What Types of Degree Programs Are Offered by Two Year Colleges?

Community, technical and vocational colleges can provide you with the career training or general education you need to pursue entry-level employment or transfer to a 4-year program. Continue reading to learn more about the degree, non-degree and occupational studies programs available at 2-year colleges and schools.

Overview of 2-Year Colleges and Schools

Community colleges are non-residential institutions that typically feature low tuition rates, offer open admission and serve students in a particular city, county or other municipal area. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, there are approximately 1,600 junior colleges in the United States, including those with branch campuses (www.aacc.nche.edu).

Important Facts About 2-Year Colleges

Common Programs OfferedCertificates, Associate Degrees, Vocational Training, Continuing Education
Online AvailabilitySeveral public, private and for-profit schools offer online programs
Financial AidMany programs qualify for federal, state, local and private financial aid
Admission RequirementsTypically requires only a high school diploma or GED

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are an efficient way for first-time job seekers or career changers to acquire a specific set of skills. Depending on the school, they may result in a Certificate of Completion or a technical award, and program lengths and requirements can vary. For example, a 30-credit office automation program may require just one course in English composition. By comparison, a 1-year program in criminal justice might include over 50 credits of general education and specialized coursework, which may be applied to an associate's degree program.

Some certificate programs can help you obtain a professional certification, such as the Microsoft Office Specialist or the CompTIA+ credential, and others may prepare you for a national exam, like the ones required for massage therapists. Areas of study may include emergency medical technology; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); culinary arts and video production.

Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Programs

The courses associated with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science program are usually transferable and are similar to what you might find in the first two years of a bachelor's degree program. They usually require around 60 credits to complete, and approximately half of the courses are in general education. To fulfill the core requirements, you'll most likely take classes in natural and social science, English composition, math and the humanities. The remainder of the program may include courses associated with a particular field of study.

Associate of Science programs may require a minimum of 30 credits in business, computer studies, math or science. Associate of Science programs may provide for concentrated studies in biological or physical science, computer science and engineering, as well as pre-professional training in dentistry, medicine or veterinary medicine. Areas of study found in an Associate of Arts program might allow for specialized coursework in art or design, communication, liberal arts or the social sciences, among other subjects.

Associate of Applied Science Programs

Associate of Applied Science programs are career-oriented courses of study that take place at the pre-professional or technical level through many 2-year colleges. They are usually targeted toward students who plan on entering the job market immediately after graduation and require fewer general education requirements. Some programs, such as those in aviation maintenance technology, may provide you with the opportunity to qualify for an occupational license, like an aircraft mechanic's license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If you're interested in pursuing a nursing program, you'll most likely have to undergo a background check and complete prerequisite coursework in anatomy, math, psychology or other related topics.

Common courses of study found in an Associate of Applied Science program may include dental hygiene, fire science, fashion merchandising and hospitality, among other career studies. Unique programs may allow you to specialize in horse production and management, agricultural equipment technology, mortuary science or renewable energy.

Non-Degree Programs

Community colleges also offer continuing education, online courses and workforce development programs that do not culminate in an award. These can include training in computer science, business and entrepreneurship, as well as personal development classes in aerobics or foreign languages. At a community college, you may also prepare for your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or participate in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

Short-term courses of study are also available at some technical schools. For instance, you could pursue a 3-credit program in oilfield training, earn your commercial driver's license or prepare for a career as a certified medication aide. Although enrollment requirements can vary, some technical schools may require a passing score on a reading comprehension test.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Miller-Motte College

    Miller-Motte College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Miller-Motte College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Post University

    Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Post University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Associate Programs

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Florida: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie
    • Indiana: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis
    • Ohio: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Falls
    • South Carolina: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Falls, Columbia
    • Tennessee: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Falls, Columbia, Nashville
    • Utah: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Falls, Columbia, Nashville, Salt Lake City
    • Virginia: Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Cuyahoga Falls, Columbia, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Norfolk
  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

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