Los Angeles is the largest city in California with four million residents, it is second only to New York City. L.A. is known for many things, its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, the deeply rooted entertainment industry, and the sprawling metropolis that it has become. Los Angeles is home to most of the world’s film industry with Hollywood, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and others making L.A. their residence. With a diverse population and resources of a large metropolis, colleges in Los Angeles play an important role in shaping the future of L.A. Whether students attend film school, law school, a two-year program, all of these institutions shape the opportunities that residents will have in the future living in L.A.
Four Year Institutions
University of Southern California
A private institution, The University of Southern California is the oldest private research university in California. USC is home to 21 exceptional academic schools and units. The Health Sciences campus houses renowned specialized care, cancer research, stem cell research, and much more. USC is the largest private employer in Los Angeles. Students can live in the new USC Student Village that takes student housing to another level. Resident halls face a retail town-center and faculty in residence curate a variety of extracurricular activities for students to engage in. USC offers hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees and programs. Degrees from USC are the beginning of a successful future in any field of study.
University of California Los Angeles
A public research institution, The University of California Los Angeles opened its doors to educate the public in 1919. UCLA has a long history of pushing the limits of what is possible, such as being the first medical center to perform open-heart surgery in the Western United States, graduating the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace prize, and being the first university to win 100 NCAA championships. UCLA is known for its excellence in academics and athletics. With award-winning faculty and over 100 different academic programs, there is a degree for every student. Students enjoy a multidisciplinary approach to their education where they do more than just study in their field, they expand personal and professional interests while preparing for a career.
California State University Los Angeles
A public institution, California State University Los Angeles, or Cal State L.A. is ranked numbers one in the country for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State L.A. was founded in 1947 in the heart of Los Angeles. Students at Cal State learn by doing. Whether it is interning at NBC, studying star formation with NASA, or conducting research, students are engaged in their education and known by their professors. With over 100 undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs Cal State has a program of study for nearly every interest and talent. There are also early entrance and study abroad opportunities available.
California State University Northridge
A public institution, California State University Northridge has grown from portable classrooms on agricultural land to the second-largest public master’s university in the nation. CSUN has long been a force for the public good and an inclusive institution where all can thrive and reach their goals. With over 360G alumni in the area of Los Angeles CSUN continues to see the progress graduates have made not just in their educational pursuits but also in community leadership within business, the arts, education, research, and more. CSUN’s nine colleges offer 68 undergraduate degrees, 58 master’s degrees, 2 professional doctorate degrees, and 14 teaching credential programs.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles is located at the heart of one of the most diverse, multicultural communities in the nation providing many opportunities for professional training. Students have hundreds of opportunities at partner agencies in the L.A. area for students pursuing their master’s or doctorate degrees. Students will gain skills and build their resumes while providing needed service in diverse communities.
Two Year Colleges in Los Angeles
Los Angeles City College
A public two-year community college, Los Angeles City College has been educating students of L.A. for over 90 years. LACC is an accredited institution making it a very desirable school for students to use their education as a springboard to either transfer to a four-year college or to seamlessly transition to their career. With degrees and certificates in over 20 areas of study, students have a dynamic base for either an associate degree or other certifications such as an RN.
Los Angeles Southwest College
A public community college that is part of the Los Angeles Community College District, Los Angeles Southwest College was built on dedication to serve the underserved. Today Los Angeles Southwest College is home to the state of the art facilities and career opportunities. Students have access to career counseling and networking with professional faculty. With numerous programs that allow students to seamlessly transfer to four-year institutions, many graduates transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree in their field of study. Those wanting to begin a career in nursing or other certification based careers can complete career-focused courses and begin their career upon graduation.
Los Angeles Trade Technical College
A public trade school, Los Angeles Trade Technical College was founded in 1925 and is now a fully accredited two-year institution. What sets Los Angeles Trade-Tech apart from the many other institutions for higher learning in the area is that L.A. Trade Tech has remained true to its roots as a vocational training school. Originally training students in power sewing, plumbing and printing has evolved to training students in graphic arts, culinary arts, carpentry, plumbing and so much more. A true vocational institution to train students in hands-on experiential learning, LATTC offers certification programs, transfer programs, and degree programs.
A public community college, Pierce College is part of the Los Angeles Community College District and is fully accredited. As one of the top transfer schools in California, it is a clear reason to choose Pierce, earn your associate degree without the debt. Pierce has transfer agreements with most of the other universities in the state such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, CSUN, Cal Tech, and more. With courses in over 80 disciplines and 76 associate degrees, there is a program for every interest and talent. Hundreds of international students attend each year that add to the diversity and multicultural experiences Pierce College offers.
Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
A private, historically black graduate institution, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) was founded in 1966 in the wake of racial upheaval looking to improve civil rights. Since its opening, CDU has expanded to offer programs in nursing, radiology, medicine, public health, and more. Most of the programs are two-year degree completion programs or master’s degree programs. The University also offers residency training in Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Internal Medicine. Students need to meet the requirements for the completion programs such as the Rn to BSN program, students need to hold an RN license.
Los Angeles Harbor College
A public institution, Los Angeles Harbor College is a comprehensive two-year college that offers affordable transfer degrees, associate degrees, and certifications. Harbor College promotes equity, diversity, and student success through quality academic programs and student services. Some of the degree options include accounting, liberal arts, chemistry, journalism, culinary arts, English, and many more. Graduates are productive members of a global society and many transfer to four-year institutions to further their education and career opportunities.
Los Angeles Mission College
A public institution, Los Angeles Mission College is dedicated to high-quality education while promoting student success. LAMC respects diversity and inclusivity while offering student services to prepare students for either transferring to a four-year college or to enter their career upon graduation. LAMC is regionally accredited making it easier for students to transfer to many four-year institutions. With over 60 academic disciplines for students to choose from, including accounting, nursing, athletics, culinary arts, and many more, students have a broad spectrum of programs to fit every talent and interest level.
Los Angeles Valley College
A public institution, Los Angeles Valley College is a beautiful park-like campus and the first to be a Tree Campus USA in California. It is a Hispanic-serving institution that serves numerous communities in the area of L.A. Los Angeles Valley College is fully accredited, making transfer degrees a seamless process between LAVC and larger universities. Known for its high-quality courses, transfer degrees, and vocational training, LAVC helps students succeed. Students can choose between on-campus courses, online courses, or a hybrid delivery method as well as attend courses at any LACCD College while they are enrolled at LAVC.
American Career College
American Career College is an institution dedicated to preparing students for careers in the healthcare field. Opening as a college of optics, American Career College has expanded to fields of study in respiratory therapy, pharmacy technician, nursing, and dental assisting. With its main campus in Los Angeles and other campuses throughout California, American Career College enrolls 2,500 students a year. If you are seeking to enter the healthcare field at an entry-level position American Career College provides the perfect blend of courses and hands-on experience.
Casa Loma College
Casa Loma College has been awarding degrees in the field of health sciences for over 50 years. From its early Vocational Nurse Program, the institution has since grown to offer more degrees in the healthcare field. Most programs are two-year degree programs for either an associate degree or a completion degree to earn a BSN. Casa Loma is a public, non-profit fully accredited institution. Degree offerings include an associate degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, an RN to BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing, B.S. Allied Health Leadership and Management, Associate of Applied Science in Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant.
Angeles College is a public institution that offers education in Health Sciences in the Los Angeles area. Angeles College offers a variety of programs with many start dates, allowing more students into the programs throughout the year. Diversity is celebrated and embraced as students learn to culturally aware of not only each other but also of future patients they may care for in their field of study. Angeles College is fully accredited as are the programs. Students can choose between a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, a Bachelor’s in Health Administration, RN to BSN, Phlebotomy Technician, Vocational Nursing, Medical Assistant, or a Master of Business Administration.
Columbia College Hollywood
Columbia College Hollywood offers hands-on experience while educating and preparing students in primary cinema and media degrees. To offer the best training, Columbia College Hollywood provides students with real-world learning opportunities in collaboration, problem-solving, and experience with new technologies. No two days of courses are alike as students learn graphic design, visual effects, or other cinema-related courses. Students can earn a bachelor’s in fine arts in various concentrations. Equity and inclusion are campus-wide commitments fro both faculty and students.
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising
A private, for-profit institution, The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising helps students launch their careers in a very competitive field. Students will grow in a supportive, creative, and professional environment at FIDM while they learn to collaborate, learn practical skills as well as networking skills within their industry, and gain real-world experience. Students will not only learn how of their career but begin their portfolios and do what they learn in the classroom. With over 30 creative majors including Design, Fashion Design, Digital Media, Marketing, Master’s of Business Administration, Beauty Business Management and so many more. A highly specialized institute where students can learn and network with international designers and beauty professionals, FIDM is one of a kind institution.
Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art
Photo by Ryan Wurmser, LAAFA Faculty
The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) was founded to fill a need within the community by providing figurative and representational art classes that are taught by professional, skilled artists.
The program grew to become what is now considered one of the Best Art Schools in The World, according to American Artist Magazine. LAAFA distinguishes itself by offering 3-year accredited BFA and Certificate Programs in Entertainment Art and Fine Art that includes 18-months of intensive foundational training. Graduates from our school have a refined skill set in representation art that will set them apart from other art students. In addition, the small instructor-to-student ratio encourages communication and open dialogue within classes and outside. The faculty maintain close ties to industry standard practices and expectations to help students create professional quality work throughout both programs. Sending out graduates who are well versed in the fundamentals of image creation will prove to be an asset in a long artistic career. LAAFA also provides accredited full-time short-term intensive tracks in Drawing, Fine Art Fundamentals and Entertainment Art.
*Average student to teacher ratio is 10:1 during the foundational training (18-months) and 5:1 in the selected concentration.
The Los Angeles Film School
A for-profit institution, The Los Angeles Film School is a truly unique school that is dedicated to training the next generation of creative professionals for the film industry. The Los Angeles Film Schools provides degrees in every area that pertains to modern films such as degrees in Film, Audio, Music, Animation, Graphic Design, and Entertainment Business. Students desiring to begin a career in this industry can either attend courses on campus or online. According to Billboard Magazine, this is one of the best Music School in the country. The Film School has also been ranked among the schools in the country. With successful alumni and guest speakers, students will rub shoulders and network with some of the best in the industry.
Musicians Institute was founded on the principle that musicians should teach and train other musicians in a supportive and creative environment. A unique college, MI offers a complete education in contemporary music and all that it involves. Students are offered courses in a wide variety of everything related to music such as instrumental performance, DJ and producing skills, video game composition, audio engineering, guitar building, music business, and more. Students will learn through real-world experience under the guidance of professionals that will act as mentors. Students can earn an array of degrees and certificates while taking part in the networking opportunities that only Los Angeles can provide. The graduate of MI is prepared for creative professional careers in the music industry.
The American Academy of Dramatic Arts
A private performing arts conservatory, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts has two campuses one in New York and one in Los Angeles. The New York campus opened its doors in 1884 as the first institution dedicated solely to teaching the art of acting, it was a new and radical idea for those in America. It has since gone on to become known as the “Cradle of the Stars” due to its reputation of successful alumni. The Los Angeles campus is dedicated primarily to the training in the heart of film and television. The campus is steps away from world-famous television studios, red carpet Hollywood premiers, and much more. Students have access to black box theater classrooms, professional video studios, professional dance studios, and much more.
Southern California Institute of Architecture
A private institution, Southern California Institute of Architecture is a world-renowned center for innovation and one of the few independent architecture schools. Students receive a unique fluid education in which students and faculty work together to create, explore, and test the limits of architecture without being separated by a hierarchical system. Programs include undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees where students become educated architects that will imagine and shape the future.
Los Angeles provides some very unique opportunities for future innovators, leaders, creators, and teachers. With a vibrant multicultural community, Colleges in Los Angeles can draw from the strength of diversity. This is seen in the course offered at traditional four-year universities as well as the highly specialized institutions that train students in film or architecture. Whatever your talent or interests are, there is a college in Los Angeles that fill helps you reach your goals and live your dreams.
Due to the highly specialized areas of degrees offered by many of the colleges in Los Angeles we did not rank them. We cannot rank a school of performing arts, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, against an institution that specializes in Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture. Many of the institutions for higher learning on this list are among the top-ranked schools in the region and many within the nation.
For more colleges, check out our online colleges page.