Train for a Career on Your Timeline

Thousands of jobs are available across Alabama that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. Alabama’s community colleges provide the short-term or long-term training you need to get the job you want. In some cases, a few short weeks is all it takes to earn the credential you need to enter your career of choice. Our community colleges offer a wide array of education and training programs that result in several levels of credentials. Let this page be your starting point. Then, contact an ACCS college near you to begin your success story today.

What is a Credential?
Listing a credential on your resume states to employers that you have learned a specific educational or work-related skill set. Credentials often involve training and assessments to verify that you are qualified to work in a specific type of job or study in a certain academic field. Some credentials are “industry-recognized,” which means they are endorsed by a nationally recognized trade association or organization.

Obtaining credentials at ACCS’ community colleges show employers that our students have the advanced skills that are needed to be successful in the world’s constantly changing workforce.

We work closely with industry leaders and four-year universities to ensure that the credentials our colleges offer involve the most-up-to-date instruction for your career choice.

Types of Credentials You Can Gain with ACCS 

Certificate
Degree
License

Certificate
You can get on the fast track to a new career – or retrain for advancement – by enrolling in ACCS certificate programs that qualify you to start working as soon as possible. Opportunities for new certificates continue to be added based on the needs of Alabama’s workforce. Some certificates are nationally recognized, such as safety-related certificates awarded by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Many of these certificates are time-sensitive, which means you may have to meet ongoing requirements after college to keep the certificate up-to-date. 

Short Certificate 
Any program between 9 and 29 credit hours (or between three and 10 classes) that you successfully pass can be awarded a short certificate through ACCS. Short certificates in fields such as childhood development, computer information systems, machinery, and welding offer a foundational understanding of the work in the field and can generally be completed in less than one year.  

Stackable Certificate
Stackable certificates are a combination of short and long certificates that you earn in classes while seeking an associate’s degree. Stackable certificates, such as in engineering technology, industrial electronics, and welding, allow you to work in a job that requires advanced knowledge no matter if you choose not to finish course work for a full degree. 

Degree
Our colleges award three degrees: an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), Associate in Arts (A.A.) or an Associate in Science (A.S.). Each degree requires the completion of at least 60 semester credit hours (or about two years) in a field of study. 

An Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree prepares students for employment. If you want an associate’s degree but do not intend to transfer to a four-year college or university, you can study for an A.A.S. While the A.A.S. requires the same minimum number of credit hours to graduate as an A.S. or A.A., non-academic courses within an A.A.S. degree will likely not transfer to a four-year university because the courses are specifically designed for employment. 

If you intend to transfer, then you will pursue an A.A. or A.S. The type of degree will depend on the program to which you plan to transfer. The STARS Guide is an important resource for you to use to make sure that your classes successfully transfer. 

An academic advisor at any of Alabama’s community colleges is available to assist you with determining which degree is best for your plans. 

License
Similar to a certification, a license is a time-sensitive documentation that grants legal permission for an individual to work in certain regulated careers. Airframe and powerplant (A&P)emergency medical services (EMS) and licensed practical nursing (LPN) are just some of the licensed lines of work for which experienced ACCS instructors train workers.

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