The world of theatre requires dedication, endurance and talent. The first step into the world of theatre arts is typically a theatre arts program at a community college, often leading to further studies at a four-year university. Most community colleges in California offer programs in theatre arts, but the best programs enjoy excellent reputations and focus primarily on hands-on experience in the theatre arts field.

Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College offers students Associate of Arts and certificate programs in theatre arts. The school claims that most graduates of this program have found positions in nearby Hollywood, due to the close proximity the Southern California and Los Angeles theatre and film communities. Students have several opportunities each year to perform and showcase their talent and a plethora of networking possibilities with faculty, community projects and theatre communities are available.

City College of San Francisco

The City College of San Francisco offers certificate and degree programs in theatre arts. The department networks with the Bay Area theatre community, such as the Diego Rivera Theatre and the Eureka Theatre Company, providing ongoing and ever-changing opportunities for students to gain experience and apply the knowledge learned in coursework. Student may also participate in a playwriting contest each semester with the winning play produced and directed by the CCSF theatre faculty and presented for one weekend in the school's black box theatre. A theatre arts specific scholarship is also available to students who qualify.

Las Positas College

Las Positas College, located in Livermore, offers an Associate of Arts in Theater Arts which provides much of the undergraduate coursework required for transfer to a four-year college. With primary coursework completed through hands-on experiences, several college productions each month in the Barbara F. Mertes Center and community productions with local theatre companies, Las Positas provides ample opportunities for students to polish their craft. Students are required to take the course Bay Area Theater which allows students to participate in and analyze as many as 8 local plays in a semester.

Southwestern College

With an above-average retention rate, Southwestern College, located in Chula Vista, offers students a diverse and intensive theatre arts program, culminating in an Associate of Arts degree. After graduation, students often choose to transfer to a four-year institution, broadening their career possibilities. Southwestern students participate heavily in campus productions, primarily staged in the Mayan Hall Theatre, and also work closely with local community production agencies, such as the Chula Vista On Stage Playhouse, allowing for networking possibilities.