The thought of spending years working toward a single degree keeps many prospective students from pursuing a program in higher education.
Student debt is another major factor preventing many students from attaining multiple degrees. According to a CNBC report from 2019, more than 44 million Americans have student loans.
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However, there are options that can allow you to pursue the education you want in a significantly shorter amount of time and at a lower cost. The first option is an accelerated program for a bachelor’s, associate’s, or master’s degree. With some of these compressed online programs, you can potentially receive your degree within six months.
The second option is an online certificate program. Certification programs are compressed training courses designed by field experts and universities. These short programs focus on a highly specific area within a given industry.
Online certificate programs usually have a duration of six months; however, some certificate programs only last a few weeks. In general, the structure of a certificate program depends on the field of study.
Certificates are a great solution for anyone looking to further their education at a lower cost than a traditional bachelor’s or master’s degree. In fact, you can even pursue a graduate certificate, which also allows you to study your desired subject in-depth.
Whether you are already working within a particular industry or are a prospective student considering different options, researching the various types of online degrees and certifications can be greatly beneficial from both an academic and career standpoint.
Types of six-month online degrees
Six-month degrees and certificates are available across all industries. Gaining a professional certificate within your field can help you land the job and can help you on the job.
Certifications provide you with an edge over the thousands of other job candidates, making your résumé stand out. Likewise, having specific certifications within your field can give you the potential for a higher starting salary.
The key to finding the right certification for you is choosing a program that allows you to further develop a set of industry skills. While online degrees and credentials can add to your résumé, to be of value, the programs must relate to your career.
What types of degrees can be completed in only six months?
There are a variety of degree programs that can be completed in six months or less.
Some of the most common six-month degree options are accelerated master’s degree programs. Many online master’s programs require one to two years to complete.
However, prospective students who opt to accelerate their program can complete a traditional one-year master’s program within six months.
It is important to note that completing an online master’s degree in this compressed format is typically more challenging than the traditional degree completion process. This is simply because students are required to learn the material at a much faster rate. For some students, this accelerated time frame may not be the best option.
Additionally, expediating your degree completion process can save you money on tuition. In fact, there are even some master’s programs that are completely free.
Free MBA programs are some of the most common options, as there are a variety of schools that offer a select number of spots for students to study for free.
Certain companies will also finance their employees’ MBA programs as well. Check to see if your current company has an employer-sponsored MBA program. In most circumstances, there are specific protocols if you choose to go through the company, so be sure to take note of their expectations before signing up.
Like accelerated degree programs, certificates also offer a variety of cost-effective options across different fields. In general, certificates require less time than an accelerated degree program.
Below is a list of online certificates you can earn within six months or less.
- Real estate license. Although the requirements vary by state, you can earn your real estate license within four to six months.
- Certified nursing assistant. Like a license in real estate, CNA certificates vary by state. In general, however, it takes around four to twelve weeks to receive your certificate to be a nursing assistant.
- Personal trainer. Certificates to become a personal trainer vary in length depending on the type of fitness instructor you are looking to become. However, most personal training certificates can be completed in six months or less.
- English as a second language teacher. If you enjoy teaching and traveling, then pursuing your TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate is a quick way to jump-start a tutoring or teaching career. Receiving a TEFL or TESOL certificate can range from four weeks to six months depending on the course you choose.
For additional degrees you can complete in only six months or less, check out our list at Best Value Schools.
What are the major differences between types of six-month degrees available?
In general, there are three types of degrees you can complete within a six-month time frame: accelerated master’s programs, accelerated associate’s degrees, and professional certificates. All these options offer courses within a diverse range of industries.
Completing a master’s degree or an associate’s degree within a six-month time frame requires intense studying and organization. In most cases, to complete these degrees at such an accelerated pace requires permission from the university.
While an associate’s degree is traditionally a two-year program that prepares a student for a specific career, a master’s degree is an advanced degree that focuses on an industry specific topic.
Certificates are different from degrees in that they cover a highly specific topic within your field. Master’s and associate’s degree programs tend to cover more information than certificate programs.
Certificates are a great way to build upon a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, as they can add technical or soft skills that relate to your field. As a result, the skills you learn during a certificate program are narrowly focused within your field, whereas the skills you learn during a degree program are more broadly focused on your industry overall.
Having a bachelor’s, master’s, or associate’s degree is not a requirement to pursue a professional certificate. However, to pursue higher education degrees, such as a master’s program, a bachelor’s degree is usually required.
Who should consider one of the types of six-month degrees?
Six-month degree options are great for anyone looking to enter a specific industry quickly. If you are searching for a job and are having trouble getting past the initial round of applicant review, a new degree or certificate can be a way to make your résumé stand out.
Six-month programs and certificates are also a viable solution to prospective students working within a given industry but looking to make a transition into a new job.
For example, someone currently working as a secretary at a law firm but hoping to transition into the real estate industry can begin the process of earning their real estate license. The flexibility of professional certificates allows students to study a new field while maintaining their current job responsibilities. As a result, you can continue to work as you pursue your certificate.
Finally, if you are looking for high-paying jobs, then finding an online program within your industry can help you potentially increase your salary. Adding a new set of skills from a certification or degree program is a great way to leverage a potential raise.
Benefits of a six-month online degree
Continuing to further your education through an online degree program or certificate program is a way to invest in your future. Gaining additional degrees can help you build upon your résumé.
They are also a great way to expand your knowledge within your field or learn a new industry completely.
How can a six-month online degree help you further your education?
Six-month online degrees cover a significant amount of information within a short amount of time. Pursuing a certificate program can help you gain the technical skills required to enter a given field.
For example, if you are currently working within the health-care industry and want to expand your knowledge base, you can consider pursuing a variety of different health-care certificates.
A certificate in phlebotomy teaches health-care workers the necessary skills to draw a patient’s blood. Completing the training for this specific program within the health-care industry usually takes about four months.
Along with a certificate in phlebotomy, the health-care industry alone has a variety of options for different professional certificates and career paths.
Each field of study has a wide range of certificate options, allowing you to discover new jobs within your industry. As a result, completing a six-month program can allow you to learn a new set of skills within your field.
How can a six-month online degree help you get a job?
One of the main benefits of a six-month online degree is that it can help you land a job faster. With so many candidates in a single applicant pool, many employers are scanning résumés for additional degrees or certificates that add value to a potential new employee.
Certificates can help you stand out amid the competition, as they demonstrate a highly niche set of skills. Some jobs require specific certifications to even be considered within the applicant pool.
For example, to work in public accounting, you must have your CPA licence. However, with jobs that do not require certifications, you can set yourself apart. For instance, if you are a web designer, attaining your HTML developer certification can highlight your coding skills and set you apart from web designers without this additional certification.
Finally, recruiters will often take note of your additional degrees. Online degrees and certifications demonstrate to employers your consistent drive to learn and improve. These two skills alone can set you apart, as companies want employees who are motivated.
As a result, gaining certifications that are relevant to your industry allow you to communicate your skills and knowledge base to potential employers.
Why is a six-month degree good for someone looking to quickly begin a career?
Six-month degrees are a great option for someone looking to begin a career quickly because they expediate the learning process. When you pursue a six-month degree, you do not have to dedicate as much time toward attaining your skill set.
Pursuing your education on a six-month track also allows you to spend less money on tuition while also setting you up to make money sooner.
For instance, if you are looking to enter the field of dentistry but do not want to spend years taking online courses to be a dentist, you can consider attaining a professional certificate to be a dental assistant.
Once you have received your certificate, you can begin your job within the industry. As a result, rather than waiting years to enter dentistry, you can potentially start working in a dental office within a few months!
In fact, you can even begin your job search as you work on your six-month course to secure a position upon completing your degree.
Positions that may require a six-month degree
Certain career paths require employees to receive additional certifications on top of a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Industries that are constantly developing and rely on employees to have highly technical skills often require employees to complete certifications every few years.
What fields of work usually require a six-month degree?
In general, health care, technology, and business are the most common industries where a professional certification is either required or highly advantageous.
The health-care industry is also a field that has a variety of different career paths that only require a six-month degree or professional certification. When most people think of health care, they think of doctors and nurses who pursued a degree in higher education for a minimum of six years.
However, there are a variety of jobs within the health-care industry that only require a high school diploma and specialized certification. Some of these professions include dental assistant, EKG/ECG technician, emergency medical technician, and telemetry technician.
What are some rapidly growing job options that require a degree that can be accomplished in six months?
The technology industry is currently in high demand. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2029, the employment of software developers will increase by 22 percent. This projected rate is significantly faster than all other occupations.
Working as a software engineer is also a lucrative career option. The median salary for a software developer is $103,620 per year, according to an article in U.S. News.
Nowadays, it is possible to become a software engineer without having a traditional college degree in computer science. There are a variety of online certificate programs you can sign up for to learn different coding languages. The more coding languages you understand, the more valuable you are amid a pool of applicants.
Another rapidly growing industry is web development. Like software engineers, web developers are familiar with different coding languages. With more businesses depending on their digital marketing strategy over traditional marketing plans, there is an increasing need for individuals who specialize in website design.
While most web developers usually pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, these traditional college degrees are not a requirement to pursue a career in web development. By receiving a certification in HTML, you can apply for web development jobs or freelance your coding and website design services.
What sort of advanced degrees can you accomplish in a six-month program to further your career?
One of the most common ways to advance your career is through an accelerated MBA program. While most MBA programs are usually one year long, if you can schedule your classes accordingly and receive approval from your online school, you can potentially complete the program within six months.
With thousands of applicants in a pool for a single business position, earning your MBA can be a way to set yourself apart. An MBA program demonstrates to employers that you have a deep understanding of management, as well as the ability to oversee different departments at once.
Another reason many prospective students consider pursuing an MBA is because it is marketable across a diverse set of industries. While MBA programs are traditionally applicable to departments within the business industry, such as accounting, marketing, and finance, these programs are also useful within industries outside of business that require leadership skills.
There are also a variety of online programs in technology that can further advance your career.
Google offers a certificate program in IT support specialization. The company will also be launching certification programs for careers in data analysis, project managing, and UX designing. Gaining these certifications can help you potentially land a Google career or another position at a technology corporation.
Finally, paralegal certificates are another potential program that can be of value depending on your previous degrees. If you are considering becoming a paralegal but do not have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in paralegal studies, then pursuing an online paralegal certificate can be an alternative option for you.
Rather than reenrolling in a traditional four-year undergraduate program, you can receive your paralegal certificate within a few months and potentially start working.
Best six-month degree programs
Flexibility and adaptability are key in today’s fluctuating job market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American changes jobs every 4.2 years.
Regardless of your age or career, taking courses to continue your education can be of great benefit and can help prepare you for any potential job changes in the future.
However, not all six-month degree programs and online certifications are created equal. Certain programs offer additional resources that add value to the program overall. These resources, while a bonus, can be another factor you consider when deciding which program is best for obtaining your certificate.
Where can you find the best six-month degree programs?
A simple Google search is often the starting point for many people looking for the best online programs. However, this can generate thousands of results.
At Best Value Schools, we comprise lists of the best six-month degree programs based on a set of well-established criteria. We consider price, student reviews, employment projections, and salary among other factors.
We also break down each certificate program by category. So if you have already identified the type of program you would like to pursue but do not know which university to go through, our lists can help you find the right school.
Along with evaluating the different degree and certificate programs, we also provide prospective students with reviews of both online and in-person options.
What should you look for in a six-month degree program?
First, check to see if the university you are receiving your degree from is accredited. Accreditation indicates that the school meets established curriculum requirements. Employers will often check to see if your degree is from an accredited school.
Likewise, certifications from well-known universities are generally more valuable. It is a good idea to research whether the school you are considering receiving your online degree from is known for that specific program. This is simply because employers are more likely to recognize the university from which you received your certification.
In general, you also want to look for six-month degree programs and certifications that are highly specific within your given industry. The goal of your new degree or professional certificate is to demonstrate added skills that can allow you to perform your job better. As a result, select a certification that is not only relevant but also needed within your industry.
Essentially, you want to ensure that the degree you pursue adds a skill set you can leverage. Ask yourself what types of tools your current job needs. Also consider areas where you can personally improve. From there, you can search for programs that are most applicable to your needs.
Whether your online certification focuses on soft skills or hard skills, if you can apply them to your career, then you can benefit from completing the course.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to research if the program offers job-related experiences during the course. These types of internships are a great way to showcase relevant professional experience on your résumé. In today’s highly competitive job market, demonstrated work experience is usually a requirement to make it past the initial applicant review.
What do the best six-month degree programs have in common?
The best six-month degree programs are often all from accredited universities. Programs that are well established and well known receive accreditation. A simple way to narrow down your search for a six-month degree or certification is by first removing nonaccredited schools from your list.
The best programs also tend to offer job search guidance for students once they complete their degree. Some of the best online certification programs also have alumni networks for recently certified students to connect with.
Finding a program that has these additional resources can be of great value as you fill out job applications and study for interviews. Taking advantage of industry connections your school has can make your job transition more seamless.
It is also important to note that depending on the field of interest you want to study, different programs require different levels of education. In other words, while some certifications have a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma as a prerequisite, other programs have no prior requirements.
This does not mean the online certifications without prerequisites are of less value. Different industries have different educational requirements, so be sure to review what requirements you need to pursue the degree you want.
Overall takeaways and additional resources
Six-month degree programs are a great way to not only further your education but also advance your career aspirations.
There are numerous online certificates available across all industries. From dental assistant programs to paralegal certificates, each field has its own set of online programs that you can pursue.
Having a professional certification under your belt can better prepare you for the highly volatile job market, as well as any potential career changes.
The technology industry is currently experiencing significant growth. As the field itself develops, employees must also adapt by learning new information and skills.
This industry, however, is not the only field in which an online degree or certification can be of value. Regardless of the field you are in, adding certifications that relate to your industry can help to set your résumé apart.
Certifications are a great way to both showcase and support the skills listed on your job application. Employers will often take note of your new expertise, as well as your consistent drive to pursue your education.
Searching the Internet for the best six-month degree programs can be overwhelming. With hundreds of online programs advertising professional certificates, finding the right program for your career plans can be both challenging and time consuming.
At Best Value Schools, we generate articles and lists that help prospective students find the right professional certificate or degree option. Visit our site today to jump-start your search and learn about online degree programs and certifications within your field!