Skip to main content
X

Explore your training options in 10 minutes

School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in Los Angeles

Shalom Kamau - February 20, 2022


Community colleges, also known as junior colleges, are two-year programs that offer certificates and associate degrees upon graduation. California is home to 116 community colleges, many of which are in Los Angeles. Now, you may be wondering, “What are the best community colleges in Los Angeles?”

If you’re on a school search for a public community college in the LA area, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 junior colleges in LA, plus the best online community colleges in Los Angeles, and the best community colleges for liberal arts in Los Angeles.

How We Defined Los Angeles Community College Rankings

Over 30% of high school graduates go on to attend community colleges because they are affordable and are a good way to prepare for a transfer to a four-year university to complete their major. So, we have ranked Los Angeles community colleges based on their affordability, the quality of their academic programs, and their graduation rate.

Get offers and scholarships from top coding schools illustration

Find Your Bootcamp Match

  • Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
  • Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses










By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy , and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.

At its core, a good community college should be focused on providing a great learning experience. Other important aspects include its transfer rates, student body demographics, and student life, all of which contribute to a community college’s retention rate from year to year.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Los Angeles

  1. Irvine Valley College (IVC)
  2. Los Angeles City College (LACC)
  3. Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC)
  4. East Los Angeles College (ELAC)
  5. Santiago Canyon College (SCC)
  6. Cypress College
  7. Pasadena City College (PCC)
  8. Fullerton College
  9. Cerritos College
  10. Glendale Community College (GCC)

The Best Community Colleges in Los Angeles: Explained

Undergraduate students in a creative arts class listening to the instructor.
Community colleges offer a wide range of programs that can prepare students to transfer into a four-year university, or head straight into a job.

1. Irvine Valley College

IVC is one of the best community colleges in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. More than 13,000 students attend the Irvine-based school, which is within a 50-mile radius of nine universities.

This public institution is perfect for students who aim to complete a two-year transfer degree into a nearby four-year school. IVC has the highest transfer rate of any school on this list, with transfer admission guarantees to six University of California campuses and many programs at California State University.

Best Irvine Valley College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration and Management
  • Certificate in Accounting Technology and Bookkeeping
  • Associate Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences
  • Associate Degree in Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies

2. Los Angeles City College

Los Angeles City College (LACC) is one of the oldest community colleges in Los Angeles, recently celebrating 90 years in education. LACC’s total enrollment stands at over 14,000 students, and the school has an open admission policy.

LACC has an extensive list of 42 certificates and 71 associate degree programs, plus many class offerings for online students. In addition, the school offers 14 associate degrees for transfer , with graduates receiving priority consideration for admission to California State University. Students can also choose to transfer to University of California campuses.

Best Los Angeles City College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Music
  • Certificate in Dental Technology
  • Associate Degree in Kinesiology

3. Mt. San Antonio College

It’s a good idea to avoid taking on too much debt as an undergraduate student. Luckily, Mt. San Antonio College provides an affordable college education, with 71 percent of its student population receiving financial aid. The college is known for its outstanding student services, including subsidized course costs. Mt. SAC is also among the largest community colleges in the Los Angeles area, enrolling over 10,000 students.

Best Mt. San Antonio College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Health and Physical Education
  • Associate Degree in Social Sciences
  • Certificate in Business Administration and Management
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Sociology

4. East Los Angeles College

ELAC is a mid-size community college located eight miles from downtown LA in Monterey Park. The college has open admission and is known for its multicultural student body and extensive transfer program. ELAC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Best East Los Angeles College Programs

  • Certificate in Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Associate Degree in Social Science Research Methods
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in Accounting Technology
  • Associate Degree in Adult Development

5. Santiago Canyon College

Santiago Canyon College is located in Orange in the LA metropolitan area. Along with some others on this list, it was named among the top 50 California community colleges of 2022 by Intelligent.com. The school has diverse student-focused programs and prides itself on thousands of transfer success stories. SCC is also recognized for its extensive adult education programs that are offered on a flexible class schedule.

Best Santiago Canyon College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Economics
  • Associate Degree in English Studies
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Certificate in Cosmetology

6. Cypress College

Cypress College epitomizes excellence and academic rigor, encouraging its more than 15,000 students to meet their highest potential. The school is located on a 110-acre campus in Cypress, Orange County. It features state-of-the-art resources, including a student center, bookstore, and food services. The school is known for its occupational programs, special interest classes, and transfer programs.

Best Cypress College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Associate Degree in Automotive Mechanics
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Natural Sciences

7. Pasadena City College

PCC provides over 27,000 students with a high-quality and dynamic learning environment. The academic programs at PCC include degrees, certificates, and transfer programs to some of the leading four-year universities in the country. PCC accommodates undergraduate students from all cultures, including the LGBTQ+ community, international students, veterans, and everyone in between.

Best Pasadena City College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
  • Associate Degree in Business Management
  • Associate Degree in Disciplinary Sciences
  • Associate Degree in Medical and Engineering Technology
  • Associate Degree in Health Sciences

8. Fullerton College

Founded in 1913, Fullerton College is one of the oldest public community colleges in California. It is also one of the best, coming in at fifth on Intelligent’s California community college school rankings. It provides an affordable and has a high four-year university transfer rate. The school has a student body of over 20,000 who can choose from 122 associate degree programs and 110 career technical programs.

Venus, a software engineer at Rockbot

"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"

Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot

Best Fullerton College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration and Management
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Certificate in Commercial and Advertising Art
  • Certificate in Video Graphics and Special Effects

9. Cerritos College

Cerritos is a public comprehensive community college with academic programs in 87 areas of study. This public college was founded in 1955 and is one of the top community colleges in Southern California. Within its academic programs, you can choose whether to take a career-focused route, or complete a transfer program to a four-year institution.

Best Cerritos College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration and Management
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts General Studies
  • Associate Degree in Biological and Physical Science
  • Associate Degree in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Associate Degree in General Psychology

10. Glendale Community College

GCC has received good reviews on Niche , with current and former students commending the clean learning environment, academic resources, and outstanding faculty. The community college with a student body of about 20,000 offers multiple academic programs and professional pathways, of which business and nursing are the most popular.

Best Glendale Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Certificate in Accounting Technology
  • Associate Degree in Adult Development

Other Los Angeles Community College Rankings

College students posing for a picture after class
Apart from learning opportunities, community colleges are a great way to meet new people and create long-lasting relationships.

Many undergraduate students can’t attend a higher learning institution full time due to work or their distance from a college. But that shouldn’t stop you. Below are some of the best LA-based community college online degree programs that will help you meet your educational goals.

Best Online Community Colleges in Los Angeles

  1. Los Angeles City College. The LACC Online Academy offers comprehensive career-focused online programs that can help you complete an associate degree or transfer degree in 22 months. The online classes are eight weeks long per quarter. The 2022 class schedules and class descriptions are available on the school’s website.
  2. West Los Angeles College. WLAC’s online learning program can help you become an engineer , accountant, or explore the creative arts without attending any traditional classes. Online students can choose from over 50 associate degree or transfer degree programs.
  3. College of the Canyons. College of the Canyons offers two types of online programs, Online and OnlineLive. The former is fully online, and the latter facilitates regular meetings between the students and instructors through Zoom or Canvas.
  4. Santa Monica College. Santa Monica College Online offers affordable online programs, including transfer degrees through which online students can go straight into a four-year university degree . The school’s online services also include online tutoring, career services advice, counseling, and a center for wellness.
  5. Los Angeles Mission College. LA Mission College offers a distance learning program featuring many engaging courses. Online tuition rates and degree programs are the same as the school’s on-campus programs and rates.

Best Community Colleges for Liberal Arts in Los Angeles

  1. Occidental College. Occidental College, located in Los Angeles, offers a Liberal Arts degree program inspired by global cultures that teaches undergraduate students both theory and practice.
  2. Whittier College. The liberal arts curriculum at Whittier College prepares students for either a career, or a transfer to a four-year institution. The coursework covers liberal arts fundamentals such as problem-solving, systematic investigation, and critical thinking.
  3. Orange Coast College. Orange Coast College offers an amazing Associate of Arts Degree in liberal arts. Students can use this degree to transfer to a number of four-year institutions.
  4. Citrus College. The liberal arts degree at Citrus College is designed to help undergraduate students pursue transfer programs to the University of California or California State University. The program covers cultural, humanistic, artistic, and literary expression.
  5. Irvine Valley College. IVC offers both Liberal Arts and Science and Humanities associate programs that can help you transfer to a Califronia university.

Should You Attend Community College in Los Angeles?

Yes. Los Angeles community colleges offer a wide variety of certificate and associate programs, so you can definitely find one that aligns with your career goals. Additionally, the more than 100 california community colleges have the lowest fees in the country .

You can spend as little as $46 per credit and also take advantage of financial aid programs and scholarship opportunities for students. Most colleges also have high transfer rates or admittance guarantees to four-year schools such as UCLA and California State University.

Best Los Angeles Community Colleges FAQ

Is Los Angeles a good place to pursue a community college education?

Yes. Los Angeles community colleges give you access to a wide range of courses at an affordable rate. Plus, there are nearly 40 schools to choose from, many of which can help you transfer to a nearby four-year university if that’s your goal.

What are the requirements to join a community college in Los Angeles?

LA community colleges are open to all California residents. However, in most cases you must have a high school diploma or equivalent to attend. This also applies to non-residents. Other requirements like GPA or SAT score vary depending on the college.

Is it hard to get into Los Angeles community colleges?

No. Getting into an LA community college is not hard, especially if you’re a resident. Most of the schools have open admission.

Can I get a job with a community college degree?

Yes. Many employers in LA and beyond hire community college graduates for well-paying jobs. Employers appreciate qualified applicants, and many community colleges offer associate degrees and courses that specifically prepare students for employment in a certain field.

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.

What's Next?

Shalom Kamau

About the author: Shalom is a career freelance writer whose work has appeared online at Ledmond and Watotolove. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Film Technology from Kenyatta University. She also has a copywriting certificate from DigitalMarketer.

Skip to main content