Certificates of Achievement

Certificates of achievement are designed to prepare students for employment in specific career areas. In developing certificates, MiraCosta faculty collaborate with employers who describe the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for success in all aspects of a trade or occupation. Students should have basic knowledge in reading, writing, and math to master the work and to advance in the occupation they select. 

Federal regulations require colleges to disclose certain information to prospective students about certificate programs that lead to employment. This “gainful employment” information includes the estimated cost and length of time it takes for students to complete each program. MiraCosta’s gainful employment information is available on the Instructional Services webpage.

The certificates of achievement students can earn at MiraCosta College are identified on the Degree & Certificate Programs table. The total units required for a certificate of achievement varies with each discipline. Course requirements for specific certificates are listed alphabetically by subject under Areas of Study & Courses. 

The college's academic counselors are available to help students develop a personalized educational plan that outlines the coursework term-by-term that is required to complete the student’s chosen program of study. Once a student’s educational plan is completed, they can access it wherever they can access their SURF account. Additionally, many certificates of achievement can be used to satisfy associate degree major requirements. MiraCosta counselors can help interested students review the degree requirements and supplement certificate courses with appropriate general education courses.

To obtain a certificate of achievement, students must earn a minimum grade of "C" or "P" or better in each course counted toward the certificate (with the exception that CSU GE and IGETC certificates will be awarded according to CSU/UC policies). Students are eligible to receive certificates of achievement with honors if they earn a grade point average of 3.00-3.49. Certificates of achievement with highest honors are awarded to students with grade point averages of 3.50-4.00.

Applying for a Certificate of Achievement

Students who expect to receive a certificate of achievement must file a petition by the 30 percent deadline of the final semester leading to their graduation. (Students intending to graduate during the summer intersession may petition during the spring semester.) Final dates to file a petition are as follows:

  • Fall 2020: September 28, 2020
  • Spring 2021: February 27, 2021

Official transcripts from all colleges attended (or concurrently attending), approved substitutions and waivers, educational plans, and any other necessary documents must be on file in the Admissions and Records Office before a student submits a petition to graduate. Petitions submitted after the deadline are automatically processed in the subsequent semester.

Certificates of Proficiency

Certificates of proficiency are short-term certificates requiring fewer than 16 units of coursework that introduce students to one aspect of a trade or occupation. A certificate of proficiency is a good choice for students who wish to test a potential career area, who want to be competitive for entry-level jobs in one part of an industry, or who prefer to enter the industry and pursue further education in that field after they start working. The certificates of proficiency students may earn at MiraCosta College are identified on the Degree & Certificate Programs table. Course requirements for specific certificates are listed alphabetically by subject under Areas of Study & Courses.

Certificates of proficiency are designed to prepare students for the first step in a career ladder. In some cases, the courses completed for these certificates can also be applied toward a certificate of achievement and/or an associate degree. MiraCosta's academic counselors can help interested students review the additional requirements and develop a personalized plan that leads to that educational goal.

Eligibility for certificates of proficiency includes earning a minimum grade of "C" or "P" in every course. Additionally, at least six units or the maximum number of units required for the certificate, whichever is less, must be completed in residence at MiraCosta College.

Applying for a Certificate of Proficiency

Certificates of proficiency are not noted on student transcripts. To apply for a certificate of proficiency, students should obtain the appropriate form online or from the Instructional Services Office.


The MiraCosta College commencement ceremony is held once a year in May at the end of the spring semester. Students who submit a petition for an associate degree or certificate of achievement are eligible to attend the commencement ceremony provided they meet the requirements for the degree or certificate. Students who are eligible to attend the ceremony will receive a packet of information about participating in the ceremony from the Student Life and Leadership Office prior to the ceremony.