Sierra Vista is a highly educated community with 93% of the population aged 25 and over earning a high school diploma or college degree. More than 31% hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
Sierra Vista is the education hub of Southeast Arizona, and is home to University of Arizona South. In addition to traditional degree programs in education, computer science, humanities and the social sciences, UA South, offers Bachelor of Applied Science programs, Master’s programs in education, and a variety of continuing education programs designed to meet the workforce needs of regional industry. The UA campus is adjacent to Cochise College, and the two institutions work together to develop curriculum that creates a path to university-level education.
Cochise College was ranked as the third best community college in the nation by the Huffington Post in 2016, with in-state tuition at about $1,752, well below the national average of $3,000. Founded at its campus in Douglas, the college is now headquartered in Sierra Vista and is expanding its facilities in the community. After opening a new automotive center in Sierra Vista 2014, the college benefited from the donation of the 93,000 square foot former Sierra Vista Regional Health Center building in 2015. This will enable the college to expand opportunities in many of its high-demand programs, such as culinary arts and nursing. With 2,166 of its 4,482 students enrolled at its Sierra Vista or Fort Huachuca campuses, Cochise College offers an affordable education opportunity for local residents and provides local businesses with skilled employees. In fact, Cochise College graduates start earning a salary that is 60% higher than the total cost of their education.
K through 12
Sierra Vista Unified School District consists of one high school, one middle school, six elementary schools, and one preschool. From kindergarten through high school, Sierra Vista’s schools exceed county and state averages in every state assessed testing category.
Buena High School offers students a high quality and meaningful education experience, reflected in its graduation rate of 86%, compared to 79% in Arizona and 84% nationally. In 2012 Buena joined the Cochise Joint Technical Education District, resulting in additional state funding to expand Career and Technical Education programs such as marketing, culinary arts, sports medicine, automotive technology and engineering science. With other CTE programs in the pipeline, Buena’s graduates are increasingly well prepared to join the local workforce.
Thanks to local partnerships between industry, higher education and K–12 schools, the transition through college and into the workforce is nearly seamless. Much of that is due to expanded Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings at Buena High School, which recently added nursing, criminal justice, financial services, and digital photography to its nearly 20 CTE programs. The school has achieved several firsts in technical training by having students receive newly-offered state certifications in automotive technology and hvac repair. Buena’s band regularly earns statewide and even national recognition, having traveled to Florida in December 2014, to perform in the Russell Athletic Bowl, while the school’s mountain bike team has earned a state championship for two-years running (2016 and 2017). The Buena Performing Arts Center, at the high school, offers a world-class stage for school productions and many community events including performances by the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra and the annual Cochise Cowboy Poetry & Music Gathering.
The community is also one middle school and two elementary schools on Fort Huachuca, as well as several local charter, private, and parochial schools, offering families true choice in meeting their children’s educational needs. With open enrollment, families have a true choice in meeting their children’s educational needs.