how-long-does-it-take-to-earn-a-bachelors-degree-onlineWith the continued popularity of online education, and the growing need for bachelor degrees in certain professions, many students may be wondering how long it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree online.

Online education is proving particularly popular in terms of the flexibility it offers students, who can take classes and complete degrees at their own pace and in their own space. Such flexibility can be especially important when trying to complete a degree while maintaining a heavy work schedule or care for a family. However, the time it takes to finish a degree may also be a factor when deciding whether or not to pursue an education online.

Flexibility and Speed

When one considers the flexibility of online education, it’s tempting to assume that such flexibility necessarily translates to a shorter amount of time to finish the degree. In truth, it might or it might not, depending on a number of other factors. According to Top Degrees Online, the median time for the completion of an online bachelor’s degree is 52 months. This does not seem to differ significantly from a traditional bachelor’s degree, which is perhaps unsurprising given that both types of bachelors require about 120 course hours.

Of course, the key word in the time frame above is “median.” Obviously that means that some students will complete their degrees in more or less time. A number of factors might speed up the process of completing a bachelor’s degree in less than 52 months, including the use of transfer credits. These may be credits you transfer from another school, if you’ve already begun your college education, or they may be credits awarded to you for relevant job or military experience.

Deciding if Online is the Right Option for You

The method of your education may also affect the speed at which you’re able to complete the degree, but keep your limitations in mind. Some online programs offer accelerated pacing, but this is usually contingent on your ability to attend classes full-time and without many breaks between terms. If you are choosing online education because of its flexibility, so that you can continue to work or care for your family, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to maintain that kind of pace and still learn effectively. Still, taking courses online may save you time in other ways, such as helping you to avoid a regular commute to and from a physical campus. It may be that an online degree, or a combination of online courses and traditional ones, will enable you to finish your bachelor’s more quickly than you anticipate.

Whether you end up attending traditional or online classes, the time it takes to complete your degree may vary depending on your life circumstances, your prior education, your financial status, and your dedication to the goal of completing your education. While getting a bachelor’s degree online may not necessarily be faster than completing it traditionally, the time frame may at least be comparable, and the flexibility such education provides may be an even more important deciding factor.