Are you an adult ready to make a career change or looking for a promotion? Cleveland State Community College has a program just for you, the Advance Business program. This program offers students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in business in 18 months. 

The Advance Business program is the college’s accelerated program that offers students a quick and convenient way to obtain a college degree. This option is suitable for highly motivated and mature adults that are seeking an A.A.S. degree in business. Many business students obtain their A.A.S. in 18 months at Cleveland State and a bachelor’s degree in an additional 18-24 months at a selected four-year college or university.

According to Candice Patterson, Associate Professor and Director of the Advance Business Program, the majority of Advance students are working adults who thrive in this scheduling option because they are enrolled with peers who have similar responsibilities and obstacles.

Patterson stated, “Since students go through all of their classes as a group, they form incredibly strong bonds and connections. At times, we have even seen these connections lead to job opportunities or advancements.”

The schedule for the Advance program allows the majority of students the flexibility to work and go to school. According to Patterson, the common factor for all Advance students is the relentless pursuit of a degree and the willingness to do what it takes to be successful. Students have to have a strong dedication to earning a degree.

The benefits of the Advance Business program include attending class virtually, completing the degree in a fast-paced format and working with the same group of students throughout the program. Students complete online assignments throughout the week in preparation for the online classes. 

In a recent survey conducted of Advance students, 43 percent said that during the program, they had received a raise or promotion, while 62 percent anticipated receiving further incentives upon graduation.

Cleveland State offers the Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship, a scholarship for adults to earn an associate degree or technical certificate, tuition-free. To get started on the scholarship, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at 

Cleveland State offers FAFSA assistance in the Testing Center on the main campus on Wednesdays, 12 – 4 p.m., in June and July, excluding June 19. During these hours, experts will be able to assist students with completing and correcting the FAFSA.

The next Advance Business group begins this fall. Fall registration is going on now, and classes begin on Monday, August 26. For more information on the Advance program, visit or email