State approval of Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, AAS options and ​Certificates of Completion require specific procedures depending on the credential and the current status of the program. These procedures ensure that colleges demonstrate compliance with Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) standards. A thorough understanding of the purpose and procedures of the process will make the approval process more useful to the college and the ​HECC.


Questions regarding the steps and requirements related to the approval process should be directed to the Community Colleges and Workforce Development-Oregon Department of Education (CCWD​-ODE) Points of Contact (POCs). For names and addresses, visit the CCWD Program Approval site.

Questions related to instructional content or achievement of the ​HECC standards and assurances should be directed to the Education Specialist assigned to work with the assigned career learning area.

Program ​Approval at a Glance

Application ​Process

CCWD-ODE staff will guide the application and scheduling and approval process to assure approval time frames can be met. After completion of the approval process, the CCWD Education Division Director sends a letter to the college president indicating that the program approval has been approved. Anyone who is interested in obtaining earlier notice may contact the CCWD-ODE POC or review the HECC minutes on the website.

Planning Guide and Forms

The Planning Guide is a quick reference to the steps and timelines that apply to degrees and certificate of completion approval. Online forms are available at the Oregon Community College Program Submission System (also known as WebForms) at

The “CTE New Program Application Planning Guide and Application Worksheet” presents a general overview of what colleges need to consider and include as they propose a new program for state approval.  It is found on CCWD’s Application and Instructions webpage at

Statewide degrees require additional forms that are located at

Higher Education Coordinating Commission ​Meeting ​Schedule

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is the final authority on program approval. Submission of program applications need to correlate with HECC meeting dates. While HECC’s meeting schedule may vary, the Commission will determine an annual meeting prior to each fall term; additionally, The meeting schedule is posted on the HECC webpage.

CTE Program Approval Point of Contact Responsibilities 

The CTE Point-of-Contact (POC) was established in 2005 to streamline communications between college and CCWD-ODE, to increase local capacity at the campus level, and to lead the local program development and application process. Many college POCs are the CTE Deans or instructional administrators with responsibilities for CTE programs. College POCs are recognized as a key resource for staff and other administrators for questions and issues related to CTE program approval. Local POCs are the first line of communication with state staff POCs (CCWD-ODE) to assist in the process of program approval.

College POCs are expected to contact CCWD-ODE early in the program conception, design and development process. As soon as this notification is received, an Education Specialist in the career area related to the new program, will be identified to work with the colleges.

For additional information regarding POC responsibilities, please visit CTE Points of Contact Information.