, offering personalized courses of study, whatever their specific professional goals. Purdue Global has four Bachelor’s degree options within their ExcelTrack offerings. The programs teach using a constructivist approach, meaning they build on the knowledge base and life/ academic experiences of the learners present. The length and subsequent costs of the programming also vary according to the student’s individualized plan.
Purdue Global was developed in response to the heightened demand for academic and degree-granting programming that is in service to adult learners and their unique needs. This school is unique because all of their course offerings are delivered online, enabling students to achieve their goals with the flexibility that is critical to their success. Their programs that are specifically developed for fast track learning exist within all seven of their colleges. Purdue Global is the distance learning division of Purdue University.
Thomas Edison University - Trenton, New Jersey
Thomas Edison University was designed to support adult learners exclusively who are in pursuit of degrees that they started earlier in life. They feature quick and easy online degrees with flexibility driving the mission. Students who participate in this program often continue working full time while having the spaciousness to fully engage in their demanding personal lives. There are over a hundred course offerings for students to choose from, including options for students to develop self-directed learning agendas that tie into degree programs. Thomas Edison supports a large number of credit transfers, which can include up to 80 credits from a community college and up to 120 from a four-year institution that is regionally accredited. All of the coursework is delivered online with no campus visit or residency requirements.
Thomas Edison University has many bachelors options for students to choose from, as well as undergraduate certificates, and a myriad of other degree opportunities. Their campus is located in Trenton, New Jersey, and they were founded in 1972. One of the things they are known for is giving adult professionals the opportunity to earn credits for what they already know.
University of Texas Permian Basin - Odessa, Texas
The University of Texas Permian Basin offers a variety of fast online degrees that can be completed online. They offer a wide range of degree programs that span many departments. All of their programs feature easy transfer opportunities and a great deal of flexibility in the structure of coursework, as well as affordability. All of their programs are designed to support the busy lives of adult learners, many of which are needing to complete degrees that they started earlier in life. The structure of the online programming varies, though many offerings require no residencies or campus visits. Courses generally are delivered in seven week increments.
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is part of the University of Texas System, though they are a unique component that features greater flexibility, online programming, and heightened affordability. They were ranked number 8 by the US News and World Report among the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Public Universities the State of Texas, and number 46 among Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs. All of their programming features affordability and flexibility, which includes flexible start dates.
University of Georgia - Athens, Georgia
The University of Georgia offers some of the fastest online degree and completion programs out there. They have a myriad of opportunities for adult learners to work at their own pace in order to accommodate their demanding personal and professional commitments. There are two specific programs that span education and business that specifically offer students an opportunity to work at an accelerated pace to meet their academic goals online. Both have outcomes that will enable graduates to immediately enter the workforce with the skills to thrive. The online programming is especially known for its affordability, and of course flexibility.
The University of Georgia is located in the vibrant college town of Athens. It was founded in 1785, making it one of the few schools in the United States that can claim the oldest public institution status. They are known for their inquiry-based learning strategies, as outlined by their motto Both to teach and to inquire into the nature of things. The admissions process is known for being “more selective” than other public schools of a similar caliber.
University of Baltimore - Baltimore, Maryland
The University of Baltimore is one of the high caliber schools that offer fast online degrees in a variety of subjects. Their online learning opportunities are exciting, because they are designed with flexibility and affordability in mind, though they mirror the same coursework and faculty as the traditional classroom options that the University of Baltimore offers. Some of the programs require no on-campus residencies or visits, however, many have the option of hybrid learning, enabling students to study both online and on campus. There are many web-assisted online activities, which offer students that opportunity to participate in group interactive project learning. coursework uses the Sakai platform for online course management.
The University of Baltimore is part of the University of Maryland System. It was founded in 1925, and they offer extensive programming in the fields of applied arts and sciences, law, public affairs, business, and education. Their motto Knowledge that works speaks to the ways they are committed to meeting their students where they are at in terms of providing flexible academic options and needs-based learning.
University of Wisconsin - Madison, Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin satisfies the quick and easy online degree criteria but offering UW Flexible Option programs. The bachelor’s degrees offered through this innovative online degree completing the program are a great way for UW students from any of the seven campuses to complete a bachelor’s degree online. Each degree in the program is based on student competency, meaning what students already know through their workplace or previous studies, they will quickly test out of taking again. Students who transfer in prior coursework can complete their bachelor’s in as little as 9 months. This also means students will test out of paying for these courses again. The UW Flexible Option program offers an option to pay one flat fee for tuition, maximizing the incentive to earn the online bachelor’s degree credit fast.
The University of Wisconsin was an autonomous, Madison-based university from 1849 until 1971 when it merged with several Wisconsin state universities. This merger effectively formed the University of Wisconsin system and brought together the best qualities of each. The resources that have been poured into the Wisconsin system since the merger have allowed for an accurate assessment of needs for the broader community. The outcome of this has lead to creative innovation like the UW Flexible Option program.
University of Rochester School of Nursing - Rochester, New York
The School of Nursing at the University of Rochester offers an Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses that requires 12 months of full-time study to complete. Fewer people all the time come out of undergrad prepared for a lifelong career in a specific field. The need for a quick an easy online degree opportunity that applies prior learning to new career path is crucial. The Accelerated Programs for Non-Nurses (APNN) requires applicants to have a earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and complete a CPR certification. Applicants must also have completed some prerequisite courses, either through their first undergrad program or at a local university or community college prior to applying to the APNN.
The University of Rochester School of Nursing has been around for almost a century. This upstate New York nursing school is one of the very first university programs in the country that had a dedicated school of nursing integrated into the larger university pool of resources. Before these few universities began becoming co-educational and including what was women’s work into the academy, nurses had to going to schools for nurses or rely on the wisdom that was passed down in their family.
University of Florida - Gainesville, Florida
The University of Florida has a specialized online program called UF Online that offers fast online degrees. Their programming centers adult learners and non traditional students who require the flexibility that studying online offers. They have nineteen distinct majors which are offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Warrington College of Business. They have extensive financial aid options and ensure students will receive an affordable education. Their programming makes it easy to be a transfer student, even if one is completing a degree that was started many years prior.
UF Online students receive the same degree as those who attend in person classes at the University of Florida. Students also have access to the same amount of support students on campus, from academic advising to transition to online education coaching. Online students will also have access to resources that on campus students have such as workout videos, career planning, internships and expert faculty. The US News and World Report has ranked UF Online number eight among the Best Online Programs.
Louisiana State University - Shreveport, Louisiana
Louisiana State University Shreveport offers a myriad of quick and easy degrees that fit the lifestyle of a busy professional adult and non-traditional learner. They run a tight ship that empowers students to access faculty and administrative support within their online program, and tailor their work to support their professional and academic goals. All of their bachelor’s programs require just 40 classes, and less of course if they are transferred into. All of their programs are transfer friendly, and ensure that students will have the maximum level of credits carried over.
Louisiana State University Shreveport was ranked by the US Department of Education in 2011 as one of the most affordable post secondaries in the United States. They are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The majority of their faculty members hold terminal degrees and also work as practitioners in their field. Length of program is dependent on the amount of courses students want to take at a time as well as the amount of credits that they come in with.
Franklin University - Columbus, Ohio
Franklin University has made it their mission to create fast, affordable online bachelor’s programs that are accessible to everyone. Something that sets them apart beyond their 36 available undergraduate degrees and completion programs, is that the faculty they hire for their online bachelor’s degree programing are practitioners in the fields in which they teach. For those who are finishing a degree they already started, the student support specialists at Franklin University help to transfer every credit possible, so students do not lose the work they have earned, or the money they have spent. Franklin is there for students who have every been heard saying, I need a degree fast, and it is what go them on this list.
Franklin University has been the go-to institution for adult and non-traditional learners for over a century, and thus has developed dozens of fast online bachelors degree programs to keep up with the trends of accessible education. Over time, Franklin faculty and administrators have developed systems of ensuring that adult learners who need flexibility, and who put in the time and hard work, are able to graduate with online degrees that pay well.
Old Dominion Online
Old Dominion Online emphasizes the options that people have who are at a perpetual half time, or even late to the game, when deciding on a fast online degree program. They provide 13 entirely online bachelor’s degree programs, and 37 degree options for those who have finished between 60 and 75 of their credits towards their bachelor’s degree. They offer all of the necessary upper division courses to complete a degree that was started recently or at a different time in life. Students can take their core courses at a community college, and transfer into a specialized degree program at Old Dominion Online. Their programs are affordable and accessible to adult learners who require a tremendous amount of flexibility to be successful.
Old Dominion University has one of the most comprehensive and extensive online programs in the country. Their name came from the state’s oldest nickname Old Dominion, which King Charles III gave to the territory as an offering to reward their loyalty in the midst of the English Civil War.
PSU World Campus
The Penn State World Campus it one stop shopping for quick and easy online degrees. They have over 150 degree programs in all, though that includes bachelors, masters, doctoral and certificate programs. The majority of their degree programs, however, are Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Science programs that encompass a wide variety of disciplines, all of which cater to non traditional and adult learners. Whether you want to build a career in business, law, behavioral health, or another field entirely, PSU World Campus has a pathway that compliments your personal and professional goals. All of their programs are delivered entirely online and account for the level of flexibility many adult learners require to be successful academically.
The Penn State World Campus is the online institution attached to Penn State University, meaning that students who achieve a degree from PSU Global are getting the same credentials and working with the same faculty as the students that are studying on campus. The World Campus opened in 1998 with the intention of providing the same level of excellence to students around the globe.
University of South Carolina - Columbia, South Carolina
The University of South Carolina offers students fast online degrees that include many convenient options for learning. Many of their programs are entirely delivered online, meaning students never have to step foot on campus. They offer a unique online RN to BSN program that is delivered through their College of Nursing, and was designed exclusively for registered nurses who are interested in improving their career options. In order to participate in the online bachelor’s completion programs at University of South Carolina, students must first have have 45 credits of on campus learning under their belts and then its off to the races with 100 percent online learning and over 13 programs to choose from.
The University of South Carolina has earned a designation of top tier in both community engagement and also research activity by the Carnegie Foundation. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, their campus is known for being a hub for student life and innovation. They are also known for being in the top three percent of colleges in the country for graduate African American Students. Their online degree offerings are extensive and comprehensive.
Fayetteville State University - Fayetteville, North Carolina
Fayetteville State University is known for offering fast online degrees. The majority of their online degree opportunities are completion programs are for non-traditional and adult learners who are looking to fast track their way to finishing degrees they started earlier in life. All core courses must be completed prior to entering the students online path of learning, or they can be dually enrolled in a community college program that is partnered with Fayetteville State. The perks of this program include the flexibility that it offers students as well as its affordability.
Fayetteville State University is located in the state of North Carolina, and in fact is part of the University of North Carolina System. They opened in 1867 and have always been as a Historically Black University in response to the Civil War. They are the second oldest School that the state of North Carolina supported. Their Motto is deeds not words, offering students the intention to show rather then tell. One interesting fact about this school is that they established the first ever teachers college designed exclusively for African American Students.
Boston University - Boston, Massachusetts
Boston University an opportunity for students to earn fast online degrees. They provide a special program for adult and non-traditional learners to complete degrees they started earlier in life. Students must arrive, however, with 52-64 credits that are transferable in order to participate in the entirely online undergraduate degree completion program (UDCP). This programs engage an emphasis on liberal arts and humanities and offers a range of classes that bring forth skills such as analytical reasoning and interpersonal awareness. Critical thinking skills are highly utilized and developed in this particular program. Graduates emerge from Boston University with Bachelor of Liberal Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Boston University is a private school has a focus on research. Historically they were affiliated with the United Methodist Church, but are now nonsectarian. They are one of the biggest employers for the city of Boston and within the institution offers 17 schools and colleges in two locations in the city, as well as online programming. They have many alumni members that have gained international attention, including 23 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Boise State University - Boise, Idaho
Boise State University offers an online bachelor of Applied Science program that falls under the category of fast degrees online. This particular program can be achieved in as little time as two months, depending on the time commitment students can promise. This course of study was designed to be flexible and therefore fit into the lifestyle of busy working professional adults. The program was designed for those who are interested in engaging their managerial skills with technical skills and experience and putting them to the test in professional leadership. This program provides students with exceptional resources, such as one on one advising, which includes success coaching. Students can participate in the program with full or part time status. All of the coursework is delivered online.
Boise State University was founded in 1932, and was established by the Episcopal Church. It was not, however, until 1965 that they began offering bachelor’s four year degrees. Prior to that they were a junior college offering two year degrees. Their motto is Splendour Without Diminishment.
Northeastern University -Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University is a great place to turn if you are seeking a fully online degree completion program. They offer fast online degrees in ten disciplines, all of which can be completed anywhere in the world, as long as there’s an internet connection. Northeastern offers adult learners and non traditional students an innovative approach to learning called that is part in what they call the lifelong learning network. All students have access to comprehensive advising and one-on-one academic life coaching. These programs are known for their affordability and accessible learning opportunities.
Northeastern University was established in 1898 in Boston, Massachusetts. They were originally called the Evening Institute for Younger Men, and were part of the YMCA. Not only do they offer extensive online programming, but they also have satellite campuses in San Jose, California, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington. One of the primary things this school is known for is their co-op programming that integrates real life experience with classroom and online learning.
East Carolina University - Greenville, North Carolina
East Carolina University offers online programming that includes online undergraduate degree completion programs. These fast online degrees are geared towards adult learners who are interested in completing coursework they started recently or many years prior. These programs are transfer friendly and are designed specifically for the last two years of the student’s bachelor education. They engage the cohort model of learning, making it easier for students to rely on peer support and engagement. All students have access to comprehensive advisement and academic coaching to support them through the program. Some programs may require occasional campus visits, but not all.
East Carolina University is situated in Greenville, North Carolina, and is the third largest post secondary school in the state. They first opened their doors in 1907 as a teachers training institute. They have since become a comprehensive institution of learning with an extensive list of degree offerings including doctoral degrees. They are known for their diversity, and have four historically black sororities and five historically black fraternities. They also have one Native American Fraternity and one Sorority.
Loyola University Chicago -Chicago, Illinois
Loyola University Chicago offers fast online degree programs through what is known as Loyola Online. They offer seven distinct programs that are designed for degree completion, meaning they serve students who have have some post secondary credits and are interested in completing their degree. These programs are affordable, transfer friendly, and built to serve adult learners who require flexibility to achieve their academic goals. They are fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Each student has access to faculty and administrative advising that can support their personal and professional goals. One of their notable programs is the RN to BSN that was designed for registered nurses to open more doors for future career opportunities.
Loyola University began offering online programming in 1998 in an effort to engage adult and non-traditional learners. Their coursework is guided by Jesuit traditions and utilizes learner centered teaching methodologies and online learning that fosters community learning interventions. Loyola Online provides online students with comprehensive services similar to those on campus students receive. This includes access to an online wellness center that provides support services include violence prevention opportunities.
Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry, New York
Mercy College offers one of the fastest online degree programs, as they excel in supporting students to fast track their education in order to meet their personal and professional goals. Their programming is designed specifically for students who are non traditional and professional working adults who require the flexibility to achieve their goals. They have options that bring students to campus two nights per week, but also degree programs that are offered entirely online with no need to ever step foot in a classroom. Students have the opportunity to advance within the cohort model, which in practice looks like taking one three credit class per month.
Mercy College is a private nonsectarian school that originally had roots in the Catholic Church. They are located on campuses that are spread throughout the burrows of New York City, though their main campus is in Dobbs Ferry, New York, overlooking the Hudson River. Even though they are non sectarian, their curriculum has some influence from Jesuit teachings.
Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Technical University offers a non traditional education for students that require the flexibility to achieve an education while balancing a rigorous home and work life. Many students return to school with the need to achieve a fast online degree in support of their personal and professional goals. They have unique education technology that engages a platform called Intellipath that allows students to tailor their learning to the skills and life experience they already have, and illuminating as much repetition as possible. Colorado Tech offers 52 bachelor’s degree program options that are all delivered entirely online and span a wide array of disciplines.
Established in 1965 Colorado Tech was designed to offer distance learning opportunities for students who live in the state state of Colorado. They have broadened their reach and now serve students all over the country who are interested in degree completion and full degree programs that are delivered online. They are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as well as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
California Southern University - Irvine, California
California Southern University, generally called CalSouthern offers fast online degrees in the disciplines of Psychology, Business, and Law. All of their programming is delivered through their proprietary online learning platform that ensures students can work at their own pace and set a schedule that works for their individual lifestyle. Their programs are all regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Their programming is set apart from other like institutions by the affordability, academic quality, flexibility, and the academic support they offer their student body. They are generous with transfer students by accepting a large amount of credits.
California Southern University’s tagline is a different kind of university, as their focus centers working adults and non traditional students that often have barriers to effectively completing a bachelor’s education. They opened their doors in 1978 to provide comprehensive academic opportunities entirely online. One of the things they are known for is offering interest free loan payback plans as well as exceptional faculty and distinguished alumni who are experts in their fields of practice.
Southern New Hampshire University - Manchester, New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University offers fast online degrees that can be taken on campus if students prefer face-to-face learning. They have over 150 programs that are designed to support the needs of adult learners with flexibility at the forefront of their structure. Southern New Hampshire takes seriously accessibility, and therefore gives ensures that their programs will be affordable, transfer friendly, and offer comprehensive support that may be necessary for non-traditional learners to be successful. Their degree offerings are vast, as they include a variety of disciplines such as: Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, History, and many more.
Southern New Hampshire University is situated in the middle of Hooksett and Manchester, New Hampshire. They are best known for their online degree programming and the many options the offer. Their flexible programs that support adult and non-traditional learners have made them one of the quickest growing post secondaries in the country. The original mission of the school was to teach business when they first opened their doors in 1932, however, they have expanded their mission and reach quite about.
Touro University - New York City, New York
Touro University offers unique quick and easy online degree programs that are designed to fit perfectly into the busy lives of adult learners with a full plate. Their coursework makes it easy for students to pick up where they left off, and finish a degree program that you started earlier in life. Their online bachelor’s programs span the School of Business and Management, the School of Psychology, and the Edith Newman School of Health and Human Services. Each online offering is flexible in reach, with the guarantee that students don’t have to ever step foot on campus for a residency or even an orientation, and the coursework can be completed anywhere in the world, as long as there’s an internet connection. Their programming is fully accredited, affordable, and accessible on all fronts.
Touro University was founded out of a Judaic system that values social justice as a core principle in education. They are known institutionally for their celebration and acceptance of all students from all backgrounds. In support of military members and family, Touro offers discounts to those affiliated with the armed forces. One thing Touro is known for is the stellar academic support the administration provides students, so even though much of their programming happens from a distance, participants can always access support resources.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has built a reputation for accessibility, through the creative Online Learning at UAB program. With 12 undergraduate programs to choose from, 8 of which are offered 100% online, UAB students can earn a fast online bachelor’s degree in areas like Informations Systems and Health Care Management, just to name a couple. With such emphasis on accelerated online college degree programs, Online Learning at UAB students can receive the same caliber of instruction as working adults, that on-campus students receive. The same faculty that teaches on campus, wear the online hat for the Online Learning program.
UAB itself is a well-respected institution that began, autonomous from its parent school in Tuscaloosa, in 1936. The main focus of its prestige and focus of its resources is in the medical center, which serves the local Birmingham community, and hundreds of the next generation of doctors, nurses, and medical staff. Innovation in the technology of medicine is only one of the measures UAB takes to ensure access and success to their community of learners. The bachelor of science degrees available through Online Learning at UAB program include:
What are the Fastest Online Degree Completion Programs?
There are five main online bachelor’s degree completion program topics that are straightforward enough for colleges to offer online. Some of these can be in accelerated formats, given the prerequisites are often general education courses. These are most often in the departments or schools of nursing, business, computer science, and education. Fast online degree programs in teaching, like early childhood education or teaching certifications are rooted in educational theory. Although many universities require an internship for those getting a bachelor’s in education, these are easy to do in the students’ home area, leaving the rest of the degree to be completed completely online.
Two other common fast online degrees are an online bachelor’s in accounting or an online bachelor’s in business administration. Like education, the principles of these disciplines are theoretical, not hands-on. They lend themselves nicely to an online degree completion environment. Nursing is another common one, because after the practical components of the RN are mastered in the first two years of the degree, the RN to BSN process requires mostly things students can learn in a book and through online interactive skill building. Topics like leadership skills, communication, and critical thinking as well as cultural awareness, professionalism, and bedside manner are covered in the one to two years of many online RN to BSN programs. Lastly, computer science degrees are common ones to find in an online school’s list of options. Perhaps obviously, the curriculum in a computer science degree are almost exclusively computer-based, and thus, are some of the best online degrees for stay at home moms and other people who require flexibility.
Can a Fast Track Degree Pay Well?
Any professional degree is better paying than no degree at all. Most of the online bachelor’s degree and completion programs offered on Value College’s Top 25 Quick and Easy Online Degrees fall into the professional degree category. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics computer scientists with a bachelor’s degree can make between $80 and $140 thousand dollars per year. Nurses with a bachelor’s degree can make between $40 and $95K per year, and accountants and business professionals can earn between $60 and $120 per year. Primary and secondary teachers can earn between $55 and $65 thousand per year. Many of these degrees are quick and easy to earn online through one of the fast online degree completion programs featured in our ranking. For the school’s that allow generous credit transfer options, these well-paying professional degrees you can get in 6 months.
Are Quick and Easy Online Degrees Respected by Employers?
For the most part, online degrees from colleges and universities are the same in every way as any other degree program the school offers. There is no way to distinguish between an online computer science degree, for instance, from the same degree students receive on campus. For schools like number 11 in our ranking, Old Dominion Online, number 20, Mercy College, or number 23, Southern New Hampshire University, the bachelor’s degree is a bachelor’s degree. No questions asked. The skill level of the graduate most often depends exclusively on how hard he or she worked as a student. Online degrees require motivation, self-discipline, and critical thinking skills. The most successful online students are well organized and curious, as well as humble in their communication with instructors, tutors or success coaches, and other students. The initiative shown by top online students are what make fast online degree programs even faster. After the question of credentials, these are also the qualities most respected by employers.