CERTIFICATES OF COMPLETION

"Certificate of Completion" means a form of recognition awarded by a community college for meeting minimum occupational course, curriculum or proficiency requirements. Certificates of completion must be state-approved, have a defined job entry point, represent collegiate-level work, be credit bearing, and meet Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) standards and criteria. OAR 589-006-0050 (12)

The term “certificate" may not be used for recognition/attendance awards and/or to imply equivalence to a ​Certificate of Completion. See the "Non-Credit Training Certificates" section below and the Non-Credit Training Certificates page in this Handbook for more information regarding that ​credential.

Taxonomy/Requirements

Certificates range from 12-108 credits, and in clock hours from 180 -1,350. Certificates of Completion are identified in OAR 589-006-0100 (6) as:

  • Less than one year,
  • One year,
  • Greater than one year, and
  • Two years.

The taxonomy of Certificates of ​Completion includes:

  1. Related to an AAS degree
  2. Related to a larger Certificates of ​Completion program or an independent award    
    • Related to an existing AAS degree
    • Related an existing Certificate of ​Completion
    • Independent new program
The HECC requirements for Certificates of ​Completion are set forth in OAR 589-006-0100 (8). Certificates of completion must:
  • Include at least 12 credits; and

  • Be no more than 108 credits; and

  • Have a recognizable core of general education or related instruction courses for programs one-year or more in length; and

  • Have an established standard of academic achievement; and

  • Demonstrate occupational content leading to employment; and

  • Meet or exceed the local community college board of education program approval standards; and

  • Meet or exceed the Higher Education Coordinating Commission program approval standards and criteria.

Related, Career Pathway, & Independent Certificates

Related ​Certificates of ​Completion

Certificates of ​Completion are defined as “related” when approved as part of an AAS degree or as part of a larger Certificate of ​Completion program. The AAS degree or larger ​Certificate of ​Completion program is considered the “base.” Therefore, any curriculum changes or amendments requested through the ​State Program Approval process must reflect concomitant changes in both the base program and the related ​Certificate of Completion.

Characteristics of Certificates within a related AAS program:

  • Open enrollment* program “related” to an existing AAS program that is:
    • Composed of courses wholly contained in the base AAS degree program,
    • Identified by the same CIP code as the base AAS degree program, and
    • Which prepare students for the same occupational field.
  • An approved Certificate of ​Completion program:
    • Shorter Certificate of ​Completion open enrollment* program “related” to an existing Certificate of ​Completion program (instead of an AAS degree program),
    • Composed of courses wholly contained in the base Certificate program,
    • Identified by the same CIP code as the base certificate, and
    • Which prepare students for the same occupational field.

Career Pathway Certificates of Completion

Career Pathway Certificate of Completion programs consist of grouping of credits that are wholly contained in an approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree​, AAS degree Option, or a Certificate of ​Completion (45+ credits) as courses/credits required for the program (i.e., not as electives). The same ratio of credits (30/70) applies as in AAS degree Options (see the AAS Degree and Options page in this Handbook for more information). Because a Career Pathway Certificate of Completion program (12 to 44 credits) provides a credential to acknowledge proficiency in technical skill groupings contained in courses already approved through the program approval process these Certificates follow a more streamlined approval process.

In general, the purpose and intent for a Career Pathway Certificate of Completion program:

  • Acknowledges a specific technical skill proficiency to help a student qualify for a job or enhance employment opportunities;
  • Provides skill competencies tied to a specific occupation or job in demand in local or state economies;
  • Provides a credential for a segment of a program;
  • Centers on needs of students by providing educational options;
  • Provides the flexibility to achieve specific competencies within an aligned career path or program of study; and
  • Meets financial aid requirements (12 credits) only as part of an approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree, AAS degree​ Option or Certificate of ​Completion (45+credits). For more information,​see Appendix H - Career Pathway Certificates of Completion (CPCC) Financial Aid ​in this Handbook.

Because Career Pathway Certificates of Completion courses are wholly contained within a larger approved base AAS degree, AAS degree Option, or independent Certificate of ​Completion, their purpose/intent and program outcomes are most effectively presented within the context of the base AAS degree, AAS degree Option, or Certificate of ​Completion (45+ credits). A Career Pathway Roadmap graphic is used to efficiently and effectively present this context and relationship. Guidelines for the Career Pathway Certificate of Completion (CPCC) approval process are available ​on​ ​the CCWD Program Approval Site.

Independent ​Certificates of ​Completion

Certificates of ​Completion that are autonomous from an AAS or other certificate of completion programs are identified as “independent” and are approved separately. However, if an independent Certificate of ​Completion is moved to a base or related status, the requirements concerning concomitant changes apply. Typically, a new open enrollment* program.

Special Audiences

Business & Industry (B & I) ​Certificate of ​Completion ​Programs, 12-108 Credits

  • “Business & Industry” programs that are at least 12 and do not exceed 108 credits or equivalent contact/clock hours.
  • B & I programs are closed enrollment* programs developed at the request of, and for the employees of, an employer. Typically, a new program.

Employment Skills Training Certificate (EST), 12-44 Credits

The Employment Skills Training (EST) Certificate of Completion program is intended to serve as a beginning point for students in preparation for a job or to get a better job and open the door to further education to expand their employment opportunities.

The current provisional two-year State Board of Education approval of the statewide EST program establishes the requirements and design parameters and identifies the process to be used by community colleges to utilize a combination of approved courses and develop individual student EST programs to prepare for entry into a specific occupation.

A community college is required to submit an individual application and receive State Board of Education approval to offer the EST certificate of completion program.

All components of an individual EST program must be developed by and under the direct control of the college.

An EST program will not be utilized to circumvent local college and state program approval processes.

A college may advertise that it offers the Employment Skills Training (EST) certificate of completion that allows the development of personalized occupational preparation programs for individual students. It may provide examples of the types of training possible, to include only those programs for which the college has State Board of Education approval to offer.

Personalized EST programs are to be developed based upon the assessed needs of individual students, are not to be prepackaged programs, and may not pose any adverse impact or detrimental duplication issues for any existing programs.

Occupational Skills Training (OST) Certificates

See the Occupational Skills Training (OST) page under "Other Educational Programs, Models, and Strategies" section in this Handbook.

Other Considerations

Related Instruction

Programs of study for which applied or specialized associate degrees are granted, or programs of an academic year or more in length for which certificates are granted, must contain a recognizable body of instruction in program-related areas of 1) communication, 2) computation, and 3) human relations. Additional topics which should be covered as appropriate include safety, industrial safety, and environmental awareness. Instruction in the related instructional areas may be either embedded within the program curriculum or taught in blocks of specialized instruction. Each approach, however, must have clearly identified content that is pertinent to the general program of study. See the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) website at http://www.nwccu.org/ for more information on regional accreditation expectations.

Transcripting

The title of the ​Certificate of ​Completion program may be identified on a student’s transcript and credential and it may be different from the AAS degree or related ​Certificate of Completion title; e.g. Metallurgy AAS and Non Destructive Materials Testing Certificate of Completion.

Approval

Certificates require approval by education specialists of CCWD in partnership with staff from ​Oregon Department of Education (DOE) on behalf of, or prior to, submission to the ​Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) ​depends on the number of credits and whether or not the Certificate is independent or related. Check for specific requirements at CCWD's Program Approval webpage.

Student ​Financial Aid

Generally, a minimum of 12 credits in a program is required for students to qualify for financial aid. However, certificate of completion programs that are 44 credits or less may not be eligible for federal financial aid, depending on local college policy and practice.

Non-Credit Training Certificates

“Non-credit Training Certificate” means a form of recognition awarded by a community college made up of a single stand-alone course or a series of courses that do not offer college credit for completion. An assessment of measurable outcomes or mastery of learning or knowledge is required. OAR 589-006-0050 (36)

See the Non-Credit Training Certificates page in this Handbook for more information regarding this credential. ​The potential pathway from this non-credit​-bearing certificate to a credit​-bearing Certificate of Completion would be through an individual college's Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) internal process.

Recognition Awards

"Recognition award" means an award given to a student by a community college for completion of a state-approved course or courses or for attendance and participation in workshops or seminars. Recognition awards may not be called "certificates of completion" or "certificates" and may not be included on the official student transcript. OAR 589-006-0050 (43)

Examples of these kinds of courses are:

  • Financial Planning for the Family
  • Internet Access for Beginners

Certificate of Completion Approval Forms and Processes 


 

Forms/Process Required

State Approval Required

 

LMI

NOI

College

Curriculum Form

ODE &

CCWD

HECC

Award

Credits

Worksheet

Form

Separate letter Chief Academic Officer signature

Application Curriculum Form (A) Program Amendment Form (P)

 

 

Related to existing AAS Degree***

Related CIP Code as base Certificate of Completion

 

Prepares students for related occupational field

 

12-108

 

Courses wholly contained within base AAS

No

Yes

Yes

P

Yes

No

Independent

 

Not related to an existing Certificate of Completion or AAS Degree program

 

31-108

Yes

Yes

No

A

Yes

Yes

Independent

 

Not necessarily related to an existing AAS Degree or Certificate of Completion

 

12-30

Yes

Yes

No

A

Yes

No

Privately contracted with colleges and developed at the request of the employer(s) Closed enrollment (target audience: employees or clients of an organization)

 

12-108

No

Yes

No

A

Yes

Yes

Related to existing Certificate of Completion

 

Related CIP Code as base Certificate of Completion

 

Prepares students for related occupational field

 

12-108 Courses wholly contained within base certificate program

No

Yes

Yes

P

Yes

No

Career Pathway


Related to an existing AAS or Certificate of Completion

 

Related CIP Code matches first for digits at a minimum

 

Prepares students for related occupational field in demand

12-44

 

Courses wholly contained within base AAS or Certificate

No

Yes

With

Limitations

 

Yes

P

Yes

N

LEGEND:  LMI: Labor Market Information; NOI: Notice of Intent; ODA: Office of Degree Authorization; ODE:  Oregon Department of Education; CCWD: Community Colleges & Workforce Development; HECC: Higher Education Coordinating Commission.