You’ve decided to get an associate’s degree! Maybe you are looking to earn more money when you enter the workforce. Or maybe you will continue with your bachelor’s degree later on. You want a degree path you can finish fast from a regionally accredited school you can trust.
Associate degrees are commonly called two-year degrees because that’s how long it traditionally takes to earn them. However, in some cases, you can get an associate degree faster.
Here are 25 accelerated online associate degrees that you can earn in less than two years.
RELATED: Easiest Online Associate’s Degrees
1. Associate of Science in Construction Project Management
Are you interested in overseeing a construction project from start to finish? Do you want to be involved in the details of planning and design? The rising career path of construction project manager might be for you. With this associate degree, you can quickly prepare for career paths like construction manager, building inspector and trades supervisor.
Where to Earn a Construction Management Associate Degree Fas
If you want to fast-track your construction project management associate degree program, consider enrolling at Penn Foster College. The private, for-profit higher education institution located in Scottsdale, AZ, offers an accredited online Construction Technology Associate Degree. This self-paced program is one of the fastest options for an associate degree. While the average time to complete the program is as little as 11 months, highly motivated students who choose the fast-track format can get an associate degree in as little as five months. That makes this a rare example of being able to earn an associate degree in 6 months online.
2. Social Science
Do you have a love of fields like history, sociology and political science? Consider majoring in social science. An associate’s degree in social science helps students build foundational skills and knowledge upon which they will build when they advance to their bachelor’s degree studies. Among the areas you will study when you major in social science at the associate degree level are:
- Political science
Where to Earn a Social Science Associate Degree Fast
Social science is one of three accelerated online associate degrees students can pursue at Tidewater Community College. Tidewater is a public community college based in South Hampton Roads, VA, and has five campuses in addition to its online offerings. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The accelerated social science degree, as well as the school’s other accelerated online associate’s degrees, can be completed in just one year.
3. Associate Degree in Business Administration
Business administration is one of the most common associate degree programs. It’s also one of the fastest degrees you can get online. It is possible to get your degree in just 12 to 18 months – or less if you have credit hours to transfer.
Students in an accelerated online business administration program will study a wide range of business topics. Core classes for a business administration associate degree may include:
- Introduction to business management
- Financial accounting
- Managerial accounting
- Principles of management
- Marketing fundamentals
- Business law
- Management information systems
- Business communications
- International business
When you earn an associate degree in business administration, you’re equipped with the skills for entry-level positions in the business world.
Where to Earn a Business Administration Associate Degree Fast
One of the fastest associate business degree online programs can be found at Truckee Meadows Community College. The program, which is available in a traditional two-year format and an accelerated one-year format, is proof that you don’t have to go to a four-year university to earn an associate’s degree fast. A community college can have a similar program for less time and money.
Truckee Meadows Community College is based in Reno, Nevada. The school is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Through the school’s Business FastTrack Program, students take two online courses per five-week term and study year-round, with new classes starting nine times per year. It’s a whirlwind for sure – but a productive one, as students can complete their 2-year degrees in half the time without transfer credits.
Another school where students can earn an online business administration associate degree quickly is Liberty University. Liberty University is a private Christian school based in Lynchburg, Virginia, with extensive online offerings. Online business courses are eight weeks long. By studying over the summer, students can finish their associate degree in one and a half years.
What if you have credit hours to transfer? The right associate degree program will allow you to slash the time it takes to earn your associate degree. Liberty University has a generous transfer policy through which students can apply up to 75% of the credit hour requirement for an associate degree. Prospective transfer students should also consider Purdue University Global’s business administration associate degree. Students transferring the maximum number of credits can complete their associate degree in just four months.
4. Associate of Arts in General Education or Liberal Arts
Maybe you don’t know yet what you want to study. You just know that having a degree will open doors to opportunities that you might not have with only a high school diploma.
If you haven’t decided on a specific major, it’s not a big deal. You can earn a degree in general education or liberal arts. This program is often considered the easiest associates degree, but it’s also one of the fastest associate degrees to earn.
These programs provide a broad foundation of college-level education for you to draw from. A general education or liberal arts major can be the perfect stepping stone for a career that doesn’t require a specific path of study or for earning a bachelor’s degree at a later time.
In an online associate degree in general studies or liberal arts, students take courses in a wide range of subjects. Examples include:
- Human development
Where to Earn a Liberal Arts Associate Degree Fast
General studies is one of the accelerated online associate degree programs at Tidewater Community College that can be completed in just one year. Students complete a breadth of coursework that draws from all of the major disciplines. The program offers optional specializations in professional communication and teacher preparation.
Another school that offers AA degrees online in general education is Florida State College at Jacksonville. By taking eight-week courses throughout the year, students at the public higher education institution can complete their associate degree in general education in just 18 months. Florida State College at Jacksonville is part of the Florida College System and is accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges.
5. Associate’s in Nursing
Good nurses are consistently in demand. Whether you’re already licensed as a vocational nurse or fresh out of high school, an associate degree can help you get ahead in this critical role in the healthcare industry.
Associate degrees in nursing, or ADN programs, typically prepare students to provide patient care according to the nursing model and to pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLE-RN) test. Even in online programs, students should expect to have to gain hands-on experience through in-person labs and clinical courses. Depending on your online program, you may have to visit campus for these requirements or find a local clinical site where you can fulfill your clinical requirements. Consider these programs to be generally hybrid options rather than fully online associate degree programs.
Where to Earn a Nursing Associate Degree Fast
Suppose you’re currently a licensed vocational nurse but haven’t yet earned a degree. Howard College in Big Springs, TX, offers a primarily online 12-month Transition Associate Degree Nursing Program. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
If you don’t yet have experience or a license, don’t worry. A number of colleges offer accelerated 2-year online degrees in nursing. Herzing University‘s Associate in Nursing program, for example, can be completed in 20 months. Students should note, however, that this isn’t a fully online program and requires some in-person coursework at one of Herzing’s campuses in Alabama, Florida, Ohio or Tennessee. The Associate Degree in Nursing Program from American Career College is another 20-month program. Although some of the coursework is offered online, some of it must be completed on campus at one of the college’s locations in Los Angeles or Anaheim, California, or in Ontario, Canada. Rasmussen University‘s online nursing associate degree program takes at least 21 months to finish.
6. Associate of Science in Health Information Technology
Would you like to start a new career in healthcare service in as little as 15 months? The field of health information technology brings together the disciplines of healthcare and computers and IT. Students in health information technology associate degree programs take coursework in areas such as:
- Medical billing and coding
- Electronic health record management
- Disease classification
- Healthcare procedural codes in hospitals and other healthcare facilities
Graduates from a health information technology associate degree program can pursue roles that range from medical coder and medical transcriptionist to health information technician.
Where to Earn a Health Information Technology Associate Degree Fast
Fremont University in Cerritos, CA, is one school that offers a fast online degree in health information technology. The private for-profit college l caters to working adult students, so it’s no surprise the school offers a program that allows for quick entry into this rapidly growing field. Fremont College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Students can complete their online health information technology associate degree program in just 15 months.
7. Associate of Arts in Accounting
If you think an accounting career is out of reach, think again. You don’t need to spend years in school or earn an advanced degree to get started. An associate degree can be the first step to your career. Students in an online associate degree for accounting will learn the theoretical and accounting standards and fundamentals. They also develop skills for the practical application of accounting procedures.
Through their coursework, students in accounting associate degrees become familiar with:
- The process of preparing financial statements and records
- Accounting’s role in business decisions
Graduates from an associate degree in accounting program may be able to qualify for some entry-level staff accountant roles. They can also seek positions in auditing, financial data analysis and payroll administration.
Where to Earn an Accounting Associate Degree Fast
How fast can you finish an accounting associate degree online? At Lorain County Community College, the accelerated pathway for this program can be completed in just 15 months. To speed up their progress toward the degree, students in the accelerated pathway take eight-week and ten-week courses.
8. Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems or Information Technology
Do you have an interest in technology? An associate’s degree in computer information systems or information technology can help you find a job in a rapidly growing field. Some of the coursework students may take in computer information systems and IT associates degrees online includes:
- Computer system analysis and design
- Programming in Java, Visual Basic and C/C++
- Software design and development
Where to Earn an Information Technology Associate Degree Fast
Lorain County Community College in Elyria, OH, offers a number of 15-month associate degrees online for computer and IT fields, including:
Computer and digital forensics
Computer applications integration specialist
Computer maintenance and networking
The community college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Another school to consider for online associate degree programs in computers and IT is ECPI University in Manassas, VA. Among the institution’s accelerated online associate degree programs are:
- A 16-month Associate of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Cyber and Information Security Technology
- An 18-month Associate of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Software Development
ECPI University – which stands for East Coast Polytechnic Institute – is a private for-profit institution accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
9. Associate of Science in Marketing
Good marketing leads people to buy a product, service or brand. The field is ideal for students who are creative, strategic and analytical. An associate degree could be the first stepping stone into a rewarding marketing career.
An associate program in marketing typically combines core business studies, some focused marketing coursework and a background in liberal arts. Students learn how to plan, create and evaluate advertising and marketing campaigns. By the time they graduate, students know the basic principles of marketing and have the skills to work for an established or start-up organization.
Where to Earn a Marketing Associate Degree Fast
Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI, offers a 17-month fully online marketing associate degree. The school, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, doesn’t just repurpose an on-campus curriculum for an online audience. Instead, Ferris State University builds its online courses for the virtual learning environment from the ground up. The online associate degree in marketing is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
10. Associate of Arts in Psychology
Do you have an interest in human behavior? Do you wonder why people think, feel and act the way they do? Consider pursuing a fast online associates degree in the field of psychology. Some institutions of higher learning allow students to get an associate degree in psychology in just one and a half years.
An associate’s degree in psychology will prepare graduates to work in entry-level jobs in psychology. This includes jobs in environments such as:
- Mental health facilities
- Substance abuse and rehabilitation centers
- Childcare facilities
- The criminal justice and legal system
Where to Earn a Psychology Associate Degree Fast
Liberty University offers an online Associate of Arts (AA) in Psychology program that students complete in one and a half years, on average. The program is an excellent choice for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree eventually. Because there are no required login times or on-site intensives for this program, Liberty’s online associate in psychology degree is ideal for students who need flexibility.
11. Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
If you are interested in a law enforcement career, having an associate’s degree in criminal justice can give you an edge over candidates starting out with just a high school diploma. By earning your degree quickly online, you won’t have to sacrifice years of your life to prepare for your new career.
In associate programs in criminal justice, students will typically learn about the philosophy and development of the criminal justice system in the United States. They will gain exposure to topics in criminology and criminal law.
This fastest associate’s degree program in criminal justice gives students the education employers are seeking. With an associate degree in criminal justice, you can pursue entry-level positions in:
- Law enforcement
- Corporate security
Where to Earn a Criminal Justice Associate Degree Fast
At Rasmussen University, students can finish their fully online associate in criminal justice degree online in as little as 18 months. Rasmussen University is a private for-profit institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Criminal justice is another type of associate’s degree students can pursue at Purdue University Global. Purdue’s program isn’t an accelerated program per se, but it’s an excellent choice for students who have past experience to draw from. These students can make their way through the curriculum faster not only by transferring prior college credits but also by receiving credit for any military service work they have completed. If you transfer in the greatest possible credit hour amounts, military service credits and work experience credit, you can finish this program in just four months.
12. Associate Degree in Web Programming
Do you enjoy the technical side of web applications? There’s considerable money, as well as career flexibility, in programming. Employers and clients are looking for trained professionals who know how to use the essential tools and techniques for coding websites and software applications. Knowledge of programming languages like the following are in high demand:
- Visual Basic
- SQL databases
Where to Earn a Web Programming Associate Degree Fast
How fast can you build the skills for web programming? The New England Institute of Technology offers an 18-month online Associate of Science degree in Software Engineering and Web Development. The school, which is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, emphasizes not only proficiency in programming languages and visualization tools but also how computer systems and applications can address real-world business problems.
13. Associate of Applied Science in Health Science: Medical Office Management
Maybe you want to break into the healthcare industry but not in a clinical role. Can you see yourself in an office management role instead?
You don’t need years of education and experience to prepare for the responsibilities of keeping an office organized and running efficiently. An online associate degree in medical office management can help you prepare for this career quickly. Through this course of study, students will learn skills for the following tasks:
- Managing office operations
- Scheduling appointments
- Managing patient records
- Handling billing, coding and insurance paperwork
Medical office managers need strong communication and organizational skills, as well as knowledge of billing and coding procedures and healthcare record management. Online associate degree programs in medical office management help students cultivate these skills.
Where to Earn a Medical Office Management Associate Degree Fast
Ultimate Medical Academy in Tampa, FL, offers a Medical Administrative Assistant associate degree program that can be completed in as little as 18 months. The school, which is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), also offers an 11-month diploma program if you want to get into this career even faster. By the time you finish this short online associate degree, you will be prepared to take the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) examination.
14. Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Do you love working with kids? An associate degree in early childhood education could be your first step to a career such as:
- Pre-kindergarten teacher
- Childcare worker
- Learning center administrator
Whether you intend to make a career out of childcare work or eventually earn a bachelor’s degree to become a licensed teacher, this fastest associate in early childhood education degree can be a stepping stone to achieving your dreams.
In an associate degree in ECE program, students can expect to cover subjects like:
- Child development
- Childhood education
- Classroom management
- Teacher preparation
Where to Earn an ECE Associate Degree Fast
Rasmussen University offers an online associate degree in early childhood education that takes just 18 months to finish. Students should know going in, though, that this is a non-licensure program. Still, it’s a great way to quickly prepare for childcare roles that don’t require a license and start building a foundation for potential bachelor’s degree studies in the future. The program prepares students to work with children from birth to age eight. You can also dig deeper into a specialization like child development or special needs as part of Rasmussen’s program.
15. Associate of Arts in Graphic Design
Do you have an eye for design? You can be more than a “starving artist.” With an associate degree in graphic design, you can apply your creativity to a career as a designer.
During associate degree programs in graphic design, students learn to communicate ideas and messages through visuals. They apply communication, critical thinking and computer skills to a design setting. Throughout the program, students build a portfolio of their own designs that can showcase their talents to potential employers and clients.
Coursework in a graphic design program is likely to cover the techniques of traditional art and multimedia design, including:
- Color theory
- Print design
- Interactive media
- Editing audio and video clips
- Designing for the optimal user experience
Where to Earn a Graphic Design Associate Degree Fast
At Rasmussen University, students interested in a graphic design career can learn the ins and outs of graphic design in 18 months. Coursework encompasses digital photography, image editing, web design and more. The program prepares students for industry certifications like the Adobe Certified Associate in Visual Communication in Photoshop and the Adobe Certified Associate in Digital Video Using Premiere Pro.
16. Associate’s in Human Resources
In every industry, businesses and organizations need to recruit, train and manage talent. Human resources personnel are professionals who specialize in hiring workers and developing their skills. An associate degree in human resources can give you the skills you need for this versatile career.
Human resources students can expect to take classes in the following:
- Management and training of employees
- Employment law
- Change management
- Benefits administration
Where to Earn a Human Resources Associate Degree Fast
Rasmussen University offers an 18-month associate degree in Human Resources and Organizational Leadership. Besides quickly preparing students for a job in HR management, this program can put you on the path to sought-after industry credentials such as:
- The Project Management Institute’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification
- The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification
- The Human Resource Certification Institute’s Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification
17. Human Services Associate Degree
Do you feel a calling to help other people who are struggling through difficult life problems? An education in human services could put you on the right path.
Studying human services will prepare you for roles like:
- Community health worker
- Social and human service assistant
- Social or community service manager
- Community and social service specialist
Where to Earn a Human Services Associate Degree Fast
Rasmussen University makes it possible to get your human services associate degree in 18 months. Throughout your education, you will develop your public service knowledge and leadership skills. You will learn the crisis response strategies to help others cope with an emergency. You can work in settings like advocacy organizations, public assistance programs, nonprofit organizations and government entities.
18. Associate of Science in Software Application Development
Are you tech-savvy? If your computer skills are matched only by your creativity and resourcefulness, you could find great success as a software application developer.
Software development is a rapidly growing industry. An associate degree can help you get started sooner rather than later.
To cultivate the skills for a career in software development, you should expect to take courses such as:
- Software design
- Smartphone app development
- Programming in languages like Java and C++
- Cloud solutions
Where to Earn a Software Development Associate Degree Fast
ECPI University offers an 18-month software development associate degree that’s 100% online. In addition to teaching students the tools, technologies and processes of the field, this program also builds their communication skills and knowledge of ethical best practices in the industry. At Rasmussen University, too, students can get an associate degree in software application development online in 18 months.
19. Associate of Science in Engineering Technology
Engineering applies the principles of math and science to the design and development of solutions to all kinds of real-world problems. Although you need a bachelor’s degree to become an engineer who undertakes the design process, an associate degree is enough to land you a role as an engineering technician. Engineering technology associate degree programs exist in various engineering disciplines. Coursework in these programs typically encompasses the most relevant background knowledge and a great deal of practical and technical skills.
Where to Earn an Engineering Technology Associate Degree Fast
ECPI University offers online associate degrees in both mechanical engineering technology and electronic engineering technology. Both programs can be completed 100% online in 18 months. The curriculum of each program is tailored to the current needs of the respective discipline. By the time they graduate, students have the theoretical knowledge and technical know-how to succeed in technician-level roles in the engineering field.
20. Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
Just because you have an interest in the legal system doesn’t mean that you want to spend seven years or more pursuing a bachelor’s and then a law school degree. Fortunately, there are other ways to get a job working in the field of law. A paralegal supports lawyers through work that includes the following:
- Conducting legal research
- Drafting legal documents
- Maintaining files for civil or criminal cases
The bar to entry for paralegals is much lower than for attorneys. An associate degree is sufficient preparation for entry-level jobs for paralegals.
Where to Earn a Paralegal Studies Associate Degree Fast
Herzing University, a private institution located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers an online paralegal/legal assisting associate degree. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and features a career-focused curriculum that students can complete in 20 months.
For students with prior college credit, Purdue University is an option for finishing your associate’s degree in this field faster, too. Again, although the program is intended as a two-year program, the online school’s generous transfer policy ensures that credit previously completed at other institutions won’t go to waste. Purdue’s program awards an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Legal Support and Services that allows students to apply transfer credits and gain credit for prior work experience in relevant roles.
21. Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Services
Are you looking for your place in the healthcare industry? Perhaps medical assisting is the career path for you. Medical assistants work alongside doctors and nurses in clinical patient care. Their work may include measuring vital signs, drawing blood and managing medical records.
Where to Earn a Medical Assisting Associate Degree Fast
Herzing University offers a medical assisting program that takes just 20 months to complete. This associate degree is a hybrid program. While students take all of their courses online, they must meet face-to-face with a proctor at a health facility for some hands-on clinical experiences and complete a 180-hour externship at a medical clinic or doctor’s office.
22. Associate of Applied Science in Addiction Counseling
Substance abuse and addiction remain a major problem in the United States. If you want to be part of the solution, consider a career in addiction counseling.
In online associate degree programs in addiction counseling, students take coursework in areas like:
- Theories of addiction
- Addiction and the family
- Assessment and treatment planning
- Co-occurring disorders
- Individual and group counseling
- Motivational counseling and interviewing
- Case management
- Crisis intervention
- Trauma recovery
- Ethics in addiction counseling
Where to Earn a Design Studies Associate Degree Fast
Beal University in Bangor, ME, offers a 100% online associate degree in addiction counseling. The private for-profit institution is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The school also offers an accelerated online diploma in addiction counseling that takes 14 months to complete and a 42-month bachelor’s degree.
23. Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management
Healthcare businesses rely on professionals with excellent management skills to keep them running efficiently and operating at their best. With an associate degree in healthcare management, you can break into the exciting, fast-growing field of managed healthcare. By combining studies in both healthcare and business, online associate degree programs in healthcare management give students the tools to succeed. Coursework typically includes topics like:
- Organizational structure of healthcare
- Trends in modern managed healthcare
- Ethics in the medical field
Throughout their coursework, students seeking associate degrees develop skills for a wide range of management tasks, like planning and staffing. By the time they graduate, students will be ready to work in roles such as:
- Medical administrators
- Case coordinators
- Office managers
- Risk managers
Where to Earn a Healthcare Management Associate Degree Fast
At Pima Medical Institute in Albuquerque, NM, the healthcare administration associate degree program takes 20 months to complete online. This institution is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Students who already have some healthcare education can transfer as many as 28 credits into this online associate program.
24. Associate of Applied Science in Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
Medical insurance plays a major role in today’s healthcare system, at least in the United States. The need for doctors’ offices and hospitals to handle a massive amount of extensive insurance forms has created positions dedicated solely to insurance billing and coding. That reality makes billing and coding a strong career choice.
Associate degree holders with a background in insurance billing and coding can work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, outpatient medical facilities, nursing homes and home healthcare services. Students can use this college degree to prepare for jobs such as:
- Insurance billing and coding specialist
- Medical clerk
- Insurance claims analyst
- Medical office assistant
- Health information specialist
Associate degree programs in this field typically include coursework in:
- Medical terminology
- Coding for procedures and diagnoses
- Computer databases for managing patient information
Where to Earn an Insurance Billing and Coding Associate Degree Fast
Herzing University offers an Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist online associate program. The curriculum takes 20 months to complete and prepares students for professional certifications such as:
- The National Healthcareer Association’s Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) Certification
- The American Academy of Professional Coders’ Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Certification
- The American Health Information Management Association’s Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Certification
25. Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
Another online associates degree to consider is an associate degree in fire science. Studying fire science at the associate degree level prepares graduates for a variety of firefighting and emergency services roles in their communities. Through a fire science curriculum, students typically take classes in the following areas:
- Fire prevention
- Firefighter safety
- Defense planning
- Firefighting strategy
- Hazardous materials management
- Building codes and code inspection
Where to Earn a Fire Science Associate Degree Fast
The fastest online associate degrees in fire science currently available are programs that welcome transfer credit hours and award credit for work experience and military service.
Take the associate in fire science program offered through Purdue University Global as an example. Purdue’s fire science associate degree is technically a two-year program, but students can finish faster if they have prior education or work experience to apply. If you already have some firefighting experience gained through serving in the military, you might be interested in Purdue’s PME2Degree, in particular. Your military service experience can help reduce the time it will take you to get an associate degree. Even better, the U.S. Fire Administration also recognizes Purdue University as an official Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education institution (FESHE), so students can trust that they’re getting a great education.
Another option to consider for a fast associate degree in fire science if you have prior college coursework is the American Military University. American Military University is part of the American Public University System and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Although AMU’s 60-credit online Associate of Science in Fire Science program normally takes two years to complete, the school allows transfer students to bring up to 45 credits of prior college coursework with them. With the maximum amount of transfer credits, you could finish your degree in just one term. This program is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Courses can be eight to 16 weeks long.
For students who are eager to earn a degree quickly, accelerated associate’s programs are a fast way to achieve this goal.
Taking advantage of accelerated programs, competency-based curricula and transfer credits can help you earn your associate degree faster than you ever thought possible.
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