Workforce Education

Career and Technology Education

Career and Technology Education Degrees and Certificates

Designed primarily for students seeking skills, knowledge, and training leading to employment in a specific field, the Associate in Applied Science degree is awarded in technical and occupational areas. Courses and programs are divided into thirteen clusters: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications; Business; Education and Schools; Government and Public Service; Health and Medical Sciences; Hospitality and Tourism; Human Services and Social Sciences; Information Technology; Manufacturing; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics. Degree requirements include general education courses and specific occupation-related courses.

Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is intended primarily for students whose first priority is to acquire skills and knowledge needed for employment in a specific field.

To be eligible for an AAS degree from HCC, a student must successfully:

  • Complete at least 60 semester hours of credit and the prescribed curriculum for a two-year career and technology education program (see AAS degree plans).
  • Complete a minimum of 18 semester hours toward the degree at HCC, 12 semester hours of which must be in the career and technology education program the student is pursuing. These hours may not be satisfied by Credit by Examination or Advanced Standing Credit.
  • Have an overall 2.0 HCC grade point average.
  • Satisfy all TSI requirements.
  • Resolve all financial obligations and return all materials to HCC prior to graduation.

Multiple Associate of Applied Science degrees may be earned from HCC if all AAS program requirements are met, including earning at least eighteen (18) additional semester hours at HCC. Twelve (12) of these hours must be earned in the major program of the additional degree.  These hours may not be satisfied through credit by exam or advanced-standing credit. Though an AAS degree may have multiple specialization options, only one AAS degree can be earned with one specialization per career and technical education program and/or discipline.  For additional information, please contact the counseling office.

General Education Competencies for AAS Degree Students

All AAS degree-seeking students will be expected to obtain the following general education competencies: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Critical Thinking, and Computer Literacy. These are the same general education competencies expected for all associate degree seeking students at HCC and are further defined on p. (69) of this Catalog.  These competencies will be taught in many of the program-specific courses and in the General Education Elective Course Options below.  Assessments of the general education competencies will be performed in Freshman Success Courses (computer literacy), program-specific courses (especially Capstone Courses), and in the general education elective courses.

General Education Elective Course Options

n the various AAS Career & Technology Education degree plans, some general education electives are required. These courses will ensure that AAS degree-seeking students obtain the same general education competencies noted above as all AA, AS, and AAT degree-seeking students are expected to obtain. The following courses are approved:

  • CTE Humanities/Fine Arts Electives: Must choose three hours from ARTS, DANC, DRAM, ENGL Literature, Foreign Language 2311, 2312, HUMA, MUAP, MUSI, or any PHIL (except 2303). 
  • Math/Science Electives: Must choose three hours from ANTH 2301, ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, DANC 2325, ENVR, GEOG 1301, GEOL, MATH, PHYS, or PSYC 2317.
  • Social/Behavioral Science Electives: Must choose three hours from ANTH (2302, 2346, or 2351), ECON, GEOG, GOVT, HIST, PSYC (except 2317), or SOCI.

General Education Electives: Students must choose one course from each of the above areas. 

Advanced Technical Certificate

An Advanced Technical Certificate is a certificate that has a defined associate or baccalaureate degree (or, in some circumstances, junior-level standing in a baccalaureate degree program) as a prerequisite for admission into the certificate program.  It must consist of at least 16 and no more than 50 SCH.  It must be focused, clearly related to the prerequisite degree, and justifiable to meet industry or external agency requirements.  It is designed to provide a longer, more specialized, and advanced set of knowledge and skills in a particular area of expertise, e.g., Diagnostic Medical Sonography. 

Enhanced Skills Certificate

An Enhanced Skills Certificate is an optional certificate associated with an AAS or AAA degree program that is intended to provide advanced skills, identified by business and industry, which are not part of the degree. The certificate must be clearly defined in course content and outcomes. It must consist of at least 6 SCH and no more than 12 SCH and may extend an AAS or AAA degree to an overall total that must not exceed 72 SCH. ESCs are awarded concurrently with a degree but may not be considered to be an intrinsic part of the degree or be used to circumvent the 60 SCH associate degree limitation.

To be eligible for an Enhanced or an Advanced Technical  Certificate from HCC, a student must:

  • Complete the related AAS degree.
  • Successfully complete the prescribed curriculum.
  • Have an overall grade point average of at least 2.0 in all credits applying to the certificate.
  • Resolve all financial obligations to HCC and return all materials, including library books.

Certificates of Completion

A level I certificate can be completed by a student in one calendar year or less. It must consist of at least 15 SCH and no more than 42 SCH. Students in level one certificate programs are not required to take the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) or any other assessment exam prior to entering the program. 

A Level II Certificate must consist of at least 43 and no more than 59 semester credit hours. Students in all Level II certificates shall be subject to the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI). 

A Certificate is awarded upon completion of a sequence of courses in an occupational field. Credits earned in a certificate typically apply to a related HCC Associate in Applied Science degree.

To be eligible for a Certificate of Completion from HCC, a student must successfully:

  • Complete the prescribed curriculum for the certificate.
  • Complete a minimum of nine hours in the specialization area toward the certificate at HCC. Hours may not be satisfied by Credit by Exam.
  • Maintain an overall grade point average of at least 2.0 in all credits applying to the certificate.
  • Present evidence of initial assessment testing on a state-approved instrument or evidence of TSI exemption.
  • Resolve all financial obligations and return all materials, including library books, to HCC prior to graduation.

Multiple Certificates of Completion may be earned from HCC if all program requirements are met for each certificate, including earning nine (9) additional unique semester hours at HCC toward the major program of the additional certificate. These hours may not be satisfied through credit by exam or advanced-standing credit. Though a certificate may have multiple specialization options, only one certificate can be earned with one specialization per career and technical education program and/or discipline.  For additional information, please contact the counseling office.

Marketable Skills Achievement Award

A Marketable Skills Achievement Award (MSA) is granted to students who complete a sequence of credit courses totaling 9-14 SCH. These awards meet the minimum standard for program length specified in the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) but are too short to qualify as certificate programs on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board program inventory. MSA credit awards are in the following programs: Accounting, Automotive Technology, Business Management, Business Technology, Computer Science Technology, Culinary Arts, Digital Communication, Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Fire Protection Technology, Horticulture, Interior Design, Real Estate and Travel and Tourism.  Credits earned in a MSA typically apply to a related HCC certificate or AAS degree. 

Exemplary Programs

HCC's commitment to quality education in career and technology education was validated during the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) site visit in April, 2005. The THECB rigorously examined the HCC Career & Technology Education programs using statewide measures and standards for program effectiveness. Based on enrollment, graduates, placement of completers, industry involvement and quality of instruction, the following  career and technology programs were rated “exemplary,” the highest rating possible: 

Accounting
Audio Recording/Video Production
Automotive Technology
Broadcast Technology
Business Administration
Business Technology
Child Development
Computer Information Sciences
Computer Programming
Criminal Justice
Drafting and Design Engineering Technology
Emergency Medical Services
Fashion Design
Fashion Merchandising
Finance (Banking)
Fire Protection Technology
Fire Science/Firefighting
Interior Design
Marketing, Management and Research
Medical Assistant
Nuclear Medicine Technology
Pharmacy Technician
Physical Therapist Assistant
Real Estate
Respiratory Therapist
Technical Communication