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

We reviewed community colleges in California with two-year associate programs to create this list. As part of our research, we looked at public and private institutions with online, on-campus, and hybrid course formats. 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
  • 216universities and colleges we assessed
  • 215education programs we compared

The Top 50 Community Colleges in California

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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.