The targeted development and ongoing growth of work-ready high school and college graduates are a key to Catawba County’s future prosperity. Educational opportunities range from preschool through graduate school and continuing education. Students, teachers and parents receive community, business and Chamber support. Within the county, there are three school systems, private schools, a community college and a four-year liberal arts college.

graphicWith three Catawba County systems - Hickory Public, Newton-Conover City and Catawba County - children receive an excellent education at first rate facilities. The school systems are fully accredited by the Southern Associates of Colleges and Schools. Private institutions in the county include Concordia Christian Day School, Engleman School of Arts & Sciences, Hickory Christian Academy, Hickory Day School, St. Stephens Lutheran School, Suzuki School of the Arts, Sylvan Learning Center, Tabernacle Christian School, and Tri-City Christian School.

The three systems have a total combined enrollment of more than 23,500 pupils, and a student/teacher ratio of about 20:1.

graphicFor those pursuing higher education, Catawba County has two institutions. They are Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), a state supported community college, and Lenoir-Rhyne College, a four-year school affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

More than 30,000 students enroll at CVCC at its Hickory and Alexander County campuses each academic year. Students can choose from 80 different academic programs, from computer programming to horticulture technology, or complete the first two years of a Bachelor’s degree. Making it more convenient to earn a college degree, CVCC offers many courses - and several two-year degrees - through distance learning. Internet-based courses, telecourses and interactive classes make college available "anywhere, anytime." CVCC’s Corporate and Continuing Education Division offers training specifically designed for the needs of new and existing industry. For more information, visit CVCC at

Founded in 1891, Lenoir-Rhyne College is committed to educating and enriching the whole person with a focus on mind, body and spirit. An independent liberal arts college, Lenoir-Rhyne is consistently named by U.S. News and World Report in its annual Best Colleges and Undergraduate Experience.

Lenoir-Rhyne enrolls some 1,500 students in the Undergraduate Experience, the Evening College at Lenoir-Rhyne, and the Graduate School at Lenoir-Rhyne. In addition to the 40 majors of study in the undergraduate program, Lenoir-Rhyne offers graduate degrees in counseling, education, and business. The College is proud of its partnership with Hickory and the Unifour, providing cultural, social and economic enrichment through the performing arts, literature, convocations, and athletic events. Visit Lenoir-Rhyne at

For more than 100 years, Appalachian State University has served the citizens and communities of the Western Piedmont and Northwest North Carolina through its mission of education, research and scholarship, and public service. Ranked among the top comprehensive universities in the South, Appalachian offers 95 undergraduate majors, 81 graduate degree programs and a doctorate in educational leadership. Appalachian provides seven educational programs through Catawba Valley Community College and expects to expand those offerings in the near future to meet growing demand for higher education programs in the area. The main campus is located in Boone, approximately 45 minutes northwest of Hickory via US 321,

Since 1978 Gardner-Webb University has been offering evening adult education through the Greater Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) Program. GOAL allows a student with an Associate’s degree or equivalent the opportunity to earn a Bachelor’s degree in only two years by attending local classes two nights a week. Currently at our Catawba Center GOAL offers classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 - 8 p.m. and 8 - 10 p.m. Accounting and Business Administration degrees can be earned at this center. For further information or admissions call 1-800-288-GOAL (4625) or visit our website at:

Learning is a top priority for all Catawba County, as students, workers and citizens prepare for the competitive environment of the 21st Century. The county’s education institutions are working diligently to assure that they are a bridge to the future.

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