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Best Community Colleges in Florida

Simone Du Toit - September 01, 2022

If you’re looking for an affordable postsecondary education that serves as a pathway to a four-year institution or direct employment, consider attending a community college. Most community colleges are two-year schools with academic studies where you can earn an associate degree or a technical certificate.

In this guide, we look at the best community colleges in Florida that offer high-quality education to help you reach your academic goals. We also look at the best online community colleges in Florida for distance learners. We take a look at the average cost of community college and the best community colleges for nursing in Florida.

How We Defined Our Florida Community College Rankings

There is a wide range of community colleges in Florida to choose from, all of which offer education courses and technical courses that can help you advance your career. Choosing the right college for you can be a challenging task.

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We’ve put together this list of what we believe are the 10 best community colleges in Florida based on factors such as school rankings, tuition rates, and transfer rates to four-year schools. The schools listed here have high graduation rates, excellent programs, and offer financial aid to students.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Florida

  1. Florida Panhandle Technical College
  2. McFatter Technical College
  3. Pinellas Technical College
  4. Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College
  5. Hillsborough Community College
  6. Southeastern College
  7. Tallahassee Community College
  8. Santa Fe College
  9. Seminole State College of Florida
  10. Gulf State College

The Best Community Colleges in Florida: Explained

Person writing in a notebook while attending a community college online training program
The best community colleges offer online courses in subjects like veterinary technology, criminal justice technology, and dental assisting.

1. Florida Panhandle Technical College

Florida Panhandle Technical College (FPTC) was founded in 1967 and today is one of the best vocational education providers in Florida. The school offers both in-person and online learning opportunities. FPTC has a wide range of options for diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees for transfer to a four-year college. You can study anything from automotive service to medical services.

Best Florida Panhandle Technical College Programs

  • Correctional Officer Basic Recruit Training Program (BTRP)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse Training (LPN)
  • Patient Care Technician (PCT)
  • Florida Law Enforcement Academy Training Program
  • Commercial Vehicle Driving Training Program

2. McFatter Technical College (MTC)

McFatter is located in the Miami area, and hosts around 1,200 students. The school provides both in-person and online learning for full-time and part-time studies. You can courses for in-demand careers such as applied cyber security, web development, to practical courses in as medical assisting or firefighting.

Best McFatter Technical College Programs

  • Firefighter I & II program
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality program
  • Game/Simulation/Animation Programming Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)

3. Pinellas Technical College

Pinellas Technical College (PTC) dates back to 1962 and focuses on postsecondary education in 40 fields and offers around 60 programs. PTC has two campuses in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Since the school is a technical college, it is focused on providing licenses and certificates to its graduates.

Best Pinellas Technical College Programs

  • Child Care Center Operations program (Level 1 Florida Child Care Education Director Certificate)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC/R)-ESOL program
  • Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (CMAA)
  • Automotive Service Technology 1 & 2

4. Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College

Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College (MLEC) provides a variety of adult basic education, including a GED high school diploma. They have flexible options for learning through daytime and evening classes. MLEC offers programs in a variety of areas including programs in business, technical programs, and health sciences programs.

Best Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College Programs

  • Commercial Vehicle Driving (Class A)
  • Practical Nursing (LPN)
  • Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) 1
  • Pharmacy Technician Program
  • Professional Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program

5. Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has over 200 educational opportunities, and prospective students can earn associate of science degrees, college credit certificates, postsecondary adult vocational certificates, technical diplomas, and certificates. This public community college has a 60 percent retention rate and offers 21 college education programs through online courses.

Best Hillsborough Community College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (AA)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration and Management (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Nursing (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies (AS)

6. Southeastern College

Southeastern College offers accredited technical programs, academic programs, and technical certificate programs from surgical technology to business administration. The college has a small class size policy to give students a personalized experience and focuses on specialized career knowledge through hands-on training to prepare graduates for the modern job market.

Best Southeastern College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (AS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (RN to BSN)
  • Professional Clinical Massage Therapy Certificate
  • Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services (EMT)

7. Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee Community College (TCC) is ranked among the best community colleges in Florida and enrolls over 24,000 students per year. It is a college of choice for students looking to transfer to four-year degrees to keep the cost of tuition down. TCC has 70 different degree and certificate programs, from business administration to health sciences programs.

Best Tallahassee Community College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Development Education and Management (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology (AS)
  • Correctional Officer Career Technical Certificate Program
  • Associate of Science in Registered Nurse (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Technology (AS)

8. Santa Fe College

Santa Fe College is located in Gainesville, Florida. This public college boasts a 97 percent job placement rate for its vocational program graduates. The school was recognized as a Military Friendly School for 2021 to 2022 and earned the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. It offers online career training programs and in-person learning.

Best Santa Fe College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Elementary Education transfer track (AS)
  • Associate of Science in Nursing (AS)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Computer Programming Specialist Certificate
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration Management (AS)

9. Seminole State College of Florida

This public college offers over 200 courses for bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and technical certificates in everything from accounting technology, mechatronics, cloud computing to health sciences. The college boasts a 94 percent job placement rate and graduates have average starting income levels of $49,000.

Best Seminole State College of Florida Programs

  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Design (BAS)
  • Associate of Arts Biotechnology (AA)
  • Associate of Science in Accounting Technology (AS)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Business & Information Management (BAS)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

10. Gulf Coast State College

Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) offers a wide variety of options for learning in class, online, or through hybrid programs. According to the school website, 95 percent of GCSC college graduates find employment or continue their education within a year of graduating. As one of the lowest tuition colleges in the state , students can earn a two-year college degree at an affordable cost.

Best Gulf Coast State College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in English, Liberal Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Arts in Nursing, Liberal Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science in Network Systems Technology (AS)
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Associate of Science in Surgical Technologist (AS)

Other Florida Community College Rankings

Multiethnic students doing homework projects for community college together.
The best community colleges offer excellent facilities for on-campus learning to provide their student body with thriving student life.

Given recent trends, online learning is growing in popularity and is fast becoming the learning format of choice . By taking advantage of online colleges or community college online classes, prospective students can pursue academic degrees or technical education programs from the comfort of their homes.

Whether you want to study health sciences, business administration, or legal assisting, there’s an online program for you. We’ve put together a list of the best community college online courses in Florida to help distance learners decide which college to attend to reach their career goals.

Best Online Community Colleges in Florida

  1. McFatter Technical College. This two-year school offers a range of educational studies from marine services to online associate degree programs in medical assisting and certificates in business.
  2. Pinellas Technical College. You can attend a culinary program or pursue other online courses at this public technical school.
  3. Florida State College. Florida State College has a variety of online associate degree options that may be transferred to Florida State University.
  4. South Florida State College. You can get degrees in business administration, take technical courses, or earn certificates in business.
  5. North Florida Community College. This school has loads of online academic programs.

Best Community Colleges for Nursing in Florida

  1. South Florida State College. This public school offers courses in practical nursing, which can be put toward Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
  2. Santa Fe College. They have loads of accessible education opportunities to consider. Santa Fe College reviews by Niche users are four out of five.
  3. Pasco-Hernando State College. They offer a registered nursing associate in science degree, among others. Pasco-Hernando State College reviews by Niche users score them four out of five.
  4. Florida Gateway College. You can Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and many other technical certificates at Florida Gateway College.
  5. Palm Beach State College. Many academic studies, including the registered nurse associate of science program, are available.

Should You Attend Community College in Florida?

Yes, there are excellent reasons to attend these types of colleges. In an era where amassing student debt is a huge concern for many prospective students, saving on tuition rates is a major reason to consider community college. The annual tuition for community colleges in Florida ranges from $2,580 to $9,380, which is lower than the national average.

Earning potential in many fields can depend on attaining a degree, certificate, or diploma. It is worth mentioning that community college is not the only alternative to attending a four-year school. The best coding bootcamps offer valuable career training and access to the job market in a short time, and at a lower cost than four-year degrees .

Best Florida Community Colleges FAQ

Do I need a degree to get a job in Florida?

It depends. You can get jobs without it, but yes, if you seek employment with favorable remuneration it helps to have a degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says people with a degree make more money and avoid unemployment .

Can a bootcamp provide technical education programs?

Yes. You can attend a bootcamp to learn different in-demand skills in the tech industry like coding, UX design, and data analytics. Bootcamps offer intensive courses that can be completed in less than a year and offer flexible payment options. Consider attending a bootcamp as they can be a convenient option if you need to enter the job market quickly.

Which college has the highest community college student graduation rate?

In this article, Southeastern College has an 80 percent graduation rate according to CollegeSimply.

Which are the cheapest colleges in Florida?

According to Great Value Colleges, the University of Central Florida in Orlando is the cheapest . The cheapest colleges following are Florida State University in Tallahassee and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Simone Du Toit

About the author: Simone has worked in management for over 20 years and uses her experience hiring, coaching, and supporting others to help Career Karma readers thrive in their new careers. Along with her managerial experience, Simone has taught English as a second language to students in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. She holds certificates in Retail Leadership Development and Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

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