Understanding the Different Types of College Degrees and Certificates Offered at Maricopa Community Colleges

Dec, 20 2022

Types of College Degree and Certificates

With so many college degrees and certificate choices, deciding which path is right for you can take time. But finding the perfect fit can unlock an exciting and rewarding journey of exploration. Unlocking your potential starts with learning about the degrees and certificates available at Maricopa Community Colleges and which programs fit your interests best. 

So, what’s the difference between a bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree? Do you need a certificate, or can you just take a quick start boot camp to start your career? Here’s a guide to help you understand the different types of college degrees and certificates available at Maricopa Community Colleges.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree awarded by a college or university. In order to earn a bachelor’s degree, you must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree provides a foundation in the creative arts and humanities, while a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree is focused on interests in math, science, and other analytical areas.

In addition to your major area of study, you will also take general education classes in subjects such as math, science, and English. These courses ensure a well-rounded education and the skillset to think critically about various topics.

Earning a bachelor’s degree can open many doors for you professionally. A bachelor’s degree is often required for jobs in such fields as nursing, business, engineering, and education. In some cases having a bachelor’s degree may also make you eligible for higher-paying jobs.

The Maricopa County Community Colleges District is making history by offering bachelor’s degrees for the first time starting in Fall 2023. As the only community college in Arizona currently approved to offer bachelor’s degrees, you can achieve your academic goals by choosing from our seven different degree options. The degrees offered are:

  • BAS, Data Analytics and Programming: Mesa 
  • BAS, Information Technology: Phoenix 
  • BAS, Nuclear Medicine Technology and Computed Tomography: GateWay
  • BAS, Public Safety Administration: Phoenix and Rio Salado 
  • BA, Early Childhood Education - Dual Language: Mesa 
  • BA, Elementary Education, and Special Education: Glendale, Paradise Valley, and Rio Salado
  • BS, Behavioral Sciences: South Mountain.

Registration for Fall 2023 courses opens in March. To learn more about our first-of-their-kind bachelor’s degrees, click here.

Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree is a two-year degree awarded by a community college or trade school. In order to earn an associate’s degree, you must complete between 60-80 credit hours, depending on the type of associate’s degree you are pursuing.

Like a bachelor’s degree, you will also take general education classes related to your major area of study. An associate’s degree may also help you get into a bachelor’s program if you decide to pursue further education at a later date. An associate’s degree is often required in paralegal, dental hygienist, veterinary technology, and mortuary science fields.

With countless learning options across Maricopa County, there’s never been a better time to enroll. With ten colleges, 31 satellite locations, and various learning modalities, you can find the perfect class in a location that’s close to you! We make it easy for students to find the area of study that’s right for your personal goals by organizing our degrees into Fields of Interest (FOI). Each FOI shares similar areas of study, allowing you to identify your skills and interests to find a career path that’s best for you. 

The nine Fields of Interest are:

  • Applied Technology
  • Behavioral Science and Human Services
  • Business, Entrepreneurialism, and Management
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Culture and Society
  • Education
  • Health Science
  • STEM
  • Visual and Performing Arts.

Learn more about the Fields of Interest and Degrees offered and our ten colleges.

Fast Track Certificates

A Fast Track Certificate is typically a short educational program that trains students in specific skills needed for certain careers. These programs generally take anywhere from several weeks to six months to complete. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate indicating you have completed the program and gained the necessary skills. Maricopa Community Colleges has over 60 certificates, including web app development, nursing assisting, law enforcement, and small business start-up

A Fast Track Certificate can help you qualify for entry-level jobs in your chosen field. The program is also helpful if you are already working in your chosen field, but want to gain additional skills or knowledge. Learn more about our Fast Track Certificates.

Semiconductor Technician Quick Start Program

The Semiconductor Technician Quick Start is a ten-day, 40-hour boot camp-style program that expediently trains students for entry-level careers, guaranteeing an interview with local semiconductor companies following program completion. Upon finishing the program and passing the NIMS Technician Certification test, students may receive up to a $270 stipend. Additionally, thanks to the innovative program, students receive three college credit hours and a pathway to earn associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Learn more about the Semiconductor Technician Quick Start Program.

Maricopa Community Colleges provide options to help every student find their perfect fit when it comes to determining an educational pathway. Not only does Maricopa Community Colleges offer degrees ranging from bachelor’s (starting in Fall 2023) to associate’s, but there are also numerous certificate programs available. These additional credentials can give you the knowledge and skills needed to shine in any field. From exceptional instruction, to helpful staff and financial aid support, you will be in good hands at Maricopa Community Colleges. Ready to embark on your educational journey, become a student today!

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