Wichita parents have many high-quality options in deciding the appropriate educational environment for their children. Numerous excellent college and university options exist in the immediate local area and within easy commuting range. Many institutions have convenient satellite sites. Due to the area's high concentration of manufacturing, Wichita has correspondingly strong technical training resources.
Over 51,000 students are enroled in Wichita Public Schools' 104 unique learning centers. In addition to traditional neighborhood schools, USD 259 offers 28 schools of choice (magnet schools, etc.) which provide specific educational focus in subjects including science and technology, international studies, back-to-basics, foreign language and communications, performing and fine arts, and environmental studies. Parents work with staff to shape the direction of each school through site-based management. Wichita e-School provides on-line curriculum and professional support to Wichita home-schooled students.
Wichita public schools are among the first to incorporate workplace skill standards into curriculum and graduation requirements. Wichita's business community aggressively supported development of the district's rigorous testing program in the core academic areas of reading, writing and math. All students in 2nd, 5th, 8th and 10th grades are tested to assess progress, provide benchmarks for achievement and determine those areas in which individual students need support. Wichita public schools have had several consecutive years of increasing student achievement.
On November 4, 2008, voters approved a $370 million bond issue to add 275 new classrooms, 6 new schools, and 60 storm shelters. In addition, the money will pay for upgrades to technical education programs and renovations to athletic and fine arts facilities.
In contrast to a recent national study indicating only 45% of parents nationally feel their student's school environment is safe, fully 93% of parents with students in Wichita Public Schools expressed confidence in their safety.
Wichita East High School and Campus High in Haysville host the acclaimed International Baccalaureate advanced academic learning program. Designed to meet entrance requirements of the best universities in the world, the IB program is a rigorous college preparatory program for academically talented and committed high school students. IB students take specially designed courses to prepare them to meet IB diploma requirements.
Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) Average Scores
ACT Average Scores 2010-11
Percent of graduating seniors taking ACT 60%
ACT scale is 1 to 36 for all scores
SAT Average Scores 2012-13
Percent of graduation seniors taking SAT - 7%
SAT scale is 200 to 800 for all scores
Quality public education is available throughout Sedgwick County. Five larger districts immediately surrounding Wichita – Andover, Derby, Goddard, Haysville and Maize – are rapidly expanding to keep up with growing population bases. Cheney, Clearwater, Mulvane, Renwick and Valley Center districts – along the edges of Sedgwick County, provide quality education in smaller school environments. Nearly all of these districts have either recently passed bond issues in support of new school construction, or are preparing to bring such issues before their voters.
Private and Parochial Schools
Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Wichita are among the finest in the nation, earning national awards from the National Catholic Educational Association in 1998, 2000 and 2001. They serve about 10,600 students across Southeastern Kansas. There are 21 Catholic schools in Sedgwick County. The Catholic Schools of Wichita were the first, and remain the only, Catholic school system in the U.S. to actively use a stewardship system in which no tuition is charged to active parish families. Anchoring this highly regarded system are two superb high schools – Bishop Carroll on the west and Kapaun Mount Carmel on the east. Both high schools have undergone major renovations in recent years.
Fully 32 Wichita area Catholic, Christian, Lutheran, Independent and Seventh-Day Adventist schools have been accepted as full members of the Kansas Association of Independent and Religious Schools (KAIRS) based on quality of academic programs, faculty and fiscal stability.
Wichita Collegiate School offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum taught in small classes. Collegiate has built a statewide reputation for academic excellence. The faculty is characterized by advanced degrees and broad teaching experience. Preschool through 12th grade enrollment is greater than 1,000.
The Independent School emphasizes traditional liberal arts education usually found only in gifted programs. The school guarantees small class sizes and individual attention to student needs. Preschool through 12th grade enrollment is 770.
Colleges, Universities and Technical Training
Persons recruited or transferred to Kansas for a full-time job qualify for resident tuition immediately at state universities, as do their spouses and dependents residing with them (no 12-month residency requirement.) Contact the WSU Registrar regarding required employer documentation.
As Kansas' oldest university, Baker University provides prestigious undergraduate and graduate degree programs for career-minded adults in Wichita, Kansas City and Topeka. Baker University's School of Professional and Graduate Studies offers accelerated, interactive and rewarding next generation practical education.
Offering a wide range of degree programs, including accounting, business & economics, computer science and nursing, Bethel College is a private Christian-oriented four-year liberal arts institution.
Butler Community College
As a leader of adult and technical education in Wichita, Butler Community College offers courses in training, retraining and performance improvement for area business owners and employees.
Cowley College & Area Vocational-Technical School
Cowley County College is both a community college with transfer programs and a vocational/technical school offering two-year job-ready programs. This cutting edge institution has built a reputation throughout the country as a leader in innovation and quality, working hard to provide students with an education that will prepare them for the workforce.
With programs designed for both college-age students and busy adults wanting to complete college degrees, Friends University has something for everyone. Each degree program has been designed to create the maximum interactivity between students and faculty and is taught in an accelerated format, incorporating the latest knowledge in the field. Night and weekend courses are available.
As a private two-year institution, Hesston College offers degrees in Bible, aviation, pastoral ministries, business and more.
Hutchinson Community College
Hutchinson Community College/Area Vocational School is focused on being the premier, two-year educational institution in Kansas, delivering accessible opportunities for learning, growth and improved quality of life for students.
Newman University is a private, Catholic liberal arts college with more than 40 undergraduate and four graduate programs. Featuring small classes with personalized instruction, Newman University meets the needs of traditional freshmen, as well as returning adults who take advantage of convenient evening and Saturday class formats.
Southwestern College offers a wide array of certificates, bachelor's degree-completion programs and master's degrees at three convenient locations in Wichita (East, West, McConnell AFB) and online for anywhere...anytime learning. Designed for busy professionals, most classes are six weeks to maximize learning while minimizing impact on family, work and community activities. Southwestern College has been serving the educational needs of Kansans since 1885 with its main campus in Winfield, Ks (just 40 miles from Wichita).
Tabor College - Wichita
Founded in 1908, Tabor College is a private, liberal arts college offering a Christ-centered education, with four baccalaureate degrees and one graduate degree. Classes are in adult format and taught in the evenings by instructors active in the field of study.
University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita
Recently ranked as the No.5 community health graduate program in the nation by U.S. News. Kansas University School of Medicine - Wichita offers online courses, in-state tuition for all 36-credit hour generalist degree programs and thesis and practicum options.
University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is the nation’s largest private accredited university, offering degree programs aimed at working professionals. Courses are taught with combinations of online and classroom learning. Offerings include bachelor and graduate degrees in business administration, business management, information technology and technology management.
Featuring hands-on training with expert instructors, Vatterott College offers an innovative, focused education with a variety of programs including Information Technology, Court Reporting, Culinary Arts, General Business, Welding, Electrical, Computer Office Technology and Medical Technology.
Webster University, located on McConnell AFB, is a private, nonprofit, accredited University that offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in many fields including business, computer science, psychology, communications, international relations, science, education, fine and performing arts, and liberal arts.
Wichita Area Technical College
Wichita Area Technical College gives students opportunities including certificates of completion, technical certificates, associates of applied science (AAS) degrees and apprenticeship programs. Students may also choose to focus on specific technical skills instead of registering for a complete program.
Wichita State University
Committed to fulfilling the individual needs of each of its 15,000 students, Wichita State University offers more than 60 undergraduate degree programs in more than 200 areas of study in six undergraduate colleges. The Graduate School at WSU offers extensive programs in more than 100 areas, including applied mathematics, chemistry, aerospace, electrical, industrial and mechanical engineering.
Wichita Technical Institute
Established in 1954 to provide facilities to properly train individuals as qualified electronics technicians, Wichita Technical Institute's curriculum, laboratory instruction and instrumentation have adapted to the evolution of today's technology. The Institute works hand-in-hand with the industry to develop professionalism and technical skills, graduating trained individuals who can fulfill today's needs.
Wright Career College
Programs are offered in business, technology, healthcare, and wellness training to prepare you for an entry level position in today's demanding careers, such as accounting, information technology systems administrator, and medical insurance coding. Choose from five locations in Overland Park/Kansas City, KS, Wichita, KS, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, OK and Omaha, NE.
Kansas Institute for Technical Excellence (KITE)
Made possible through a partnership among four area community and technical colleges, KITE operates by a centers of excellence philosophy. This encourages individual institutions to focus on a specific technical career area, while the other institutions collaborate in student outreach, testing and, at times, curriculum delivery.
Programs are often delivered in close collaboration with area employers, which visibly enhances the value of the training as well as the likelihood of employment upon the completion of training.
The institutions which make up KITE and their respective discipline focuses include Butler County Community College (Information Technology), Cowley County Community College (Aerospace Services and Manufacturing), Hutchinson Community College (General Manufacturing) and the Wichita Area Technical College (Health Care). If you are interested in any of these, or in any other technical training discipline, you can independently contact each of these institutions.
National Center for Aviation Training
In order to assure a steady pipeline of qualified workers for the regional aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries, Sedgwick County Technical Education and Training Authority (SCTETA) developed the $54 million (230,000 square foot) National Center for Aviation Training. NCAT is a world-class aviation and advanced general manufacturing training center on the grounds of Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita. NCAT has the capacity to provide technical training for at least 1,500 students. Wichita Area Technical College serves as managing partner and coordinate course offerings. NCAT training is employer-driven to flexibly adapt to industry needs. NCAT facilities allow for realistic hands-on training on the latest equipment in aviation and advanced manufacturing, including a composites materials lab and an autoclave for heat-curing aviation plastics.
NCAT will also incorporate new facilities for Wichita State University's National Institute for Aviation Research. NIAR provides applied aerospace research in such areas as composites and advanced materials, CAD-CAM and advanced joining technology. NIAR has been named an FAA Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and a NASA National Center for Advanced Materials Performance. NCAT-NIAR partnership will allow NIAR to develop new materials and techniques in the lab and then rapidly train workers in how to use them. This combination of NIAR research expertise and high-tech training facilities will expedite bringing new technologies to the factory production floor.
NCAT facilities includes three buildings: Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, Aviation Service Center and the Assessment and Administration Center or “Gateway Building” for admissions, student services and employment placement. To meet the critical need for skilled aviation workers, program development includes:
- Aviation Maintenance Technician
- Manufacturing Specialist
- Avionics Technician
- Robotics Technology
- Composite Materials Technician
- Interiors Installation
- Quality Technician (Non-Destructive Testing)
- Aircraft Completion
For persons who need special assistance in choosing a career, assessing their skills and exploring their training options, Workforce Alliance's Workforce Center in downtown Wichita may have the answer. Financial assistance for training, child care and related expenses may also be available.