College programs and courses require state approval. However, the procedures vary according to the program and award. There are three levels of approval:

  1. Local community college approval
  2. Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD) approval
  3. Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) approval

The following chart indicates the location of the approval process and the appropriate staff​.

The “CTE New Program Application Planning Guide and Application Worksheet” in .PDF format presents a general overview of what colleges need to consider and include as they propose a new program for state approval.  It is found on CCWD’s Application and Instructions webpage at See also the Approval Planning Guide section in this Handbook.

Program Approval Categories - Lead Approval

Lower Division Transfer Degrees

CCWD Education Specialist

Career and Technical Degrees, Certificates, and Courses

CCWD Education Specialist, HECC

Adverse Impact-Detrimental Duplication (Public College to Private College)

Office of Degree Authorization, HECC

Adverse Impact-Detrimental Duplication (Public College to Public College)

CCWD Education Specialist

Adult Continuing Education Courses

CCWD Education Specialist

Workforce Programs (non-credit)

CCWD Education Specialist

Adult Basic Skills (non-credit)

CCWD Adult Basic Skills Director