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Petition for a Certificate

How to Petition for a Certificate of Achievement

Students can file a petition for a Certificate of Achievement using our online graduation petition form. Be prepared to fill out your personal information and each course that satisfies the major requirements. All requirements must be met by the end of the term in which you petition.

Our counseling team is here to help you succeed! You may meet with a counselor before you submit your graduation petition to ensure that you have met all the requirements for your program.


To petition for a certificate, students must:

  1. Know their catalog year.*
  2. Complete all certificate requirements with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
  3. Complete at least 12 degree-applicable units toward the certificate at American River College. (This does not apply to Departmental Certificate programs that are less than 12 units.)

* Usually, students follow the current catalog year. However, if you are following certificate requirements from an old catalog, then you must have maintained catalog rights.

Required Documentation

The following must be on file in the Admissions and Records Office for a certificate petition to be processed:

  • Official transcripts of all coursework completed at colleges outside of the Los Rios Community College District#
  • Official copies of AP/IB/CLEP test scores, if applicable
  • A copy of DD214-military discharge papers, if the veteran desires credit for military units
  • List of courses in progress if attending another college
  • Official final transcripts will be required at the end of the semester for the final certificate evaluation
  • Copy of any required competency tests, if applicable

Students must complete all certificate requirements by the end of the semester in which they petition for a certificate.

# For coursework transferred to ARC from any institution other than a California community college, it is required that students make an appointment with an academic counselor and develop a curriculum planning sheet prior to submitting the graduation petition. External coursework may require a petition for course substitution/waiver approval through the department and use towards your program.

Petition Deadlines for 2024-2025

  • Fall 2024: Friday, October 4, 2024
  • Spring 2025: Friday, March 7, 2025
  • Summer 2025: Friday, July 4, 2025

Approval or Denial

Final evaluations begin after final grades are posted at the end of each respective term/semester.

You will be notified via email if your petition is approved or denied.

If denied, then you will be notified of the missing requirements and advised to submit a new petition. If approved, then your certificate will be posted to your transcript within three to four months after the end of the semester.

All certificates will be mailed to the student's address on file. If you need an accommodation to pick up a certificate in person, then contact the Admissions and Records office.

Petition Semester Petition Deadline Approval/Denial Date Mailed or Ready for Pick-Up
Summer First Friday in July Mid-November or December Mid-February
Fall First Friday in October End of April Mid-June
Spring First Friday in March Mid-September or October Mid-November

Catalog Rights

For the purpose of graduating or earning a certificate from any college in the Los Rios Community College District, a student who attends at least one session (whether quarter, semester, or summer) in each calendar year at any California community college, California State University, University of California, or any regionally accredited institution of higher education, may choose to meet the requirements in effect at the Los Rios college from which the student intends to graduate, as follows:

  • Requirements that were in effect at the time the student was admitted to a Los Rios college
  • Requirements that were in effect at the time the student originally enrolled in an accredited college
  • Requirements that were in effect at the intended date of graduation from a Los Rios college

Please note:

  • A college may authorize or request substitution for discontinued courses.
  • Students who change their major field of study may be required to complete those requirements for the major in effect at the point of change.
  • For purposes of this section, "attendance" means taking classes in at least one session (semester or summer session) in each calendar year. Absence for attendance at another regionally accredited institution shall not be considered an interruption in attendance, per Los Rios Policy P-7242: Establishing Catalog Rights.

Certificate Programs

American River College offers two types of certificates:

Certificate of Achievement

The Certificate of Achievement certifies that a student has completed all required courses and is prepared to enter the career designated on their certificate. Certificate of Achievement programs are developed to provide vocational training for students who are not necessarily seeking a college degree. Certificates of Achievement require a grade of "C" or better in each course with a minimum of 12 degree-applicable units completed at American River College.

Departmental Certificate

Departmental Certificates are intended to certify that students are prepared to meet specific occupational needs, upgrade skills, or advance in an existing career. A grade of "C" or better is required in each course leading to the Departmental Certificate. Departmental Certificates are not noted on transcripts.

Departmental Certificates require 15.99 units or fewer. For Departmental Certificates requiring one to 11 units, all units must be completed at American River College. For Departmental Certificates requiring 12 to 15.99 units, a minimum of 12 units must be completed at American River College.

Note: Department Certificates are also listed as Certificates under the program requirement.