How to Get a Business Degree Quickly. Earning a business degree can open doors to a wide range of professional opportunities. With the right strategies, you may be able to complete your program faster than the average timeline. Here’s what you need to know about accelerating your path to a business degree.
Choose an Accelerated Program
One of the most direct ways to fast-track a business degree is to enroll in an accelerated program. These programs compress the standard curriculum into a shorter timeframe through measures like:
- Offering courses in 7-8 week formats rather than traditional 15-week semesters
- Allowing year-round enrollment so you can take classes continuously rather than following the typical academic calendar
- Providing credit for prior learning you’ve gained through work experience
Some accelerated business programs enable you to earn an associate degree in just 12-18 months or a bachelor’s degree in just 2-3 years. Be sure to inquire about program lengths when researching schools.
Take On a Faster Course Load
Most degree programs are designed for students taking a full-time course load of around 15 credits per semester. You may be able to finish your degree faster by increasing your course load if permitted by your program. Taking 18-21 credits per semester can help shave off a semester or two over the length of your full degree.
Just be sure not to overload yourself too much. Handling a heavy course load can negatively impact your grades if you can’t devote enough time to each class. Find the right balance for your abilities.
Attend Classes Year-Round
Spring and fall semesters are the standard academic terms, but attending classes during summer and winter sessions enables you to accumulate more credits toward your degree. Use summer and winter breaks as opportunities to focus on particularly demanding courses or prerequisites that will open up your schedule during regular terms.
Most schools offer at least a handful of business courses over the summer and winter. Taking just a class or two each term can add up over time.
Earn Credits Before Enrolling
Look for ways to earn college credits even before officially enrolling in your business program. This gives you a head start so you have fewer requirements standing between you and graduation. Options may include:
- Dual enrollment: Many high schools let students take college courses that count for both high school and college credit.
- CLEP exams: Earn credit for introductory college-level knowledge you’ve gained through self-study or life experience. Business exam options include Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, and Introductory Business Law.
- AP credits: Get credit for high AP exam scores in relevant subject areas like economics, statistics, calculus, and computer science.
Every school has its policies on transfer credits, so be sure to get clarity on what prior credits they’ll accept before enrolling.
Choose Required Electives Strategically
Most business programs include some electives that let you explore topics of interest. When selecting electives, look for ones that align with your degree requirements and career goals to help you kill two birds with one stone.
For example, if you need an upper-division elective, choose one that also satisfies a concentration requirement in your desired focus area. Strategic elective choices let you maximize every credit.
Evaluate Options for Credit Overload
Some schools have a standard policy on the maximum number of credits students can take per term, such as 18 credits. However, you may be able to petition for approval to overload your schedule with more classes.
Criteria to overload credits often include having a high GPA and getting departmental approval. This allows strong students to take advantage of extra learning opportunities. Every situation is different, so talk to your advisor about credit overload guidelines at your institution.
Minimize Courses That Don’t Count Toward Graduation
Make sure every class you take builds toward fulfilling degree requirements. It’s easy to accumulate unnecessary credits that eat up time and money by:
- Switching majors and having old credits not carry over
- Failing and having to repeat classes
- Taking electives that sounded interesting but didn’t meet a requirement
Meet with your advisor each term to ensure you’re registering for courses that drive you toward graduation. Have a strategic course plan rather than picking classes ad hoc each semester.
Prioritize School Over Work
Balancing work and school can extend the time it takes you to graduate, as your studies have to fit around your job. If accelerating your degree is a priority, consider ways to reduce your work hours or take a break from employment while in school.
Even if you have to keep working, try to find an option with a flexible schedule that allows you to take daytime classes and devote enough time to your schoolwork. Keep your employer aware of your academic goals so they can support you.
Combine Your Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees
Many schools offer combined associate and bachelor’s programs that enable you to earn both degrees in an accelerated timeframe, often around 4-5 years total. You work on associate requirements for the first two years, then progress seamlessly into upper-division bachelor’s courses without any breaks between degrees.
Combined programs help streamline your studies since credits apply toward both credentials. See if your school offers this efficient degree option.
It is possible to earn your business degree at an accelerated pace through measures like enrolling in fast-track programs, carrying higher course loads, earning prior credits, and dedicating yourself fully to your studies. With strategic planning, you can get on the fast track to launching your business career.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get a Business Degree Quickly
How long does it take to get a bachelor’s degree in business?
A typical bachelor’s program takes 4 years, but accelerated options can allow you to earn this degree in as little as 2-3 years. Taking additional credits per semester and attending summer terms can help shorten the timeline.
What is the quickest business degree?
Associate degrees offer the quickest path to earning a business credential, as they require just 2 years of full-time study. Accelerated associate programs may take only 12-18 months. Dual enrollment can also enable high school students to complete some degree requirements early.
Can you get a business degree in 2 years?
Yes, associate degrees provide the quickest way to earn a business degree in just 2 years. Some schools also offer combined associate and bachelor’s programs that allow you to earn both degrees in around 4-5 years total.
Is it better to get a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in business?
A bachelor’s degree is better for expanding your career opportunities and earning potential. However, an associate degree provides a quicker and more affordable entry point to the field. Consider your goals in choosing between these options.
How can I shorten my bachelor’s degree?
Strategies to shorten a bachelor’s program include enrolling in an accelerated program, increasing your course load, earning prior credits, choosing classes strategically, pursuing credit overload, limiting extra requirements, and dedicating yourself fully to school over work.
What is the easiest business degree?
Degrees focused on broader topics like general business, administration, and management tend to be less specialized and rigorous than programs in fields like accounting, finance, and information systems. However, program difficulty depends a lot on each student’s strengths and interests.
How many credits do you need for a bachelor’s degree?
Most bachelor’s programs require around 120 total credits, representing four years of full-time study. However, accelerated programs may require fewer credits and enable you to graduate faster through measures like offering year-round classes.
Should I get an MBA or a master’s in management?
An MBA provides broader business training for high-level leadership roles, while a master’s in management focuses specifically on expertise in managing people and operations. Your career path should guide which advanced degree is preferable.
Is a bachelor’s in business worth it?
Yes, a business bachelor’s degree develops widely applicable skills and can open doors to many well-paying roles involving leadership, analysis, strategy, and communication. Business majors are among the most popular and versatile degrees.