Fast Track Online Business Programs
Stuck in a work rut? Ready to switch careers but need a business degree to make it happen? Enrolling in your choice of fast track online business programs just may put you in the express lane to the career that's calling you.
Online business degree programs are grounded in workaday reality. Schools recognize that you can't disappear from your job or family life in order to pursue full-time classwork in an ivory tower. That's why online degree programs are built around the three things every working adult needs: convenience, flexibility and efficiency.
Ready for a workout? Most online business courses run in short, intense bursts. Schools have ditched yesteryear's 16-week semester in favor of classes that last just five to 10 weeks. By plowing through your business classwork in short, focused bursts, you can complete a bachelor's degree in record time.
In the online and hybrid learning formats, in-person class time is often half that of traditional programs—and may not be required at all. But be prepared for a heavy workload outside of class. You'll complete the same volume of work as in a traditional class, but in a shorter time frame, so the homework can be daunting. Some online students report spending as much as two hours per day on assignments outside of class.
Because they require minimal face time or commuting, online classes can free up hours that you'll put towards completing your assignments. Do homework alongside your kids, or wait until after you've put them to bed. Take some time over lunch, grab 15 minutes during the soccer game, or tote your laptop to grandma's house and study while the kids are playing. With the online degree option, you can work toward class deadlines on your own schedule.
Set Your Own Schedule
Some online business degree programs offer self-paced courses alongside their instructor-led offerings. This option allows you to move as fast or as slowly as you like. Already have a solid grasp of the material? Speed ahead and complete the class by demonstrating your competence. Is the topic dense or difficult to get your head around? Slow down and take the time you need to really nail it.
Delete this phrase from your vocabulary: "Back-to-school time." In the virtual world, school doesn't start only in the fall. Many online and hybrid programs allow you to enroll year round. Course schedules revolve around convenience. There's never a need to wait until spring semester to sign up for that special class that's offered only once a year. You can take the classes you need, at the time that's right for you.
Looking to get credit for the college work you've already completed? Online and hybrid schools generally offer a much more flexible credit transfer policy than their traditional counterparts. When you're investigating school options, be sure to inquire if your credits will transfer.
School of Life
Shouldn't your work experience count towards a business degree? How about the training you've done in your current career?
Many online schools will embrace your past experience, and even count it towards your degree. For instance, you may be able to assemble a portfolio of your previous training and work accomplishments to demonstrate your competency. In some cases, an online school will allow you to write a detailed essay that demonstrates how you've learned by doing. Be sure to inquire if the school you're targeting offers this option, often termed a "prior learning assessment."
With smaller (or no) campuses to maintain, online schools have less overhead and can often offer lower per-credit tuition costs than traditional colleges. When you enroll in an accredited school, you'll be eligible for federal loans and grants. Be sure to do your homework in advance and inquire about expenses beyond tuition, such as fees, books and supplies.
There's no denying it: An online or hybrid business degree program, with its fast pace and quick-turn deadlines, is a lot to add to your already-busy schedule. When the pressure's on, it's crucial to remember your long-term goals and aspirations. Try posting an image of you in your new business career—whether accounting or sports management, HR or the music biz— in a place where you and your family will see it often.
Before you dive into an online degree, ask yourself if you have the skills and mindset that make for success in the virtual learning environment:
- Time management
- The ability to work independently
- Focus and drive
Sound like you? Then get ready to learn at the speed of business. And remember, once you've completed your degree, these are the unique qualities and skills you'll showcase during interviews with potential employers.
Next Steps for Choosing Fast Track Online Business Programs
With their rolling start dates, compressed schedules and emphasis on convenience and flexibility, online schools are built for speed. An online or hybrid degree program may be just the ticket to get you out of your rut and into the express lane to a new business career.
Every journey, no matter how long, starts with a single step. Stop delaying your dreams and start moving into the career that's calling to you.