Accelerated Master’s Degree Programs

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by
Updated January 3, 2024
Edited by
Want a master's degree in less time? Learn about accelerated master's degree programs to fast-track grad school.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

A master’s degree can mean more career opportunities and a higher salary. And an accelerated master’s program means you’ll graduate and enter the workforce sooner.

You don’t have to spend years in grad school. An accelerated master’s degree takes as little as one year to complete. And you can earn your master’s degree online in popular fields like education, nursing, business, or social services.

Ready to get started? Keep reading for more on accelerated master’s degrees.

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Why Earn an Accelerated Master’s Degree?

  • Graduate in as little as one year instead of spending two years in grad school.
  • An accelerated format means you can put your degree to work sooner.
  • Graduate-level classes add specialized knowledge to your skill set.
  • Advance your career and qualify for leadership positions.
  • Choose an online program to benefit from a flexible, convenient format.

10 Popular Accelerated Master’s Degrees

You can earn an accelerated master’s degree in business, education, tech, healthcare, and many other fields. Here are some of the most popular accelerated programs.

1. Accounting

Want to become a CPA? Or specialize in forensic accounting, management accounting, or auditing? You don’t need to spend years in grad school. An accelerated master’s degree in accounting takes as little as 12 months. Afterward, you can take the CPA exam or advance in specialized roles.

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2. Business Administration

Earning an MBA typically takes two years. But accelerated MBA programs typically require 12-18 months. You can gain management and leadership skills while earning your MBA. Plus, you can move into supervisory roles or apply for managerial titles after finishing your degree. Keep in mind that many accelerated programs offer limited concentration options.

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3. Computer Science

In the competitive tech job market, a master’s degree helps you stand out. And an accelerated master’s program can fast-track your career. During a master’s in computer science, you’ll study software development, data science, and project management. The degree can lead to management careers in tech.

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4. Counseling

Counselors and therapists generally need a graduate degree. With an accelerated online master’s in counseling, you’ll qualify for a counseling license in less time.

Depending on the program, you can focus on mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, school counseling, or another specialty. When choosing an online program, make sure to check whether it meets the licensure requirements in your state.

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5. Education

A master’s in education can mean a pay bump for teachers. Or it can lead to administrative roles. And with an accelerated master’s program, you can graduate in as little as one year. Many educators prefer the flexibility of an online program so they can work while earning a master’s degree.

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6. Healthcare Administration

There’s high demand for healthcare managers today. With an accelerated master’s degree in healthcare administration, you’ll gain health industry knowledge in as little as one year. After graduation, you can work as a health information manager, hospital administrator, or other medical and health services manager.

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7. Information Technology

Want to get into tech? Or looking to advance your IT career? A master’s in information technology blends technical and leadership skills. In less than two years, an accelerated IT master’s degree can help you stand out from other job candidates. You’ll qualify for roles like IT manager, information security analyst, or information systems manager.

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8. Nursing

Nurses with a master’s degree boost their earning potential and move into roles with greater responsibilities. And many nursing schools offer accelerated, one-year MSN degrees. You can become a nurse educator or study nurse leadership in these accelerated master’s programs.

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9. Psychology

A master’s in psychology can lead to jobs as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Or you can prepare for a doctoral program with an accelerated master’s degree. You’ll take courses like social psychology, counseling psychology, and research methods. The degree can also lead to roles as a counselor.

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10. Social Work

Earning an MSW prepares you for clinical social work jobs. And an accelerated MSW program can take as little as one year. You’ll study social welfare theory and gain clinical training during your MSW degree. Keep in mind that many accelerated programs require a bachelor’s degree in social work.

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Is an Accelerated Master’s Degree Worth It?

Earning a master’s degree can pay off. Professionals with a master’s degree report higher salaries and lower unemployment rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Before applying to grad school, research the ROI of a master’s degree in your field. In some fields, a master’s means significantly higher salaries, while other career paths report lower earning potentials.

An accelerated format can help increase the ROI of your degree. You’ll graduate in less time, which means you’ll benefit from the potential salary boost faster. However, some accelerated programs recommend not working while in grad school. When considering the ROI of an accelerated degree, make sure to factor in future salary, tuition costs, and lost earning potential while in school.

Frequently Asked Questions About Accelerated Master’s Degrees

How much does an accelerated master’s degree cost?

The average cost of a graduate degree was around $20,000 in 2021, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. Accelerated master’s programs can help you save money on your degree. Most accelerated master’s programs require a minimum of 30 credits, while traditional programs may require a higher credit load.

When comparing traditional and accelerated programs, make sure to research the total cost of the degree.

How long does an accelerated master’s degree take?

An accelerated master’s degree generally takes 12-18 months. In comparison, most traditional master’s programs take two years. In an accelerated program, graduate students may take classes on an accelerated schedule or complete more credits per year by taking summer classes.

Are accelerated master’s degrees hard?

An accelerated format can make grad school more challenging. In these programs, you’ll often complete material faster. For example, accelerated classes cover a semester of material in 4-8 weeks.

Some accelerated programs recommend a full-time commitment. That means you might not be able to work while in grad school. Reach out to programs to learn more about the time commitment of an accelerated master’s degree.

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