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Best Community Colleges in Florida in 2021 (Online & On-Campus)

September 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

Community Colleges in florida
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Community Colleges in Florida offer outstanding options for students that want to earn a career certificate, a technical certificate, or an associate’s degree. Some students attend a Florida community college because they want to learn the skills necessary for a particular career, or to earn the required certification that allows them to work in a particular trade. Other students complete an associate of arts (A.A.) degree because they plan to transfer to a school with four-year degree programs. Students earning an associate of science (A.S.) degree likely plan to start working in their chosen career after graduation.

There are some colleges that are considered community colleges that also offered a limited number of bachelor’s degrees.

Best 5 Community Colleges in Florida

Rank School Location
1Manatee Technical CollegeBradenton, Florida
2St. Johns River State CollegePalatka, Florida
3Seminole State College of FloridaSanford, Florida
4The College of the Florida KeysKey West, Florida
5Pensacola State CollegePensacola, Florida

Is Attending a Community College in Florida Really Worth It?

This is a question that some prospective students may ask when considering whether to attend one of the community colleges in Florida. Does earning a certificate really matter? What about an associate’s degree? The truth is that there is a significant difference when considering whether completing a Florida Community College program really matters in earnings or career progression.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that adults do not necessarily have to earn a bachelor’s degree to earn higher wages. The BLS lists 99 occupations that typically do not require completion of a bachelor’s degree program, stating that most of the occupations require only a community college-level certificate or associate’s degree. The BLS projects that employment for individuals that have an associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate is expected to grow by 11 percent through 2026, which is faster than the projected 7 percent average for all occupations.

Consider the comparison between the annual wages of someone with a high school diploma and the wages of someone with an associate’s degree. A worker with an associate’s degree in 2017 earned an average of $16,730 more than a worker with only a high school diploma. The authors of a 2019 Business Insider article indicated that the median annual pay range for individuals with an associate’s degree was between $55,460 to just under $75,000, and that some workers earn over $100,000 a year, depending on the particular job.

These community colleges in Florida offer a variety of opportunities for people that want to learn a new trade, start a new career, change careers, or that want to earn an advanced degree to prepare for their future.

Please note that the listed tuition rates are the costs for resident students. Some schools charge different rates for non-residents. Tuition does not include extra costs such as lab fees, material fees, books, uniforms, or transportation, unless stated in a school’s listing. Tuition covers only the cost of enrolling in each particular course.

20 Best Community Colleges in Florida (Online & On-Campus)

1

Manatee Technical College

  • Bradenton, Florida
Manatee-Technical-College

The Manatee Technical College career and technical education programs serve students that want to prepare for the ever-changing workforce. The school offers more than 50 programs, which is more than any other technical college in Florida.

Choose from programs in architecture & construction, the arts, audio-visual technology and communications, your choice of four business programs, or education and training options. Students may wish to enroll in one of the 13 healthcare options, such as medical assisting, dental assisting, medical laboratory assisting, practical nursing, or optometry assistant. There are also options in human services, the barber, the cosmetology, facials specialty or nails specialty. Other concentrations include hospitality, information technology, manufacturing, or public safety.

The tuition is affordable, even for out-of-state students, who pay just $11.71 per clock hour.

School Overview

Tuition: $2.92 per clock hour
Accreditation: COE, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, ACF, ADA, ASE, CAAHEP, CODA, CoAEMSP, NACCAS, ARC/STSA
Visit School Website
2

St. Johns River State College

  • Palatka, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 45%

The St. Johns River State College considers itself a ‘full-service college’ that is dedicated to meeting the educational needs and the workforce needs of the Northeast Florida area. There are three locations, leading to the school calling itself ‘truly the community’s college.’

The school admits adults that do not have a high school diploma into its GED program. There are eight career certificate programs. Some students pursue an associate’s degree in areas such as criminal justice, business administration, computer sciences, acting, health services management, engineering, nursing or visual arts.

There are also three bachelor’s degree programs, which the school began offering in 2010. Tuition for the bachelor’s degree programs is $91.79 per credit hour for both residents and non-residents.

School Overview

Tuition: $78.84 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEN, CoARC
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3

Seminole State College of Florida

  • Sanford, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 42%

Seminole State College was the Seminole Junior College when it opened to 800 students in 1966. Enrollment quickly soared, and the school changed its name in 1975 after enrollment reached more than 14,000 students.

Seminole State College recognizes that many careers do not require a degree. The school offers 16 certificate programs in areas such as electrician, childcare center manager, automotive technician, correctional officer, pharmacy technician, and other options. Many students enroll for the first time in an associate’s degree program in the arts, humanities, communications, education, business, health sciences, technology, engineering, public safety, and other focus areas.

Although the school started as a junior college, today it also offers seven bachelor’s degree programs. Tuition for these programs is an affordable $91.79 per credit hour. Tuition is the same for residents and non-residents.

School Overview

Tuition: $79.78 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ASE Education Foundation, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, ABA, ACEN, CAAHEP, CoAEMSP, FESHE, CAHIIM, CAPTE, CoARC, AECT
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4

The College of the Florida Keys

  • Key West, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 22%

The College of the Florida Keys provides students with the opportunity to earn a certificate or a degree. The Marine Science Department offers a certificate, an Associate of Arts in Marine/Aquatic Biology transfer plan, or an Associate of Science Marine Environmental Technology. Earn an associate’s degree in Marine Engineering, Management, and Seamanship or a certificate in marine propulsion. The school offers several options through the Lockwood School of Diving and Underwater Technology. Learn to dive, perform search and rescue operations, professional research diving and more. A few programs also offer a bachelor’s degree.

The school also offers degrees and certificates in business, criminal justice, nursing, hospitality, and culinary management. Earn your professional certification or licensure after program completion. Enjoy free tuition if you choose certain construction apprenticeship programs. Some programs are offered online.

School Overview

Tuition: $82.78 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC
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5

Pensacola State College

  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 37%

Pensacola State College opened in 1948 as Pensacola Junior College. Today, the school serves students that primarily reside in Florida and Alabama as a comprehensive community college. The school has six convenient locations.

The more than 100 programs lead to either a career-oriented certificate, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree. The school offers four bachelor’s degree options. Students that earn an associate’s degree at Pensacola State College are guaranteed acceptance at one of Florida’s 12 state universities as a transfer student. The school boasts a job placement rate of nearly 100 percent in many technical specialties for students that complete a certificate or associate degree program.

School Overview

Tuition: $91.79 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, NCER, ACF, CODA, CAAHEP, CAHIIM, ACEN, CCNE, JRCERT, AVMA
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6

Gulf Coast State College

  • Panama City, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 45%

Gulf Coast State College was the first public two-year college that opened after the Florida Legislature established a statewide system of community colleges. The school changed its name from ‘Gulf Coast Community College’ to its current name in 2011, after the college received accreditation to offer four-year degrees.

There are six bachelor’s degree programs in business, digital media and nursing. Tuition for bachelor degree programs is an affordable $117.59 per credit hour.

There are dozens of associate’s degree options in areas such as anthropology/archaeology, liberal arts, business administration, computer sciences, criminal justice, or dental hygiene. Perhaps you prefer to complete a degree in digital media, engineering, fire science technology, oceanography, meteorology, nursing, or women’s studies. The school also offers approximately 40 career certificate programs in alternative energy systems, automation, CNC specialist, logistics and transportation specialist, network infrastructure, chef’s apprentice and several other options.

School Overview

Tuition: $98.75 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CODA, CCNE, ACEN, CAPTA, CoARC, CAAHEP, American Culinary Federation
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7

North Florida College

  • Madison, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

North Florida College, located in Madison, offers four career and technical certificates. Earn your certificate in advanced manufacturing, early childhood education, allied health, or commercial vehicle driving. The school also administers a public safety academy, with the option to pursue certification as a correctional officer, a law enforcement officer, or probation officer.

Do you want to pursue an associate’s degree? Consider enrolling in the accounting technology program, the business administration program, emergency medical services, criminal justice technology, or the engineering technology program. If you pass the required exam to become a registered nurse, the school offers its only bachelor’s degree program, which is the ADN-RN to BSN Bridge Program.

School Overview

Tuition: $99.80 per credit hour
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), ACEN, Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
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8

Tallahassee Community College

  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 37%

Tallahassee Community College strives to be ‘your college of choice’ by focusing on the success and growth of students. The school has seven convenient locations, and offers more than 70 certificate and degree program. The school explains that 79 percent of its graduates transfer to a four-year school to continue their education.

Students pursue a certificate or degree from academic divisions that focus on behavioral or social sciences, business administration, healthcare professions, science and mathematics, transitional studies or communications and humanities. Tallahassee Community College also offers several online programs for busy students that are not able to attend traditional on-campus classes.

School Overview

Tuition: $100.83 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ADA, Commission on Dental Accreditation, ACEN, Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions, CoARC
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9

Palm Beach State College

  • Lake Worth, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Palm Beach State College first opened in 1913 as Florida’s first public community college, serving just 41 students. It now serves 49,000 students each year, offering a variety of career and technical certificates, associate in arts degrees and associate of science degrees. The college recently began offering a limited number of bachelor’s degrees.

Pursue an education in business, education, STEM, nursing, graphic design, motion picture production, supply chain management, journalism, psychology degrees, along with many other degree concentrations. Students enrolling in a certificate program choose from concentrations that include business, early childhood education, practical nursing, automotive service or diesel maintenance technology, welding, or several other options.

Are you unsure about which program is best suited to your interests or aptitude? The school offers a free career assessment test.

School Overview

Tuition: $101 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEN, CODA
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10

State College of Florida

  • Bradenton, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 38%

Manatee Community College is now the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota. The school explains that although it now offers four bachelor’s degree programs, it continues to focus on certificate programs and associate’s degree programs that prepare graduates for a professional career or to transfer to a four-year university. The college also offers a variety of programs and individual courses online.

Choose your preferred certificate or degree program in nursing, art, design, and humanities, dental hygiene, business and technology, music, natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, or theater. Some students complete their program in language and literature, mathematics, radiography, physical therapy, or occupational therapy.

School Overview

Tuition: $102.48 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CODA, ACOTE, ACEN, CAPTE, JRCERT
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11

Valencia College

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

Valencia College is another college in the State of Florida that originally opened as a junior college. The school changed its name to Valencia Community College, and in 2011, the school became Valencia College. That is the same year that the school began offering bachelor’s degrees. Although the school offers only a few bachelor’s degree programs, they are the same high quality as programs offered at large universities. Valencia College offers several career certificates, technical certificates and advanced technical certificates. Start your career in a year or less when you enroll in one of these programs.

Enroll in an associate’s degree and focus on a program to transfer to a four-year school, or in a program with concentrations that fits your career goals. Students can focus on concentrations such as baking and pastry management, biotechnology laboratory sciences, computer information technology, diagnostic medical sonography, nursing or medical administration. Other associate’s degree programs include energy management and controls technology, new media communication, engineering, and plant science and agricultural technology. The school lists several other degree and certificate options.

School Overview

Tuition: $103.06 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEN, CCNE, CODA, CoAEMSP, LEED
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12

Florida Gateway College

  • Lake City, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 49%

Florida Gateways College is the name of the former Lake City Community College. The school focuses on creating an individualized educational experience for every student. Pursue the certificate or degree program that best suits your career goals and passion from options in education, business, arts, humanities, communications and design, health sciences, industry, manufacturing, construction, transportation, public safety training and criminal justice, liberal arts and sciences, or STEM. Some courses are available in an online format.

Florida Gateway College has an open admissions policy because the school believes in helping every person access the available academic programs and student resources.

School Overview

Tuition: $103.32 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CCNE, ACEN, CAPTE, CAAHEP, CAHIIM, NAEYC
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13

Hillsborough Community College

  • Tampa, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Hillsborough County, Florida is home to Hillsborough Community College, where students choose from more than 200 academic program options. Learn, engage, and excel at a school that focuses on a vision of promoting a thriving community where students achieve their full potential through affordable, high-quality, and innovative educational opportunities.

Earn your degree or certificate in accounting, architectural design, several apprenticeship programs, biotechnology, broadcast production, business, veterinary medicine, or clinical research. Perhaps your choice is to enroll in an engineering, computer programming, cybersecurity, dental assisting, music, digital media or fire science technology program. The school also offers programs in hospitality management, medical laboratory sciences, nursing, office management, robotics, supply chain management, and a wide variety of other certificate and degree options.

School Overview

Tuition: $104.39 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CAHEA, NASM, ACFF, CAAHEP, CODA, CAEP, ACEN, JRCERT, CARC, AVMA
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14

Santa Fe College

  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Santa Fe College, located in Gainesville, Florida, initially opened as Santa Fe Junior College. Today, the college serves the needs of students wanting a comprehensive education typically offered at the community college level. The school offers a few bachelor’s degrees, and offers some online and hybrid programs.

Consider earning a certificate in applied welding technology, dental assisting, graphic design production, surgical technology, plumbing apprenticeship, or approximately 35 other certificate options. The school offers associate’s degrees in programs such as business administration, early childhood education, or criminal justice. Perhaps your interests stretch beyond the typical options, and the nuclear medicine technology, chemical technology, networking systems technology, or zoo animal technology is more aligned with your educational and career goals. Clinical laboratory science, nursing, and the multimedia and video production technology are a few of the bachelor’s degree offerings.

School Overview

Tuition: $106.77 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, American Council for Construction Education, Joint Review Committee on Education in Cardiovascular Technology, CODA, ACEN, CCNE, CAAHEP, CAPTE, JRCERT
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15

St. Petersburg College

  • St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 16%

St. Petersburg College was founded in 1927, and became Florida’s first two-year college. The college offers more than 100 academic programs today that guide students towards earning an associate in arts transfer degree, an associate in science degree, short-term training and career certificate programs. Some students continue their education at the school by earning a bachelor’s degree. Enroll in your choice of business, communications, education, engineering, building arts, public safety, social and behavioral sciences, health sciences or veterinary sciences, or art, humanities and design programs.

There are also dozens of online programs, which allow students with work or family responsibilities to still receive a high-quality education that likely leads to better career opportunities and a higher salary.

School Overview

Tuition: $111.75 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, Florida Department of Education, ABA, CCNE, CAAHEP, AVMA
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16

Broward College

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Broward College, originally known as Broward Community College, received designation which allowed the school to begin offering bachelor’s degrees in 2008. The school is typically still affectionally known by some as a community college, and in 2012, was included in the ‘top 10 percent’ of community colleges in the country.

The school invites prospective students to ‘up-skill and restart’ by exploring the career certificate, technical certificate, and associate’s degree programs. Some students earn their associate’s degree and continue to earn a bachelor’s degree at Broward College. Although the number of bachelor’s degree programs are limited, students still receive the high-quality education that they would receive at a big-name school. Consider a program in education, business, public safety, STEM, health sciences, or art, humanities, communications and design. Some students enroll in an online program due to need or convenience.

School Overview

Tuition: $117.90 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACEN, CCNE, CAHIIM, CoARC, CAPTE, CAAHEP, CODA, FAA, JRCERT, NASAD, NASM, ABA
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17

Pasco-Hernando State College

  • New Port Richey, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 39%

Pasco-Hernando State College, formerly the Pasco-Hernando Community College, wanted to meet the needs of the community, and now offers its two bachelor’s degree programs. Students choose from five campus locations.

Students have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Supervision and Management. Some students complete their associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and then earn their BSN. Choose a career certificate or an associate’s degree program in architecture, construction and manufacturing, information technology, law and public safety, health sciences, or business administration program. The school also offers aviation programs, and an unmanned vehicles systems operation program. There is an associate’s degree program for students that want to become a professional pilot.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $210.45 per credit hour
Accreditation: SACSCOC, CODA, ACEN, CCNE, CoAEMSP, ASHP, CAAHEP
Visit School Website
18

Southeastern College

  • Westgate-Belvedere Homes, Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 39%

The mission of Southeastern College is to provide a quality education and skills development for every student, whether the student is just starting out in their career, or seeking career advancement. The school offers associate’s degrees in cloud and information technologies, business administration, nursing, surgical technology, pharmacy technology and other program areas. Some students prefer to complete a career diploma program, choosing to enroll in their choice of program, such as medical billing and coding, medical assisting, phlebotomy, practical nursing, business or information technology.

Some courses are available online.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $225.20 per credit hour
Accreditation: ACCSC, ABHES, CAAHEP, ACEN, ASHP
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19

Taylor College

  • Florida
  • Graduation Rate: 74%

If you dream of a career in healthcare, Taylor College offers a variety of affordable programs. Earn your certificate or associate’s degree in 16 to 24 months. Clinical rotations provide students with real-world experiences in actual healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices and skilled nursing facilities.

Enroll in the practical nursing test prep course, or the practical nursing diploma program. Taylor College offers an associate’s degree in professional nursing, or physical therapy assistant. Do you already have your degree and want to earn certification to enhance your career opportunities? Consider completing one of the continuing education programs at the school such as Heartsaver Bloodborne Pathogens, EKG Continuing Education Course, or the Phlebotomy Continuing Education Course, among other options.

The cost of some fees is included in the tuition rate.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $269.55 per credit hour
Accreditation: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), ACEN, CAPTE
Visit School Website
20

Meridian College

  • Florida

Meridian College originally opened as a beauty school in 1982, and soon expanded its program offerings to serve more students. Meridian College understands that a technical program is often the ideal step for individuals that want to improve their career, their education, and long-term job prospects. Students that contact the admissions department likely discover that there are no longer any roadblocks between where a student is right now and where they want to be in the short-term future.

The school offers six vocational technical programs, including cosmetology, medical assistant, medical billing and coding, dental assistant, diagnostic medical ultrasound, or the medical administration option. The cost of tuition at this school covers most fees.

School Overview

Tuition: est. $281.66 per credit hour
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Commission for Independent Education
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How We Ranked the Schools

We work hard to develop lists of the best and most affordable schools, based on factors that are relative to today’s prospective students. We ranked each of these Florida Community Colleges by assigning a unique score for tuition and including only properly accredited schools in our listings.

We always strive to do our best to be honest, accurate and fair in our rankings and listing of schools. We do not allow any school to pay us for a higher placement in our rankings. Any school that wishes to be sponsored is listed separately from schools included in the rankings and is clearly listed as SPONSORED.

Please contact us if you would like to include your school in our rankings or if you would like to update the information currently listed for your school.

Florida has a rich higher education culture. The state has 53 private colleges and 40 public colleges. On average, the tuition of in-state students is $6,464. Out-of-state community college students in Florida can pay a tuition fee of up to $11,973. The tuition fee can be slightly higher in private colleges. 

Community colleges are cheaper when compared to traditional four-year universities. Florida has some of the best community colleges that favor the demographics of the area. Generally, community colleges are made up of the local population since most students come not far from their preferred schools. The average acceptance rate of community colleges in Florida stands at 86%.  

When enrolling in a Florida college, go for the best. With the many community colleges available, students may get confused about which one to choose. However, this should be easy at this time and age. Always go for community colleges that have a good reputation for producing the best graduates. You can always check online to see what people are saying about your preferred community college. Ensure that you only get admitted to a community college with the best ratings. Be on the lookout for their credit transfer policies as you may want to use your associate degree as a stepping stone towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree.  

Benefits of Community Colleges in Florida

Community colleges offer a cheaper alternative to four-year universities due to their small sizes. The average cost of studying at a community college in Florida is $2,963, whereas studying in a four-year university can cost you up to $9,000. The cost of studying at a private university is even higher. Attending a community college can save students thousands of dollars, especially if they offer a fee waiver. The good thing is that you can always transfer your credits to an accredited four-year university. 

Community colleges are also the best option for those not ready to study far from home. You can take your time and learn how college is different from your previous high school. Some students use this opportunity as a way of initiating a smooth transition from high school to college. Studying close to home also gives you the chance to improve your time management skills, develop better studying strategies, and enhance independent learning. 

Also, community colleges have smaller class sizes. As a result, community college students can get more individualized attention from their professors. You can always take advantage of this to interact with your professors and ask them any challenging questions that you may come across. With the smaller class sizes, students have easy access to their professors’ office hours instead of attending a four-year degree program at the university. 

Moreover, attending community colleges gives students a chance to explore their career options. You can always enroll in a general program in the community colleges and see where your best interest lies. After that, you can now commit to a four-year program that ends up never being what you wanted to do. 

For you to get admitted into any Florida community college, you should have a GPA of 3.35. Avoid getting C’s and D’s because college education comes with a lot of pressure. Most Florida colleges accept below-average students. You must also take SAT or ACT subject tests as part of your application to join any community college in Florida. The SAT score cutoff depends on the average score of the school you choose to attend. On a 1600 SAT scale, Florida community colleges require that students have an average SAT score composite of 1100. 

Top Programs at Community Colleges in Floridas 

Most community colleges in Florida offer associate degrees and certificates. They are a better option for those who may opt-out of a four-year college route. A majority of community colleges in Florida have an open enrollment system. Therefore, any high school senior with an equivalent of a high school diploma can gain entry. However, for technical courses like in medical programs, prospective students may need additional requirements.  On average, community colleges in Florida charge an average of $3,347 per academic year. Also, community colleges have an older population compared to traditional four-year colleges. The students who attend community colleges fall between the age of 22 and 39. In general, there are more females than males in community colleges. 

Community colleges in Florida offer two-year associate degrees.  Some of the associate degrees offered at these colleges prepare students for careers that require a two-year education program. Associate of Applied Science degree programs come in handy for law enforcement and healthcare positions like nursing or diagnostic medical imaging. Other associate degrees like those in the fields of hospitality and accounting prepare students for immediate workforce entry. 

Associate degrees can also be used as a stepping stone for those who may wish to transfer to a four-year university. Students who complete their general education at community college find it easier to adjust to the four-year courses. However, students should be vigilant and only go to accredited community colleges in Florida. Some of the most common Associate of Arts/ Science degree programs offered in community colleges include mathematics, English, computer science, and psychology. 

Florida community colleges also award diplomas and certificates to non-degree programs. These courses can last several months or weeks, depending on their technicality. They are normally meant for students who want to develop a particular skill without going through the associate or bachelor’s degree route. 

Seminole State College of Florida is one of the best community colleges in the region. Since its founding in 1965, it has trained some of the best professionals in Florida. Its campus sits on a massive 50 acres. In-state students pay $3,131 in tuition and fees. For out-of-state students, you’ll have to part with $11,456 in tuition and fees. If you are looking for a Florida community college that gives students the maximum attention they require, you should try out Seminole State College of Florida. 

Career Options After a Community College in Florida

Historically known as Junior Colleges, community college is typically a higher education institution that strives to provide affordable educational opportunities to all. Unlike the four-year college and universities, almost everyone who applies to community colleges will get accepted. However, an Associate Degree is the highest degree one can receive from a community college. Community college offers a path to a four-year college whereby a graduate with an associate degree can successfully transfer and study for a full Bachelor’s degree.

What Are the Career Options After College?

Once you are done with community college, you’ll have various options through which you can embark on a successful career. Graduates can choose to further their education and pursue a Bachelor’s degree or go for job training, among a host of other options. 

Below are these options explained in further detail.

Transfer to a Four-Year College

For anyone looking to get a Bachelor’s degree, this would be the best option to go for once they are done with community college. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that not many community college students who would like to obtain a Bachelor’s degree end up doing it. Statistics show that only about 14% of students who start at the community college level end up successfully transferring and acquiring a Bachelor’s degree within six years. These stats are very damning and show how much the path to obtaining a bachelor’s degree is littered with potholes. So how does one ensure that they are part of the successful 14%? 

Study for Placement Tests

Experts advise community college students to ensure that they study for the Math and English placement tests synonymous with community college. They improve their chances at passing these tests and thus avoid remedial courses that do not offer credit. Students are advised to go to testing centers and seek study aids.

Select A Major Early Enough

Students who pick a major early enough are more likely to transfer from community college successfully. Therefore, students are advised to get a taste of a potential major, such as social and behavioral science, business, education, or criminal justice, while still in the first semester as it boosts their chances. This is particularly essential for those looking to major in the sciences, engineering, and nursing as they have many prerequisites.

Start Looking Early

If a community college student is to have any hope of transferring to a four-year university, they should start checking out potential universities early enough. This is important because they need to know what kind of classes are required to transfer to get the credits. The best thing to do is talk to transfer advisors in the four-year universities and professors at the intended department to advise appropriately since different schools have different transfer requirements.

Top Community College Degrees

While we focus on some of the career options one may have after graduating from community college, it is important to know the top community college degrees. In other words, let’s discuss some of the degree programs at the community college level that give the highest chance of a successful career once one has graduated.

Radiation Technology/Medical Imaging

With a two-year degree in this field, one could qualify to work as a diagnostic medical sonographer, a radiation therapist, or even a nuclear medicine technologist. These jobs typically pay a median salary of around $70,000 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there may be Bachelor’s degree programs in these fields, there is very little evidence to suggest that graduates from these programs start at a significantly higher salary.

Engineering Technology

In the manufacturing field, employers tend to go for specific skills as opposed to particular degrees. This means that even without an Associate Degree from a community college, one can still secure a career as an engineering technician in several different fields. The median salary ranges between $55,000 and $75,000.

Dental Hygiene

A dental hygienist with a Bachelor’s Degree almost has the same chance of securing employment as a hygienist with a two-year associate degree. This is owed to the fact that an Associate Degree is sufficient enough to get a license. From then on, one can acquire experience and further their career to greater heights.

Plumbing and Heating

A technical certificate is a minimum requirement for one to become a plumbing and heating technician. With a certificate, one may be required to complete an apprentice program, which doesn’t pay huge sums, but wages increase significantly once they’re done.

Some of the other well-paying jobs that one can get with only an Associate Degree include air traffic controllers, construction managers, registered nurses, operations technicians, electronic engineering technicians, and electrical engineering technicians.

Tips for Finding A Job After College

While community college graduates’ career opportunities are in abundance, finding a job will always be an uphill task. Below are a few tips to help one find a job after graduation.

List Target Companies

While pursuing the degree, you should already know some of the postgraduate opportunities you have. Try and make a list of around ten companies you would want to work for once you’re done with school and make an effort to make contact with at least one person in each of these companies. By creating a network, you will be increasing your chances.

Customize Your Resume

Companies receive hundreds of resumes, so you must try and make yours stand out. Customize your resume for each job application and explain what makes you suitable for that particular position in that particular company. Include certifications or relevant experiences that could help you stand out from other candidates.

Take an Internship as Early as Possible

Employers will always lean towards candidates with a little bit of experience in that particular field. Many fresh graduates don’t have any experience, so you need to take up an internship any time the opportunity arises. Internships, even unpaid ones, are great ways to advance one’s career.

Have A LinkedIn Profile

This is one of the largest networking tools available. With a good LinkedIn profile, you will improve your chances of being contacted by recruiters.

The minimum requirement for one to get a free community college in Florida or receive in-state tuition, as it is referred to in some circles, is that they have to be a Florida resident. To be judged as a Florida resident, they must have resided in the state for at least 12 months before the first day of the term. For dependent students (one who is dependent on a parent’s federal income taxes), one of the parents should be the one to provide proof of residency.

To prove residency for tuition rates purposes, students will need to present at least two documentation pieces with dates that prove the student or their parents were a Florida resident for at least 365 days before the first day of class.

Extracurricular activities always leave a good impression on college administrators and give the applicant an edge over other candidates. There are those activities that appeal even more and make a student attractive. Such activities are what you should look to venture into before applying for college because it will significantly boost their chances. These activities include volunteer work, student government, Academic teams, culture clubs, and also internships.

Least Expensive Community Colleges in Florida

When it comes to getting a community college degree, the cost is a significant factor because most learners don’t need to spend a fortune settling all associated fees. The State of Florida is no different, as residents often consider pursuing a higher degree while spending less on tuition. Besides, it helps students have a budget that allows them to afford food, room, transport school supplies, and utility bills. 

Another significant benefit of considering the cheapest colleges in Florida is that students reduce or prevent unwanted college debts. That said, the State of Florida comprises various colleges offering the lowest in-state tuition costs. Here are some of the cheapest colleges to consider;

Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, FL

The Gulf Coast College is a public college and part of the Florida College System offering Associated Arts, Sciences degrees, certificates, and bachelor’s degrees. Established in 1957, it is among the cheapest colleges in the State and offers over 150 programs to different students. With a net price of $14,000 per year, it is among the best places for students to achieve their academic goals.

The University of Central Florida In Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida is the second-largest college in the United States, offering over 200 degree programs. It is the academic leader in areas such as engineering and computer, business administration, and optics. Sitting on 1,415 acres of land, the University of Central Florida has approximately 60,000 students and being the largest in the country by undergraduate enrolment. The net price of this college stands at $17,000 per year.

Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL

With a tuition fee of $1,872, Santa Fe college offers various academic studies ranging from Arts and Sciences programs to Technology and Applied Sciences and Bachelor’s degrees. The institution had over 18,000 students in 2020 and includes satellite campuses in Alachua and Bradford counties. The total annual cost of these colleges stands at $17,500.

Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL

Situated downtown Tallahassee, Florida State University has 32,000 students and majors in finance, English language and literature, criminal justice, and international relations. Besides, it features the State’s National Laboratory, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, and manages the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the State Art Museum. Florida State University also thrives in university sports. Its net price per year sits at $ 19,500.

Other cheapest colleges with a net tuition fee of between $14,000 to $19,000 in Florida include Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, St. Petersburg College in Petersburg, and Baptist College of Florida in Graceville. With Florida among the leading States with several colleges in the United States, several offer courses at the lowest prices. This allows students to apply for individual courses at affordable costs readily.

How Much Can You Make with A Degree from A Community College in Florida?

According to a report presented to the Florida State Board of Education Meeting in 2019, graduates from Florida community colleges earn more annual average salaries than state universities. The sluggish workforce and economy have influenced the increased rates, more so in Florida. Notably, a graduate’s average annual salary from a community college is $47,700 right from school. Contrarily, those who graduate from public universities receive an average salary of $36,500.

With a difference of around $11,000, it is never a significant difference for freshly graduated students exploring the professional world, primarily those graduating with college debt. The primary motive for such variations emerges with graduates pursuing vocational programs in community colleges seem to do well after graduating. The report also shows that students graduating after six months or less earn an average net salary of $37,350. Those who complete certificate training in particular industries earn up to $39,100 annually.

Reasons for The Difference

Most explanations behind this difference are that students in community colleges receive more focused education in specific training and skills. Studies show that universities pride in being havens for all forms of knowledge while offering programs with little room for graduates to secure employment opportunities. Community colleges, on the other hand, focus on job-specific programs such as healthcare. 

Arts degree graduates from community colleges earn an average of $31,800 per year, supporting this theory. Though it isn’t specific industry-focused, it is a program that involves general education courses. However, the salary for community college graduates in Florida varies based on the age difference between community college students. This is because more adults are heading back to class for retraining hence likely to earn more salaries.

Despite an increased number of community college graduates graduating each year, advancements in most fields determine salaries, with those taking four-year degrees earning more annually. More so, those who go-ahead to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees have a greater earning potential. The answer to how much money you can earn from a community college in Florida is often various between graduates but greater than students in public universities.

How Can You Find Online Program Options at Florida Colleges?

Sometimes, students opt to take online classes because of flexibility and pursue other passions outside the classroom. There are several program options at Florida colleges where students can choose from. However, finding online program options isn’t a single day solution. Students have to find a program that they’ll enjoy studying and have passion in their career.

To find the online program options at Florida colleges, you have to consider several factors. These enable students to make a decision that never compromises their everyday activities. Some of these factors to consider are;

Access to Resources

Students should consider the range of resources available for the program they opt for and how accessible these resources are. They should have access to resources and services such as library resources, experience team, and career advice. Students who choose online programs should feel that they can access the required resources the same way students in colleges do.

Interactivity and Engagement

It’s crucial to choose a course that is designed as an online program. Programs using a cutting-edge platform are the best as their content is interactive. Watching video demos can help students to know the online program production quality. An engaging and interactive online experience should be a priority for each learner.

Networking

The online course the students choose should allow networking that results in professional development. Students should interact freely with each other and their online tutors when focusing on the online course. They should have the same experience as those who enroll in campuses. Students opting for online programs should also get a sense of being part of a community with the same interests regarding academic studies.

Content Delivered

Students should understand the content covered in the online program at hand as it enables them to meet their academic goals. Those who take online programs to enhance their career should also choose an online teaching platform that adds value to their academic knowledge, helping them establish their career objectives swiftly. 

Credibility

Scholars should consider the college’s credibility whenever choosing an online program. They should compare reviews, accreditations, and other rankings to know the degree of quality that can come out of it. A degree certificate is vital in the job market; hence, it is crucial to opt for top-rated online program options with an excellent reputation.

Final Words 

Finding the right program option to build your career at Florida colleges often depends on your interest area. Florida community colleges are designed to give students the best education quality that gives them value for their money. If you want to save some money while pursuing higher education, you should consider attending the above-mentioned community colleges. Don’t forget to put in extra effort to give your college education the maximum attention it needs. 

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