Both degrees and certificates are proof of completing work in a certain program or field. Degrees cover a broader range of knowledge and take longer to complete. Certificates focus on specific areas of expertise.

An associate degree is typically awarded to students who complete broad-based post-secondary programs, usually requiring two years of full-time study. Some programs, especially in allied health, may require three years. Students needing developmental or remedial coursework may take longer, as these credits do not count towards the degree.

It is common for associate degree students to study part-time, extending the time beyond two years. In 2004, 61% of U.S. community college students were enrolled part-time. To accommodate working students, community colleges often offer required courses in the evenings.

You’ve Got Options at CCCS Colleges

Associate of Applied Science

For students planning to start working after their program, this prepares them for technical, occupational, or professional careers. The program focuses on job-specific training.


For students seeking short-term training for immediate employment, this award is offered in many skilled trades, occupational fields, and professional fields. It is also available in various academic areas.

Transfer Degrees (AA: Associate of Arts and AS: Associate of Science)

For students intending to continue at a four-year college or university. Allows a student enroll with junior status at a Colorado university and complete the bachelor’s degree in no more than an additional 60 credits (a total of 120 credits).

Associate of General Studies

For students who wish to pursue a broad program of career and transfer coursework without the constraints of subject specialization. There are also emphasis areas within the AGS degree which enable students to pursue a particular academic interest in greater depth. While the A.G.S. degree is not designed specifically to enable transfer to a four-year institution, it can be used for that purpose. Transferability depends upon the courses taken and the requirements of the receiving institution. All of our colleges offer an AGS degree.

Bachelor of Applied Science

For students that have been awarded an AAS and wish to continue their education in professional management and leadership within a technical, occupational or professional workplace.

Learn About Programs, Costs, and Earned Credits

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Find a College Near You

With over 35 campuses around the state, you’re sure to find a location close to you. And all of our colleges offer programs online.

Making College Affordable

Tuition and fees at community colleges average less than half of those at most public four-year universities.

Get Credit for Experience

Your past skills can earn you college credit. Learn more about our Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process.