California Colleges & Universities

Learn more about the types of opportunities California's colleges might hold for you.

Golden Opportunities in the Golden State: Colleges in California: Do you still believe California is a symbol for opportunity?

The gold rush may be over, and the real estate boom may have cooled, but there is one gateway to opportunity in California that won't be slammed shut any time soon, and that is college education.

This article will give you an overview of California colleges, and some ideas for careers in the state you can build towards with a college education.

Overview of California Colleges: According to the State of California Postsecondary Education Commission, California has 480 degree-granting institutions which serve more than 2.5 million students. These totals are the highest of any state. These institutions include the ten campuses of the University of California, and the twenty-three campuses of California State University, as well as numerous community colleges and private institutions.

The cost of attending postsecondary schools in California varies greatly. According to College Board data from the 2009-10 academic year, tuition and fees at four-year private colleges in California averaged $32,903. Tuition and fees for four-year public colleges in California, for in-state students, averaged $5,996. Tuition and fees for two-year, public schools in California is only $817, the lowest average figure in the nation for comparable schools. You may also be able to make college more affordable with financial aid, so get information on the possibilities from the California Student Aid Commission and the financial aid office at the school of your choice, and apply for federal programs via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

What kind of students attend California schools? Significant portions of the white, black, Latino, Native American, and Asian populations in California attend college, and participation rates for nearly every demographic category has increased over time. College attendance rates for women in California exceed those of men across all ethnic groups. In other words, students at California schools reflect the broad diversity of the state's population.

Colleges in California Lead to Opportunities: Clearly, California gives you many options for attending college -- but what will you get out of it?

Here are some potential benefits of getting your college degree

  • • The percentage of the population earning bachelor's and master's degrees has increased over time, making a college degree more essential than ever to competing in the job market.
  • • It is projected that by 2025, 41% of all jobs in California will require a college degree.
  • • Income tends to rise with each level of educational attainment. In 2008, high school graduates in the U.S. earned an average of $31,283. People with bachelor's degrees earned an average of $58,613, and people with advanced degrees earned an average of $83,144.

To be more specific, some of the most prominent areas of employment in California which usually require a college degree include the following

  • • Management
  • • Business & Financial Operations
  • • Education
  • • Healthcare

Income opportunities are especially strong in California, where the average income of $49,550 exceeds the national average. Some of the highest paying occupations in California -- all of which typically require college degrees -- are

  • • Management
  • • Law
  • • Healthcare
  • • Architecture and Engineering
  • • Computers

California colleges, therefore, present you with an opportunity to learn now, and to build a career for the future -- quite literally, the opportunity of a lifetime.

The writer Richard Barrington has earned the CFA designation and is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry, including having previously served for over a dozen years as a member of the Executive Committee of Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc. Richard has written extensively on investment and personal finance topics.

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