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Workforce Programs

Ignite your career. Explore our degree and certificate options.

Penn Highlands understands the evolving demands of the global job market. That’s why our workforce-bound and career-ready programs, which include Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees and various certificate programs, are designed to bridge the gap between academic achievement and real-world job readiness. Whether aiming to jumpstart your career or pivot to a new field, our programs offer the knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience you need to thrive in today’s competitive workforce.

These programs benefit those looking to quickly and efficiently enter the job market. They align with employer demands across industries, equipping participants with practical skills and knowledge for success in their fields.

Associate of Applied Science Degrees

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees prepare students for entering the workforce directly after completing their college education. These degrees focus on preparing graduates for immediate employment in specific careers.

Key Benefits of an A.A.S. Degree

  • Career-Oriented Curriculum. The A.A.S. program curriculum delivers both theoretical knowledge and practical skills for specific professions, focusing on courses relevant to occupational roles.
  • Hands-On Learning Experience. Through labs, practicums, internships, and applied projects, students gain real-world experience in their field of study.
  • Industry Alignment. A.A.S. degrees are designed with industry professionals and employers to match current market needs closely.
  • Speed to Market. A.A.S. degrees often provide a quick route to employment. These programs help students gain the qualifications to enter or advance in the job market.
  • Ladder to Further Education. Although mainly for direct workforce entry, A.A.S. graduates often use their degree as a stepping stone to further education. Many institutions have bridge programs or agreements enabling the transfer of credits toward a bachelor’s degree, particularly in technical fields. This flexibility does not lock graduates out of further education.


Our certificate programs are for those looking to quickly acquire specific skills or credentials needed to start, advance, or change careers. These short-term programs, developed with local businesses and industry experts, span various industries to match current job market demands.

Key Benefits of a Certificate

  • Specialized Skills and Knowledge. Certificates are focused, teaching specific skills for jobs or industries. This allows students to master the necessary competencies, making them appealing to employers.
  • Shorter Duration. A key benefit is the time saved. Certificates can be earned much quicker than traditional degrees, allowing people to quickly gain qualifications and enter or advance in their careers.
  • Cost-Effectiveness. Compared to associate or bachelor’s degrees, certificates often need fewer credits, leading to lower tuition costs. This makes certificates attractive for students aiming to reduce debt while boosting employability.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities. For those working, earning a certificate can lead to career advancement by showing dedication to professional growth. It can make an employee eligible for promotions, raises, or new roles requiring specific expertise.
  • New Career Transition. Certificate programs offer a great path for career changers, delivering essential training and qualifications to enter a new field without the time and financial commitment of another degree.
  • Networking Opportunities. Connect with industry professionals and peers that have similar career goals, creating valuable networks for job opportunities and professional relationships.
  • Credential Recognition. Earning a certificate boosts your resume by showing employers you have current knowledge and specialized skills, increasing your marketability.
  • Pathway to Further Education. Certificates can be a stepping stone to further education. Credits may transfer to advanced degrees, helping individuals decide on pursuing longer-term educational paths.

Apply Today

Our admissions process is simple and takes less than 15 minutes. There is no need to be alarmed. Penn Highlands accepts applications year-round and admits students on a rolling basis.