Why This Matters

  • 216 ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS IN CALIFORNIA

    As reported by College Navigator, there are 216 community colleges offering 2-year associate degree programs in California.

  • $1,428 IN-DISTRICT TUITION

    According to research from College Board, in-district students paid an average of $1,428 for community college tuition in California during the 2020-21 academic year.

  • 437,899 U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS WERE AWARDED FINANCIAL AID

    For the 2018-19 academic year, 76.9% of U.S. students enrolled in a 2-year community college received one or more forms of financial aid.

Our Research

To create a comprehensive list of the learning opportunities and job training available in California, we reviewed private and public community colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. Factors such as credits needed to graduate and graduate cost per hour were taken into consideration.

All the community colleges on this list are accredited by organizations such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). These accrediting organizations review schools for educational effectiveness and enable credits to transfer between schools.

  • 51hours to write this article
  • 257universities and colleges we assessed
  • 215education programs we compared

The Top 50 Community Colleges in California

Best Community Colleges in California Badge
01
Santa Rosa Junior College

intelligent score 99.2

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Associate: In-State: $46 per credit; Out-of-State: $376 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 707-522-2824

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
San Diego Miramar College

intelligent score 98.97

Award Best Art History Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Art History Program

Delivery Format Online, Hybrid

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-78 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 percredit; Non-Resident: $290 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 619-388-7844

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, Hybrid

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-78 credits

01
Saddleback College

intelligent score 98.38

Award Best Literature Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Literature Program

Delivery Format Online

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $258 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 949-582-4555

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
Cypress College

intelligent score 98.01

Award Best Geology Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Geology Program

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 40-131 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $285 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 714-484-7000

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 40-131 credits

01
Fullerton College

intelligent score 97.43

Award Best for Transfer Students

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Transfer Students

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $323 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 714-992-7117

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
Orange Coast College

intelligent score 97

Award Best Honors Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Honors Program

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-81 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $300 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 714-432-5072

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-81 credits

01
Santa Barbara City College

intelligent score 96.96

Award Best for Study Abroad

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Study Abroad

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $336 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 805-730-4450

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
Fresno City College

intelligent score 96.89

Award Best Business Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Business Program

Delivery Format Online, Face-to-face

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $290 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 559-443-8604

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, Face-to-face

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
Allan Hancock College

intelligent score 96.46

Award Best Public Safety Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Public Safety Program

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $289 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 805-922-6966

Learn More

Delivery Format Online, On-campus

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60 credits

01
Long Beach City College

intelligent score 95.7

Award Best Construction Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Construction Program

Delivery Format Online

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-118.50 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit Resident: $46 per credit; Non-Resident: $260 per credit

accreditation Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 562-938-4485

Learn More

Delivery Format Online

Programs

Required Credits to Graduate 60-118.50 credits

01
Best Kinesiology Program
Foothill College
01
Best Marketing Program
Golden West College
01
Best Mathematics Program
College of the Canyons
01
Best Fine Arts Program
El Camino Community College District
01
Best Drama Program
Diablo Valley College
01
Best for Online Learning
Mt. San Antonio College
01
Best Accounting Program
Chabot College
01
Best for International Students
Glendale Community College
01
Best Athletics Program
Irvine Valley College
01
Best Interior Design Program
Las Positas College
01
Best Film Program
MiraCosta College
01
Best Welding Program
Cuesta College
01
Best ASL Program
Monterey Peninsula College
01
Best Audio Technician Program
Ohlone College
01
Best for Adult Learners
Cañada College
01
Best Music Program
College of the Siskiyous
01
Best Economics Program
Mt. San Jacinto Community College District
01
Best Public Works Program
Citrus College
01
Best Anthropology Program
Grossmont College
01
Best Fire Technology Program
College of San Mateo
01
Best for Veterans
Copper Mountain Community College
01
Best Biology Program
Barstow Community College
01
Best Automotive Program
Cosumnes River College
01
Best Counseling Services
Santiago Canyon College
01
Best for Hybrid Learning
Santa Ana College
01
Best Nutrition Program
West Valley College
01
Best Dance Program
American River College - Los Rios Community College District
01
Best Cybersecurity Program
De Anza College
01
Best Linguistics Program
Pasadena City College
01
Best Digital Media Program
Santa Monica College
01
Best History Program
Napa Valley College
01
Best Electronics Technology Program
San Bernardino Valley College
01
Best Dental Hygiene Program
Taft College
01
Best EMT Program
Lake Tahoe Community College
01
Best Philosophy Program
Porterville College
01
Best Animal Science Program
Moorpark College
01
Best Nursing Program
Concorde Career Colleges
01
Best Fashion Program
Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising - Los Angeles
01
Best Social Justice Program
City College of San Francisco
01
Best Massage Program
Carrington College

What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in California

When searching for a community college program that suits you, it’s important to consider which careers pay the most. Air traffic controllers and radiation therapists earn the highest wages in California for associate degree graduates, followed by nuclear medicine technologists and nuclear technicians. Dental hygienists rank fifth on the list of highest-paying careers in California for community college graduates with an associate degree.

Demand is another factor to look at when choosing an associate degree program. In California, preschool teachers and paralegals are in demand. Electrical and electronics engineering technicians, web developers, and respiratory therapists are also career fields with ample job openings.

By that same token, it’s also a good idea to know which jobs have the highest rate of job decline when researching community college degree programs. Desktop publisher is the career with the fastest decline; mechanical drafters come in second. Human resources assistants and avionics technicians are careers that are also losing jobs rapidly.

What’s Next?

There are multiple financial aid options you can use when researching community colleges in California. This list contains state and federal websites where you’ll find comprehensive information about student loans, grants, work-study, and other financial aid programs, so that you can get help paying for your associate degree.

  • California Department of Education. Learn about grants and other education financing at the California Department of Education website. There’s also plenty of data and statistics regarding higher learning institutions and financial aid in the state.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education pays an average of $120 billion annually in financial aid. The first step is to fill out your FAFSA or check the FAFSA4caster to see if you’re eligible.
  • CareerOneStop. Discover thousands of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities at CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The information can be filtered by your state and the type of degree you want to attain and includes application requirements, deadlines, and contact information.