Finding the right school for you can be a challenge. This guide features rankings of accredited institutions to help prospective students find a school that meets their needs and career goals. Each ranking highlights key school facts, such as location, available programs, and admission and graduation requirements.
Community colleges and technical schools differ from four-year colleges and universities in the types of degrees and certifications they offer. For instance, community colleges confer only two-year associate degrees and occupational training certificates and focus on career and technical education. With an associate degree, learners can typically transfer to a four-year college to complete their bachelor’s degree or enter the workforce directly with some practical skills job training. Community colleges in Florida offer the added advantage of affordable tuition, which can save students thousands of dollars over the course of a four-year degree.
Community colleges in Florida prepare graduates for a variety of college and career opportunities. Jobs in Florida pay average annual earnings of $46,010, and the state boasts a 3.3% unemployment rate, a figure below the national average.
Top 10 Community Colleges in Florida
- Florida Panhandle Technical College - Chipley, FL
- Pinellas Technical College - Saint Petersburg, FL
- Lorenzo Walker Technical College - Naples, FL
- Pinellas Technical College - Clearwater, FL
- Emerald Coast Technical College - DeFuniak Springs, FL
- Orange Technical College-Westside Campus - Winter Garden, FL
- Manatee Technical College - Bradenton, FL
- RIVEROAK Technical College - Live Oak, FL
- Orange Technical College - Orlando, FL
- Marchman Technical Education Center - New Port Richey, FL
Popular industries for certificate- and degree-holders in the Sunshine State include healthcare, business, and education. Florida ranks fourth among all U.S. states for the number of healthcare practitioners and technical positions, and healthcare workers in the state earn mean annual wages of $75,680. Other sectors with high levels of employment in Florida include hospitality/leisure and government.
Cost of living varies across the state. Urban areas such as Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa feature costs of living below the national average. Other regions -- including Miami and Sarasota -- are more expensive than the national average.
2020 Best Community Colleges in Florida
Florida Panhandle Technical College
|Chipley, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 82%||
Located in the city of Chipley, Florida Panhandle Technical College offers a variety of associate programs and technical training programs. Graduates qualify for careers in fields such as healthcare, corrections, and construction.
FPTC’s programs range in length from 6-60 weeks. For instance, the school’s 60-week heavy equipment mechanics program trains students to repair and maintain diesel engines. A 45-week licensed practical nurse (LPN) program prepares graduates to enter nursing as an LPN or apply their hours to a degree in nursing, and a 30-week program in digital video production readies learners for entry-level careers in the film and television industry.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts, college and career readiness test scores, and Florida residency forms. FPTC holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.
Pinellas Technical College-St. Petersburg
|Saint Petersburg, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
As one of two Pinellas Technical College campuses, the St. Petersburg campus serves approximately 5,000 full-time students. The school offers 36 full-time certificate programs, six apprenticeships, and five short courses with day, evening, and online options available.
PTC’s career and technical education programs prepare students for careers in fields like auto repair, education, medical administration, and construction. Through two- to four-year apprenticeship programs, students can train as firefighters, early childhood educators, or plumbers. Learners can also benefit from PTC's articulation agreements and apply their coursework toward an associate degree.
PTC students can access a host of resources, including the Pinellas County School District’s digital library. Most PTC programs feature five start dates per year. Applicants must complete an online registration form, pay applicable fees, take any necessary tests, and provide proof of residency.
PTC holds accreditation through the Council on Occupational Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Lorenzo Walker Technical College
|Naples, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 99%||
Located in the southwestern coastal city of Naples, Lorenzo Walker Technical College serves students as part of the School Board of Collier County. LWTC offers 25 career and technical programs in areas such as veterinary assisting, drafting, dental assisting, and pharmacy tech.
Most career programs at LWTC take about one year -- or 2-3 semesters -- to complete. Students gather with their instructors two, three, or five days per week to meet their program’s required clock hours. LWTC also offers evening classes through its community education program. In evening programs, learners may train for jobs -- such as nail technologist or private investigator -- or learn other workplace skills.
Applicants must complete an online application and consult with a workplace education advisor. LWTC holds accreditation through the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and the AdvanceED Accreditation Commission.
Pinellas Technical College-Clearwater
|Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Nestled in the Tampa/St. Petersburg metro area, Pinellas Technical College-Clearwater offers 24 full-time certificate programs, five apprenticeships, and 10 short courses. Many programs include day, evening, and distance options. Students attending Pinellas County public high schools may also take classes at PTC-Clearwater through dual enrollment.
Learners can pursue numerous career and technical programs, including automotive services, interior design, culinary arts and hospitality, and web development. Programs typically include a planned sequence of courses that teach workplace skills and may count toward an associate degree. Through two- to four-year apprenticeship programs, students receive hands-on instruction in fields such as machining, building maintenance, or electrical contracting.
PTC programs start five times per year. Applicants complete an online registration form and provide proof of residency. PTC holds accreditation through the Council on Occupational Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Several PTC programs also hold accreditation through professional organizations.
Emerald Coast Technical College
|DeFuniak Springs, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
Located in the panhandle community of DeFuniak Springs, Emerald Coast Technical College offers career and technical programs in six areas of study: transportation, information technology, architecture and construction, manufacturing, cosmetology, and nursing/healthcare. ECTC’s programs emphasize work-based learning that prepares learners for the demands of the workplace.
Graduates are prepared for careers in fields such as automotive service, IT, web development, welding, or practical nursing. Full-time learners generally complete program requirements in as little as 165 clock hours or up to 1,350 hours. Many programs start four times per year and take 1-2 years to complete.
Applicants must complete an application packet, attend an online orientation, schedule any required tests, and submit transcripts. ECTC students can download Office 365 for free. The school holds accreditation from the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education.
Orange Technical College-Westside Campus
|Winter Garden, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Located near Orlando, the Westside Campus of Orange Technical College offers full- and part-time career preparation programs and apprenticeships. As part of Orange County Public Schools, OTC’s Westside campus serves high school students through tuition-free dual enrollment and traditional students. Some Westside programs also feature online course offerings.
Through OTC Westside’s career programs, graduates gain eligibility for jobs such as massage therapist, HVAC technician, veterinary assistant, or welder. Career programs can last as little as two months or as long as more than one year, while employer-sponsored apprenticeships can last up to five years. Students may earn career certificates and college credits and gain valuable work experience. Some programs may be eligible for federal financial aid or GED preparation.
Prospective students should submit a completed application on campus. All OTC campuses hold accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Occupational Education.
Manatee Technical College
|Bradenton, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Located south of Tampa-St. Petersburg in Bradenton, Manatee Technical College offers career and technical programs that students can complete in 6-12 months. The school’s flexible programs include full- and part-time options, day and evening classes, and express classes that meet evenings and weekends. Online classes typically start each month and last six weeks.
Program areas at Manatee Tech include architecture and construction, manufacturing, digital technology, business administration, health sciences, and hospitality/tourism. Students can also train for careers as firefighters, paramedics, or personal trainers. The school offers an additional express class in optometry.
Manatee Tech features more than 80 self-paced, noncredit online career training programs, such as wind energy professional, certified paralegal, and digital marketing specialist. Students can pursue these six- to 12-month programs through open enrollment.
Manatee Tech holds accreditation through the Commission on Occupational Education.
RIVEROAK Technical College
|Live Oak, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Founded in 1966, RIVEROAK Technical College offers technical training and education through Suwannee County Schools. The school features a 20-acre campus located in Live Oak.
RTC’s 19 career and technical programs train students for careers in automotive services, masonry, cosmetology, early childhood education, and practical nursing, among other fields. Programs range in length from a few months to 1-2 years. Additionally, learners can complete a pharmacy technician or digital design program in just one year.
While many programs require full-time enrollment, some offer part-time options. RTC also offers online career training programs that start each month as well as community education classes.
Interested students must complete an application and schedule form and meet with student services. Check program descriptions for prerequisites. RTC holds accreditation through the Council on Occupational Education.
Orange Technical College-Orlando Campus
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Located in downtown Orlando, Orange Technical College’s Orlando campus opened in 1981 and now offers career training programs and a two-year childcare apprenticeship. Operating under the authority of Orange County Public Schools, OTC-Orlando provides courses for high school students through tuition-free dual enrollment. The school also offers flexible and online courses for other learners.
Through OTC-Orlando’s 18 career training certificate programs and two licensure programs, students prepare for careers in the arts, communications, business, education, and health services. Career training programs last anywhere from a few months to more than a year. Learners may take courses such as fashion technology and production, accounting, surgical technology, and baking.
Prospective students should bring a completed application to campus. Those who qualify may receive federal financial aid for some programs. OTC holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Occupational Education.
Marchman Technical Education Center
|New Port Richey, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Located outside Tampa-St.Petersburg in New Port Richey, Marchman Technical Education Center offers career certificate programs to high school graduates. MTC also provides dual-enrollment courses to students at Wendell Krinn Technical High School, including classes in commercial arts, welding, culinary arts, and electricity.
Career training programs range from 600 hours to 1,800 hours and begin in August and January. Program areas include the service industry, information technology, construction, manufacturing, and automotive technology. While most programs run during the day, MTC offers some evening programs, such as cosmetology and electricity. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, and some programs translate into college credit toward an associate degree.
Students interested in a career training program must complete the career certificate program application available online. MTC holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.
George Stone Technical Center
|Pensacola, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Founded in 1968, George Stone Technical Center serves high school students and other learners in Pensacola, Florida. The school offers full- and part-time non-degree certificate programs in business, health, industry, and criminal justice. Some programs qualify for college credit under articulation agreements.
GSTC’s business programs include accounting, cybersecurity, and network systems administration. Students may also prepare for jobs in healthcare, including emergency medical technician and nursing assistant. Through the school’s law enforcement academy, learners may train to become correctional officers or law enforcement officers. A wide variety of industrial programs qualify students for jobs in construction, automotive services, aircraft mechanics, and hospitality, among other fields.
GSTC accepts students ages 16 and older through an online application or dual-enrollment form. Students meet with a counselor to schedule their classes. GSTC holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.
Tom P Haney Technical Center
|Panama City, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Located in Panama City between Tallahassee and Pensacola, Tom P. Haney Technical Center offers career and technical programs, GED preparation, and general education under the authority of Bay District Schools. The school features an FAA-certified Aviation Academy that prepares graduates to repair and maintain aircraft with hands-on training.
Haney’s career and technical education programs train students for careers in fields such as business, automotive and marine services, construction, manufacturing, and healthcare administration. These programs range in length from 600 to 1,400 clock hours; full-time learners can typically complete 900-1,100 hours in a year. Haney also offers licensure programs in aviation, cosmetology, massage therapy, and practical nursing.
Students requesting financial aid must complete the FAFSA and meet with a financial aid counselor. Haney also offers career services such as resume help through the Haney Career Center. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.
City College-Altamonte Springs
|Altamonte Springs, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Established in 1984, City College began in 1896 as a branch of a Kentucky junior college of business. City College now operates five campuses throughout Florida, including the Alamonte Springs campus in Orlando.
City College-Altamonte Springs offers two-year associate of science degrees in business administration, healthcare, and legal assisting. Students can train for healthcare occupations such as medical office administration, nursing, surgical technology, and emergency medical services. The school also offers paralegal training. City College provides interactive online courses -- as well as on-campus courses -- through its online learning platform, MyCity Online. Faculty-led online classes feature weekly lectures, videos, and assignments.
Interested learners must interview with an admissions representative and complete all necessary forms. The admissions process requires assessment and program placement standards. City College holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Lindsey Hopkins Technical College
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
As the first career and technical center established in Miami-Dade County, Lindsey Hopkins Technical College serves more than 10,000 students in Miami, each year. The school offers general education, ESOL, and career and technical education programs. Students enrolled at ten local high schools may also attend LHTC through dual-enrollment programs.
Most of the school’s career and technical programs accept students on an open-entry basis, and learners complete course requirements at their own pace. LHTC operates on a trimester schedule and provides day and evening classes. Program areas include construction, personal services, transportation, culinary arts, childcare, and healthcare. Students may enter numerous training programs such as commercial art, fashion technology, marine services, and dietetic management.
LHTC is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education and offers financial aid to qualified students. Students ages 18 years or older (or at least 16 with an age waiver) may register.
North Florida Technical College
|Starke, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
Located in Starke, North Florida Technical College operates under the authority of the Bradford County Board of Public Instruction and offers career, technical, and general education. NFTC offers career and technical education programs in early childhood education, health sciences, hospitality, human services, manufacturing, information technology, and transportation.
Career programs at NFTC range from 120 to 1,350 hours long. The school’s health sciences programs include medical assisting, nursing assistant, and practical nursing; however, students must meet special admission requirements for these programs. Learners may also train to become early childhood educators, welders, cosmetologists, or commercial truck drivers. Additionally, NFTC offers a one-year program in computer systems and information technology.
Students at this community college in Florida can take day or evening courses. NFTC requires learners to maintain a 2.0 GPA, and Pell grant recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.
Osceola Technical College
|Kissimmee, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
As the only public postsecondary school in central Florida’s Osceola County, Osceola Technical College operates three campuses in Kissimmee, St. Cloud, and Poinciana. The school offers career certificates in business, law enforcement, health sciences, hospitality, and human services as well as several industrial training programs.
The training programs in business at oTech range in length from 750 to 1,050 hours and include cybersecurity, digital design, legal administrative support, and network support services. Located on the Kissimmee campus, the school’s criminal justice academy offers basic training programs in law enforcement and corrections. Students at oTech can choose from nine health sciences programs that take 165-1,350 hours to complete, including options in dental assisting, medical assisting, pharmacy tech, phlebotomy, and practical nursing.
Additional programs prepare graduates for jobs in the hospitality and human services industries, as well as training in trades such as electricity and plumbing. The school also provides continuing education courses and dual-enrollment options for high school students.
Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College
|Miami Lakes, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 5%||
Set outside Miami in the suburban town of Miami Lakes, Miami Lakes Educational Center and Technical College offers a dual-learning environment for 1,500 high school students and other learners enrolled in technical education. The school organizes the secondary students into six career academies, including communications and health sciences.
MLEC & TC offers a variety of career and technical programs for adults through open-entry enrollment. One exception to open entry remains the school’s two-year advanced automotive cohort program, where applicants must interview with an instructor. Other automotive programs take 16-20 months to complete. Additionally, students can pursue programs in dental assisting or practical nursing and graduate in 15-28 months.
Prospective students ages 16 and older who are not currently enrolled in high school may apply. Miami Lakes holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.
Orange Technical College-Mid Florida Campus
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 31%||
Situated on 106 acres in southwest Orange County, Orange Technical College’s Mid Florida Campus houses several community centers and training centers. OTC-Mid Florida offers career training programs in construction and manufacturing, digital and information technology, health sciences, and hospitality.
OTC offers some high-tech career programs only at the Mid Florida location, such as CAD, drafting, electronic systems, 3D animation, digital cinema production, digital photography, gaming, automotive services, and machining technology. Students can complete these career training programs in 600-1,500 hours, or two years. Learners also receive hands-on learning experiences that directly prepare them for the workplace.
Prospective students should complete an application and take it to campus. OTC-Mid Florida holds accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Occupational Education.
George T Baker Aviation Technical College
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 24%||
Located next to the Miami International Airport, George T. Baker Aviation Technical College prepares approximately 1,000 secondary and postsecondary students for careers in aviation. The college offers courses in avionics, aviation assembly, and aircraft maintenance and students may earn certificates from the NCATT, FCC, and FAA.
George T. Baker Aviation Technical College's postsecondary programs include a 1,200-hour avionics technician program where students earn a completion certificate. The FAA-approved aircraft maintenance technician program prepares graduates to become entry-level aircraft mechanics. The program includes a one-year general block of instruction and two years of training as an airframe technician or powerplant technician programs. Upon completion, learners qualify to take FAA exams and earn FAA ratings.
Any high school student in the Miami-Dade Public Schools system may dual enroll, and anyone 16 or older not currently in school may also enroll. The school encourages interested students to visit on a weekday to apply. George T. Baker Aviation Technical College holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education and the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training.
|Hollywood, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
As the newest of City College’s five campuses, the City College-Hollywood location boasts lab classrooms that simulate the current working conditions of medical professionals. City College-Hollywood also confers six two-year associate of science degrees in fields like business administration, healthcare, and veterinary technology.
Students at this location can train for careers in healthcare including cardiovascular sonography, emergency medical services, and medical assisting and administration. All programs include opportunities for hands-on learning. The school’s vet tech program, for example, includes a 300-hour internship. Students may also select from on-campus or online courses. City College offers instructor-led, interactive online classes with weekly assignments through an online learning platform.
To apply, students must meet with an admissions representative and complete an assessment. City College holds accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.