Accelerated online engineering degree programs offer a fast, convenient and accessible way to earn an undergraduate engineering degree. This makes it a particularly appealing option for working adults, students with children, and those who are interested in building practical work skills without disrupting existing workplace responsibilities. In fact, if you’ve already earned some credits, or a two-year degree, or you’ve accumulated meaningful work experience in the field, it may be possible to finish pursuing your undergraduate engineering degree in less than a year.
Of course, finishing your engineering degree program at an accelerated pace can mean added challenges. Expect a rigorous course of study as you knock out the requirements for your accelerated degree program. Fortunately, a growing number of online options make it possible for you to complete your degree program at an accelerated pace without being diverted from your career, home life, or personal responsibilities.
If this sounds like the right option for you, read on to learn more…
What Are Accelerated Degree Programs?
Accelerated degree programs may refer to several different program types, including degree completion programs, 4+1 bachelor’s to master’s degree programs, or traditional bachelor’s degree programs in which more rigorous scheduling can allow for completion over a shorter duration.
Degree completion programs are degree programs specifically designed for students who have either earned an associate degree in engineering and would like to transition toward a bachelor’s degree, or for those who have earned a significant number of credits toward a bachelor’s degree but have taken time away from school. Degree completion programs are typically designed to move at an accelerated pace by focusing entirely on courses specific to your engineering degree and concentration. In many cases, courses may be scheduled at a more rigorous pace and over a shorter duration, allowing you to complete your degree at a faster pace than you might through a traditional, continuous four-year program. This means you may be able to finish earning your degree over the courses of 12 to 18 months, or in some cases, in under a year. To learn more, check out our look at Online Engineering Degree Completion Programs.
Accelerated 4+1 engineering degree programs are those that combine the pursuit of undergraduate and graduate degrees into a single, continuous program. Whereas a bachelor’s degree in engineering usually requires a minimum of four years for completion and a master’s degree can require a minimum of two years for completion, bundling these degrees into a single program may allow you to earn both degrees over the course of just five years. some programs may require you to pass an engineering GRE in order to enroll. To learn more, check out our look at Accelerated Online Bachelor’s to Master’s Program in Engineering.
Accelerated bachelor’s degree in engineering programs share the content and curriculum of traditional four-year programs but are focused on facilitating rapid completion and transition into professional opportunities. In such cases, accelerated programs may dispense with many extraneous humanities or electives in favor of a strict track of prerequisites, core courses, and concentration courses. Scheduling also plays a part in accelerating your pursuit of a degree. Class periods tend to be longer, and classes may meet more frequently in a single week. This approach can significantly shorten the duration of your commitment and deliver you to the completion of your degree in less than four years. The exact duration can vary significantly according to your school and program. For example, Northeastern University offers this explanation of their accelerated degree programs: “Traditional college classes are 16 weeks each and typically offered only twice a year–during the fall and spring semesters. Accelerated degree classes are offered more frequently, and are compressed into five-, eight-, or 10-week sessions. At this pace, an accelerated bachelor’s degree can sometimes be completed in as little as a year.”
(This resource focuses largely on the type of accelerated program that Northeastern describes directly above. Check out our guides on Degree Completion Programs and Accelerated Online Bachelor’s to Master’s in Engineering Programs to learn more about these aforementioned options, which are also sometimes referred to as accelerated degrees.)
What Is an Online Accelerated Engineering Degree Program?
An online accelerated engineering degree program is a bachelor’s degree in engineering program designed to be completed either predominantly or entirely online at an accelerated pace. Many accelerated degree candidates choose this faster-paced learning experience as a way to save time and money, and to continue working in the field while earning a degree. The online engineering degree option is particularly appealing to working adults, providing an option that is convenient, accessible, and can be balanced with other responsibilities. In addition to providing a professionally-focused education that can be completed in fewer than four years, taking an accelerated degree program online can be a great way to receive your education and crucial engineering credentials while continuing to amass real-world field experience.
Why Should I Complete an Online Accelerated Engineering Degree Program?
There are a few prevailing reasons to pursue an accelerated engineering degree program. First and foremost, if you’ve already accumulated real-world work experience, an associate degree, or a significant number of undergraduate credits toward an engineering degree, an accelerated program may allow you to complete your studies in a year or less. So if you’ve already made progress on the path to your bachelor’s degree in engineering, this may be a good option for you.
If you’re just getting started in higher education but have meaningful work experience, or you’ve taken a number of AP and CLEP tests, an accelerated degree program is more likely to provide you with credits for these achievements than many traditional degree programs. This can save you time and money on the way to your engineering bachelor’s degree.
The online version of the accelerated engineering degree program is especially recommended for those who are already working in the field, or who must otherwise balance professional and personal responsibilities with the pursuit of an undergraduate degree.
What Are the Benefits of an Online Accelerated Engineering Degree Program?
An accelerated engineering degree program is, as the name indicates, beneficial because it can be completed at an accelerated pace. This pace is facilitated in a number of different ways including:
- Hassle free credit-transfer;
- Credits for work experience;
- Rolling admissions (instead of the traditional two-semester structure)
- Credits for AP and CLEP test completion; and
- Fast-paced course schedules.
The online variation of the accelerated engineering degree program carries additional benefits including:
- The convenience of asynchronous learning;
- Access regardless of geographical location; and
- The freedom to balance work and learning schedules.
The biggest benefit of the online accelerated engineering degree is that the convenience of remote learning combined with the rapid completion structure can lead to a tremendous savings in both time and money. Ultimately, these benefits also provide a clear pathway toward immediate post-graduate work and improved earnings.
How Can I Be Eligible for an Online Accelerated Engineering Program?
Your eligibility for an online accelerated engineering degree program will depend on the type of program you plan to complete. Eligibility for degree completion can vary significantly from one program to the next. Some programs may require you to have earned a set number of credits, overall, in order to be eligible. Other programs may also identify a specific set of courses that you must have completed both in your general studies and as prerequisites to your intended degree. These requirements are unique to each program.
Some programs are specifically designed for students who have earned associate degrees in engineering. And in this case, options may vary depending on whether you are making the immediate transfer into a bachelor’s degree program or, after earning your associate degree, you’ve spent some time in the workforce.
Eligibility may also vary depending on how long you’ve been away from school. Some engineering degree completion programs may have a ceiling for how much time may have lapsed been since your last completed credits. If you don’t meet this threshold, you may not be eligible for admission.
Other possible factors that may impact your admission are your prior academic performance and the accreditation status of your prior school and program. If you have questions about accreditation, jump to our Guide to Online Engineering Degree Accreditation.
If you’re just getting started on your degree education but you’re interested in taking an accelerated path to completing your engineering degree, you may be able to receive credits for completing AP and CLEP tests, as well as for real-world work experience. Accelerated degree programs are often more receptive to offering credits for these achievements.
If this sounds like the right path for you, start by checking out the Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Engineering. Contact the schools on your list to find out who offers this specialized degree opportunity.