3 Easy Steps to Find
Your Degree

Accelerated Degree Programs Online

In a hurry to finish college and looking for the best accelerated degree programs online?

Accelerated online degree program benefits:

  • Earn your college credits more quickly
  • Ability to take a full-time course load without over-extending yourself
  • Finish your degree without sacrificing time with your family or leaving your job
  • Save money on tuition
  • More flexible schedule

Accelerated online degrees give you the freedom to get your college degree fast!

Accelerated Bachelor's Degree

Get your bachelor's degree online fast... in as little as 2 years!

Accelerated Classes

Accelerated classes allow you to finish your classes in half the time.

How to Get College Credits Fast

Here are 7 ways to get 15 college credits fast!

Search Programs

Accelerated Degree Programs Online

In a hurry to finish college and looking for the best accelerated degree programs online?

Earning a degree is a major accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean that you are looking forward to spending years commuting back and forth to long college classes.

Accelerated degrees are catching on at universities and colleges across the country, and a number of schools are offering ways for you to take accelerated classes and even earn credit for prior learning obtained outside the classroom.

Accelerated degree programs online allow you to:

  • Earn your college credits more quickly
  • The ability to take a full-time course load without over-extending yourself
  • Complete your degree without sacrificing time with your family or leaving your job
  • Save money on tuition
  • Have a more flexible schedule

It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But how exactly do you get into accelerated degree programs online or earn credits without even attending the class?

Accelerated online degree program students at college graduation

Typically, you can earn your degree faster through a combination of different options – from accelerated, shortened classes to testing out of a course or demonstrating your skills from other training.

How to fast-track your degree

Many colleges around the country offer options for accelerated classes that are completed on a shorter schedule than a traditional college course.

  • Accelerated classes
  • Credit by examination
  • Credit for prior learning / life experience credit
  • Military training
  • Advanced placement and dual enrollment options

This gives you the opportunity to cover more ground in your degree program in a shorter time-frame – helping you get one step closer to graduation.

Accelerated Degree Programs Online – A Comprehensive Guide

Online accelerated degree programs are the education path of the future. It makes sense. Everything moves faster today than it did before. Cars. News. Even internet. We’ve come far from the days of dial up internet and daily newspapers.

Dare I say we’ve come far from the days of 4 year Bachelor’s degrees? Unfortunately no. Most universities do not have an accelerated degree plan.

Does this mean you are stuck with putting in your time to get your degree? No. No it doesn’t.

This guide will put you in the driver’s seat of your degree program. With new and creative ways to fast-track your degree like the Massive Open Online Course program (MOOC). Or options like Credit for Prior Learning or Credit by Exam that can quickly add 60+ credit hours to your transcript.

You can choose to be in the driver’s seat of your education and you can choose how much you use the accelerator.

We’re here to help you figure out the how you can accelerate through your degree faster than you ever dreamed possible. We’ll show you exactly how to do this and what it will take.

Hold on! This could be a fast ride.

What are the different types of accelerated degree programs online?

Remember how I said everything is moving faster? Even the internet. That is the key to an accelerated degree.

Accelerated degree programs online allow you to obtain all the credits necessary to be granted a degree much quicker than the norm. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Taking courses online allows you to complete more classes in the same amount of time. Whether you have been working for a while, your life is busy or you just need to finish school faster.

Let’s say you decided to start taking classes.

You still need to work full time, pay your mortgage, take the kids to soccer and go to the gym. So you sign up for a night class. You have to attend the class 4 nights out of the week. You stop going to the gym and miss your kids soccer games. After 16 weeks you end up with 6 credits. Doesn’t seem fair.

Or you sign up for 2 classes online. Online class terms typically last 8 weeks and run 6 terms in a year. You work on your courses every evening after kissing your kids goodnight. You get up an hour early for a bit more course work but still have time to make it to the gym.

New classes start every month year round. You could be working on classes from home, on the road, at the beach, even on your lunch break.

That’s the beauty of taking classes online. With online classes you can make classes fit your life instead of rearranging your life for a class.

Accelerated Associate’s Degrees Online

There are two types of Associate’s degrees, an Associate in Arts (AA) and Associate in Sciences (AS). They’re like the identical twins of degrees. Hardly anybody can tell them apart. You can get an AA or an AS in Business. Like I said, pretty much the same.

To graduate you need 60 credit hours which will typically take 2 years of full time study. But we are all about acceleration here so let’s look at how you could do an Associate’s degree much quicker.

  1. Use Credit by Examination (CBE) to test out of 15 credit hours. Check first with your school what the maximum CBE credits they allow. It can be anywhere from 15-30. 15 credit hours would cut off one semester from your schooling meaning you finish in 18 months.
  2. Another option is to add Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) credit. Most schools will allow up to 15 credits for this. Now you’re done in 12 months.
  3. Take 2 online classes every 8 weeks giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year) you have 36 credits. You didn’t even need 36 credits, you already had 15 from CBE and 15 from CPL. You would be done in less than a year. 40 weeks to be exact.

BONUS TIP: Most schools have a maximum course load of 2 classes every 8 weeks. But some schools will allow you to take up to 3 online classes every 8 weeks. Imagine how fast you could fly through that Accelerated Associate’s Degree!

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees Online

The 2 main types of Bachelor’s degree are a Bachelor in Arts (BA) and a Bachelor in Science (BS).

One degree to note is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) which allows a nurse already practicing as a RN to earn a BSN through an accelerated BSN program. This is ideal as a nurse’s shiftwork will often not accommodate traditional classroom study. Using an accelerated BSN program allows a working RN to take online classes around night shifts and 12 hour days.

Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree takes 120 credit hours which is often spread out over 4 years. What if I told you an accelerated bachelor’s degree online could have you done in 2 and a half years?

Here’s how:

  1. Use Credit by Examination (CBE) to test out of 15-30 credit hours. Check first with your school on the maximum CBE credits they allow. 30 credit hours would cut off 2 semesters from your schooling.
  2. Add Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) credit. Most schools will allow up to 15 credits for this. You just knocked off another semester.
  3. Take 2 online classes every 8 weeks giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year) you have 36 credits. In 2 years and 24 weeks to be exact you earn 90 credit hours.

The fast pace of an accelerated Bachelor’s degree would prepare you for a job in any field! Demonstrating your dedication and strong work ethic.

Accelerated Master’s Degrees Online

A Master’s degree not only makes you sound really smart but also opens up more job opportunities. The 4 most common are:

  • Master’s of Arts (MA) which will typically be in history, communication, political science or other subjects such as the humanities and social sciences. A thesis is optional in many of these subjects.
  • Master’s of Science (MS) is typically granted for studies in sciences, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Most of these programs will include writing a thesis.
  • Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) will focus on areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations and statistics. The wide scope of classes is ideal for completing an accelerated MBA.
  • Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepares a registered nurse for positions in management and nurse educators. Accelerated nursing programs allow busy working nurses to progress quickly through a MSN.

An accelerated master’s degree online typically is 36 credit hours. There is no Credit by Exam (CBE) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits that allow you to test out of classes. You will have to complete class work for each credit.

If your goal is to finish as fast as possible you will want to look for a program that does NOT require a thesis. But if you are already thinking about doing doctorate work you will have to get that thesis. Plan this out before you start. You don’t want to take shortcuts now that will limit your future.

When it comes to accelerated graduate programs, the fastest way to finish your degree is by enrolling in online classes. You can take 2 online classes every 8 weeks giving you 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year) you have 36 credits. Done. Now that was quick, wasn’t it?

Accelerated PhD Degrees Online

Earning a doctorate brings you to the next level of earning potential and job opportunities. Also allows you to introduce yourself as Dr.

The most common accelerated PhD and related doctorates available online  are:

  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Credit hours required to complete a doctorate vary by program. For example a DBA offered from Northcentral University will require 54 credit hours as well as a doctoral dissertation. From Capella University a DBA requires 82 credit hours.

A DNP from the Duke School of Nursing will require 35 credit hours if you already have a master’s degree. If you completed an accelerated nurse practitioner program you would be done in a year.

As you can see there is a wide variety in the credit hours required for a doctorate. But these principles will apply to all programs.

  • There is no Credit by Exam (CBE) credits allowed
  • There is no Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) awarded

Your quickest bet to accelerate a doctorate is to enroll in a non-thesis program. They are out there! You will just have to look a little harder.

The second tip is to enroll in online accelerated classes. If you take 2 online classes every 8 weeks you earn 6 credit hours per term. In 6 terms (1 year) you have 36 credits. Remember how I highlighted the DNP program as ideal as an accelerated program for nurse practitioners? Because you really can be done in a year!

Accelerated Online Degree Programs For Working Adults

As a working adult the dream of completing a degree program seems hopeless. You are already working hard. You don’t have extra time and you can’t quit your job to go back to school. It feels like you are stuck.

An accelerated online degree is the ideal fit for your lifestyle. There is no commute, no hours spent in class, no awkward class schedule. You can login anytime and anywhere. You can choose from a variety of popular majors from many top schools.

Many schools will also have payment plans available so you don’t even have to go into debt. Also you can check with your employer if they have a tuition reimbursement program available.

Whether you already have 59 credits or zero, you can start right away and finish in far less time than you think. Without putting your already busy and full life on hold.

Accelerated Online Degree Completion Programs

An accelerated online degree completion program is for you if you started university or college but something happened and you weren’t able to complete your degree.

But not all hope is lost. You can still complete your degree online. As long as you already have earned at least 60 credits you can apply to finish your degree at a different university than you first attended. Often known as a 2+2 degree.

Using the accelerated online degree approach you will have the chance to finish your degree without quitting your job or moving back to your old university.

Competency Based Degrees

A competency based degree allows you to work at your own pace and submit an assessment or portfolio once you have mastered the material in the course. There are no grades assigned only a pass or fail is given. Of course, you will get a pass!

Classes are scheduled in 3 to 6 month terms and are offered online. You are your own teacher! You set your own schedule and will work independently. You can quickly move through classes you have already mastered.

Competency based programs allow you to focus on developing an understanding of real world skills. Skills you will actually use in employment after you graduate with your degree. No sitting through pointless classes.

Typically you will pay tuition for one 3-6 month term and can complete as many competency units as possible during that time. That’s right. You are not limited by what is offered in a certain semester. As a motivated learner, you can quickly complete units and get through many courses each term.

Accelerated Schools

If you are trying to find an accelerated school please don’t google “accelerated schools”. They don’t really exist! An accelerated school is just a traditional college with a regular brick and mortar campus that also happens to offer online classes you can take at an accelerated pace.

Online classes are typically offered in 8 week terms. You can take 2 classes at a time (sometimes even 3) in a 8 week term which will speed you through faster than a traditional program.

You can choose how fast you go through the program by taking advantage of the accelerated classes and max out your course load by taking 2 online classes at a time.

Are Fast Online Degrees Legitimate?

Earning a degree is a huge commitment. It takes a lot of effort and money. You want to make sure that the degree you earn is legitimate and not going to end up being worthless.

Although online degrees are fairly new in the education world they are quickly gaining acceptance. A study conducted by NYU found that employers who have had experience with online classes are twice as likely to hire a candidate with an online degree.

The study concludes “as more people attend online schools over time and the number of graduates of online schools sitting on the hiring side of the desk increases, we can anticipate more favorable treatment of online university graduates.”

Online degrees are becoming more commonplace with a reported 5.8 million students having taken an online course (reported by the Babson Survey Research Group. Almost half of those students have taken all of their courses online or through distance education.

Accelerated online classes are offered by many well known reputable universities such as Colorado State University, Northeastern University and Boston University. Even educational giants like Harvard are starting to offer online classes for credit.

We can obtain almost anything we want online and the value of doing so is becoming more commonplace. But just as you have to check that that iPhone you order off eBay is legit, you want to check that you online class is also legitimate.

Regional accreditation is the gold standard for degree programs. You will want to check that your school is recognized by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Accelerated online classes are widely available and accepted by these institutions. The degree that you earn will not have any notation on it that your class was taken online. Your transcript will only show that you completed the class and the mark you received.

When you earn a MBA from Colorado State University that is what you will have to show your employer. Your MBA taken via online accelerated classes has no asterisk saying *not a real degree. A degree granted from a reputable university is a degree. Few employers will question which of your classes were online or in class.

Accelerated Courses vs. Traditional Courses – The Pros and Cons

It is a hard decision to make whether you should go the traditional route of taking a class or whether you are ready to try an accelerated course. Neither option is perfect. Both options do offer you pros and cons to consider.

An accelerated course offers you more flexibility. You can complete your classwork on your own time schedule. You can work anywhere, anytime from your office on your lunch break to during your summer vacation at the beach.

Accelerated courses are faster to complete, typically running 8 weeks.

Location doesn’t matter. Maybe you are living in a rural location and there are no colleges available to you. Or the program you want isn’t offered at your local college. Accelerated online courses allow you take a class from ANY college ANYWHERE.  You could be living in Alaska taking a course from the University of Texas.

Your choice of colleges will not be limited to where you live, commute time and finding a new job. There is no uprooting your family to complete you degree.

Accelerated courses also cost less both in tuition and associated class expenses.

You can find accelerated courses that are given the same accreditation as a class offered in a classroom.

The downsides of completing a course online really come down to you. What you are willing to do.

You will need to be independent. You will not be interacting with a teacher face to face. You will have to find the strength in yourself to be self-disciplined and remain focused when it gets tough. Because it will be tough!

There are some majors that require in person instruction such as a MD, biochemistry and sonography. These would not be a good fit for an online accelerated course.

Quick Degrees by College Major

An accelerated method of earning a degree will work better for some degrees than others. Social sciences, business, management, criminal justice and degrees that have low math and physical science requirements, no labs and no advanced calculus will work really well. You can complete 2 online accelerated courses at a time and it will be easy to find courses in these disciplines.

  • Accounting
  • Art
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Counseling
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Finance
  • General Studies
  • Graphic Design
  • Healthcare
  • History
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Liberal Arts
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Science
  • Social Work
  • Teaching
  • Theology

More uncommon majors like Art History are difficult to complete using an accelerated method because the courses required may not be available at the time you need them.

Your success with a quick degree online will be largely determined by the major that you are pursuing.

Time to Completion – How to Earn Your College Degree in Under Four Years

You might be thinking that an accelerated degree sounds like a great idea, but how does it really work? There are 7 proven strategies that we provide to accelerate the completion of your degree. The table below will give you an idea of one of the ways this could work.

Pre-College
Credit Method

College Credits Earned

Military training credit

21

 

First Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

October December Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

January January External Learning

3

January Feb Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

Feb April Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

Feb April Credit for Prior Learning Portfolio

18

First Year Total

45 hours

 

Summer Between First & Second Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

May May Credit by Exam: CLEP (Social Sciences & History)

6

May June Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

June June Credit by Exam: CLEP (College Composition)

6

June August Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

July July Credit by Exam: CLEP (Natural Sciences)

6

Summer Total

30 hours

 

Second Year of College
Start Date End Date Quick Degree Strategy

College Credits Earned

August October Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

October December Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

January Feb Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

Feb April Accelerated online classes (max courseload)

6

Second Year Total

24 hours

Total Credit Hours

120 hours

 

Obviously the table is just one possibility. Instead of military training credit you might already have 21 hours of transfer credit. Or your school might offer 6 terms instead of 5. This just gives you an idea but the strategies are completely flexible to YOUR own experience and your particular colleges schedule and courses.

Applying to Accelerated Online Degree Programs

This is the easiest part. Really. Applying to an accelerated program is so simple. Check this out:

  1. Find a college that offers 8 week long online classes.
  2. Choose the college that you like and has your major
  3. Go to the college website
  4. Apply!

Most accelerated degree programs online require the same materials and information as traditional degree programs. These may include:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • School transcript(s)
  • Minimum GPA
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation
  • Application Fee
  • SAT or ACT scores (not required by many online colleges)

Some programs have a minimum age requirement. This age requirement is usually older than when most students begin college and is typically somewhere in the 20’s range. This is because many accelerated or degree completion programs cater to adult learners.

Accelerated Degree Curriculum

The curriculum for an accelerated degree program is exactly the same as a traditional program curriculum. Which would mean whatever you would need for a program that you would attend in person is what you will need for an online program. Except you get more flexibility and can finish quicker.

All universities in the United States will have a similar list of general education requirements. For example for an both an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree you will need to complete 6 credits each in communication arts, mathematics, science and technology, humanities and social science.

An Associate’s degree will require 3 credits of additional liberal arts and 9 credits of interdisciplinary studies. A Bachelor’s degree requires 6 credits of additional liberal arts and 18 credits of interdisciplinary studies.

On top of that you just need to add the requirements for your major and your electives. Just like a traditional program. See? They are similar.

What are Accelerated Courses?

Accelerated courses sound like a great idea… but what exactly are they?

Well, think of your typical college course – now condense into just a few weeks. It might sound tough, but when you want to cross the finish line sooner, for the motivated student it can be the ideal way to speed up the process of graduation by taking shorter classes online. Typically, these classes are structured in an 8-week format instead of following a traditional 16-week course schedule.

Online accelerated classes are intense, but highly flexible – making them a good option if you’re juggling work, school, or family obligations.

Online classes may even give you a leg-up on the quality of your education, and Babson Survey Research Group reports that 77% of academic leaders rate learning outcomes for online courses as the same or better than traditional on-campus classes!

Do I Have to Take Accelerated Courses?

While most accelerated programs rely on students taking accelerated courses in order to quicken the pace of their degree, it’s not necessarily required at all programs. If you enroll in a program that only offers 8 week (or less) courses, then you’ll be required to take accelerated courses. If your program offers 16 week courses, though, you won’t necessarily have to take accelerated courses. Without accelerated courses, though, it will be difficult to really quicken the pace of your degree. The only way you could do this would be by coming into the program with a lot of transfer credits.

Here’s a list of universities offering accelerated online courses.

Accelerated Course Costs

Money (or a lack of) is often one of the things that will hold you back from completing a degree. Higher education is expensive! It can feel like getting a degree will push you back further financially than it will help you.

Who has $80,000 to $181,000 available to put into schooling? Not most of us! That’s for sure.

An accelerated online degree allows you to graduate with an accredited degree from a recognized university at ⅓ to ⅕ of the cost. That’s savings of 67-85%, it’s amazing! All of a sudden completing a degree doesn’t seem so impossible, right?

Public Four-Year

In-State

Public Four-Year

Out-of-State

Private Nonprofit

Four Year

Online Classes*

Not Accelerated

Online Classes*

Accelerated

Freshman Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Sophomore Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$240 (CLEP test fees)

 

No tuition costs, earned 30 credits thru combo of CPL & CLEP

Junior Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Senior Tuition

$9,650

$24,930

$33,480

$8,700

$8,700

Room & Board (4 years)

$41,760

$41,760

$47,560

$0

$0

Total Cost of

Bachelor’s Degree

$80,360

$141,480

$181,480

$34,800

$26,340

Source: The CollegeBoard. *Using Columbia College of Missouri as an example ($290 per credit hour)

As you can see for a typical Bachelor’s degree from a public, instate university you are looking at paying $80,360. A degree earned through an accelerated online program costs $26,340. You save $54, 020 that can go towards your mortgage payment, your dream vacation, your child’s education. Anything! That $54,020 is still yours to spend as you wish.

Even for an Associate’s degree the savings would be significant.

Transferring College Credits

You’ve already been to university for some classes and you might be wondering if that time was wasted.

Nope.

As long as the credits you earned are from an accredited university they can transfer to your new program. Doesn’t matter that you are in an accelerated program. Transfer credits are treated the same. The acceleration of your program is completely up to you. You are the one making the program go faster by taking classes at a faster speed.

Program Accreditation & School Reputation

Accreditation is a quality assurance step taken by the federal and state government agencies as well as non-government organizations. Basically accreditation is a way to make sure university and colleges are meeting acceptable levels of quality.

Kind of like reading hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, but a lot more involved and formal. Accreditation makes sure that a college is doing what it promises to do.

Going to an accredited school ensures that the program is high quality, that your degree will be accepted by other universities and your employer.

Accreditation is another way to safeguard your decision, your time and your money. Accreditation says ‘this school is legit, your degree will matter to other universities and employers.’

What Should I look for in an Accelerated College?

Choosing an accelerated school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your educational journey, and it pays to do your research!

The best accelerated degree programs online are accredited by a regional or national accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If you’re unsure if your school has recognized accreditation, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

Other ways that you can recognize top online schools include:

  • College’s name and status
  • College’s history
  • College resources, such as library and students services
  • Faculty credentials
  • Alumni network

When comparing online programs, consider these important factors:

  • Admission requirements
  • Class and teaching style
  • Course content and presentation
  • Program length
  • Class size
  • Student-teacher ratio
  • Tuition and financial aid
  • Residency requirements
  • Ability to transfer credits

When your school is accredited, you can feel confident knowing that they hold themselves to high standards of quality and that your degree will hold weight once you’re ready to venture out into the workforce after graduation.

Can I Receive Financial Aid?

Yes. If you’re enrolled in an accredited institution, the same financial aid rules apply to you as they would if you had enrolled in a traditional program.

If you are no longer dependent on your parents, you can actually borrow more money from the federal government in the form of loans to help pay for your education. Your program might also offer merit or financial based grants and scholarships to those who qualify.

Can I Work While Completing My Degree?

Many people work full and part-time while completing their degree. Since an accelerated program is rather intensive, it is not recommended to try to earn your degree during a very busy period in your job or career or to take on any additional hours. You will probably be in class with many other working adults over the duration of your degree. It’s at your discretion whether or not you want to tell your employer that you’re pursuing your degree on the side.

Job Outlook

In search of quick degrees that pay well? Here’s a list of 10 well-paying quick degrees that might interest you.

After all that work you will go to complete your degree, are you going to find a job? Is it going to be worth it? Or are you going to find yourself working at the same job with a worthless degree?

Not according to the NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update. 99% of employers plan to hire graduate with a Bachelor’s degree. 99%! That’s almost everybody. Those with Master’s degrees will be considered for 53% of the jobs. Even doctorate graduates have seen an increase in hiring. 25% of employers plan to hire doctorate degree graduates.

Graduates with degrees in business, economics, communications and social sciences will be considered for 14-72% of the new jobs.

These are the degrees of the future. They also are the degrees that work well with an online accelerated program. Coincidence? I think not.

Accelerated Online Degrees are the Future of Education

If you think back 10 or 15 years, even just 5 years, I am sure you can list at least a dozen things that have changed. Everyday things from how we order food (online!), research trips (online!), get a ride (online!), do our banking (online!), apply for jobs (online!) and keep in touch with friends and family (online!).

How we pursue a higher education is changing as well. Changing to keep up with the future that is barrelling towards us. Accelerated online degrees fit a future that is fast and quickly changing.

But change requires pioneers. Brave, dedicated souls who are willing to pave the way to something brighter and newer. Do you have the soul of an explorer? Someone who is willing to try something new and set a shining example for those that follow.