Here's a capsule summary of what we mean by "career and technical program," lifted in part from Green River's course catalogue:
There are 44 different career and technical programs available at Green River Community College. Each training program is designed to prepare students for immediate employment in a specific field or occupation. Career and technical programs are offered in a wide variety of fields, from business and health sciences, to technical fields and trades. They range in length from one quarter to two years or more, and they typically combine classroom learning with hands-on training using technology that's specific to the field / occupation in question. Each career and technical program, notably, is guided by an IAC (Industry Advisory Committee) which works to ensure that each training program meets the needs of local business and industry.That's the overview but we can dig a little deeper. Career and technical programs come in different shapes and sizes—Associate in Applied Arts degrees, Associate in Applied Science degrees, Certificates, or Certificates of Proficiency.
Associate in Applied Arts (AAA) degrees typically take two years or more to complete, and are awarded for business and business-related fields. They require earning a minimum of 90 credits with a minimun GPA of 2.0. AAA's are intended to prepare students for immediate employment and not for transfer. However, in some cases, credits earned in an AAA degree may be applied down the road to study at a four-year school or university. In earning an AAA degree, you'll take "major field requirement" classes as well as "related instruction" classes. Major field classes pertain to the occupation / field you're training for; related instruction classes include communication, math, and human relation classes that are intended to develop breadth of knowledge outside the major field.
Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees, like AAA degrees, typically take two years or more to complete, and require earning a minimum of 90 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. AAS degrees are typically awarded to health science, technical, and trades-related fields. AAS's are intended to prepare students for immediate employment and not for transfer, but in some cases, credits earned within a given AAS may be applied to study at a four-year school or university in the future. In earning an AAS degree, you'll take "major field requirement" classes as well as "related instruction" classes.
Certificates (CERT) take less time to complete than AAA or AAS degrees. They are intended to prepare students for immediate employment, and require earning a minimum of 45 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0. When earning a certificate, you'll take major field classes and related instruction classes to enhance your learning. In somes cases, the credits you earn in a Certificate program may be applied to an AAA or AAS degree. In other words, you can first earn a Ceritificate then, if you want, stay on to complete a degree. Some professional technical programs are set up so that Certificates feed into the larger, corresponding two year degree.
Last, there are Certificates of Proficiency (CERT-P). Certificates of Proficiency are awarded in some professional technical programs and are intended to prepare students for immediate employment. They take less time to complete than a Certificate. Coursework in a CERT-P comes to 44 credits or less and requires earning a minimum GPA of 2.0. Generally speaking, CERT-P's do not include taking classes outside the major subject. In other words, you won't take related instruction classes, just major fields classes that pertain to the occupation you're training for.
There you have it. Four different kinds of career and technical program: The short-term Certificate of Proficiency (44 credits or less); the one year or more Certificate (45 credits or more); the two year or more Associate in Applied Science degree (90 credits or more); and the two year or more Associate in Applied Arts degree (90 credits or more).
To learn more, click here for a list of available career and technical degrees, certificates, and certificates of proficiency at Green River Community College.