PROGRAM AWARDS AND APPLICATION COMPONENTS (CTE)

Program ​Award Requirements and Considerations

There are two basic career and technical college awards:

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree & Options
  • Certificate of Completion (including Career Pathway Certificates of Completion)


The application requires a designation of program award. Below are some factors related to the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, degree options, and ​Certificates of ​Completion required by OAR 589-006-0100 and additional considerations.

AAS Degree and Degree Option Requirements

Associate of applied science degree programs offered by community colleges shall:

  • Include a designation of the particular occupation, career or career area as a component of the award title.
  • Conform to the specific degree requirements as identified in the Associate Degree Approval Procedures identified by the Department.

Options to constitute a variation in the state-approved degree are allowable only for associate of applied science degree programs.

To meet the approval standards of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, associate degree and associate degree option programs must:

  • Include at least 90 total credits; and
  • Be no more than 108 credits; and
  • Have a recognizable core of general education or related instruction courses; and
  • Have an established standard of academic achievement; and
  • Meet or exceed the local community college board of education program approval standards; and
  • Meet or exceed the Higher Education Coordinating Commission program approval standards and criteria.

AAS Degree Considerations


  1. Only one AAS degree may be included in each Application.
  2. More than one award (AAS degree plus option or certificate of completion) may be included, if a Notice of Application has been submitted and disseminated for each award.


AAS Option Considerations


  1. An option is an area of specialization related to the base AAS degree program.
  2. The option(s) within a curriculum constitute a part of the total curriculum.
  3. The option may be added to an AAS only (not a certificate of completion) or approved as part of a new program.
  4. Multiple options may be added to one AAS degree.
  5. All options share a common core of course comprising 70% of total program credits contained in the base AAS degree program, and must complete the program approval process.
  6. The total credits of the unique or specialty courses may not exceed 30% of the total credits of the base AAS degree program, i.e., childrens' portraiture is a unique or specialty course within photography.
  7. When the unique or specialty courses of the option exceed 30% of its base AAS, it is considered a new program.
  8. The option must meet all required criteria of the OARs and Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC).
  9.  The Notice of Application is not required if the option is part of an existing AAS degree.


Certificate of Completion Requirements

Certificate of completion programs offered by community colleges shall:

  • Include less than one-year, one-year, greater than one-year, and two-year certificates of completion.
  • Include a designation of the particular occupation, career or career area as a component of the award title.
  • Conform to the specific certificate of completion requirements as identified in the Certificate of Completion and Associate Degree Approval Procedures identified by the department.

To meet the approval standards by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, certificate of completion programs must:

  • Include at least 12 credits; and
  • Be no more than 108 credits; and
  • Have a recognizable core of general education or related instruction courses for programs one-year or more in length; and
  • Have an established standard of academic achievement; and
  • Demonstrate occupational content leading to employment; and
  • Meet or exceed the local community college board of education program approval standards; and
  • Meet or exceed the Higher Education Coordinating Commission program approval standards and criteria.

Certificate of ​Completion Considerations

  1. Evidence of need is required for each certificate of completion.
  2. Certificates of Completion are designated ​according to length (credits required): 
    • "​Less Than One Year" (LTOY) are 12-44 credits.
    • "Career Pathway" (CPCC) are 12-44 credits.
    • "One Year" are 45-60 credits.
    • "Two Year" are 61-108 credits.
  3. Multiple certificates may be added to an AAS degree or to larger certificate of completion.
  4. Multiple certificates of a program pathway must be identified as such in the Notice of Application and in a graphic representation included with the Application. The graphic must show how the certificates ladder instruction vertically and horizontally.

Business and Industry​-Based ​Program ​Requirements

Provisions will be made within the Certificate of Completion and Associate Degree Approval Procedures to allow for the development, approval, implementation, and evaluation of Business and Industry-based programs that are designed for employers to meet specific occupational and educational needs of their current employees. OAR 589-0600-0​300 (​14)

Business and Industry​-Based ​Program ​​Considerations

  1. Privately contracted training is developed for a company, organizations or small group or like companies and organizations.
  2. Enrollment is closed; available only to the employees of the company or clients of the organizations.
  3. Advertisement to the general public is not allowed.
  4. The Notice of Application is required and distributed for information purposes only.

Application for a New ​Program Components

Pathway Programming

Once the workforce need, learner outcomes and outputs are determined, college staff should consider the scope of the program. With the current trends in community college enrollment, many colleges attempt to remain nimble and flexible as to the design their programs. Because many students are only able to attend college part time, designs are now including instruction which is divided into smaller groupings of courses.

Students can complete these smaller groupings as they have the time and financial resources; in many cases they can receive a certificate for completing these grouping of courses as they move along the career pathway. For more information on ​Career ​Pathways and the Pathways to Advancement initiative, check the following web links: 

"Pathways to Advancement are coherent, articulated sequences of rigorous academic and career courses, commencing with the ninth grade and leading to an associates' degree, an industry recognized certificate or licensure, and/or a baccalaureate degree and beyond. They are also connected education building blocks, with integrated work experiences and support services, which enable students an adults to combine work and learning and advance over time to better jobs and higher levels of education. Pathways to Advancement is a national and statewide initiative with goals to increase access, awareness, affordability, resources and alignment for high school students and adults to purse educational opportunities around a career focus."

Statewide Programs

In order to increase opportunities for students and to provide comparable programming, colleges are working together to develop statewide programs that share common courses, comparable learner outcomes and transferable credits. Please review the following notes:

  1. Statewide programs require the same application form as the standard new programs.
  2. Only one application is required; this application is submitted by the sponsoring college.
  3. The latest guidance for state program approval procedures is located ​on the CCWD Program Approval webpage at Statewide Degrees.

CCWD Education Specialist

Please visit the section on Roles, Responsibilities and Contacts.

Proposed ​Program ​Implementation Date

Identify the target date to begin the program. This helps the college staff and the Education Specialist to plan adequate time for program development and local and state approval. Also, knowing the target dates helps to determine if there is sufficient time to acquire Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) approval before advertising or listing in the college catalog, posting on line and beginning instruction.

If the program requires Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) approval, colleges may not advertise the program or include it in the catalog or on line until the program approval process is complete. However, if the program application is already under state review, and there is a catalog publishing deadline, the college may list the program in the catalog with the phrase stating that the program is "pending Higher Education Coordinating Commission approval."

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP)

  1. CIP codes are part of a national coding system that facilitates the sharing of program information with other agencies, e.g. Employment Department; the codes are not CCWD or ​ODE defined.
  2. CIP taxonomy is used to support the accurate tracking, assessment, and reporting of field of study and student program completion.
  3. College staff identifies the CIP that best describes the program.
  4. The CIP approved by CCWD and/or the Employment Department; preferably before the Notice of Application is submitted.
  5. The Application form will have the CIP information pre-completed if a Notice of Application has been submitted.
  6. CIP codes may not be changed without approval of ​CCWD staff.
  7. CIP code changes are requested through the Program Amendment Form.
  8. The CIP Code Manual can be accessed on the web at CIP Codes.

Program Summary

The program summary is a brief overview of the program, e.g. the size, scope and quality, a succinct introduction to the needs of the workforce and the supporting labor market information. Always describe the program in language that an average reader will clearly understand. A brief check list includes:

  1. Program's purpose and intended outcomes
  2. Primary student audience
  3. Occupational/career preparation objectives and workforce need
  4. Opportunities for continued or related training
  5. Other key or unique features of the program

Financial ​Assistance ​Options

Financial support may be available to students who enroll in a qualified program. Students who meet federal and state financial aid may apply for financial assistance.  Veterans and/or persons participating in Workforce ​Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs may be able to qualify for tuition support if the student and the program meet the criteria.