Postsecondary education is an essential advantage for anyone who wants to establish a firm foundation of knowledge and skills when they enter the workforce.
For some, four-year colleges and universities are the default option to pursue this level of education. For others, a community college may prove a more practical and ideal solution.
In this article, The Metropolist Group takes a closer look at community colleges and where interested learners can find them in King County, WA.
What is a community college?
Community colleges are official institutions that provide postsecondary education through short-term courses. They typically award diplomas, certificates, or associate degrees to students who graduate from their academic programs. “Community college” is an umbrella term but it is more commonly associated with public two-year colleges, whereas privately owned two-year institutions are alternately known as “junior colleges.”
Who attends community colleges?
Community colleges are by no means an inferior alternative to traditional four-year universities or colleges. These educational institutions are designed to deliver the education, training, and skill development needed by students whose specific needs or circumstances make the typical university environment unconducive for their full growth.
Community colleges are notable for having an “open access” policy, which ensures that a wide range of students will be able to participate in their various learning programs. This arrangement is ideal for:
- Young students who are not ready to move too far from home
- Older students, such as adults and professionals seeking new skills for a career change
- Students who are looking for training or certification for technical jobs
- Students who need preparation and credentials for entry-level jobs
- Students who need a more flexible learning environment or schedule to balance other obligations
- “Lifelong learners” or people who are interested in continuous learning throughout their lives
Another distinct advantage that community colleges can offer is affordability. In Washington, for instance, the average annual tuition at a public two-year community college falls around the $4,000 range. In comparison, four-year colleges can demand approximately $19,000 in tuition.
What are the leading community colleges serving students in King County, WA?
CommunityCollegeReview.com highlighted 13 outstanding community colleges in King County. These schools are serving more than 66,000 students in the 2019-20 academic year.
The website lists the following as King County’s top public community colleges:
- Bellevue College (Bellevue, WA) – 13,649 students enrolled
- Cascadia College (Bothell, WA) – 3,757 students
- Green River Community College (Auburn, WA) – 7,915 students
- Highline College (Seattle, WA) – 6,443 students
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology (Kirkland, WA) – 3,660 students
- North Seattle College (Seattle, WA) – 6,493 students
- Renton Technical College (Renton, WA) – 3,359 students
- Seattle Central College (Seattle, WA) – 6,773 students
- Shoreline Community College (Seattle, WA) – 6,015 students
- South Seattle College (Seattle, WA) – 5,535 students
Meanwhile, the website also cited the Art Institute of Seattle (1,378 students enrolled) and Pima Medical Institute (777 students enrolled in Renton and 760 in Seattle) as notable private, for-profit institutions.
To learn more about the neighborhood or area that you are interested in, get in touch with our local experts. Call 206-623-5118 or send an email to [email protected] today.