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What is the difference between a degree and a certificate?


Differences Between Degrees and Certificates

Associate’s degree

An associate’s degree is a two year degree typically worth 60 credits or more.  Red Rocks offers 4 different types of associate degrees: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of General Studies (AGS) and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

An AAS focuses on technical and vocational specialties or training whereas an AA or AS degree require courses similar to the first 2 years of a similar bachelor’s degree program. 

An AA and an AS are designed to transfer to a college or university in order for students to earn a bachelor’s degree.  It will depend on your career goals and future plans to transfer to determine which degree is best for you.


Certificates are usually offered for vocational or technical programs. A certificate is a non-degree program that usually requires between 16-40 credits of required coursework.  Certificates can lead to employment in a specific work-related field and often, the coursework requirements can also be applied toward a degree.

 Please visit our Degrees and Certificates webpage for more details.

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