Best Associate Programs in California

Obtaining an associate degree is the perfect first step toward a four-year degree for many students. Additionally, associate degrees can help individuals advance in their careers. Two-year associate degrees in California usually cost half as much as four-year degrees. Typically, it takes two years or less to graduate.

An associate degree in California gives you a better chance of earning good money than just a high school diploma. The median annual wage in California is $47,920, or $23.04 per hour. In the state, the lowest earners earn $29,780, and the highest earners make $130,430.

Below is a ranking of California’s best schools for associate degrees to assist you in choosing a school. You should be able to make an informed decision regarding which program is best suited to your needs.

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    California Miramar University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    174

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9744

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9744

    Located in San Diego, California, California Miramar University ranks as one of the top colleges. Learners choose from a variety of degree-granting programs. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Degree-seekers typically earn an associate degree in two years, a bachelor's degree in four years, a master's degree in two, and a doctoral degree in 3-7 years. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree. The school holds accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #2

    FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    1,886

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $31275

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $31275

    A private institution, FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Los Angeles, California. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports that 78% of learners receive financial aid, while 44% take out loans. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 72%. The admission rate for applicants is 39%. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying. FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #3

    FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    113

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $31275

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $31275

    A private institution, FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco enrolls students from its campus in San Francisco, California. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports that 86% of students receive financial aid and 48% take out loans. The institution reports a 72% graduation rate. Hopeful learners can expect admission rates of 32%. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #4

    California Christian College

    Fresno, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    13

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9360

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9360

    From its campus in Fresno, California, California Christian College offers programs as a private institution. The school offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

    #5

    Beverly Hills Design Institute

    Beverly Hills, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    14

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $23220

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23220

    From its campus in Beverly Hills, California, Beverly Hills Design Institute enrolls students in programs as a private institution. The school offers programs that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Beverly Hills Design Institute holds accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #6

    Southern States University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    358

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5568

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5568

    Southern States University, a private institution in San Diego, California, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Applicants may qualify for a test score waiver. This makes it easier to enroll. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Southern States University has received accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #7

    New York Film Academy

    Burbank, CA

    Graduation Rate

    56%

    Enrollment

    1,271

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $31300

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $31300

    New York Film Academy, located in Burbank, California, offers 33 programs for students. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1. The school reports that 85% of students take advantage of financial aid. The private school reports a graduation rate of 56%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps students enter the workforce. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #8

    World Mission University

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    40%

    Enrollment

    370

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6240

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6240

    A private institution located in Los Angeles, California, World Mission University grants degrees through multiple programs. The school's accredited programs prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers affordable programs that do not sacrifice academic rigor. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. The school holds accreditation from the Association for Bibical Higher Educaiton.

    #9

    Unitek College

    Fremont, CA

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    3,618

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32199

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32199

    From its campus in Fremont, California, Unitek College grants college degrees as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to gain relevant knowledge and skills. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #10

    Touro University Worldwide

    Los Alamitos, CA

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    2,131

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14400

    A private institution, Touro University Worldwide educates students on its campus in Los Alamitos, California. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps students reach their professional goals. The institution's bachelor's programs incorporate lower-division and upper-division requirements. The school's 120-credit bachelor's programs also include general education credits. Upper-division credits focus on various concepts in the major. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Touro University Worldwide holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #11

    Santa Monica College

    Santa Monica, CA

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    25,948

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1104

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9000

    Located in California, Santa Monica College offers 146 programs for students. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The school holds a student-to-faculty ratio of 30-to-1. At the institution, 66% of the students receive some form of financial aid. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 31%. Experiential learning opportunities help graduates on the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #12

    Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    872

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13050

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13050

    Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, a private institution in Los Angeles, California, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. This makes it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #13

    Hope International University

    Fullerton, CA

    Graduation Rate

    49%

    Enrollment

    1,201

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33250

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33250

    Located in Fullerton, California, Hope International University attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help learners meet diverse career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. This makes it easier to enroll. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #14

    De Anza College

    Cupertino, CA

    Graduation Rate

    65%

    Enrollment

    18,649

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1395

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10080

    Located in Cupertino, California, De Anza College often ranks among the best schools. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school's accreditation status is not available at this time.

    #15

    University of La Verne

    La Verne, CA

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    6,983

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $44700

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44700

    University of La Verne, located in La Verne, California, offers 100 programs for students. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school reports a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. According to the school, 99% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. The private institution reports a 66% graduation rate. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. As a result, the institution offers internships, research opportunities, and other forms of experiential learning. The admission rate is 76% for prospective students. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission.

    #16

    West Coast Ultrasound Institute

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    76%

    Enrollment

    809

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18500

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18500

    West Coast Ultrasound Institute, located in Los Angeles, California, operates as a private institution. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports that 80% of learners receive financial aid, while 87% take out loans. The private school reports a graduation rate of 76%. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses

    Stockton, CA

    Graduation Rate

    57%

    Enrollment

    401

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14580

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14580

    From its location in Stockton, California, Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses offers multiple programs as a private institution. The school's accredited degrees help graduates launch or advance professional careers. Learners enroll in academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #18

    Ohlone College

    Fremont, CA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    9,060

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1104

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6960

    Ohlone College, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Fremont, California. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help students meet their professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Admission advisors can provide additional information on submitting an application. Learners also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. The school's accreditation status is currently unavailable.

    #19

    Mt San Antonio College

    Walnut, CA

    Graduation Rate

    36%

    Enrollment

    28,393

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1288

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10528

    Mt San Antonio College, located in Walnut, California, enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares students for advancement in their field. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. Applicants may find it easier to enroll without a test score requirement. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The school's accreditation status is unknown at this time.

    #20

    Irvine Valley College

    Irvine, CA

    Graduation Rate

    51%

    Enrollment

    12,199

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1104

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8304

    Located in Irvine, California, Irvine Valley College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited institution, learners qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. According to the institution, 54% of students receive aid and 1% receive loans. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 51%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The accreditation status of this school is unavailable.

    #21

    Glendale Community College

    Glendale, CA

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    12,973

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1104

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7464

    A public institution, Glendale Community College educates students on its campus in Glendale, California. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their career goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares learners for a career in their field. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school's accreditation status is unknown at this time.

    #22

    Moorpark College

    Moorpark, CA

    Graduation Rate

    42%

    Enrollment

    14,361

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1340

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7344

    From its campus in Moorpark, California, Moorpark College enrolls students in programs as a public institution. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. The institution offers academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The school reports that students receive an average aid award of $4397, making the average tuition cost after aid $4703. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The institution's accreditation status is unavailable.

    #23

    California College San Diego

    San Marcos, CA

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    135

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $16600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16600

    California College San Diego, a private institution in San Marcos, California, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Many schools no longer require admissions tests such as ACT or SAT scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. California College San Diego has received accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #24

    Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    200

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4800

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $4800

    Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health, located in Los Angeles, California, offers 4 programs for degree-seekers. Degree-seekers enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. According to the school, the student-to-faculty ratio stands at 3-to-1. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The percent of students who graduate is unavailable. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #25

    Feather River Community College District

    Quincy, CA

    Graduation Rate

    30%

    Enrollment

    1,821

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1380

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9780

    Located in Quincy, California, Feather River Community College District offers multiple programs as a public institution. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Enrollees receive an average aid award of $4758, making the average tuition cost after aid $12915. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school's accreditation status is unknown at this time.

    #26

    Foothill College

    Los Altos Hills, CA

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    14,605

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1395

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10080

    From its campus in Los Altos Hills, California, Foothill College enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their career goals. Students complete courses and experiential learning opportunities to bolster their knowledge. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. The school's accreditation is unavailable.

    #27

    Pasadena City College

    Pasadena, CA

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    25,034

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1104

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7488

    From its campus in Pasadena, California, Pasadena City College enrolls students as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. At the institution, 79% of students receive financial aid and 1% take out loans. The public school reports a 43% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Our databases do not provide information on this school's accreditation status.

    #28

    Brandman University

    Irvine, CA

    Graduation Rate

    8%

    Enrollment

    10,986

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12000

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12000

    From its campus in Irvine, California, Brandman University awards degrees as a private institution. Students leave the school with an accredited degree that prepares them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. The school's programs appear in national rankings. The school charges an average per-credit fee of 874. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the institution. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Brandman University has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #29

    Platt College-Los Angeles

    Alhambra, CA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    717

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14279

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14279

    From its campus in California, Platt College-Los Angeles administers 25 total programs. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1. According to the the school's reports, 86% of its students receive financial assistance. The school reports a 71% graduation rate for its programs. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #30

    Vanguard University of Southern California

    Costa Mesa, CA

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    2,289

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35850

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35850

    Vanguard University of Southern California, located in Costa Mesa, California, welcomes students with 51 program options. Students benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The school maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. The school reports that 100% of students receive financial aid. The school reports a 63% graduation rate for its programs. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. Hopeful learners can expect admission rates of 50%. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact the admission department for more information about applying.