Associate of Applied Science (AAS) is a state approved associate degree that is intended to prepare graduates for direct entry into the workforce. An AAS may also help to prepare students for career advancements, occupational licensers, or further study at the baccalaureate degree. (OAR 589-006-0500)

Associate of Applied Science degree option is defined as a transcripted specialization within a state-approved associate degree that is intended to prepare graduates for direct entry into the workforce. (OAR 589-006-0500)

An ​Option is approved only for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program and may be noted on the student's transcript upon completion. Options within a curriculum constitute a part of the total curriculum, but are considered a "specialized focus." The ​Option title may be identified on the degree.

Options to constitute a variation in the state-approved degree are allowable only for ​Associate of ​Applied ​Science (AAS) degree programs. ​AAS degree ​Options may be added to new or existing ​AAS degree programs following the procedures in the Certificate of Completion and Associate Degree Approval Procedures identified by the ​Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD).


The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is earned through ​Career and ​Technical Education (CTE) instructional programs. Career and technical education must integrate technical career skills and proficiencies with academic content; must prepare students to enter the workplace; must allow for access to further educational opportunities; and prepare students for training and family/community roles.

General AAS Requirements

  • Must be between 90-108 credits.
  • Must include a recognizable core of general education courses or related instruction.
  • Must include established standards of academic achievement, (i.e., grade point average).
  • Options may be added to an AAS degree as specialized technical skill areas.
  • Option may not be composed of more than 30% of the base AAS credits. I.e., the base/core credits in an AAS degree must account for at least 70% of total credits (90-108) for the degree and course credits specific to the ​Option must not total more that 30% of total credits (90-108) for the degree.               
  • All eligible courses (i.e., courses used to fulfill a requirement in the AAS or Option) must be college level (numbered 100 or higher).


Electives may vary according to the degree program and workforce needs.

Notes and Clarification

  1. In order to transfer more than 12 career and technical credits to an OUS institution, students should contact the 4-year institution to inquire about the process and become familiar with the policies.
  2. More than one ​Option may be added to an existing AAS degree if each option leads to a different area of specialization.
  3. The award title would include the base AAS degree program title with the ​Option title (i.e., AAS in Business Management: Finance).
  4. The CIP code may be different than the base AAS degree program as long as the ​Option is a reasonable and recognizable specialization of the base AAS degree program.
  5. The base AAS must be maintained as an active program; student must be able to earn the base AAS degree with or without the ​Option.
  6. An ​Option changes to a "new program" when the total number of the ​Option's course credits exceed 30% of the total credits comprising the base AAS degree of 90-108 credits or when the training prepares students for significantly different occupations and employment opportunities than the approved base program degree.
  7. The ​Option title may be identified on a student's transcript and degree, but only as an addition to the base AAS degree program title (i.e., Business Management: Finance or Automotive Technology: Engine Machinist) to the extent possible given character limits of student information systems.

Approval Process

Approval by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is required if a college is going to:
  • Transcript the AAS degree or AAS Option.
  • Include the AAS degree, AAS ​Option in college catalog or promotional material. 

For more information, see Program Approval.