Colleges in Seattle

Seattle is one of the most educated cities in the United States. According to the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Seattle and King County, more than 54 percent of Seattle’s adult residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher – nearly twice the national average.

The Seattle Colleges comprise the largest community college district in the state, educating more than 50,000 students each year through three community colleges, four specialized training centers and Seattle Vocational Institute. Students can choose from more than 135 academic and career-technical programs, encompassing certificates, associate degrees, professional-technical training, adult basic education and continuing education. And, unlike most community colleges, the Seattle Colleges also award bachelor of applied science degrees.

The University of Washington (UW) is one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast and the state’s flagship university. UW serves more students than any other institution in the Northwest – more than 92,000 – and confers over 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees each year. The university also features campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. The UW School of Medicine trains students from not only Washington but certain other states in the Northwest region as well.

In terms of private universities, Seattle University is the largest and most diverse independent university in the Pacific Northwest, and is ranked among the top 10 universities in the West. Seattle Pacific University is a Christian university serving undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to changing the world. Antioch University Seattle is notable for its emphasis on empowering students to advance social, economic and environmental justice.

Take a look at some of Seattle’s colleges and universities:

Institution Type Training/Degrees Offered
Seattle Central College Public (4-year) Certificates, Associate degrees, BAS degrees, Continuing education
North Seattle College Public (4-year) Certificates, Associate degrees, BAS degrees, Continuing education
South Seattle College Public (4-year) Certificates, Associate degrees, BAS degrees, Continuing education
University of Washington Public (4-year) Undergraduate and graduate degrees, Certificates
Seattle University Private Nonprofit Certificates, Bachelor’s and graduate degrees
City University of Seattle Private Nonprofit Certificates, Undergraduate and graduate degrees
Antioch University Seattle Private Nonprofit Certificates, Bachelor’s and graduate degrees
Cornish College of the Arts Private Nonprofit BFA, BMus, Certificates, Lifelong learning
Seattle Pacific University Private Nonprofit
Certificates, Bachelor’s and graduate degrees

Online Colleges in Seattle

In 2011-2012, Seattle Community Colleges enrolled 6,976 students in online courses, 2,409 students in hybrid courses and 781 students in video courses. The colleges offer online associate of arts and associate in business degrees as well as individual online courses in biotechnology, health care education, child and family studies, marketing and more.

The University of Washington offers a variety of fully online and blended courses, with programs aimed at certificates, bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees. Online master’s degree programs include construction management, computational linguistics, special education and sustainable transportation, to name a few.

As for private universities, Antioch University has several fully online bachelor’s degree completion programs, and blended programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Seattle Pacific University features online graduate-credit continuing education courses for K-12 educators in areas such as advanced classroom management, educational assessment and learning disabilities. City University of Seattle offers a wide variety of fully online undergraduate and graduate certificates and degrees; its online bachelor’s degree programs were ranked among the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report’s "Best Online Programs."

Major Industries, Careers and Employers

Seattle is a hotbed of industry, and is known as the birthplace of, Boeing, Expedia, K2 skis, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Paccar, Starbucks, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others. According to the EDC, the city’s most prominent industry clusters include:

  • Aerospace
  • Maritime
  • Clean Tech
  • Financial Services
  • Interactive Media
  • Life Sciences
  • International Trade
  • Technology
  • Fashion

Forbes named Seattle the best city for technology jobs, with a 43 percent increase in tech employment from 2001 through 2011 and an 18 percent expansion in STEM jobs. In addition, according to the EDC, major sources of year-over-year job growth in the Seattle Metropolitan Statistical Area in December 2013 came from:

  • Retail activities (9,400 jobs; 6.3 percent growth)
  • Educational and health services (7,000 jobs; 4.0 percent growth)
  • Professional and business services (5,600 jobs; 2.6 percent growth)

Job seekers in Seattle have a variety of career paths from which to choose. According to Puget Sound Business Journal, the 10 largest employers in King County are:

  • Boeing
  • Microsoft
  • University of Washington
  • Providence Health and Services
  • Amazon
  • King County Government
  • United States Postal Service
  • Starbucks
  • City of Seattle
  • Nordstrom

This list reflects the importance of technology, engineering, education, government and health care in the local economy. Additional Seattle area employers include Costco, Swedish Medical Center, Alaska Air, Virginia Mason Medical Center and UPS.

Colleges & Universities in Seattle

Community Colleges and Vocational Schools in Seattle

Seattle Community College-Central Campus 12,493 $3,152 Public
Seattle Community College-North Campus 11,345 $3,152 Public
Seattle Community College-South Campus 9,553 $3,152 Public

Online Colleges in Seattle