college

Top 10 community colleges in the US

2. Erwin Technical Center

Erwin Technical Center

This technical school offers more than 20 post-secondary training programs, but James Rich, principal of Erwin Technical Center in Tampa, Fla., says practical nursing is Erwin's secret weapon. Fully 92 percent of Erwin nursing students pass their licensure exam, and across all programs of study, the school maintains a job placement rate of more than 80 percent.

The school also does a fantastic job of keeping students enrolled in their programs year after year. Nearly 90 percent of full-time students return to campus after completing their first year, and 85 percent make it to graduation. Students also leave campus with a boatload of practical training. Many of the school's industrial programs run working shops that give students a chance to test their skills with actual customers before getting unleashed into the real world.

"Every program that we have has to have an advisory committee (with) the majority of those members (being) industry people," says Rich. "They have to review our curriculum every year to make sure things are current ... but many of those are employers that hire our graduates. It's a real unique situation to have that tie to industry."

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