Workforce Education Programs

A workforce education program consists of a coherent sequence of courses designed to prepare students for employment in a career field. Workforce education programs at COM are developed in close cooperation with business and industry to satisfy a need for timely and effective workforce education. COM offers Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees as well as workforce certificates, providing students the necessary academic skills and the workforce skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to attain entry-level employment in a target occupation.

The following departments offer Workforce Education Programs:

Associate of Applied Science

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree is a workforce education degree and is designed for employment preparation and job skills enhancement and upgrading. The AAS is not a transfer degree, but some of the courses required for the AAS will transfer. Students should check the University Parallel Program and confer with Academic Advisors both at COM and at the next institution regarding the transfer of technical specialty courses.

Overall requirements for the AAS degree vary with each program area, but the standard requirements for any AAS degree are as follows:

Completion of 60 semester credit hours, with at least 50 percent from technical specialty courses.

The 60 hour total must have a minimum of 15 hours of general education courses, which must include one course in each of the following three areas:

  • Language, Philosophy and Culture/Creative Arts
  • American History/Government-Political Science/Social-Behavioral Sciences
  • Math/Natural Sciences

Business and industry experts should provide substantial input into the curriculum design of a workforce education program, including profession-specific knowledge, skills, and abilities and general skills as appropriate, such as oral and written communication, mathematics, computer literacy, and industry-related workplace practices.

Completion of at least 25 percent of the credit hours toward this degree must be earned at COM.


COM offers a numbers of workforce certificates, providing students the opportunity to pursue a career pathway in increments. Workforce education programs are designed to prepare students for employment in a career field, while offering multiple entry and exit points, enabling students to work in their career field while transitioning to the next level of education. The following types of certificates are offered at College of the Mainland:

Level One Certificate (CERT1)

A workforce certificate consisting of between 15-42 credit hours which can be completed in one calendar year or less. Students who have a CERT1 declared major are exempt from TSI requirements. CERT1s prepare students for entry level work in a chosen career pathway.

Level Two Certificate (CERT2)

A workforce certificate consisting of between 30-51 credit hours. Students who have a CERT2 declared major are subject to the TSI requirements and may be subject to other eligibility requirements as determined by COM. CERT2s prepare students for entry or advanced level work in a chosen career pathway.

Level One and Level Two certificates offered by COM have been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and other appropriate certification agencies or boards. Course requirements for each Certificate program are given in this section of the catalog. Certificates are awarded to students who successfully complete approved programs.

Enhanced Skills Certificate (CERT3) 

A workforce certificate consisting of between 6-12 credit hours. 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. 

Occupational Skills Award

An Occupational Skills Award consists of between 9-14 credit hours and prepares students for basic skills employment. Students with a declared Occupational Skills Award  major are exempt from TSI requirements.

Workforce Education Awards

Program/Major Degree Certificate Occupational Skills Award Completely Online
Business Administration - AccountingAASCERT1OSA
Business Administration - EntrepreneurshipAASCERT1CERT1, AAS
Business Administration - ManagementAASCERT1CERT1, AAS
Business Administration - MarketingAASCERT1CERT1, AAS
Computer Information Systems - Networking CERT1OSA
Computer Information Systems - ProgrammingCERT1 OSA
Barber to Cosmetology CrossoverOSA
Cosmetology - Esthetic SpecialtyCERT1
Cosmetology - High School OperatorCERT1
Cosmetology - InstructorAASCERT1
Cosmetology - OperatorCERT1
Criminal JusticeAASAA
Drafting - CADCERT1OSA
Drafting - 2D/3D ModelCERT1
Drafting - IndustrialCERT2
Drafting - CAD AAS
Emergency ManagementAASCERT1, CERT2
Emergency Medical Services - AdvancedCERT1
Emergency Medical Services - ParamedicCERT1
Fire TechnologyAASCERT1 (Academy), CERT1 (Officer), CERT3 (EMS)
Graphic Arts - Graphic DesignCERT1
Graphic Arts - Web DesignCERT1
Graphic Arts - Graphic Design/Web DesignAAS
Health Information ManagementOSA
Health Information Management - Medical CodingCERT2
Health Information Management AAS
Law Enforcement - Basic Peace Officer AcademyCERT1
Medical Assisting - BasicCERT1
Medical AssistingCERT2
Medical AssistingAAS
Nursing - Vocational NursingCERT2
Nursing - LVN-RN Transition AAS
Occupational Safety and Health TechnologyAASCERT1
Pharmacy TechnicianAASCERT1
Process TechnologyAAS
Welding Technologies - Entry Level WeldingCERT1
Welding Technologies - Advanced Level WeldingCERT1
Welding TechnologiesAAS
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