Types of Degrees/Credentials

Image of a Graduation HatThere are more than 500 career programs to choose from. Depending on the program, you can receive an associate degree, one- or two-year technical diploma, short-term diploma or certificate. There is also a Liberal Arts program, Apprenticeships, and Advance Technical Certificates for skills-focused education.

Applied Associate Degree

This two-year program (full-time) combines technical skills (except liberal arts) with general education, such as math, communications and social sciences. Credits in this type of program tend to transfer more readily than in the diploma programs.

One- and Two-Year Technical Diploma

These programs help you learn occupational skills, hands-on and some programs can take as little as one or two years to complete, respectively, for full-time students.

Short-Term (less than one year) Diploma

These short-term programs focus on one particular occupation and can take less than a year to complete if attending full-time.


Certificates provide a streamlined education to enhance jobs skills. Whether you are changing career focus or staying in your current field, each technical college offers a variety of certificate options.

Liberal Arts Transfer (Associate of Arts or Associate of Science)

The Liberal Arts Transfer program provides the first two years of a four-year college education (bachelor degree). Credits readily transfer to four-year institutions. An Associate of Science degree is available at Chippewa Valley Technical College and Western Technical College. Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degrees are available at Madison Area Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Nicolet Area Technical College.

Apprentice-Related Instruction

Apprentice-related instruction combines on-the-job training and classroom-related instruction. Workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly-skilled occupation within two to five years. There are hundreds of apprenticeship programs available in construction, service and industrial occupations.

Advanced Technical Certificate

Employers look to Advanced Technical Certificates to meet their need for highly-skilled employees. These programs include a small block of credits (9-12). At least six of these credits are advanced content beyond the associate degree.