Best Colleges in California

California College Guide – What You Need to Know

The idea of the best college or university is not an absolute scale that applies to every student or situation. For each student, the best school is one that meets their needs, preferences, and educational goals. When comparing schools, many educational experts and surveys use ranking factors including reputation to rate colleges. California, beyond doubt, has a wide range of schools that have high accreditation and excellent indicators of quality education. California schools are among the leading research universities in the world; they have produced historical achievements and graduates that have influenced the well-being of the entire nation.

The best colleges & universities should include large public institutions, well-established traditional private schools, and the emerging institutions that are part of a current wave of progressive education. While there is no pure consensus, the frequently listed top California colleges include;

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What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in California?

The below-listed categories describe the most common majors in California colleges and universities. Some majors are vocational, as many students at state colleges take a utility view of education and hone-in on a degree that will equip them for a job or to start a career. Many popular majors seem more suited to further education or a non-vocational reward. The humanities or courses of study like literature or philosophy seem unrelated to career directions. It is interesting to note a trend in hiring in recent years for employers to look for graduates with majors that are unrelated subjects but that equip graduates with valuable skills. Philosophy majors that demonstrate critical thinking may be in demand with business employers just as students of finance.

The choice of major is an interesting piece of information for students when reviewing and selecting schools or colleges for a two or four-year degree. Across the US, the Department of Education listed the most popular bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2015. For California, the DOE listed the following:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in California


Salary data always lags a few years in the past as the collection process requires time after the close of a calendar year. One useful survey occurred for the calendar year 2012. The average salary in the state of California was about $52,000 in a scale that put the national average at $45,000. California ranked fifth in that survey among states and the District of Columbia. California salaries averaged about 15% above the national average.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) national average salary for 2017 was $44,564. The BLS figure for California was $57,190. Using the 2017 BLS data, California workers averaged about 29% more than the national average. The national average increase in salary for persons with a bachelor’s degree over those without is 108%.

NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $43,024* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best 2 Year Associate Degree Colleges in California


Starting your college career at the community college level is a smart choice. Look for the best colleges in the state so you get the strongest start possible, whether you plan to transfer to a 4-year university or earn a vocational degree, is an even better one. Here you can find statistics and information that speak to each college’s quality, so that you can decide for yourself which school would be the best one for you.

Los Angeles ORT College-Los Angeles Campus
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
100%
Net Price
$22,318
Pima Medical Institute-San Marcos
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
421
Graduation Rate
100%
Net Price
$21,360
Unitek College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,147
Graduation Rate
98%
Net Price
$49,181
Healthcare Career College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
333
Graduation Rate
95%
Net Price
$19,531
Spartan College of Aeronautics & Technology
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
415
Graduation Rate
95%
Net Price
$24,890
Central Coast College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
236
Graduation Rate
94%
Net Price
$21,338
Advanced Training Associates
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
82
Graduation Rate
93%
Net Price
$12,745
Hacienda La Puente Adult Education
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
812
Graduation Rate
91%
Net Price
$3,294
InterCoast Colleges-Riverside
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
159
Graduation Rate
90%
Net Price
$20,419
San Francisco Film School
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
38
Graduation Rate
86%
Net Price
$30,852
Mayfield College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
468
Graduation Rate
84%
Net Price
$25,208
PCI College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
114
Graduation Rate
84%
Net Price
$17,700
East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
108
Graduation Rate
83%
Net Price
$14,714
Concorde Career College-Garden Grove
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
589
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$23,149
Laurus College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
878
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$11,878
Valley College of Medical Careers
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
94
Graduation Rate
82%
Net Price
$24,437
Institute for Business and Technology
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
542
Graduation Rate
80%
Net Price
$25,730
National Career Education
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
440
Graduation Rate
79%
Net Price
$26,758
Southern California Institute of Technology
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
607
Graduation Rate
78%
Net Price
$24,671
Concorde Career College-San Bernardino
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
572
Graduation Rate
77%
Net Price
$21,215
Concorde Career College-San Diego
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
730
Graduation Rate
77%
Net Price
$26,979
CBD College
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
788
Graduation Rate
76%
Net Price
$22,690
InterCoast Colleges-Fairfield
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
136
Graduation Rate
76%
Net Price
$19,712
West Coast Ultrasound Institute
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
814
Graduation Rate
76%
Net Price
$25,708
American Career College-Anaheim
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,135
Graduation Rate
74%
Net Price
$24,414
American Medical Sciences Center
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
74%
Net Price
$23,275
Concorde Career College-North Hollywood
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
601
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$25,812
Platt College-Los Angeles
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
727
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$25,958
Platt College-San Diego
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
115
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$23,467
Career Networks Institute
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
385
Graduation Rate
72%
Net Price
$23,474
FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,227
Graduation Rate
71%
Net Price
$41,020
High Desert Medical College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
704
Graduation Rate
71%
Net Price
$27,115
Institute of Technology
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,310
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$21,793
Platt College-Riverside
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
473
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$25,654
Professional Golfers Career College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
107
Graduation Rate
70%
Net Price
$31,855
National Career College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
317
Graduation Rate
69%
Net Price
$16,734
New York Film Academy
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,918
Graduation Rate
69%
Net Price
$43,409
Pima Medical Institute-Chula Vista
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
841
Graduation Rate
69%
Net Price
$18,801
Asher College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
646
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$19,086
Glendale Career College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
611
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$35,363
Stanbridge University
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,364
Graduation Rate
68%
Net Price
$25,054
American Career College-Ontario
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,326
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
$26,005
Beverly Hills Design Institute
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
16
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
$35,201
University of Antelope Valley
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
814
Graduation Rate
67%
Net Price
NA
Career Care Institute
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
640
Graduation Rate
66%
Net Price
$30,116
Universal Technical Institute of Northern California Inc
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,289
Graduation Rate
66%
Net Price
$22,005
De Anza College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
18,669
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$6,238
MTI College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
756
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$17,774
American Career College-Los Angeles
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,567
Graduation Rate
64%
Net Price
$18,863
Universal Technical Institute-Southern California
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,075
Graduation Rate
64%
Net Price
$22,602
InterCoast Colleges-West Covina
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
151
Graduation Rate
62%
Net Price
$19,123
Musicians Institute
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
62%
Net Price
$34,835
Foothill College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
15,123
Graduation Rate
61%
Net Price
$6,662
Platt College-Ontario
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
572
Graduation Rate
61%
Net Price
$23,089
InterCoast Colleges-Santa Ana
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
226
Graduation Rate
60%
Net Price
$23,908
Carrington College-Sacramento
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
3,261
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$21,934
Universal Technical Institute of California Inc
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,386
Graduation Rate
59%
Net Price
$17,849
Empire College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
371
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$22,814
American Academy of Dramatic Arts-Los Angeles
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
251
Graduation Rate
56%
Net Price
$39,952
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,042
Graduation Rate
56%
Net Price
$25,788
Santa Barbara Business College-Bakersfield
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
309
Graduation Rate
56%
Net Price
$15,353
Los Angeles Film School
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,151
Graduation Rate
55%
Net Price
$30,459
San Joaquin Valley College-Visalia
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,621
Graduation Rate
54%
Net Price
$25,516
Fremont College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
191
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$22,618
Santa Barbara Business College-Santa Maria
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
89
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$15,312
Advanced College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
25
Graduation Rate
51%
Net Price
$23,915
National Polytechnic College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
384
Graduation Rate
51%
Net Price
$5,417
Diablo Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
19,871
Graduation Rate
48%
Net Price
$7,311
Ohlone College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,900
Graduation Rate
47%
Net Price
$11,648
Irvine Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,812
Graduation Rate
46%
Net Price
$4,352
Pacific College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
46%
Net Price
$25,432
Las Positas College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,706
Graduation Rate
44%
Net Price
$5,678
California College San Diego
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
250
Graduation Rate
43%
Net Price
$24,762
College of San Mateo
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,163
Graduation Rate
42%
Net Price
$4,639
Saddleback College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
19,709
Graduation Rate
42%
Net Price
$7,298
Young Americans College of the Performing Arts
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
143
Graduation Rate
42%
Net Price
$27,908
Santa Barbara City College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
14,133
Graduation Rate
41%
Net Price
$9,416
Moorpark College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
14,275
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$4,336
San Diego Miramar College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
14,127
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$6,887
Sierra College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
18,226
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$6,257
Orange Coast College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
20,042
Graduation Rate
39%
Net Price
$5,936
Berkeley City College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,644
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$11,856
California College San Diego
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
536
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$24,643
Citrus College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
13,130
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$5,194
Clovis Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,454
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$4,432
College of the Canyons
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
19,089
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$6,538
Cuesta College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
11,281
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$10,860
East Los Angeles College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
36,885
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$11,015
Santiago Canyon College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
11,911
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$5,600
Ventura College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,696
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$3,936
West Hills College-Lemoore
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
4,359
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$10,030
North-West College-West Covina
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
700
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$23,877
Pasadena City College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
26,971
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$5,633
Santa Rosa Junior College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$8,993
Glendale Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
13,584
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$4,210
Golden West College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,025
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$5,530
Hartnell College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
13,024
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$7,127
Mt San Antonio College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
29,799
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$4,387
Skyline College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,803
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$4,732
Taft College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
5,968
Graduation Rate
36%
Net Price
$8,089
Allan Hancock College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
11,894
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$6,225
City College of San Francisco
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
24,441
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$5,571
College of Marin
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,182
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$8,593
El Camino Community College District
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
24,223
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$11,719
Imperial Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,511
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$1,814
Porterville College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
NA
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$4,624
West Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,619
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$7,541
Casa Loma College-Van Nuys
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
162
Graduation Rate
34%
Net Price
$17,673
Folsom Lake College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,945
Graduation Rate
34%
Net Price
$7,078
Oxnard College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,464
Graduation Rate
34%
Net Price
$2,628
Butte College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
10,100
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$7,613
Community Christian College
College Type
2-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
203
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$19,231
Cypress College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
15,679
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$5,580
Los Medanos College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
9,435
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
MiraCosta College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,992
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$2,856
Palo Verde College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
4,540
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$11,587
South Coast College
College Type
2-year, Private for-profit
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
226
Graduation Rate
33%
Net Price
$16,767
Canada College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,799
Graduation Rate
32%
Net Price
$4,870
Los Angeles Pierce College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
18,765
Graduation Rate
32%
Net Price
$11,585
Napa Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,292
Graduation Rate
32%
Net Price
$14,726
Chabot College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
13,522
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,005
Cuyamaca College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
8,697
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$4,368
Gavilan College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
5,573
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$6,605
Mission College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,995
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$6,249
Monterey Peninsula College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,920
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$12,022
Fullerton College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
22,613
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$8,198
Merced College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
11,173
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$12,147
Palomar College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
23,874
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$6,988
San Joaquin Delta College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
18,533
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$12,692
West Hills College-Coalinga
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
4,198
Graduation Rate
30%
Net Price
$9,260
College of the Sequoias
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
12,815
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$2,264
Contra Costa College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
7,127
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$7,585
Crafton Hills College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
6,749
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$16,771
Grossmont College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
16,958
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$4,924
Lake Tahoe Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
2,577
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$9,401
Santa Monica College
College Type
4-year, Primarily associate's, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
27,497
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$6,006
College of the Desert
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus H