K-12 Education

Chatham County Schools is a public schoolsystem that serves more than 8,700 students in Chatham County. There are five elementary schools, five K-8 grade schools, three middle schools, three traditional high schools and one early college high school. Chatham County is responding to rapid growth with two new schools. An elementary school is expected to open in 2020 and serve 750 students. A high school is projected to open in 2021 and accommodate 1,200 students.

There are a several charter schools in Chatham County. These schools, while not public or affiliated with Chatham County Schools, are accredited and supervised by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

There are also several private schools in Chatham County, with another planned to open in Chatham Park in 2020. Chatham Park has set aside land for school sites throughout its 7,100-acre development, open for public, charter and private school use.

Technical Schools

Central Carolina Community College, based in neighboring Lee County, has campuses in Siler City and Pittsboro. The school is part of the 56-institution North Carolina Community College System, and offers two-year associates degrees, certificate programs and continuing education opportunities. The college also offers customized training for industries and is a major contributor to business attraction, retention and expansion efforts.

The college has a third campus planned, and Chatham County has approved the funding. The health sciences building will be located in Briar Chapel.

Research Universities

Chatham County is part of the Research Triangle Region, named for the Research Triangle Park(RTP). RTP, one of the largest research and development parks in the world, was created by state officials in the 1950s and names for the three hub cities of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill and their respective major research universities. In addition to providing excellent education, the schools have highly competitive athletic programs.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the 11th largest US research university in volume and annual expenditures, is minutes from Chatham County. The first public university in the nation, UNC-Chapel Hill enrolls almost 30,000 students and conducts nearly one billion dollars of sponsored research from all sources annually. UNC Health Care’s main medical campus is adjacent to the university’s campus.

North Carolina State University (Raleigh) is the largest public university in the state, with more than 34,000 students enrolled. The school is known for its engineering program, veterinary school and Centennial Campus, a research park operated by the university. The university is home to Cooperative Extension Service and Industrial Extension Solutions, programs that serve agriculture and industry, respectively.
Duke University (Durham), only eight miles from Chapel Hill, is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world. The school enrolls more than 14,500 students, and is affiliated with the highly ranked Duke University Health System. The school is known for its engineering, medical, business and law programs.

Four-Year Colleges & Universities

There are many other great options for higher education within a short drive from Chatham County.

  • Campbell University – a private school with a main campus in Buies Creek and a law school in downtown Raleigh. The main campus has a medical school and engineering school.
  • North Carolina Central University – affiliated with the University of North Carolina public school system and a historically black university.
  • William Peace University – a private, liberal arts college in downtown Raleigh.
  • Meredith College – a private, women’s lieral arts college in Raleigh.
  • Shaw University – a private, historically black liberal arts college in downtown Raleigh.