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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in San Diego

Chizi Amadi Amaewhule - February 21, 2022


San Diego, like other cities in California, has a lot of community colleges. Students take high-quality two-year degree programs to earn a wide range of certificate and associate degrees at these community colleges. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best community college programs and share the best community colleges for computer science in San Diego.

The narrative about community colleges is gradually shifting. Aside from offering college admissions to even international students, the San Diego annual college fees are affordable. Its largest community college district boasts pricing starting at $46 per credit unit. Besides, there are so many benefits of studying in a community college located in San Diego. Discover the best online community colleges in San Diego and the popular fields of study that are offered.

How We Defined Our San Diego Community College Rankings

The fact that a community college is a stone’s throw away doesn’t mean it has the right qualities you need to grow your career skills. The main factors that defined our choices of community colleges were not necessarily the closeness, affordable fees, or athletic opportunities available. Instead, a college’s career education programs, acceptance rate, graduation rate, transfer rates, class sizes, and the success stories and personal growth of former students were considered.

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Once you’ve earned your high school diploma, college is generally the next step. The San Diego community colleges outlined here offer emergency aid, opportunities for success, and a wide range of associate degree programs at very little cost. Plus, the student-teacher ratios of community colleges listed here are impressive, and we’ve prioritized colleges that offer smaller class sizes.

The Top 8 Community Colleges in San Diego

  1. San Diego Mesa College
  2. Palomar College
  3. San Diego Miramar College
  4. MiraCosta College
  5. Cuyamaca College
  6. San Diego City College
  7. Grossmont College
  8. Southwestern College

The Best Community Colleges in San Diego: Explained

1. San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a public college accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). As one of the largest community colleges in the state, San Diego Mesa College offers quality education and various bachelor’s degree programs. What’s more, San Diego Mesa College provides financial aid and online programs. This college offers a great student life, with dozens of student clubs, great athletic facilities, and well-supported athletic teams. Each one of the school’s athletic events is definitely an event to remember.

Best San Diego Mesa College Programs

  • Associate of Science Degree in Engineering
  • Certificate of Achievement in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Associate in Science for Transfer Degree in Geology
  • Certificate of Achievement in Business Administration
  • Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration

2. Palomar College

Palomar College has been around since 1946 and it offers more than 150 associate degree and certificate programs. The student population is impressive, with an estimated 25,000 full-time and part-time students enrolled annually. Palomar College is accredited by WASC.

Best Palomar College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in International Business
  • Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
  • Associate of Science in Mathematics
  • Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology

3. San Diego Miramar College

San Diego Miramar College is a research community college founded in 1969. Also, Miramar College offers plenty of opportunities yearly for its 14,000 students. It offers a vast array of courses, with 70 associate degrees and 90 other certificate programs, including programs that offer a career technical education certificate. Miramar College also has sports programs and arts facilities.

Best San Diego Miramar College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Art History
  • Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Operations
  • Associate of Science in Biology
  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Business Technology

4. MiraCosta College

MiraCosta College was established in 1934 and it is a public research community college. MiraCosta is located in the coastal North San Diego County in California, and its two campuses are located in Eastern Oceanside and Cardiff-by-the-Sea. You can opt for an online education too if you are an overseas student. MiraCosta is known for its high transfer rates, and both STEM students and art students will feel at home here, with its wide variety of programs.

Best MiraCosta College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Administrative Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacology

5. Cuyamaca College

Cuyamaca College is a community college located in Rancho San Diego, California. Cuyamaca College’s popular majors are accounting, business, and graphic design. This college is located in the eastern suburbs of the San Diego County area, along with Grossmont College. Cuyamaca values social mobility, so it offers free tuition to first-time college students.

Best Cuyamaca College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship-Small Business Management
  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Automotive Technology
  • Associate Degree in Graphic Design

6. San Diego City College

San Diego City College is a two-year institution with more than 17,000 students each semester. This college offers an array of courses, but its popular majors are business, cosmetology, and computer business technology. At San Diego City College, online courses and certificate programs are available, and it constantly works to improve its student transfer rates to four-year colleges.

Best San Diego City College Programs

  • Associate of Science Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Sociology
  • Associate of Science in Computer Business Technology
  • Associate of Science in Social Work
  • Associate of Science-Business Information Worker

7. Grossmont College

Grossmont College is located in the east county of San Diego. Moreover, Grossmont College was founded in 1961. With more than 150 certificate and associate degree programs, Grossmont College is the largest community college on the eastern side of San Diego. This college is partnered with Cuyamaca College to offer free tuition to first-time students, in a bid to strengthen career opportunities for disadvantaged students.

Best Grossmont College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Corrections
  • Associate Degree in American Sign Language
  • Associate Degree in Chemistry
  • Associate of Science in Exercise Science

8. Southwestern College

Southwestern College is a public community college located in southwestern San Diego County and it was established in 1961. Also, Southwestern College has various campuses located in areas like Crown Cove, National City, and Otay Mesa. Southwestern College offers over 300 academic programs across arts and science, leading to associate degrees and certifications.

Best Southwestern College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Social Work and Human Services
  • Associate of Science (Transfer) in Computer Science
  • Associate of Arts (Transfer) in English
  • Associate of Arts (Transfer) in Theater Arts
  • Associate of Arts in Economics

Other San Diego Community College Rankings

A college student wearing a graduation robe, graduation cap, and holding a degree scroll waving at her graduation ceremony
No matter the facility you choose, you’ll find an opportunity to complete a top-notch certificate program or degree program and be a part of a stellar leadership environment.

Online learning is a major criterion most students consider before enrolling in a community college nowadays, following the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s still possible to go onto a four-year school, and then a graduate school, using an online community college credits transfer program.

Best Online Community Colleges in San Diego

  1. San Diego Mesa College. To encourage distance learning, the San Diego Mesa College developed online classes and virtual events to help students. San Diego Mesa offers lots of fully and partially online classes.
  2. MiraCosta College. Almost 600 hybrid and fully online classes are available at MiraCosta College. The instructors at MiraCosta College provide helpful materials to make its online classes easier.
  3. San Diego Miramar College. Students are not limited to classroom learning only at this college. San Diego Miramar College offers almost 150 online classes, although most use hybrid learning. Check the website for upcoming events.
  4. San Diego City College. Studying online at San Diego City College accommodates full-time college students too. San Diego City College’s online programs offer the same learning experience, letting you feel as though you’re attending on-campus classes.
  5. Grossmont College. At Grossmont College, online classes provide the same learning experience and educational awareness as their campus counterparts. Besides, Grossmont College’s online academic programs also improve your chances of success in the real world.

Best Community Colleges for Computer Science in San Diego

  1. San Diego Mesa College. Studying computer science at San Diego Mesa College gives you the skills you need for an entry-level programming job. Its computer science program can get you transferred to a bachelor’s degree program upon completion.
  2. Southwestern College. At Southwestern College, you will be taught the basics and fundamentals of computer science. Meanwhile, their computer science program allows you to transfer to a four-year university.
  3. Grossmont College. This college provides the best learning environment for students interested in a computer science program. At Grossmont College, computer science graduates have prospects for a great future in tech.
  4. Palomar College. The computer science program at Palomar College provides students with programming fundamentals and other basics. Students can attend online and on-campus lectures.
  5. San Diego City College. San Diego City College empowers you to become an expert computer programmer. Don’t fail to find out what computer science is before you enroll in San Diego City College.

Should You Attend Community College in San Diego?

Yes, you should attend community college in San Diego if you’re looking for an affordable way to earn an education. The courses at these colleges are accredited, offer popular fields, and also empower students with various academic skills. Compared to universities, the tuition for a community college in San Diego is cheaper. The best community colleges in San Diego provide arts, libraries, and athletic facilities, and offer a range of certificate and degree-related programs.

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Also, most community colleges in the San Diego area allow you to transfer to a four-year university without too much hassle. What’s more, community colleges in San Diego provide open admission that makes it easier for all qualifying students to attend.

However, if you’re interested in another convenient and affordable way to gain employable tech skills, you should check out coding bootcamps. The best coding bootcamps rival community colleges with their accessibility and they can be completed in less than six months.

Best San Diego Community Colleges FAQ

Is there any benefit to attending a community school in San Diego?

Yes, there are various gains you get from attending community schools in San Diego. Since they must be accredited to operate, San Diego community colleges have upgraded their programs to help students prepare for a better career. For instance, most San Diego community colleges have a good transfer program to migrate to four-year institutions.

Am I supposed to add the community college I attended to my resume?

Adding a degree or certification you earned from your community college is a good idea. However, only do so if adding your community college to your resume will boost your chances of landing the job. More so, if you have gotten other higher degrees and wish to make your resume shorter, you may omit it. Learn how to write a resume to discover tips for creating a perfect resume.

Why do people consider community colleges not a good fit for career pursuit?

Sometimes, community colleges are not considered a good fit for a career pursuit because some charge an exorbitant college fee but provide few career opportunities. In the past, community colleges were called junior colleges. However, they were renamed to remove the stigma that was associated with attending an “inferior” college. The community colleges in San Diego are accredited and certified, just like a four-year university would be.

Does any community college in San Diego offer a Bachelor’s degree?

Yes, San Diego Mesa College offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Management and you can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomanufacturing at MiraCosta College. You can opt for the San Diego community colleges that award bachelor’s degrees instead of going for a two-year college then transferring. You should learn more about a bachelor’s degree program before enrolling.

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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Chizi Amadi Amaewhule

About the author: Chizi is an expert writer who reports on higher education and careers. His professional interests include law, graphic design, and technology. Chizi holds a Bachelor of Law from Rivers State University.

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