The Catawba County email system is currently down,
so we are not able to receive any email messges. 

Please call us at 828-267-1564 instead of emailing.  Thank you.

Catawba County is home to an educated and skilled workforce of 250,000.

Education and technical training continue to be high priorities for Catawba County.  This commitment is evidenced by the presence of three public school systems — Catawba County Schools, Hickory City Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools — in addition to 12 private schools.  In 2015, Newton-Conover City Schools achieved the highest graduation rate in the history of North Carolina at 97.1% and has ranked among the top five highest graduation rates in the State of North Carolina for the past three years.  Catawba County Schools' St. Stephens High School won the National Beta Convention senior division Quiz Bowl championship in 2017. In May 2018, Newton-Conover City School's Discovery High School in Newton received a silver medal from U.S. News & World Report in their ranking of the top U.S. public high schools, finishing in the top 10% across the nation.

K-12 Public School Enrollment - 2017-2018
District Schools Enrollment
Catawba County Schools 27 16,104
Hickory City Schools 9 4,117
Newton-Conover City Schools 7 2,982
Source:  NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Schools Report Card
K-12 Non-Public School Enrollment - 2018-2019
  Schools Enrollment
Non-Public Schools 12 1,643
Source:  NC Dept. of Admin., Div. of Non-Public Educ., 2017 Directory of Non-Public Schools

Students at one of Catawba County's 43 public schools study math equations. - Photo by Eckard Photographic

Public Schools SAT Scores - 2019
  #Tested %Tested Math ERW Total
US 1,859,215 NA 515 524 1039
NC 47,842 44 542 549 1091
Catawba 426 36.6 546 546 1092
Hickory 140 56.2 546 556 1102
Newton-
Conover
86 35.4 538 561 1099
Source:  NC Department of Public Instruction, The NC SAT Report, 2017
Public Schools ACT Scores - 2018-2019
 
#Tested
Composite
Mean
English Mean
(Met
Benchmark)
Math Mean
(Met
Benchmark)
Reading Mean
(Met
Benchmark)
Science Mean
(Met
Benchmark)
Met all 4
Benchmarks
Writing Mean
(Met
Benchmark%)
Met all 5
Benchmarks
NC
101,830
18.4
16.7
(39.2%)
18.6
(25.4%)
19.0
(32.3%)
18.6
(24.6%)
15.9
5.6
(29.5%)
11.8
Catawba
1714
19.0
17.2
(43.3%)
19.4
(29.2%)
19.6
(33.9%)
19.5
(28.0%)
16.6
5.4
(21.7%)
8.4
Hickory
267
17.3
15.6
(34.6%)
17.6
(19.5%)
17.8
(26.4%)
17.7
(20.1%)
12.5
5.3
(24.2%)
8.0
Newton-
Conover
198
18.9
17.3
(38.9%)
18.5
(19.2%)
18.9
(30.8%)
20.2
(28.8%)
13.6
5.8
(27.4%)
8.1
Source:  NC Department of Public Instruction, ACT Results
Public School Post High School Intentions - 2017-2018
 
Catawba
Hickory
Newton-
Conover
      Total
Public Sr. Institution
303
(23.7%)
61
(21.0%)
63
(26.8%)
427
(23.6%)
Private Sr. Institution
149
(11.6%)
59
(20.3%)
33
(14%)
241
(13.3%)
Community College
552
(43.1%)
122
(41.9%)
96
(40.9%)
770
(42.6%)
Private Jr. College
2
(0.2 %)
3
(1.0%)
4
(1.7%)
9
(0.5%)
Trade Business School
17
(1.3%)
9
(3.1%)
-
26
(1.4%)
Military
56
(4.4%)
6
(2.1%)
5
(2.1%)
67
(3.7%)
Employment
179
(14.0%)
31
(10.7%)
34
(14.5%)
244
(13.5%)
Other
22
(1.7%)
-
-
22
(1.2%)
Totals
1,280
291
235
1,806
Source:  NC Department of Public Instruction, Statistical Profile for 2017-18



Higher Education

An increased focus on higher education is seen in the development of the Appalachian State University Center at Hickory, a collaborative effort between Appalachian State University and Catawba County's two existing higher education institutes, Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College.

As mentioned above, Catawba County is home to Lenoir Rhyne University, a four-year liberal arts school and Catawba Valley Community College. Additionally, the Appalachian State University Center at Hickory is a joint education center offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, non-credit certificate courses, research, and specialized workforce training through such universities as Appalachian State University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina. The new NC Center for Engineering Technologies provides facilities for applied research in engineering related fields and serves as a conduit to baccalaureate education delivered by the University of North Carolina system schools.

Lenoir-Rhyne University students take a break on the lawn outside the student center.

Colleges & Universities within 50 miles of Catawba County
University of NC Campuses (2016-2017)
 Institution  City Enrollment  Distance 
Appalachian State University (ASU) Boone 16,595 43
UNC - Charlotte Charlotte 23,404 50
Community Colleges (2017-2018)
Institution City Curriculum Enrollment Curriculum & Continuing Educ. Distance
Caldwell CC & TI Hudson 3,560 6,875 11
Catawba Valley CC Hickory 4,855 8,874 -
Cleveland CC Shelby 2,704 5,232 44
Central Piedmont CC Charlotte 19,621 33,578 46
Gaston College Dallas 5,545 10,486 22
McDowell CC Marion 1,070 3,824 46
Mitchell CC Statesville 3,208 5,944 17
Rowan-Cabarrus CC Salisbury 5,848 6,478 46
Western Piedmont CC Morganton 1,839 5,098 20
Independent Colleges and Universities (2016-2017)
Institution City Enrollment Distance
Belmont Abbey College Belmont 1,523 33
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord 443 43
Catawba College Salisbury 1,297 43
Davidson College Davidson 1,796 32
Gardner-Webb University Boiling Spring 2,362 40
ASU Center at Hickory Hickory Seated - 105 -
    Online - 842 -
Johnson C. Smith University Charlotte 1,326 44
Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory 2,005 -
Livingstone College Salisbury 1,204 46
NC Ctr for Eng. Tech. Hickory 50 -
Pfeiffer University Charlotte 1,089 47
Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte 1,617 47
Source:  NC Community College System, Annual Statistical Report; USNews.com, Best Colleges