Community colleges have played a significant role in the education of Oregon’s citizens for over 40 years. The 1959 Oregon Legislative Assembly formed education districts, later to become community college districts. Oregon community colleges reported over 3​60,​000 students (unduplicated headcount) in 2012 and a vast array of programs and courses designed to help students:

  • To strengthen academic and technical knowledge and skills​;
  • To prepare for entry into, or advancement in, the workplace;
  • To complete preparatory work for post-secondary education and training;
  • To complete secondary credential requirements; or
  • To enhance knowledge, skills and abilities of an educated citizenry.
The Oregon Community Colleges Handbook & Planning Guide, 2015 Edition, is a key resource to the development of courses, curricula, and programs. It includes background information that provides a context for program development, the approval process and the procedures and rules that govern them.

The Handbook is designed to help curriculum managers (instructors, department chairs, deans, vice presidents, and support staff) at Oregon community colleges understand the Higher Education Coordinating Commissions standards and processes. It outlines approval requirements and procedures for associate degrees, certificates of completion, programs and courses, and for the revision of approved programs and courses.

State funding to assist a college’s instructional programs is available only for the direct instruction of state approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses and programs*, Lower Division Collegiate (LDC) level courses, developmental education, and some self-improvement courses. State funding is not available for hobby and recreation courses or activities.

Community colleges have local processes that are designed to fulfill the state requirements and meet the accreditation standards of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. For additional information on accreditation of postsecondary institution, visit the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities web site at

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) and Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), throughout the Handbook are available on the web at and

Readers of this Handbook are encouraged to provide feedback, update or correct website addresses and other content, and request inclusion of additional information. Please feel free to send your technical corrections and updates (on format, links, etc.) to ​ Please address your feedback regarding informational content (to be included, excluded, updated, etc.) to the CCWD staff contact(s) identified on the page.
*It should be noted that Career and Technical Education was formerly known as Professional Technical Education and may still be referred to as such in applicable Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules.