The California Community College System is the largest system of higher education in the world serving 2.6 million students on 113 college campuses. Community colleges serve as a transition between high school and a four-year institution. Sixty percent of students receiving their bachelor’s degree at a California State University and 30 percent of students graduating from a UC school started their education at a California Community College. Eighty percent of community college student work while attending school and because fees are much lower than those charged by CSU and UC schools, these students can complete their lower division coursework at a fraction of the cost.
Most community college campuses, like four-year institutions, provide a large variety of services to assist students in pursuing their educational and career goals. These services include: academic advising; services designed for disabled students; learning and tutoring programs; honors programs; scholarships; child care centers; and career centers.
For many students, the community college offers a quality lower-division academic, technical or occupational education at value prices while living at home. Before enrolling in a community college, you should determine which courses transfer to CSU and UC colleges. Community College athletics can be the gateway to a scholarship and a four-year college.
The California Community Colleges Salary Surfer provides an estimate on the potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a Community College certificate or degree in certain disciplines, and also provides information on which colleges offer programs in those specific disciplines.
Associate degree programs in arts and sciences (lower division requirements) and certificate programs in:
- Occupational fields, e.g.:
- computer sciences
- food science
- building trades
- landscaping trades
- Credit and non-credit classes
- English training
- Citizenship classes
- Remedial or “catch-up” classes
Students would be well advised to see if programs are offered at community colleges before enrolling in a costly two-year private technical or occupational school.