Educational Facilities and Preparation for Employment

Within Pine Bluff and its environs there are four public school districts, several public charter schools, a special training center for the mentally and physically challenged, a state community college, on-the-job and pre-employment training programs and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Colleges & Universities

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)

An 1890 land-grant institution, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is the second-oldest public university and the only public historically black institution in Arkansas. The institution’s historic mission is to teach in areas related to agriculture and the mechanical arts, as well as scientific and classical studies and help solve economic, agricultural and other problems in the community, state and region.

UAPB offers 33 undergraduate degrees, 12 master’s degree and a PhD program in Aquaculture/Fisheries that is home to one of the country’s leading programs that also supports Arkansas’s $165 million aquaculture and baitfish industry. The university’s bachelor degree program in regulatory science is a designated Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other areas of emphasis at UAPB include teacher education, business development and student leadership development and its NSF funded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy.

Points of Pride

  • UAPB offers Arkansas’s only undergraduate regulatory science and aquaculture and fisheries degree programs. The regulatory science program prepares students for entry-level employment in four of the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulatory agencies.
  • Started in 2003, the UAPB STEM Academy is a federally funded program designed to increase the number of minorities and women choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers. The program has a retention rate of more than 80 percent and offers students international internship opportunities, support for graduate students seeking degrees in STEM areas and partnerships with numerous other institutions. The STEM Academy and Conference Center is under construction and will be completed by Fall 2014.
  • UAPB is the lead institution for the Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARK-LSAMP), a federally funded program that has a shared interest to increase the number of STEM graduates in the state of Arkansas who go on to careers in STEM disciplines.
  • UAPB has a diverse faculty with more than 60 percent having earned doctoral degrees. The university’s 18-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio allows for a learning environment with close interaction between teachers and students.
  • UAPB is fourth in the State for the amount of research funding and is also a member of the Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA).

Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK)

SEARK College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a historically regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation ensures that the programs and personnel of the College all meet standards to provide quality educational offerings. More information can be found at or by calling (312) 263-0456. Fall 2023 enrollment was just under 1,000 students. Its Workforce Development Center was established to develop a qualified entry-level workforce.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock/University of Arkansas at Monticello

Two additional units of the University of Arkansas System are within one hour's driving range of Pine Bluff. UALR, with an enrollment of approximately 15,000, offers the following degrees: AA, AAS, AS, BA, BBA, BBE, BME, BS, BSE, MA, MAP, MBA, MEd, MHSA, MPA, MS, MSW, EdS, JD, PhD and EdD. UAM, particularly noted for excellence in forestry management, offers BA, BS, BSE, BBA and BSF degrees.

Graduate Institue of Technology

Graduate Institute of Technology, located in Little Rock, provides graduate level studies in science and engineering, technical support to industry and engages in advanced scientific research to attract and support high-tech industry to central Arkansas. Two advanced degrees offered: MSE in Engineering and MS/PhD in Instrumental Sciences.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, located in Little Rock, provides quality educational opportunities for students in the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Health Related Professions and the Graduate School. Degrees offered are: AS in EMS, ASBIT, ASDH, ASRT, ASST, BSC, BSN, BSDH, BSMT, BSNMT, BSRT, MD, MNSc, PharmD and PhD. Pine Bluff's award-winning UAMS South Central, established in 1973, is an educational outreach effort of UAMS. In partnership with Jefferson Regional Medical Center, it provides training for allied health service professionals, especially in family practice. Over 365 family medicine physicians have completed their residency here.

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, located at 500 Idaho Street in Pine Bluff, provides quality educational opportunities and services in Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development and Community Development.

Public Schools

Excellence in education is a stated goal for Arkansas and its local communities.

Colleges and universities in Arkansas require only the American College Test (ACT); therefore, it is taken more frequently than the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) required by many out-of-state schools.

Four separate public school districts serve the Pine Bluff area, with a 2019-2020 combined enrollment of 9,066 students:

School District # of Students
Dollarway 941
Pine Bluff 2,921
Watson Chapel 2,233
White Hall 2,971

In their aggregate, the districts provide service through:

Four Senior High Schools, each fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; two Junior High Schools; and 12 Elementary Schools, each having the highest rating granted by the state Department of Education.

The Arkansas Department of Education, in its 2019-2020 School Report Card, provides the following information on the local districts:

School District Expenditures per Pupil Graduation Rate ACT Composite
Dollarway $15,019 74.7 15.04
Pine Bluff $13,330 71.3 15.52
Watson Chapel $10,173 80.1 16.54
White Hall $9,353 92.5 19.50
State of Arkansas $10,117 88.8 19.42

Private Schools

There are several church-affiliated schools in the Pine Bluff area offering exceptional academic programs.

Charter Schools

Friendship Aspire Public Charter opened in Fall 2018 and now has two campuses. Pine Bluff Lighthouse Academy opened in 2011.

Home Schools

Some parents in the Pine Bluff area have opted for an even more nontraditional approach to their children's education. Home-schooled students have traditionally scored higher than public school students on state and college-entry tests.

Vocational & Employment Training

SEARK Secondary Career Center. Approved by the State Workforce Education Board, the center provides programs of study for 10th through 12th grade Jefferson County students. Programs include welding, criminal justice, computer technology, heating and air conditioning, and health sciences. 

Jefferson Regional Medical Center Schools. Radiologic Technology - Co-sponsored by SEARK College, this twenty-four month program offers an RT degree; Nursing - this twenty-eight month program, leading to an Associate of Apllied Science in Nursing degree, includes general education courses at SEARK and UAPB; and Respiratory Care - leading to an Associate of Science Degree and CRT credentials, in a cooperative effort with UAMS South Central.

Special School

Jefferson County Regional Adult Education Center. General education courses are offered for high-school age students and adults with less than a high school education in both day and evening classes. Graduates are awarded Arkansas High School Diplomas (formerly called general equivalency diplomas or GEDs).

Jenkins Memorial Children's Center. Jenkins serves as a diagnostic, educational and treatment center for the mentally and physically challenged. Students at Jenkins range from infant to adult.

Percentage of High School Graduates 25 years and over (2017)
Jefferson County 85.3%
State of Arkansas 85.6%
United States 87.3%
Percentage of College (Associate's and Bachelor's) Graduates (2017)
Jefferson County 16.8%
State of Arkansas 20.8%
United States 27.4%
Percentage with Graduate or Professional Degrees (2017)
Jefferson County 6%
State of Arkansas 7.9%
United States 11.8%


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