9 Best Community Colleges in Florida (FAQs, Diff) | 202212 min read

The fact that nearly 40% of undergraduates attend community colleges before transferring to a four-year institution shows that community colleges are worth it.

Community colleges offer a convenient and affordable academic option, but they are also popular among students.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of students enrol in Florida’s community college system, which is the largest in the US, offering exceptional academic stability to students.

Continue reading to find out more about the best community colleges in Florida, their academic programs, and the services they provide to their students.

What is a Community College?

A community college is an institution of higher education that primarily serves the local community.

Community colleges offer typical academic courses such as math and history that transfer to four-year colleges and universities, as well as community initiatives such as resume assistance for job seekers and swim lessons for children.

As the popularity of community colleges increases, they serve an increasing number of persons from all over the world.

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What is the difference between a Community College and a University?

There is a big difference between a community college and a four-year university in the length of time it takes for students to earn a degree at a community college.

University System:

General education requirements such as algebra and history are important for all four-year university students during their first two years of study, regardless of their intended field of study.

As a result, you’ll be forced to take the same general education courses throughout your first two years of college, regardless of what your major is.

In your third and fourth years, you’ll begin to focus on the specific requirements of your degree program.

Community College System:

Some students prefer to finish their first two years of general education requirements at a community college before transferring to a university to complete their last two years of their degree.

At the junior level, students who begin their studies at a community college are ready to enrol in a four-year university and complete their bachelor’s degree in two years.

In most community institutions, bachelor’s degrees aren’t offered at all. Instead, certificates and associate’s degrees are awarded by community institutions.

Core coursework including English, history, arithmetic, government, arts, and science make up an associate’s degree, which is supposed to be completed in two years (about 60 credits).

Read more: AAS degree (Everything you need to know)

9 Best Community Colleges in the State of Florida:

Students in Florida have access to a wide range of good educational opportunities.

The top community colleges provide learners with comprehensive academic, financial, career, and student services.

Below is the list of the best community colleges in Florida.

1. North Florida Community College:

North Florida College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the Florida College System.

NFC is honoured to serve the particular educational needs of its six-county district, which includes Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor counties, as well as the surrounding areas. NFC is renowned for its hospitable campus, friendly environment, and commitment to student success.

North Florida Community College is a public community school established in 1957.

The institution offers a great learning atmosphere to both individualized and supportive academic environments, education that is accessible to all, chances for learning that continues throughout life, and professional development for its students and the communities they serve.

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The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has granted North Florida Community College the authority to confer Bachelor of Arts and Associate of Arts degrees.

It is committed to the principle that everyone should have the same opportunities and access to all the activities.

This institution provides a wide range of career-based certificate programs and college credit certificates, all intended to provide students with rapid training and pathways to work.

NFCC is one of the best community colleges in Florida.

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2. Hillsborough Community College:

HCC, which was established in 1968, is currently the sixth biggest community college in the Florida State College System, with more than 42,000 students enrolled annually throughout its five campuses, three centres, and online platform.

HCC provides over 200 academic programs, including associate of arts and associate of science degrees, college credit certificates, postsecondary adult vocational certificates, advanced technical diplomas and certificates, and continuing education and lifelong learning courses.

In Florida, the Hillsborough Community College is a community college that confers degrees after two years of study.

Hillsborough Community College’s Plant City Campus provides a comprehensive selection of academic programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year universities and professional and technical programs.

In addition, the Hillsborough Community College offers a wide range of options for continuing education classes, which can be taken either on the campus or at one of the many other locations in the area.

The campus and an off-site centre at MacDill Air Force Base offer job training programs such as nursing, veterinary technology, environmental sciences, and community service programming, in addition to an associate in arts degree and an associate degree in science.

More so, the school is one of the best community colleges in Florida.

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3. Florida Keys Community College:

The College of the Florida Keys is certified by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to give associate and bachelor’s degrees.

The Florida Keys Community College is an open-access educational institution that provides a wide variety of career training programs and associate degrees, certificates, and other types of post-secondary education to meet a variety of academic and professional objectives.

Diving business & technology, marine environmental technology, and marine technology are three of the college’s specialized degree programs developed in response to industry demands in the Key West area.

As one of the best community colleges in Florida, the school also provides training for professional mariners in the form of licensing programs.

Through a partnership with Hodges University, Florida Keys Community College can also allow students to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management.

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4. Pasco-Hernando State College:

Pasco-Hernando State College is a public institution that was founded in 1967.

It provides students with a wide range of academic programs and transfer options, such as bachelor’s degrees, certificate programs, and associate’s degrees.

Pasco-Hernando State College has high-tech classrooms and state-of-the-art programs, but its main goal is to help students do well in school.

Students can expect to get personal attention, have small class sizes, learn from teachers with high credentials, and pay some of the lowest tuition and fees in the State of Florida.

Academic programs at Pasco-Hernando State College are designed to meet the community’s needs.

This enables students to graduate with the skills necessary to enter the workforce or seamlessly continue their education at a higher level.

Students have access to a wide variety of academic support programs that can aid them in achieving their academic goals as they work toward achieving those goals.

Additional certification programs in law enforcement, healthcare, and computer technology are also available to students at Pasco-Hernando State College.

More so, more than 30 high-demand occupations in business, health, industry and technology, and public service are among those Pasco-Hernando State College offers training.

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Students of all ages and skill levels are welcome to take advantage of the educational possibilities provided at Pasco-Hernando State College.

This community college is one of the best community colleges in Florida.

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5. Tallahassee Community College:

Tallahassee Community College is recognized as one of the best community colleges in the United States (Florida) and is a component of the Florida College System.

The State of Florida Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has granted it accreditation.

Since 1966, Tallahassee Community College has been giving people from Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties, as well as people from all over the state, country, and world, high-quality postsecondary education.

Tallahassee Community College provides students with access to over 70 different academic and career programs and hundreds of classes.

Currently, Tallahassee Community College can confer the Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees in addition to several certificates that are acknowledged by the relevant industry.

Tallahassee Community College bestows scholarship grants totalling several millions of dollars each year.

Students can earn scholarships based on their academic performance, and these awards do not need to be paid back.

More so, since its establishment in 1966, Tallahassee Community College has provided residents of Leon, Gadsden, and Wakulla counties and students from the rest of the state, the country, and even the world, with access to postsecondary education of the highest possible calibre.

They are routinely placed among the best community colleges in the United States, earning them the distinction.

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6. Valencia Community College:

The Valencia Community College, which may be found in Orlando, Florida, is a public state college.

It is a college with multiple campuses that operates under the premise that educational opportunities are required to successfully bring together the myriad components of society.

The school first opened its doors in 1967 under the name Valencia Junior College; then, in 1971, it changed its name to Valencia Community College. It is one of the best community colleges in Florida.

Valencia College started out small, but now it is known for being a leader in higher education in terms of innovation and student success.

They give everyone who applies an affordable, high-quality education by making the learning environment friendly and focusing on helping students do better.

They have access to several university pre-majors that they can try on for size and an Associate of Arts degree that ensures their entry into a Florida state institution.

In addition, they have 33 associate’s degree programs that can either prepare you to continue your education and earn a bachelor’s degree or launch you into a new career with a job placement record that ranges from 93% to 95%.

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7. College of Central Florida: 

The College of Central Florida is a community college initially established in 1957 as Central Florida Junior College. It is currently a part of the Florida College System.

The Commission has granted its accreditation to Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. College of Central Florida maintains three campuses and two other locations in the counties of Marion, Citrus, and Levy.

The institution facilitates the attainment of baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas of a high standard and value.

College of Central Florida also encourages the expansion of our community’s economic, social, and cultural infrastructure.

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8. Eastern Florida State College:

The Eastern Florida State College is a community college that receives funding from the public sector.

Eastern Florida State College has one of the highest graduation rates in the Florida College System and ranks highly among colleges with a similar student size.

Eastern Florida State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate and associate degrees, as well as specialized certificate programs. 

Since 2012, Eastern Florida State College has introduced approximately 40 new academic programs, including Bachelor’s Degrees, Associate’s Degrees, and Certificate Programs, in today’s most in-demand professional specializations.

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The institution provides more than one hundred academic degrees and programs of world-class quality. It is taught by faculty members who are highly qualified and care passionately about the student learning experience.

Their Associate of Arts degree is intended for students who plan to continue their education and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from a four-year college or university; this includes the opportunity for Eastern Florida State College students who have completed their Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees in two years to transition into Eastern Florida State College’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs.

In addition, there are more than ninety career and technical programs that help students get ready for the labour market.

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9. Lake-Sumter State College:

Lake-Sumter State College has been around since 1962. It is consistently ranked as one of the best community colleges in Florida.

Lake-Sumter State College is an educational establishment that participates in the Florida College System. Over thirty different degrees, certificates, and diplomas are available to students at Lake-Sumter State College.

LSSC is proud to offer high-quality education at an affordable price, and it has three locations in the suburbs of Orlando that are growing quickly.

Together, the Leesburg Campus, the South Lake Campus in Clermont, and the Sumter Center in Sumterville serve more than 6,000 students each year.

As a part of the Florida College System, LSSC is an important part of Florida’s workforce engine. It offers programs and certificates that help and prepare students for today’s dynamic workforce.

Lake-Sumter State College also offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Organizational Management.

In addition to the degree programs, technical certificate programs are available in various academic fields of study.

Students at the college can also take advantage of 2+2 transfer options made possible by the college’s partnerships with other educational institutions, both private and public, including the University of Central Florida.

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Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Community Colleges in Florida:

Is community college a good idea?

Students can ease into the world of higher education and learn at their own pace by enrolling at a community college. According to experts, this is especially true for students who struggled in high school or are unclear if they want to make the substantial time and financial investment in college.

Is community college in Florida free?

No

Is it smarter to go to community college first?

You will still receive a strong education, be instructed by skilled instructors, and gain the necessary academic experience for success. In other words, attending community college initially is not a bad idea. Community colleges simply provide a distinct form of higher education with distinct objectives from other higher education options.

Is community college worse than a university?

The curriculum is on par with what you’d find at a university, and the classes themselves can be just as demanding as those there. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that students who transfer from a community college to a four-year institution perform better than their university peers.

Conclusion:

Community colleges, which were established to increase access to higher education, often provide a cheap education that frequently serves as a stepping stone to four-year universities.

It is a feasible approach for many students to considerably reduce the expense of attending college by completing general education requirements at a local community college.

In addition, community colleges offer a wide range of continuing education and technical training programs to their students.

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