The education system in the United States can be confusing! The good news is that students have many options when it comes to study. You just have to be sure you understand them all so that you choose the school that is right for you. This overview of the California college system will help!
Overview of the California College System
California Community Colleges are two-year colleges. There are 114 in California, and most people live within a short distance of a local community college.
People attend community college for different reasons.
- To receive an associate’s degree. This takes about 2 years.
- To transfer directly to a university. California Community Colleges have agreements with California state universities. If students meet all of the requirements, they can transfer directly to a specific university and are guaranteed admission.
- To receive a certification for a career. (Examples include X-Ray Technician and Dental Assistant.)
- To take a course that interests them. (Perhaps you’ve always wanted to take an Art History class, or a Spanish class? Check out your local community college!)
For more information, check out our article “What is a California Community College?”
California State University (CSUs)
California State Universities (called CSUs) are four-year universities. There are 23 in California. A CSU is an affordable option (they are less expensive than UCs or private schools). Most major cities in California have a CSU.
In addition to offering bachelor’s degrees, many CSUs provide master’s programs for students to continue their studies after receiving their four-year (bachelor’s) degree.
University of California (UC)
The University of California system consists of 9 universities. They are very prestigious (they are ranked very high in national and global rankings!) and provide students access to many research opportunities.
UCs offer master’s and PhD programs. Many have medical schools, dental schools, law schools, veterinary schools, and other post-graduate programs.
Private colleges and universities
Students also have the option of attending a private college or university. These schools are more expensive. Many have excellent student services and beautiful campuses; many are also religious-based.
Vocational and technical institutes
Vocational schools are also called Trade Schools. They are for students who want to train for a specific career. Examples include culinary schools for chefs and technical institutes for jobs in technology.