SP 9-30c – Certificates

Colorado Community College System / System Procedure

SP 9-30c

APPROVED: September 19, 2022
EFFECTIVE: September 19, 2022

REFERENCE(S): Board Policy (BP) 9-30, Approval of Academic Programs


/ Joseph A. Garcia /
Joseph A. Garcia, Chancellor


This procedure applies to all certificates within programs approved by the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE or Board) pursuant to Board Policy (BP) 9-30, Approval of Academic Programs. A certificate is awarded only for completion of a coherent program of study designed for a specific purpose. This procedure defines the certificates and minimum standards as they have been approved by the Board.


“Certificate Program” is a postsecondary program (with occupational field of study specified) that is an organized program of study intended to prepare students to enter skilled and/or paraprofessional occupations or to upgrade or stabilize their employment. A certificate program is not intended for transfer to bachelor degree programs but may transfer to associate degree programs.

A “Certificate” within a certificate program approval, reflects the larger goals of educational attainment the institution holds for its students. The certificate indicates that the holder has developed proficiencies sufficient to prepare for upper-division collegiate work, or to enter directly into a specific occupation or to meet individual career goals.


Career and Technical Education (CTE) Certificate Program Approval:
BP 9-30 requires that all institutions seeking state and/or federal funding for secondary career and technical education (CTE) programs or postsecondary CTE degrees or certificates, shall submit such programs for Board approval. These requirements are met by following the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) CTE Program Approval Process. The CCCS CTE Program Approval Process is facilitated by a web-based application that enables users to enter all program information needed for approval and review.

For new certificate program approval and subsequent renewal, each program must be able to show:

  • Projected employment demand for the program’s industry sector, as documented by Colorado Labor Data or verifiable local demand.
  • Examples of both entry-level occupations and advanced level occupations for which the program will provide training.
    • An initial certificate in a CTE program area needs to include the skills, knowledge and competencies required for entry-level employment.
    • Other certificates in the same program need to advance that skill level.
  • To be of sufficient size and scope, a certificate program must, at a minimum, consist of:
    • Option #1 – Two CTE courses*; or
    • Option #2 – One, five credit hour CTE course*
      *As determined by the Colorado Common Course Number System (CCCNS) course approval process.

Pursuant to Higher Learning Commission requirements, any certificate of substantial length (e.g., 45 or more credits) must have an appropriate general education component. Area Technical Colleges are exempt from this requirement.

Non-CTE Certificate Program Approval:
An initial certificate in a non-CTE program area should follow the procedure for non-CTE AAS degrees through approval by the Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.


For all certificates, the transcript of a student should reveal the exact nature of the program completed. A grade of “C” or better is required in each course applied to the certificate in order to be accepted for guaranteed transfer as described in the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) Transfer Policy.

Credit for Prior College Level Learning

Individual Colleges may award credit for prior learning in accordance with Board Policy and System Procedure.

Revising this Procedure

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.