Community Colleges are often times two year colleges that can be junior colleges, technical colleges, or city colleges. Unfortunately, there is an opinion that community colleges are for those kids not smart enough to be accepted by a larger 4 year college or university. That is not the case. Many very capable and intelligent students choose California community colleges.
Why choose a community college? Most students will choose to start at a community college for a few reasons. One is to save money, community college students are saving money and can be attended without going into student loans right away. Most credits earned at a community college transfer to a 4 year college as regular credits. Classes can be much smaller and provide more one on one learning opportunities. Last many offer career oriented programs.
Top 5 Community Colleges in California
|1||Cypress College||Cypress, California|
|2||Taft College||Taft, California|
|3||Mt. San Antonio College||Walnut, California|
|4||Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center||Sacramento, California|
|5||Mira Costa College||Oceanside, California|
The name Community College was given to these institutions for higher learning because these colleges primarily attract students from the local community and are largely supported by local tax dollars.
Affordable community colleges are a vital pathway to increased education and enhanced employment opportunities. There are plenty of student services to help students succeed. Both of which are vital for students to advance within their community and earn higher salaries in the future. This is a great way to springboard into the next phase of higher learning or advanced career placement.
Below are the top Community Colleges in California that have been selected as the best Community Colleges in California.
The selection is based on the following factors:
- Retention Rate
- Completion/Graduation Rate
- Sustained achievement outcomes: Ongoing success of transfer or graduation rate
- Employment rate: Strong rate of employment and salary upon program completion
- Cost to Value: Cost of Tuition and Financial Aid opportunities
Best Community Colleges in California in 2021
Cypress has a community feel and faculty that cares about and knows their students. With a faculty to student ratio of 25:1 students enjoy more personalized instruction. Popular majors at Cypress include Humanities, Business Administration, Biology, and STEM majors. Cypress is also one of the best online community colleges in California. It offers full-time online courses as well as evening courses making it a very flexible institution for higher learning. Currently 81% of graduates are employed within two years of graduation.
Taft College offers diversity in students, faculty and programs. Those enrolled in sports, Westec, or other programs receive priority registration. Majors and programs that have seen the highest enrollment are humanities, childcare, and health service providers. Students love the small college town feel and the flexibility offered through online and evening courses. Some can fully earn their Associate degree entirely online and still receive personalized help form passionate professors.
Mt. San Antonio College
Mt. San Antonio College aka Mt. SAC is one of the best community colleges in California for nursing. It boasts 90 degrees and over 150 certificate programs ranging from graphic design to nursing to HVAC, Mt. SAC is a fabulous place to start any career. There are also competitive athletic teams for students to participate on while they are pursuing their studies here. With online and evening courses Mt. SAC offers flexibility along with a college culture like four year colleges and universities. Another great benefit Mt. SAC offers is student diversity and personable professors.
Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center
Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center offers career and technical program designed to prepare students with necessary skills and knowledge to become employed and further their career. Programs offered include nursing assistant, pharmacy technician, HVAC and ESL among others. Most students are employed upon graduation and are well prepared to fill those positions. Both day and evening courses are available in order to better meet the needs of working adults seeking to further their education and training.
Mira Costa College
Mira Costa College has its main campus in Oceanside with three other smaller campuses, another in Oceanside, one in San Elijo, and the last in Carlsbad. It is important to note what campus offers the courses you are interested in taking, they do not all offer the exact same courses. Overall the most popular programs taken by students are the liberal arts, childcare provider and biology. Many of the credits earned at Mira Costa are transferable to 4 year colleges. There is great diversity among students that attend Mira Costa, whether you are attending right out of high school or getting extra training for your job, Mira Costa provides flexible schedules and courses.
De Anza College
De Anza boasts a high graduation rate and employment rate for a two-year college. Many of the programs that see high levels of success are Business Administration, Business Managements, Business Support Services, and Biology. The De Anza campus has many resources to make student life that much easier, writing labs, math tutors, and even a student health center with low cost medicine and vaccinations. Students are empowered with one on one help from professors guiding them to resources to help them succeed. Many students comment on the diversity found on campus among students and love the experience of learning first-hand about various cultures and cuisines.
Cuesta College is a Hispanic serving institution, a Military friendly school, and one of the top transfer community colleges in California. With three campuses to serve students, Cuesta creates an environment of learning and faculty that cares about the success of each student. The staff is readily available to assist students in all their programs. Those that have seen great success are Liberal Arts, Humanities, the sciences, and Business programs. Currently students are employed at the high rate of 84% within 2 years of graduation.
With over 197 degrees and certificates, Ohlone is a flourishing educational institution for the community of Fremont. A very viable option for starting a secondary education without the high cost, or gaining necessary skills for your career without having to go into debt to obtain those skills. Ohlone is a transfer success college offering classes that easily transfer to a four year college or university that allows you to keep your costs down and your love of learning burning bright.
Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College is loved by students for being large enough to feel like you are actually in college yet small enough to not be overwhelmed. That sums up the experience students receive at Orange Coast; they get higher education with professors that are readily available for them, receive transferrable college credit and career training without the stress of a full scale university. Orange Coast provides as excellent springboard for students studying Liberal Arts, Communications, and Business related fields.
Santa Rosa Junior College
SRJC is one of the few community colleges that has been serving the local community for 100 years with excellent education and training. Education isn’t the only thing SRJC has to offer students, they have conference winning athletic team, nationally ranked speech and debate teams, theater, music and dance programs. Students that want more than an education, an experience come to Santa Rosa Junior College.
Allen Hancock College
Allen Hancock is on the central coast of California with a lot to offer students. New in 2018 was the implementation of the Hancock Promise program where students that graduate high school can receive free tuition just by registering and attending Allen Hancock College upon graduating. Students can also tend award-winning vines at the college’s own vineyards and winery. If competitive athletics is your thing then be sure to look into the conference winning athletics programs. Whatever your dreams are Allen Hancock is the first stepping stone to make them a reality.
Pasadena City College
As one of California’s top transfer community colleges, PCC prepares students through their diverse degree and certification programs. PCC overs over 200 degree and certification programs for their diverse student body. PCC has accommodated students with divisions in the
Health sciences, engineering and technology, a Veterans service center, a new arts building and a pathways program to ease students transition from high school into college.
Santiago Canyon College
Santiago is a student-focused college that has thrived in the tight knit community of which it is a part of. Students feel wanted and receive personal assistance and direction while attending college at SCC. With a clear pathway program, students earn associate degrees in science, art, or to transfer to a four-year college or university. SCC offers flexible online courses as well that changes student’s experience but still receive plenty of support and guidance from intelligent, caring faculty. Student life is made up of diverse, yet a very inclusive student body.
Fullerton College is the oldest operating community college in the state of California, and for good reason, Fullerton continues to excel in graduating and transferring students for a brighter future. As the top transfer college to CSU, Fullerton offers over 90 Associate programs, 140 certification programs, and 25 transfer programs. Students enjoy the diversity of the student body and competitive athletic programs offered.
Citrus College offers a diverse and enjoyable student life. Faculty and staff and very helpful is assisting students to succeed. If student do what is asked of them and participate the rest is quite easy as the professors do what they can to help students adequately learn the material. Online and study abroad programs are available for students to enhance their educational experience while at Citrus College. Many of the students that graduate earn associate degrees in the liberal arts, social sciences or biological sciences.
Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College is one of the longest standing junior colleges in California that began with the vision to make higher education available to more individuals within its community, it continues to do that today and serves over 25,000 students. For a two year college it has many of the aspects of a larger college like student athletics programs, clubs, performances and daily college events. Many of the graduates study Business Management, Nursing and psychology.
Grossmont offers a good education for higher learning. Students of all ages attend the college to either earn Associate degrees, earn credit to transfer to a larger 4 year college or to just gain extra training for their career. Flexibility is one of the benefits at Grossmont, as they offer evening and online courses for students. Most of the graduates of Grossmont earn an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. Other programs are offered such as Business Administration and Criminal Science.
Napa Valley College
Napa Valley College offers a variety of Associate degrees and certification programs for students to choose from. All programs can easily be completed within two years but students can take longer if needed. Another benefit of Napa Valley College is that most of their degree programs are transferable so students can earn credit towards a bachelor’s degree they can finish at a four-year college.
West Valley College
West Valley College makes the transition from high school to college very smooth. Currently West Valley offers a number of various degrees and programs for students to either earn their Associate degree or other certification programs. Many students are able to work while attending college and keep up with assignments due to the excellent help of professors and staff.
Moorpark College exists to provide quality secondary education to students at a minimum cost giving more people the opportunity to have a higher standard of living as a result. The college offers 70 disciplines for students to choose from as well a transfer degrees so students have a direct path to transfer to a four-year college if they choose to. Faculty and staff at Moorpark are known for being well educated and passionate for the courses they teach, students will receive a quality education form faculty that cares.
Canada College has more than 100 programs for students to choose from with faculty that assists them to define their path early in their college education. Many high school students can take up to 11 units of college credits for free when they sign up for concurrent enrollment through Canada College. Many of the graduates of Canada College enter the Childcare and Medical Assisting Fields, others that transfer to four year institutions graduate with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts.
College of San Mateo
CSM has a lot to offer students, from a modern campus to student athletic programs and caring faculty CSM is an affordable choice for secondary education. CSM offers over 100 degree and certification programs for students to explore and earn Associate degrees in. Those seeking to gain a transferable Associate degree can also go that path as well. Students enjoy a modern Learning Center and other opportunities to socialize while earning their degree and furthering their education.
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara City College offers the best of both worlds to students that what a real college experience but not quite ready for a four-year university. Not only does SBCC have a great view, it has great athletic programs, plenty of degree and certification options, transfer pathways, and accredited faculty and staff. Most graduates of SBCC earn degrees in Liberal Arts or in the Sciences.
Diablo Valley College
Diablo Valley College offers students two campuses and online options for attending courses making it that much easier to earn an Associate degree or the credits needed to transfer to a four-year institution. One location is in Pleasant Hill with the other location in San Ramon. Any students can take courses offered online. Diablo Valley College has the highest graduation and transfer rate of all the community college in California, earning a top spot in the nation.
Lake Tahoe Community College
Situated in southern Lake Tahoe, LTCC has a beautiful campus with plenty of extracurricular activities for students to participate in. Aside of the natural beauty of the campus LTCC also has a theater, world class soccer field, modern art labs, dance studios and so much more. Classes are small allowing for more personalized education and individual help form professors. Students love the skiing in the winter and water sports during the summer, a great college for active outdoor students.
Woodland Community College
WCC has a student-focused legacy with small classes and a low student to faculty ratio. With these benefits, more students get individualized help from their professors and other capable faculty. Aside of the academic programs, students enjoy many college clubs and student government opportunities. WCC also has a high transfer rate among community colleges preparing students for further study at larger universities such as UC and CSU.
Cerritos College is a diverse community college where the minorities are the majority. Cerritos is diverse in other ways, there are many students that arrive just out of high school and other students that are returning as adults after working for many years. Some students are first generation college graduates while others come from a line of educated family members. Whatever your background is Cerritos has a place for you.
What sets Saddleback College apart from other Community Colleges? Saddleback offers more than 300 associate degrees, over 190 programs with occupational skill certifications, and transfer success. Still looking for additional programs that other community colleges don’t always offer? Saddleback offers study abroad programs, honor classes, work experience and online courses. Campus life is full of athletic programs, student government, over 50 campus clubs and diverse cultural events.
Barstow Community College
Barstow Community College offers a diverse college experience for students and plenty of opportunities to excel. BCC aims to empower students to do their best through excellent education. Students have access to programs such as DSPS for those with disabilities, EOPS for students needing extra time to complete their education, as well as programs to assist those serving in the military. With a campus on the military base, students can serve while attending college. Very small class sized and individual attention are other benefits students receive while attending Barstow Community College.
Irvine Valley College
Irvine Valley College blends small college with modern facilities and student-focused faculty to provide excellent education for its students. Courses are offered in a variety of flexible formats to ensure student success. Students can take day or evening courses, courses on campus or online. Irvine Valley has exceptionally talented faculty and staff that includes authors, scholars and scientists.
College of the Canyons
Canyons offers over 100 programs for students to earn degrees and certificates in. Many of the students attending College of the Canyons are either right out of high school or students that are returning after a long absence from completing their secondary education. Classes are smaller and students can receive more individualized attention as needed.
El Camino College
El Camino has outstanding transfer rates to four year colleges and is well known for academic excellence. Currently El Camino is one of the largest, single campus two-year colleges with a very high enrollment and flexible course offerings. Students can take day or evening courses as well as courses on campus or online. El Camino has over 850 academic and career programs that are current and highly regarded.
City College of San Francisco
For 85 years, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) has been the region’s premiere public, two-year community college. CCSF is one of the first in the nation to offer free tuition, providing San Franciscans with the opportunity to access a quality college education and workforce training that leads to university transfer and good jobs. Since its founding in 1935, CCSF has evolved into a multicultural, multi-campus community college that is one of the largest in the country. City College offers credit and noncredit instruction and more than 250 degrees and certificates. CCSF students are a highly diverse population, and a reflection of the many cultures, values, orientations, and ethnicities of the great “City by the Bay” and the surrounding region. For more about City College of San Francisco, please visit https://www.ccsf.edu/.
Copper Mountain Community College
Copper Mountain Community College offers affordable education, certification, and career training for students. Students can decide their path with associate degrees, career advancement, certification programs, transfer programs or just personal enrichment. CMCC has a very welcoming atmosphere with faculty that cares about the success of each student.
Los Medanos College
Los Medanos College is praised for the friendly atmosphere and helpful community it breeds. Students enjoy the personal and caring attention they receive from professors in their educational pursuits. Los Medanos offers numerous transfer programs and specialized programs that are engaging. Most of campus has been updated and modernized with state of the art facilities and learning tools.
Whether students are seeking to transfer to a four-year university, earn an Associate degree, or just gain career training Palomar has numerous courses to get you where you need to go. The student resources that are offered are there to help guarantee the success of each student. Much of the faculty is highly knowledgeable in their field and are willing to give students direction and help when needed. Whatever your academic goals Palomar has a pathway to your success.
Long Beach City College
Students at Long Beach City College will get a taste of larger institutions with the colleges departments specializing in certain areas. Currently there are four schools to cater to students educational choices they are: Career and Technical Education, Language Arts and Communication, Social Sciences and the Arts, and Health, Science & Mathematics. Campus buildings have been recently renovated and updated to better meet the current needs of students.
Cabrillo College offers more than 70 degree programs for students to choose from. Cabrillo also has a successful transfer program with a high transfer rate of students that start at Cabrillo then transfer to a four-year university to finish their education. Cabrillo offers small classes and honors programs that enable students to succeed.
Chabot College is an accredited college for programs dental education, allied health education, medical assisting, and nursing. Many of these areas of study are associate degrees and certification. Upon completion of health care programs students can transfer to a university if they choose to. Students can choose from numerous and various degrees of study.
Monterey Peninsula College
Monterey Peninsula College has 14 transfer degrees that upon completion students are guaranteed admission to CSU. Some of those transfer degrees are Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Physical Sciences, History, Mathematics and more. MPC is undergoing construction to modernize the facilities and offer more to its students and the community.
Chaffey College was founded to provide higher education to families in the area that were known for farming citrus trees. Their dedication to hard work and academics helped develop agricultural and business programs of their early years. Today students enjoy variety of degree options and certification options to best meet their needs. Many student graduate with degrees in the liberal arts and transfer degrees allowing them to further their education at a four-year university.
Columbia is one of the best community colleges in Southern California. It offers uniquely small class sizes where professors and students build lifelong relationships. The location is unique to Southern California around the San Diego reservoir and at the foothills of the Sierra mountains students have plenty of extra curricular activities to choose from during their time not spent in class. Many students graduate in the liberal arts, culinary arts or automotive mechanic field.
Oxnard College is located a convenient two miles from the Pacific Ocean beaches and part of a very vibrant community. Students enjoy the cultural experiences and open campus while earning their associate degree or pursuing certification for other career opportunities. Students can also engage in a transfer program that better prepares them to transfer to a larger, four-year college or university.
San Diego Miramar College
Miramar offers 163 degrees and certification programs for students to graduate in. Miramar has ranked nationally in many program competitions such as the Aircraft Maintenance Technician competition. Some of their highest graduated degrees are in Automotive Mechanics and Aircraft Maintenance, degrees not found at every community college. Miramar works well with students in the Military and has small class sizes for more opportunities for one on one attention.
College of the Siskiyous
COS is located in far northern California at the base of Mount Shasta and boasts a large campus of over 250 acres. COS is one of the few community colleges that offers on campus student housing. Living on campus gives students experiences typical of larger colleges and universities without the high costs. Students can participate in any of the athletic teams, clubs, theater, dance and much more. Many graduates of COS go on to further their education they gained at COS.
American River College
American River College, ARC, is one of the oldest community institutions for higher education in California. The vision of providing quality education at an affordable rate continues today as it did when ARC was founded. With numerous degrees and certification programs there is something for everyone. Many graduates of ARC study police and criminal science and are prepared to enter careers. ARC is an efficient college with effective teaching methods and capable faculty and staff to help students succeed.
San Jose City College
San Jose City College offers a proven track record for students utilizing transfer degrees to further their education at a four-year college or university. SJCC also has excellent programs in place like EOPS and METAS that makes it a top Latino serving institution for higher education. Students will find numerous opportunities for involvement from award winning athletic programs to state of the art computer coding programs.
Las Positas College
Las Positas College offers many course at a variety of times for day or night time students. Students success is a priority with professors available to assist and plenty of tutoring sessions, students who desire success will achieve it. Many degree options transfer easily to CSU and CU as well as other universities. La Positas has been upgraded and facilities renovated to better meet the tools for teaching with technology.
Riverside City College
Riverside City College is home to excellent programs in liberal arts, science, performing arts, and School of Nursing. Riverside commits to provide quality higher education that is affordable from the diverse community of learners that it serves. Students success is important, tutors are available as well as caring professors that can meet one on one with students to give extra assistance.
College of the Desert
College of the Desert is a vital addition to its surrounding community. COD provides the number one source of transfer students to CSU San Bernardino. COD also provide needed vocational training and certifications in a number of other careers. COD offers programs in nursing and health sciences, digital design, culinary arts, public safety and much more.