Accelerated degree programs have changed the way students view higher education. The stepping stone to earning a bachelor’s degree, fast online associate degrees allow students to finish their postsecondary education in less than the regular two-year timeframe. In this modern educational set-up, students meet their requirements, complete their academic activities, and take their exams through the school’s online platform and resources. The self-paced or asynchronous format of most online associate degrees is designed for students who hold full-time or part-time jobs and other obligations.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that about one million associate degrees were awarded within the years 2013 and 2014. This number represents an increase of approximately 51% over the last 10 years. Now more than ever, students are taking an interest in online associate degree programs that have become synonymous with fast and quick degree completion. Ultimately, adult learners who wish to earn associate degrees from accredited schools can do so in half the time and proceed with earning their bachelor’s even faster.
The features of an accelerated online associate degree program vary depending on the academic institution. As we outline the 30 Fastest Online Associate Degree Programs in 2019, we put the spotlight on the schools offering associate degrees in their accelerated online format. We list accredited schools that allow students the opportunity to gain more knowledge and sharpen their skills in various areas of study–without making them wait two years. We mention the schools’ fast online associate degree programs and the coursework integrated into their curricula.
The 30 schools, which have all earned accreditation from official and regional accrediting agencies overseeing colleges and universities in the country, are listed in random order.
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California offers an Associate of Science in Health Sciences, one of the university’s accelerated online associate degrees. Degree completion is ideally 12 to 24 months. The coursework includes biblical literature aside from major courses like microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. If a student decides to pursue nursing from a particular associate track, ten more units are required. The university has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Gwynedd Mercy University
Another university that offers diverse accelerated online associate degree programs is Gwynedd Mercy University located in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. The Associate of Science in Business Administration under the School of Graduate and Professional Studies is a 64-credit degree program that can be completed in 12 months. This online accelerated associate degree is ideal for those who want to focus more on work and family obligations. The program has received accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). The university is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education.
Truckee Meadows Community College
Truckee Meadows Community College, based in Reno, Nevada, features both an online Associate of Applied Science in Business, and an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program, which are regarded as the institution’s fast-track online associate degree programs. The 60-credit online program on business, which is ideally a two-year degree, can be completed in 12 months. Students can also finish the school’s online associate degree in criminal justice in 12 months provided they take two 5-week sessions instead of one. The community college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College, located in Miami, Florida features an Associate of Arts in Psychology that can be completed online in 12 months, provided that it fulfills the required number of transfer credits from partner institutions. The goal of the 60-credit degree program is to prepare students through courses in introductory psychology, social psychology, multicultural relations, addiction, human sexuality, abnormal psychology, human development, and statistical methods, as well as general education courses. The academic institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
Lower Columbia College
Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington, offers an online program for its associate degrees. Called the Transfer Express, this program enables online students to earn an associate degree in as little as 12 months. The chief reason for the rapid completion is that the community college operates on a quarter system. Under this system, students can take six quarters’ worth of online classes instead of only four. One of its transfer-ready online associate degrees is the Associate of Sciences- Transfer program with an emphasis on Biological Sciences. Lower Columbia College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Howard College, located in Big Spring, Texas, is a community college that offers fast associate degree transfer programs that can be completed between 12 and 24 months. Some of this online 42-semester hour associate programs include the Associate of Arts in Music, Associate of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis on Education, and an Associate of Science in Pre-Medicine degree program. Howard College has also received regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
Purdue University Global
Situated in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University Global offers a wide variety of online accelerated programs that help students earn a reputable degree. Its associate degrees (AS or AAS) can be completed in a maximum of two years with 20 courses. Online associate degrees include Associates of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, Practical Legal Training, and Health Information Technology that can be earned in 12 months. The Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science coursework is delivered 15 hours per week, and the course length is ten weeks. Also, online associate degrees such as an Associates of Applied Science in Medical Transcription and Medical Office Management can also be earned in 15 to 18 months. Internships, practicum, and other forms of hands-on experiences are also required for additional knowledge and skills. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
New England College
New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire features an accelerated associate program. The Accelerated Associate of Arts in Professional Studies degree program centers on leadership theories and tools, and practical business applications on the effective utilization of technology for decision-making. Courses in this particular online program are delivered in a seven-week format, and degree completion is only 15 months. Thus, the associate degree is ideal for working professionals who seek to pursue an affordable path toward a bachelor’s degree. The academic institution is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
East Coast Polytechnic University
Situated in Virginia Beach, Virginia, East Coast Polytechnic University features online accelerated degree programs in the fields of technology, health science, nursing, business, and criminal justice. These accelerated Associate of Science in Cyber and Network Security allow students to earn their associate degrees in one and a half years or 18 months. Online classes are almost similar to the on-campus vocational courses that prepare students for post-graduation life and employment. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
Florida Institute of Technology
One of the academic institutions that offer fast-track associate degrees online is Florida Institute of Technology located in Melbourne, Florida. The coursework per associate degree program is delivered in 8-week terms. Furthermore, classes are also conducted in a 16-week semester and an 11-week summer semester. All courses are delivered online through the Canvas Learning Management System. The online associate degrees in this academic institution include an Associate of Arts in Accounting and Healthcare Management, and an Associate of Science in Marketing, which can all be completed in 20 months. Other fast-track associate degree programs offered by the Florida Institute of Technology are Associates in Computer Information Systems, Aviation Management, Applied Psychology, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, and Management. The school received regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Herzing University offers an array of associate degrees that can be earned in only 64 weeks. One of its notable online associate degrees is the 61-credit Associate of Applied Science in Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist degree program, where students become prepared to work in nursing homes, hospitals, home healthcare service, doctors’ offices, and outpatient medical facilities. Another accelerated online program is the Associate of Science in Software Development online program, composed of 60 credits coursework on the foundations of networking, programming, internet applications, and troubleshooting. The university’s Associate of Applied Science in Accounting can be earned both online or on-campus and includes 65 credits of general education consisting of core and specialization classes. These accelerated degrees can all be completed in 16 to 20 months. Herzing University also features a certification program in medical billing that can be completed in only in 12 months. This university has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Florida State College
Florida State College (FSCJ), located in Jacksonville, Florida, offers various fast associate degree programs that involve an array of online courses such as business, humanities, human development, psychology, economics, finance, mathematics, philosophy, sociology, and science. Students can earn an associate degree in 18 months or less, provided that they can transfer a maximum number of prior college credits. One of the fast online degree programs of FSCJ is an Associate of Arts in General Education, which can be earned in 12 to 18 months depending on prior college credits acquired and transferred. Other fast associate degrees are in the fields of Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Information Technology, Criminal Justice Technology, Early Childhood Education, Office Administration, and Supply Chain Management, which can all be completed in 18 to 24 months. FSCJ is accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Bryant and Stratton College
Bryant and Stratton College, located in Buffalo, New York, offers fast-track online associate degree programs in Nursing, Office Management, Security Technology, Medical Assisting, and Financial Support Services. These 60-credit hour associate degrees can be completed in 16 months or four semesters if the full-time student attends online classes for 20 months or five semesters, or if they attend full-time with no breaks. The Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design can be completed online in 16 to 21 months. Bryant & Stratton is a community college that is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
East Mississippi Community College
With its main campus situated at Scooba, Mississippi, East Mississippi Community College is an academic institution offering accelerated online programs leading to an associate degree. One example is the Associate of Applied Science in Supervision and Management Technology degree program, a 69-credit hour curriculum offered both in the evening and online. The program consists of 28 semester hours of core courses and 12 semester hours of electives. Another fast online degree program is the institution’s associate degree in Nursing, which has a transition option for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to become Registered Nurses (RN) or LPN to RN program. This associate degree can be completed in only three semesters. The first semester is completed online with occasional visits to the campus for skills validation purposes. After that, the student may join the second year of the generic RN option. To sum it up, the whole curriculum of the associate degree in Nursing is composed of 17 semester hours of pre-requisite courses, four semester hours of first semester online courses, and 12 semester hours of third-semester courses. East Mississippi Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Hodges University is a private college in Naples, Florida that features online fast-track associate degree programs for working students. The university has an Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies degree program, which aims to train graduates for work in corporate settings. The 60-credit hour program curriculum is composed of 20 credits of liberal arts courses, a four-credit elective course in approved subject areas, and 36 credit hours of legal studies. By acquiring 12 credits every semester, students can complete the associate degree in 18 to 24 months. Hodges University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and the Schools Commission on Colleges.
Drury University in Springfield, Missouri offers a fast-track online Associate of Science in Criminal Justice degree. This quick online associate degree program accommodates the hectic schedules of working professionals and enables them to apply their knowledge in a job or career immediately. The university requires a total of 62 credit hours composed of 24 credit hours of major courses, 26 credit hours of general education courses, and 12 credit hours of electives. Classes are delivered in accelerated eight-week terms in a blended or online format. Degree completion is achieved in less than 24 months. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Macomb Community College
Situated in Warren, Missouri, Macomb Community College offers the Associate of Applied Science in Legal Assistant degree program that combines online learning and on-campus training. The program curriculum is 70% online and requires a minimum of 67 credit hours for completion. Aside from completing the major courses, students need to select five to six credit hours of electives. This accelerated associate degree program can be completed in 18 to 24 months with full-time enrolment. The community college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Endicott College, located in Beverly, Massachusetts, is a community college that offers an online Associate of Science in Criminal Justice degree under the Van Loan School. It is a 66-credit degree program that is composed of various core courses. Students are required to take at least 12 elective credits and complete three credits in criminal justice courses for more efficient degree completion. Students can also complete this associate degree in an accelerated format, normally within 18 to 24 months. The community college has also received accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Georgia Military College
Georgia Military College, located in Milledgeville, Georgia, features three online Criminal Justice associate degree programs namely Associate of Arts (AA) in Criminal Justice, Associate of Science (AS) in Criminal Justice, and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Criminal Justice that may be completed within 18 and 22 months. Both the AA and AS degree programs are ideal for students who plan to take up a bachelor’s degree in the same area of study. Graduates of the AAS degree program are eligible to proceed with the bachelor of applied science program. Georgia Military College runs its online accelerated associate degree program five terms a year.
American Public University
Located in Charles Town, West Virginia, the American Public University is one of the leading academic institutions offering a vast number of online associate degree programs. Among its fast-track, online associate degrees are Associates in Communication, Database Application Development, Fire Science, History, Public Health, Retail Management, and Web Publishing. These online programs can be completed in two years or less with 60 credit hours. A maximum of 45 credit transfers can expedite degree completion even more. The university supports veterans and members of the military through its associate degrees in Counterterrorism Studies, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Military History, and Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness. American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond, Kentucky offers a diverse array of fast online associate degree programs such as Associates in Paralegal Studies, General Studies, Police Studies, and Paramedicine. These associate degrees can be completed at a faster and more convenient pace in two years or less. Students can choose from six start dates every year and coursework is delivered online in eight-week terms. Each associate degree requires around 64 credits for completion. The school offers the transfer credit option of up to 49 credit hours earned from accredited institutions, provided that at least 15 credit hours were earned at EKU. The university has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Allen Community College
Located in Iola, Kansas, Allen Community College offers fast online associate degree programs ideal for students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any academic institution. Some of its quick associate degrees are the Associate of Arts in Sociology, Associate of Arts in Psychology, and Associate of Applied Science in Business Management. Other associate degree classifications include Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of General Studies (AGS). All programs are completely online. Courses are also divided into eight-week terms or a 16-week semester, and degree completion is ideally 24 months or less. Allen Community College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama features accelerated associate degree programs such as the Associate of Arts or Science in Liberal Arts and the Associate of Science in Computer and Information Science. Courses are delivered online, and the associate degrees can be completed in as little as two years with 62 to 69 credit hours. The university has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Situated in Montgomery, Alabama, Amridge University offers only one associate degree program, the Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies program. This 64-credit curriculum is composed of 20 credits of 20 credit hours of core courses, 20 credit hours of general education courses, and 24 credit hours of elective courses. Degree completion is within 24 months or less given that students have a certain number of credit transfers. For a more efficient and rapid degree completion and entry toward the bachelor level, the student must also ace the General Competency Test and exit exam. Amridge University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Keiser University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers online accelerated associate degree programs such as Associate of Science or Associate of Arts in Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Health Services Administration, Homeland Security, Information Technology, Medical Assisting Science, and many more. Degree completion is less than 24 months. Keiser University has received regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Grantham University, located in Lenexa, Kansas, offers a wide variety of fast online associate degree programs such as Associate of Arts in Business Administration and Management, Associate of Science in Computer Science, Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Technology and Multidisciplinary Studies. Its array of quick associate degrees can be completed in 24 months or less. The university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
Bismarck State College
Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, Bismarck State College has diverse online associate degree programs. Some of the accelerated associate degrees of the state college include Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Assistant, Associate of Arts in Business Administration and Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity and Computer Networks. These associate programs are offered either online or in a blended format. Degree completion is within 12 to 14 months. Bismarck State College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
San Antonio College
San Antonio College at San Antonio, Texas, is a community college that offers fast-track online Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degree programs in Criminal Justice, Corrections, and Law Enforcement. Degree completion is 24 months or less. This academic institution has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Vista College Online
Vista College in El Paso, Texas offers a wide variety of accelerated associate degree programs with a concentration on vocational topics. A few of these programs are Associate of Applied Science in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, Business Administration and Leadership, Criminal Justice, and Logistics and Operations Management. Degree completion is around 100 weeks or 23 months. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
What is an accelerated associate degree program?
An accelerated associate degree program is deemed the practical option for working professionals who seek to earn college credits from reputable colleges or universities. Conventional associate degree programs take less time to complete than bachelor’s programs, and this completion time is reduced even more on an accelerated online set-up. Quick online associate degrees serve as a stepping stone for students who wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree in an accredited four-year academic institution.
How many credits are typically required for completion in an accelerated associate degree online?
Normally, online accelerated associate degree programs require at least 60 credit hours for completion. There are some academic institutions that require the transfer of around 62 to 69 credit hours from previous colleges and universities if any.
What are the advantages of taking an accelerated associate degree online?
Accelerated associate degree programs allow for flexibility of degree completion through an asynchronous or self-paced online format. It also enables working students to accomplish their coursework requirements at their own pace without compromising their career. Moreover, an accelerated program gives online students the opportunity to finish in less than two years. This way, working professionals can move toward immediate career advancement and pursue a bachelor’s degree.