Understanding Degrees, Transfer Degrees, and Certificates

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

The associate degree is most often awarded to students completing educationally broad based post secondary programs usually requiring two years of full-time study. In some instances, particularly allied health programs, three years is the norm. For students who need developmental/remedial coursework, the time will be extended since these credits will not apply toward the associates degree.

However, for an associates degree it is not unusual for students to study part time, and therefore take more than two years to complete the degree. In 2004, 61 percent of U.S. community colleges students were enrolled part time. To accommodate working students, community colleges strive to offer required courses during evening hours.

Associate of Applied Science

For students who plan to enter the workforce upon completion of program. Prepares students for a career in a technical, occupational or professional occupation. Emphasis is placed on technical, professional and career training throughout the program.


For students that are looking for short-term training leading to immediate employment. This award is offered in many skilled trades, occupational and professional fields, or 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.