Fastest Associate’s Degree Online Programs 2024

CVO Fastest Associates Degree Online

Key Takeaways:

  • Purdue University Global is our #1 ranking college for an accelerated associate degree, followed by New England College.
  • Accelerated associate degrees shorten the time spent in school. This leaves you free to pursue a bachelor’s degree or enter the workforce.
  • Accelerated online programs are flexible, allowing you to remain at your job or manage your daily demands

The ever-growing popularity of online degrees is due to their convenience. Students have access to the programs from anywhere, providing incredible geographic flexibility. And most of the programs have multiple start dates, meaning you don’t have to wait until the start of a long semester to begin earning your degree. Another benefit is the ability to work on your degree throughout the year.

Some online programs still adhere to the semester-based model. However, many innovative schools have begun offering their online courses in five to ten-week terms, instead of sixteen-week semesters. And many of those allow students to take two courses at a time. This results in a much faster potential pace of earning degrees.

Featured Programs

Our ranking features five universities and community colleges offering accelerated associates degree online programs. These programs would normally take two years to complete on the traditional model. But all the degrees featured in our ranking can be completed in the range of 12 to 20 months, which make them the most accelerated associates degree online programs available. Community colleges and state universities are so cheap it can often be worth it to earn your associate’s degree online out of state. Especially if they offer deals to students from out of state. You can read about our ranking methodology and more about the benefits of a fast track associates degree online in our FAQ and methodology sections at the end of the article. For now, here are the top five schools offering accelerated associate degrees online.

Get Your Associates Degree Online Fast From These Schools

#1. Purdue University Global

Accelerated Associates Degree Online

Purdue University-Five Fastest Associate's Degrees 2020

Number of Accelerated Associate’s Degrees: 12

All of Purdue Global’s online associate’s degrees can be completed in between one and two years. It’s up to you how heavy a course load you wish to take. Each degree is around 90 credits, and each course is around 5 credits. There are multiple start dates per year. If you take two courses at a time in each of your ten week terms, it is theoretically feasible to finish the degree in 50 weeks. There may be small breaks between terms, so it may take over a year to complete the degree even at the fastest rate, but it’s still an incredibly flexible and fast system for delivering associate’s degrees. The areas in which fastest online associate’s degrees are offered at Purdue Global are business, criminal justice, health sciences, information technology, legal studies, and nursing. If you are aiming to get your associates degree online fast, Purdue University Global is worth a look.

  • Out-of-State Tuition and Fees: $33,390

#2. New England College

Fast Track Associates Degree Online

-Five Fastest Associate's Degrees 2020

Number of Accelerated Associate’s Degrees: 9

At New England College any associate’s degree can be earned in one year and seven weeks if students are taking two classes every seven weeks. Fastest online associate’s degrees are offered in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, healthcare administration, homeland security and emergency preparedness, human services, international relations and diplomacy, and psychology among other subjects.

  • Full Program Tuition: $31,540

#3. East Coast Polytechnic University

Fast Track Associates Degree Online

ECPI-Five Fastest Associate's Degrees 2020

Number of Accelerated Associate’s Degrees: 18

The associate’s degrees offered by East Coast Polytechnic University can be completed in 18 months, some as fast as 16 months. There are several high value STEM degrees available including programs in electronics engineering, database programming, web development, mechatronics, mechanical engineering technology, and cyber and network security.

  • Full Program Tuition: $30,000

#4. Herzing University

Fast Track Associates Degree Online

Herzing University-Five Fastest Associate's Degrees 2020

Number of Accelerated Associate’s Degrees: 10

Herzing University’s associate’s degrees can be completed within the range of 16 to 20 months, saving four to eight months on the two-year average it takes to complete an associate’s degree. Students can find associate’s degrees in the area of business, healthcare, legal studies, public safety, and technology offered online.

  • Full Program Tuition: $36,270

#5. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Accelerated Associates Degree Online

Florida State College at Jacksonville-Five Fastest Associate's Degrees 2020

Number of Accelerated Associate’s Degrees: 6

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers six accelerated associate’s degrees. The associate of arts, accounting technology, business administration, and criminal justice technology degrees can all be completed in 18 months. The degrees in office administration, and supply chain management take 20 months to complete, still four months faster than a traditional associate’s degree. For nice options in earning your associates degree online fast, check out FSC Jacksonville.

  • Full Program Tuition: $13,113

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Your Associates Degree Online Fast

What are the pros and cons of an accelerated associates degree online?

Well, if your plan is to transition into a bachelor’s degree after earning your associate’s degree, then an accelerated online associate’s can actually cut up to a year off earning your bachelor’s. Living at home while earning this degree also allows some to save on the cost of room and board. Unfortunately most community colleges haven’t started offering accelerated associate’s degrees online. As you can see in our ranking, most of the schools are either state universities or private schools, and these don’t have the incredibly low tuition offered by most community colleges. If you’re interested in the best affordable online community colleges, we have an article for that too. So it’s a trade-off in that respect. The faster pace doesn’t affect the price when the costs are calculated by credits. We’ve got a great article on all the things you can do with an associate’s degree.

If you are planning on jumping straight into the workforce upon graduation, then again, the speed of the associate’s degree does provide some value. Finishing up six months or a year ahead of a traditional degree means you start earning money that much earlier, which can actually offset the entire cost of tuition. Though these degrees are an accelerated format, they still qualify for FAFSA aid. This means you can get federal grants and loans, plus scholarships from the school itself to take a big chunk out of your tuition. The remainder can be covered out of pocket or through private loans. Keep in mind that you want to avoid using credit cards to pay for college if at all possible.

Another one of the biggest pros of an accelerated associate’s degree is the flexibility. These degrees are highly flexible, as courses are delivered through 7-week to 10-week terms. You can take up to two classes at a time. But if you get exceptionally busy for a couple months, you can drop down to one or even no classes for a class period. Being able to take two courses, one course, or no courses depending on what’s going on in a two-month period is much more flexible than having to go part-time for an entire 16-week semester.

Will my credits from a fast track associates degree online transfer into a 4-year program?

This question is slightly complicated to answer. First it should be noted that credits at the schools we include in our rankings will all be transferable. This is because we include only regionally accredited colleges and universities in our rankings. However, whether or not all your credits will transfer into the degree of your choice is a different question. The more disparity there is between an associate’s degree and the four-year degree you are going for, the fewer credits will transfer.

Pretty much all general education credits will transfer into any bachelor’s degree. However if your associate’s degree is in computer science, and your target bachelor’s is something quite different, like music education, then it is unlikely that computer science specific credits will transfer into that degree. However, if your online accelerated associate’s degree is in computer science, and your target bachelor’s degree is also in computer science, then it is likely all your credits will transfer. If the target bachelor’s is information technology, then most of your credits will likely transfer.

Different schools have different policies, and different credit systems. So transferring from a school using a quarter credit system, to a school using a semester credit system will work (they have conversion systems) but these can be imperfect and might cause you to lose a credit here or there. Some schools don’t allow more than 60 credits to transfer, so if your degree has 66 credits, then six of them might not transfer. It’s important to research this as thoroughly as possible before selecting your associate’s degree and your target bachelor’s degree.

Will it limit my career if I only earn an associate’s degree and forego a full bachelor’s?

This depends on the career you are interested in and what job you want to do. In some careers an associate’s degree can lead to high paying jobs. In IT experience tends to be the most prized factor when considering somebody for a job. So it’s possible to work your way up into a systems administration or even a network architecture position. It’s also easy to evaluate, as your career progresses, whether or not more education will benefit you or get you where you want to go, once you understand the career from the inside.

However, an associate’s degree in something like psychology leaves you very limited when it comes to working in the field of mental health. It might qualify you to work at a mental health or social work agency, but not as a therapist or counselor generally. Instead you would be more likely to work as a family advocate, or assessment counselor, or as the first point of contact in a crisis intervention facility.

So it all comes down to what field you are looking at, and what you want to do in that field. Regardless, an associate’s degree is a great place to start.

Methodology for Ranking Fast Track Associates Degree Online Programs

The methodology we used for this ranking is quite simple. First consideration was the speed with which the fastest degree at a school can be completed. After that, whichever school offers the greatest variety of accelerated degrees was given priority in the ranking. If another tie occurred, whichever school is cheaper got the higher ranking.

CVO Staff

This concludes our ranking of the five fastest associates degree online programs.