For some people who are interested in higher education, but are intimidated by the idea of a four-year college, community college can be a great starting point. Community colleges typically offer two-year degrees in a variety of fields. After graduating from community college many students transfer to a four-year college or university and complete a bachelor’s degree program. Florida has some excellent community colleges including a few that are nationally known for outstanding programs in certain areas of study.
Valencia Community College is a multi-campus community college primarily located in Orlando with satellite campuses in Kissimmee and Winter Park Florida. It has a wide range of study areas but is known for particularly strong media arts and criminal justice programs. The film and music programs have an excellent reputation for providing real world experience. The Criminal Justice Institute plays a large roll in educating and training law enforcement and corrections officers and proves advanced and specialized training courses for many law enforcement departments throughout Florida.
Miami Dade College has eight campuses and twenty-one outreach centers located throughout the of Miami and Dade County, Florida. As of 2009, it serves over 160,000 thousand students, making it one of the largest secondary institutions in the country. Degree programs include two-year degrees in a wide range of disciplines including nursing, teaching, engineering, and criminal justice. The School for Advanced Studies offers college credit courses to gifted Miami-Dade high school students, the Homestead Campus offers aviation studies including air traffic controller training, and, the North Campus had specialized training programs for police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. Miami Dade College has recently been granted the right to offer three bachelor’s degrees in education, public safety management, and nursing geared toward teacher certification, continuing education, or upgrading an associate degree in these fields.
St. Petersburg College, with nine campuses in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the surrounding Pinellas County area, serves about 65,000 student as of 2009. It is a fully accredited public institution that offers associate’s degrees in a wide range of fields. It also offers a limited number of bachelor’s degrees in such fields as nursing, dental hygiene, technology management, education, and public safety administration. The Caruth Health Education Center in Pinellas Park specializes in health care degrees. The Seminole Campus houses the University Partnership Center which offers select degree programs through distance learning from such schools as Case Western Reserve University, Florida State University, Indiana University, and Eckerd College.
Broward College, located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has an enrollment of about 55,000 student as of 2009. It offers associated degrees in many fields, a Bachelor of Arts in education, and many certification and training programs. It has an excellent dual enrollment program for gifted high school students. It has three campuses including the Willis Holcombe Center which provides high tech classroom space including a large number of wired classrooms, and science and technology labs. The A. Hugh Adams Central Campus includes the Institute of Public Safety and the Buehler Planetarium and Observatory as well as a health science complex.
Florida State College at Jacksonville located in Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the largest collegiate institutions in the United States. Its four separate campuses and additional related centers located around the Jacksonville area serve more than 80,000 students a year as of 2009. The College offers a variety of associate degrees and limited bachelor degrees. In addition to the college degree programs students can also choose vocational training in such fields as cosmetology, culinary arts, automotive repair and building construction. Programs are also offered that focus on GED completion, finishing high school, adult literacy, and English as a second language.
A community college can be an excellent choice for a student who is uncertain about what to do after high school. Many community colleges offer a low-pressure supportive environment to advance academically without committing to a four-year degree program. The community colleges listed above provide some of the best opportunities for this type of education in Florida. These schools, as well as others in Florida, can be a great way to further a high school education, particularly in many fields that are not available at four-year institutions.