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Home:: How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree?

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's Degree?

Today, a bachelor’s degree is almost a necessity in order to work in a professional career. Even for entry-level positions, many employers require that candidates have at least a bachelor’s degree before they will be considered. While several careers, such as attorney, doctor, college professor, or psychologist require even higher degrees, a bachelor’s degree is a necessary step in earning those higher degrees. Because a bachelor’s degree is such an important and useful degree to acquire, many people who consider committing to earning one first wonder exactly how long does it take to get a bachelor’s degree?


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On average, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to earn from a college or a university. While four years is the average time for completion, a student can find that it sometimes takes much longer to earn one. For instance, a student who is only attending a college or university on a part-time basis may take much longer to complete the course of studies necessary to obtain a bachelor’s degree in a chosen subject. Or, a student who is attending full-time, but who does not do well in all of the classes required for a bachelor’s degree, may have a need to repeat some of the coursework involved and therefore, could take longer to complete the required courses. Also, there is sometimes an issue of colleges or universities being overcrowded, and due to space limitations students are not able to enroll in all of the classes that they need to achieve their goal of graduation in four years. These situations can lead to students taking longer than average to complete the requirements necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree can also be completed in less than the average of four years. Some students have reduced their time spent in actual classroom training by large percentages simply by earning credits through testing in certain subjects. Taking a test designed to measure a student’s competence in a subject matter that would normally be taught in a traditional classroom setting accomplishes this. If a student passes the test with a satisfactory score, then the student is given credit for the course without having to sit through the entire course itself. Such testing is offered primarily through the College-Level Exam Preparation (CLEP) program, where students are tested on their competency in the subjects of history, math, science, foreign language, and English. Similar tests designed to measure a proficient understanding in several college level courses, such as DSST, ECE, and TECEP, are also available to help students complete the required coursework in less than four years.

Whether a student is able to complete a bachelor’s degree in three, four, or even five years, the most important goal is to complete the requirements for their degree, regardless of how much time is involved. Committing to earning a bachelor’s degree is a positive step that serves as an investment in future goals. Anyone considering enrolling in a college or university with the hopes of earning a bachelor’s degree is wise to investigate the options available for earning credits through testing, and to realize that minor obstacles may occur that can delay the desired completion date for a bachelor’s degree. However, no matter how long it ultimately takes to complete, earning a bachelor’s degree is well worth the time invested to do so.