Western Chester County is serviced by two public school systems, Coatesville Area School District and the Octorara Area School District. Both districts include a wide diversity of educational opportunities including traditional college prep courses as well as technical career paths.
Octorara Area Career and Technical Education Programs (OCTEP) are committed to providing quality career and technical education opportunities for high school students through integrated academic and technical experiences for developing 21st century skill sets that connect life, work and career goals necessary for graduates competing in a global economy.
Programs include accounting, woodworking technology, child care, culinary, drafting and graphic design. Octorara High School is the only school in Chester County that continues to offer a strong agricultural program that includes agricultural production and mechanization, which is significant because agriculture remains the No. 1 industry in Chester County.
The newest program is the Octorara Area Homeland Security & Protective Services Academy that includes training in firefighting, emergency medical, law enforcement, and emergency management.
With the declining number of volunteers in the fire service agencies, Octorara Area Homeland Security and Protective Services Program will train students to be nationally certified fire service personnel. The Homeland Security & Protective Services Academy is an approved Pennsylvania Department of Education Career Program of Study. Upon completion, it can be credited for postsecondary education. Octorara’s Homeland Security program is taught at the Chester County Emergency Services Training Facility in South Coatesville, which includes its newly constructed tactical village. This program is open to all students throughout Chester County.
The mission of the Coatesville Area School District, a learning community rich in diversity and committed to excellence, is to educate all students by providing rigorous educational opportunities to become responsible, productive lifelong learners in a global society.
The district is made up of six elementary schools and three middle schools. The Coatesville Area Senior High School has received a Bronze Level recognition in the US News & World Report of Best High Schools.
The Chester County Technical College High School (TCHS) is a public high school specializing in career and technical education for students in grades 9-12. Programs prepare students for success in college, the workplace and in life. All career and technical programs are aligned to both Pennsylvania state standards and national industry certifications. The Technical College High school is operated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit on behalf of Chester County’s 12 public school districts. Programs include allied health science technology, automotive programs, barbering, carpentry, electronics and robotics, veterinary sciences and a teacher leadership academy.
A variety of higher education options are located in western Chester County.
The Harcum College partnership site in Coatesville was founded by Life Transforming Ministries (LTM) in 2007. This strategic collaboration has built upon LTM’s community based leadership development work and filled a gap where the Coatesville community lacked a higher education institution. The program offers a private school education at an affordable cost. Courses are compressed to meet the needs of working adults.
Lincoln University serves a diverse student body, representing many cultures, countries and career interests with its liberal arts and science-based degree programs. Lincoln’s main campus is an oasis amid the rolling farmlands and wooded hilltops of southern Chester County. Lincoln University also has recently established a branch in Coatesville serving students in several evening programs and certification courses.
Delaware County Community College has a branch serving our region in Guthriesville, built on the site of the former Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School. Students are most heavily enrolled in liberal arts, health studies (pre-nursing) and education. Brandywine Campus is home to the college’s culinary arts program and Chester County Hospital hosts a nursing program. DCC offers a variety of credit, noncredit and online courses and programs. Delaware County Community College also provides customized training and other special programs for businesses.