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

    100%

    Enrollment

    199

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $8994

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8994

    A private institution, California Miramar University grants degrees from its campus in San Diego, California. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to strengthen their skills. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. 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

    71%

    Enrollment

    2,227

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32732

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32732

    From its campus in Los Angeles, California, FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles enrolls students in programs as a private institution. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #3

    FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco

    San Francisco, CA

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    188

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32732

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32732

    FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco, located in San Francisco, California, often ranks as one of the best schools. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for students with a variety of professional goals. Visit the program's website to find information on the typical timeline for completion. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. FIDM-Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San Francisco is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #4

    California Christian College

    Fresno, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    11

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $9810

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9810

    Located in Fresno, California, California Christian College educates students as a private institution. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. California Christian College holds accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, an independent accrediting body.

    #5

    Beverly Hills Design Institute

    Beverly Hills, CA

    Graduation Rate

    67%

    Enrollment

    16

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $23220

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23220

    A private institution, Beverly Hills Design Institute enrolls students on its campus in Beverly Hills, California. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Beverly Hills Design Institute has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

    #6

    Southern States University

    San Diego, CA

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    405

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5913

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $5913

    Located in San Diego, California, Southern States University offers multiple programs as a private institution. The school offers programs that prepare graduates for careers and professional advancement. The institution's affordable programs provide a rigorous course of study. Many of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Southern States University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

    #7

    New York Film Academy

    Burbank, CA

    Graduation Rate

    69%

    Enrollment

    1,892

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $32542

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $32542

    From its campus in Burbank, California, New York Film Academy educates college students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #8

    World Mission University

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    421

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6440

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6440

    From its Los Angeles, California campus, World Mission University offers 9 program options for students. Degree-seekers enroll in rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The student-to-faculty ratio is currently unavailable. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 0%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements.

    #9

    Unitek College

    Fremont, CA

    Graduation Rate

    98%

    Enrollment

    2,147

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35284

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35284

    A private institution located in Fremont, California, Unitek College enrolls learners in multiple programs. The school offers accredited programs that prepare learners for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the institution choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. Unitek College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #10

    Touro University Worldwide

    Los Alamitos, CA

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    1,940

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14600

    Located in Los Alamitos, California, Touro University Worldwide attracts students with their well-regarded programs. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can provide additional resources on applying. At the accredited institution, learners also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #11

    Santa Monica College

    Santa Monica, CA

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    27,497

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1144

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8840

    From its campus in California, Santa Monica College administers 127 total programs. Degree-seekers enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. Information on the student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 29%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements.

    #12

    Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    75%

    Enrollment

    748

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $13972

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13972

    From its campus in Los Angeles, California, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Hope International University

    Fullerton, CA

    Graduation Rate

    54%

    Enrollment

    1,130

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $33400

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33400

    Hope International University enrolls students at its Fullerton, California campus as a private institution. Learners study with experts in many different fields. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 54%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Hope International University has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #14

    De Anza College

    Cupertino, CA

    Graduation Rate

    65%

    Enrollment

    18,669

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1561

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9526

    From its campus in Cupertino, California, De Anza College offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. Data on the school's average cost per credit is currently unavailable. Degree-seekers attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. The school's accreditation is unknown.

    #15

    University of La Verne

    La Verne, CA

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    7,396

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $44550

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $44550

    From its La Verne, California campus, University of La Verne offers 87 program options for students. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. Information on the student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded per student is not available. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 73%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #16

    West Coast Ultrasound Institute

    Los Angeles, CA

    Graduation Rate

    76%

    Enrollment

    814

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $18600

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18600

    From its campus in Los Angeles, California, West Coast Ultrasound Institute educates college students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. Students complete coursework to prepare them for advanced roles. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The school's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. West Coast Ultrasound Institute has received accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #17

    Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses

    Stockton, CA

    Graduation Rate

    44%

    Enrollment

    486

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14580

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14580

    A private institution located in Stockton, California, Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses enrolls learners in multiple programs. Students can earn a degree or certificate that prepares them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Humphreys University-Stockton and Modesto Campuses is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission, an independent accrediting body.

    #18

    Ohlone College

    Fremont, CA

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    8,900

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1164

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7524

    From its campus in California, Ohlone College administers 113 total programs. Degree-seekers enroll in rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. Degree-seekers graduate from the school at a rate of 47%. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #19

    Mt San Antonio College

    Walnut, CA

    Graduation Rate

    36%

    Enrollment

    29,799

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1350

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9610

    Located in California, Mt San Antonio College offers 180 programs for students. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The student-to-teacher ratio is unknown. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. The public school reports a graduation rate of 36%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates become more competitive in the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #20

    Irvine Valley College

    Irvine, CA

    Graduation Rate

    46%

    Enrollment

    12,812

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1144

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6952

    Located in California, Irvine Valley College offers 133 academic programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 46%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates become more competitive in the job market. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #21

    Glendale Community College

    Glendale, CA

    Graduation Rate

    36%

    Enrollment

    13,584

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1175

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6575

    Glendale Community College, located in Glendale, California, offers 145 programs for students. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. The amount of aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 36%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some students qualify for test-optional admissions. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #22

    Moorpark College

    Moorpark, CA

    Graduation Rate

    40%

    Enrollment

    14,275

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1394

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7398

    From its campus in Moorpark, California, Moorpark College awards degrees and certificates as a top school. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical tracks help students meet diverse career goals. Academic programs can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete, depending on degree or certificate type. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students apply to the school. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The institution's accreditation status is currently unavailable.

    #23

    California College San Diego

    San Marcos, CA

    Graduation Rate

    43%

    Enrollment

    250

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14585

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14585

    From its campus in San Marcos, California, California College San Diego enrolls students as a private institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing degree- or certificate-specific coursework. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. Learners attending the accredited school also qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

    #24

    Feather River Community College District

    Quincy, CA

    Graduation Rate

    27%

    Enrollment

    2,058

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1461

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9441

    A public institution, Feather River Community College District educates students on its campus in Quincy, California. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs. The school's accreditation status is currently unknown.

    #25

    Foothill College

    Los Altos Hills, CA

    Graduation Rate

    61%

    Enrollment

    15,123

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1563

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9528

    Foothill College, which operates a campus in Los Altos Hills, California, often ranks as a top school. Degree-seekers study with experts in many different fields. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional 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. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students complete the process. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The institution's accreditation status is unknown.

    #26

    Pasadena City College

    Pasadena, CA

    Graduation Rate

    37%

    Enrollment

    26,971

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1168

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7552

    From its campus in Pasadena, California, Pasadena City College offers academic programs as a public institution. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The school's cost per credit is unknown. 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 school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. The school's accreditation status is currently unknown.

    #27

    Brandman University

    Irvine, CA

    Graduation Rate

    60%

    Enrollment

    10,231

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12440

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $12440

    Brandman University, located in Irvine, California, enrolls students as a private 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 allows students to strengthen their skills. Some programs offer a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to enroll. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The institution charges an average of 869 per credit for students enrolled in its degree and certificate programs. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Brandman University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

    #28

    Platt College-Los Angeles

    Alhambra, CA

    Graduation Rate

    73%

    Enrollment

    727

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $14354

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $14354

    From its campus in Alhambra, California, Platt College-Los Angeles enrolls learners in 30 programs. The institution's programs offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The school reports a graduation rate of 73%. The institution understands that hands-on experience makes graduates more competitive in the job market. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #29

    Vanguard University of Southern California

    Costa Mesa, CA

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    2,175

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $35100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35100

    From its Costa Mesa, California campus, Vanguard University of Southern California enrolls learners in 44 programs. The institution's many rigorous academic programs rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. The average amount of aid awarded to students is unknown. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 59%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #30

    College of the Canyons

    Santa Clarita, CA

    Graduation Rate

    38%

    Enrollment

    19,089

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $1156

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7804

    A public institution, College of the Canyons enrolls students from its campus in Santa Clarita, California. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 38%. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The institution's accreditation status is currently unknown.