Education & Workforce

Our vision for a successful future establishes an education system that is challenging and distinct enough to hearten the highest levels of student achievement, and provides enduring learning opportunities.

When it comes to education, Bartow schools are some of the best in the area, and Bartow High School consistently ranks as one of the best high schools in America. Bartow’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a rigorous course of study that prepares students for success in postsecondary study and employment. The program is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 schools in the nation, and graduates have a nearly 90% acceptance rate to colleges and universities around the nation, including Ivy League schools, Duke and MIT. A part of Bartow High School, the IB program provides a challenging academic environment for exceptional students.

Known as the “Home of Champions,” with both successful athletic and academic programs, Bartow High School offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including band, drama, chorus as well as clubs and other programs.

Summerlin Academy is a rigorous military-style educational setting. A public school of choice, Summerlin Academy offers high school students an experience similar to that at U.S. military academies in Annapolis, Colorado Springs and West Point. The school is designed to prepare young men and women for college through highly academic course work.

Rounding out Bartow area schools are seven public elementary schools, three private elementary schools and three middle schools. Bartow Elementary Academy and Union Academy are magnet schools with students selected by an application process. Both have have been ranked as the best in the county. Enrichment activities include foreign language studies, art, science, theater performances and field trips.

Colleges & Universities

Opportunities for advanced education are within easy driving distance of Bartow. Polk County is home to six colleges and universities and seven technical schools, offering our emerging workforce talent a number of ways to earn a solid education.

Our talent pool is supported by world-class educational institutions like Florida Polytechnic University and the Polk State College Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center. Both institutions offer industry-focused courses of study that leave students fully prepped for career success. Add to that attractive incentive packages, business-friendly legislation, no personal income tax and one of the best business climates in the country. The result? A brilliant mixture of resources and talent guaranteed to help your business succeed.

Florida Polytechnic University
Located in Lakeland, Florida Polytechnic University is the latest addition to the Florida State University system. The unique institution offers state of the art facilities and a stem-only curriculum. By forming partnerships with industry professionals, they provide students with hands-on education. The university offers students two colleges and six degrees.
The College of Innovation and Technology offers a Bachelor of Science in Advanced Technology, Computer Science and Information Technology and Science and Technology Management. The school also offers a Masters of Science in Innovation and Technology.
The College of Engineering offers students a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering. In addition, students can receive a Masters of Science in Engineering.

Florida Southern College
Florida Southern College, a private college in Lakeland, is home to students from 45 states and 50 countries.
FSC offers students 50 undergraduate degree tracks and pre-professional programs, as well as graduate programs in nursing, education and business.
FSC is ranked in the top 10 “Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South” by U.S. News and World Report, and the campus features the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.

Polk State College
Established in 1964, Polk State College is a public state college providing students with small class sizes, hands-on learning opportunities, online courses and classes offered both during the day and evening. Polk State College serves students across campuses and centers in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and Lake Wales.
The college offers students Bachelor’s degrees, Associate’s degrees and a wide range of certificate programs and workforce training options.
Polk State also operates three charter high schools within the county, including Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School, Polk State Chain of of Lakes Collegiate High School and Polk State Lakeland Gateway to College High School. In addition, Polk State Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center is the home of Polk State Corporate College, which specializes in the creation and delivery of customized education and training programs, ranging from 1-day seminars to registered apprenticeship programs that enhance the skills of the regional workforce.

Southeastern University
Southeastern University is a private, liberal arts Christian university located in Lakeland, FL. The university’s students can choose from more than 50 undergraduate degree programs, as well as 14 graduate degree programs. With an emphasis on convenience for all students, the school provides both evening and online learning opportunities.
Southeastern’s newly renovated campus sits on 88 acres of land and features state-of-the-art facilities and high-tech classrooms.
Southeastern University has been listed as one of the top ten fastest-growing private, baccalaureate colleges in the nation by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Warner University
When Warner University was founded in 1968, its first freshman class had just 27 students. Warner, located in Lake Wales, now boasts more than 1,000 students from 30 states and 20 countries.
Warner University offers undergraduate students bachelor degrees in more than 30 liberal arts and professional majors. In addition, the private, Christian institution has three graduate programs in which students can obtain their Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Education or Master of Science in Management and Master of Ministry. Additionally, the university offers online classes and adult learning programs.

Webber International University
With locations in Babson Park, Florida and North Carolina, Webber International University is home to more than 700 students. The university offers Associates, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and provides students with traditional classroom learning, online course work and hybrid learning opportunities. Its two locations give Webber’s students options to participate in educational opportunities periods of residence at either campus.
Webber University’s Babson Park, Florida location focuses on academics geared toward the worldwide business environment, with a focus on administrative and strategic planning skills, applied modern business practices and entrepreneurship. Alternatively, students can participate in liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional study programs at the school’s North Carolina campus.

Keiser University
Founded by the Keiser family in 1977, the private, SACS accredited university offers students degrees in over 100 doctoral, specialist, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate fields with hands-on learning and small class sizes.
At the campus in Lakeland, amenities include spacious classrooms, computer and medical labs, library with internet-enabled computer workstations, auditorium, comfortable lounge area, student services information and career center, and on-site parking. You can choose a career in health care, business, computers and technology, culinary arts, education, or legal studies.

Technical Schools

Traviss Technical College
A post-secondary institution that offers career and technical educational opportunities. practical educational experience.

Ridge Technical College
A post-secondary education center in Winter Haven, FL offering instruction to high school students and adults in occupational disciplines leading to a certificate of completion.

Florida Technical College
With a location in Lakeland, Fl, Florida Technical College provides post-secondary training in specialized business fields, and offers students Associates degrees, Bachelor degrees and diploma programs.

Southern Technical College
Southern Technical College is a private, two year college in Auburndale, FL, offering students educational opportunities in allied health, business, design, education, information technology, legal, nursing and technical trades.

Polk Career Academies

Students have access to career academies that combine an academic curriculum with an occupational theme through the career & technical courses, and provides a student with a program of study. Career academies are small, personalized learning communities within a high school. Here are some of Bartow schools’ state of the art career academies. Learn more about Polk County’s Career Academies here.

  • Medical and Fire
  • Legal Studies
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • i/Grow Agriculture
  • Academy of Design
  • Future Educators