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Time Frame to Obtain a Degree

Completing a postsecondary degree is an accomplishment that requires a huge investment of time, effort and energy. Knowing how long it will take you to complete your postsecondary degree can help you successfully plan and accomplish your degree.

The longer it takes to complete the requirements for a postsecondary degree, the more money you will have to pay. Knowing about how long it will take to complete a degree program in your career field can help you budget accordingly and find the necessary financial resources.

The U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics measures the average number of months it takes to complete programs of study. Visit Fast Facts to see data about specific demographic and enrollment characteristics. The average time to complete major programs of study include the following:

  • Certificate — 27 months
  • Associate degree — 39 months
  • Bachelor’s degree — 54 months

Life events, such as relocation or deployment, may interrupt your progress or extend the time you’ll need to complete your degree program. As you investigate education options, determine whether you can complete the program within the allotted time at your current duty station. If not, investigate the steps you should take to ensure the credits you have earned transfer to another school.

Knowing the time it could take you to complete a degree can help you maintain a healthy balance among school, work and family. Some questions you’ll have to ask yourself include the following:

  • Will I need to find child care?
  • Can I afford child care, either full-time or part-time?
  • Will I have to put off having more children?
  • Am I able to continue working while attending school?
  • If I do have to work, will it be full-time or part-time?
  • Is it a good time for me to go back to school?
  • Do I have a relocation or deployment on the horizon?

For additional help planning your continuing education and selecting the right options for you, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to speak to a SECO career coach or use the Live Chat feature on MySECO for additional guidance.

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