Education & Training

Cherokee County has strong education systems that benefit business, industry and families. From our public K-12 system, to technical colleges, and nearby colleges and universities, you will find that our educational programs will meet and exceed your needs.

K-12 Public Education

The Cherokee County Schools offers K-12 public education to more than 3,500 students and operates a total of 16 schools including 7 elementary; five middle schools; and 4 high schools. In addition, the Cherokee County Schools offers a Learning Center and the Tri-County Early College High School that prepares students for entry into 2-, and 4-year degree programs after high school.

Cherokee County Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) is an integral part of the comprehensive secondary and middle school programs in Cherokee County. The programs of the CTE work closely with Tri-County Community College and local business and industry to develop career readiness and opportunities for the County’s students.

For more information about Cherokee County Schools visit their website at:

Tri-County Community College

Successful technical training is an important part of our success in Cherokee County. Our educators understand the importance of strong tech programs to meet and exceed the needs of our existing industry and the need for high quality technical college programs to assist with recruiting new business and industry.

Tri-County Community College is an accredited, comprehensive, public-supported, two-year, post-secondary institution, which operates in accordance with North Carolina Law and the administrative Policies of the North Carolina Community College System.

The College serves over 1,100 students. The College is a commuter school that serves the rural counties of Cherokee, Clay, and Graham Counties. The school provides college transfer, vocational, technical, and adult education programs. For more information visit the TCCC website at: or view or download the TCCC Fact Book at:

Cherokee County Center for Applied Technology

The Cherokee County Center for Applied Technology (CCCAT) is the result of collaboration between Tri-County Community College, Cherokee County, and several industry partners to develop a facility to be used for classes and short-run manufacturing, plus provide space for manufacturers to develop prototypes for contracted items. The Center provides facilities for workforce development in the community and houses the college’s Small Business Center, the Machinist Training Program, and Associate Degree programs in Electrical/Electronics Technology and Machining Technology.

Colleges & Universities

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is located less than 45 minutes from Cherokee County in nearby Cullowhee, NC. With a student enrollment of more than 10,000, WCU is the westernmost university in the State of North Carolina

WCU provides more than 115 undergraduate majors and concentrations and more than 60 graduate programs with a focus on high-demand degrees including a variety of programs in engineering, science, healthcare, education, humanities, business and the arts.

Approximately 57 percent of all classes have fewer than 30 students, and the student/faculty ratio is 16 to 1.

The University has a 16:1 teacher-student ratio and ranks among the Top 5 universities in the nation for undergraduate research programs. Western Carolina University has been consistently ranked as one of the Top 15 Public Regional Institutions in the South.

WCU’s main campus sits in Cullowhee, North Carolina, near the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, fifty-two miles west of Asheville and is 1.5 hours or less from Cherokee County. The location in the rural mountains amidst incredible biodiversity and unique communities creates opportunity for academic discovery service. The campus covers approximately 600 acres.

Western Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. Also, the university holds 21 special program accreditations and is a member of more than 30 state and national associations and organizations to which its professional programs are related.  For more information about WCU visit the university’s website at:

Young Harris College

Young Harris College is located just 30 minutes south of Cherokee County in Young Harris, GA.   Young Harris College is a liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church.   The school was founded in 1886 and has a total enrollment of 1,204 students and a student-faculty ratio of 11:1.   The College offers 23 BA or BS degree programs and 22 minor academic programs.

For more information about the College visit their website at:

Cherokee County North Carolina Economic Development Corporation