Community colleges are ranked based on the percentage of their students who graduate with an associate degree or professional certificate and the number who transfer to four-year colleges. California boasts some of the best community colleges in the country due to the diversity and success of the student body, access to rich educational resources and overall transfer and graduation rates.

Santa Barbara City College

Students with a professor on a campus lawn
Students with a professor on a campus lawn

Ranked as the top community college in California by TheBestSchools.org and often cited as one of the top in the nation, Santa Barbara City College was the recipient of the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2013. The school offers 80 degrees and over 50 certificate programs and features small class sizes despite its student enrollment of approximately 20,000. Offering guaranteed admission agreements with more than 75 four-year colleges nationwide, SBCC notes that 57 percent of its students transfer and that more than half of those who transfer earn a bachelor's degree. SBCC also ranked in the top 25 of CNN Money's list of best community colleges in 2012.

Victor Valley College

Student reading in library
Student reading in library

One of the largest community colleges in California, Victor Valley College in Victorville boasts a full-time student population of nearly 12,000. With traditional and online classes, the college offers a variety of majors in academic programs focusing on health sciences and public safety, humanities, arts and letters as well as science, technology, engineering and math. CNN Money named Victor Valley the third-best community college in the United States.

De Anza College

Students working on laptops
Students working on laptops

With a 72-percent graduation and transfer rate, De Anza College in Cupertino consistently ranks as the top school for transfers to one of the California State University or University of California campuses. Ranking No. 10 on CNN's list and No. 45 on the "Washington Monthly" 2010 list of the top 100 community colleges in the country, De Anza offers more than 100 areas of study in 10 instructional divisions. Students from more than 50 countries attend De Anza, which is renowned for its international studies program. Due to its location in the Silicon Valley, many grads go on to find employment at some of the state's top tech companies.

Moorpark College

Student walking on campus with books
Student walking on campus with books

Cracking CNN's list of best community colleges is Moorpark College in Ventura County. The school offers approximately 1,500 classes each semester in 70 disciplines. The school also provides several localized majors geared toward employment needs in the area. Boasting a student population of nearly 15,000 from over 50 countries, Moorpark has a 64-percent transfer and completion rate. The school also ranks second in the state in number of students who transfer to the University of California or to one of the colleges in the California State University system.