Top 30 Community Colleges in The Us

Community colleges, also known as junior, city, or technical colleges, are higher education institutions which offer a number of degrees, awards, and certificates. Some even offer technical training and credentials, as well as comprehensive programs intended to help students transfer into different career-oriented programs.



These institutions get their name from the fact that they typically draw in students from the local communities. Tuition rates at community colleges are also much lower than traditional universities since they are often supported by local taxpayer dollars.

Today, there are over 1200 community colleges all across the United States. Statistics taken from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) suggest that almost half of all undergraduate students every year enroll in a community college. Community colleges are an integral part of the US education system and provide countless students the chance to enhance their employability as well as academic credentials.

Listed below (in no particular order) are 30 of the best community colleges in the United States.

1. Foothill College

Located in Los Altos Hills, California, Foothill College is an institution that offers a broad range of academic programs to students. It also has a fantastic distance learning program in which students can enroll in online associate degrees as well certificate programs.

Foothill College is also located very close to Silicon Valley, the seat of innovation and technology in the country. Because of its proximity to this hub, Foothill College attracts large numbers of international students. The community college is used as a gateway to top-tier universities in California, as well as lucrative and well positioned jobs in Silicon Valley.

The school encourages students to transfer for better opportunities, but also provides thorough guidance and career preparation programs for those students who choose to stay.

With its low tuition costs, excellent programs, and fantastic placement opportunities, Foothill College is a great community college to attend.

2. Walla Walla Community College

Located in Walla Walla, Washington, Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) provides students with over 70 degree and certificate programs to choose from. Students can choose from a wide variety of courses which are geared toward Extended Learning, Transitional Studies, Academic Transfer Education, and Professional/Technical Education. Programs can be taken traditionally on-campus or online through their distance learning option.

Some of the programs that are offered at WWCC include:

  • Allied Health
  • Agri-business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business Administration
  • Humanities
  • Nursing
  • Music
  • Sign Language

For each program, WWCC provides students with both the technical expertise that they need which is then further supplemented by local community learning and application of their skills. For instance, the Agriculture Center of Excellence at the school connects students with the industry and provides ample training and career opportunities in the agricultural industry. The Water and Environmental Center on the other hand provides practical training for environmental and economic sustainability.

WWCC has won numerous accolades for its excellent programs and educational standards. These include:

  • The 2013 co-winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence
  • Recognition by The Aspen Institute in 2011 as a Finalist with Distinction for the same prize

3. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is located in Santa Barbara, California and offers educational programs both on campus and through online courses. Students have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of programs, including over 80 different degrees and 50 certificate programs.

SBCC is committed to helping its students progress towards their career goals. That’s why they have agreements with over 76 colleges located both in and out of California which guarantee acceptance of SBCC credits for transfer. They also have a Transfer Achievement Program (TAP) which is designed to help students make the transition from a community college to a four-year university.

SBCC has also been recognized for its achievements in providing high quality education to its students. These include:

  • Being ranked #23 in the CNN Money list of community colleges in 2012
  • Co-winning the prestigious Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence in 2013
  • Being named a finalist for the above prize in 2011

4. Altamaha Technical College

Altamaha Technical College is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. Its main campus is in Jesup, Georgia, and the school offers a wide range of programs for students to pursue including degrees, certificates, and diplomas. It provides prospective applicants the chance to undertake continuing education, ESL, adult education, and development courses. Altamaha Technical College also offers its students the chance to take these programs on-campus or online.

For students who wish to prepare for careers in the medical, computer, and industrial fields, Altamaha Technical College offers technical certificate programs which offer the proper ground-work for these fields.

In addition, the school offers Associate of Applied Science degree in a number of fields, including:

  • Accounting
  • Networking Specialist
  • Marketing Management
  • Business Administrative Technology
  • Drafting Technology
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Criminal Justice Technology
  • Technical Studies

Once students are close to completing their programs, Altamaha Technical College offers exceptional job placement services to connect students to local employers. According to statistics from the college, there is a 98.6% job placement rate for graduates.

5. North Central Kansas Technical College

North Central Kansas Technical College (NCK Tech) has a number of campuses, with its main campus located in Beloit, Kansas. NCK Tech offers prospective students the chance to enroll in numerous programs including degrees, certificates as well as professional development education programs.

These are offered in areas such as:

  • Nursing
  • Residential Electricity
  • Culinary Arts
  • Agricultural Equipment Technology

In addition, North Central Kansas Technical College has a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce. As such, the school provides articulation agreements throughout the state in the following pathways:

  • AV Communications
  • Information Support/Services
  • Network Systems
  • Production – Welding
  • Programming and Software Development

NCK Tech has also gained attention and recognition nationwide for its exceptional programs including:

  • Being ranked #5 in the 2012 CNN Money list of community colleges
  • Being listed among the top 10 percent of all community colleges in the United States in 2013 by the Aspen Institute

Graduates of NCK Tech can expect to get the best help with finding a job upon graduation with the school reporting an over 90% placement rate every year. Statistics also show that the salaries that graduates of NCK Tech typically earn are comparable to those of graduates from 2 and 4 year colleges.

6. Lake Area Technical Institute

Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) is located in Watertown, South Dakota. Here, students can choose from a wide range of study programs to enroll in on campus as well as a number of online degree programs through distance learning. Students will also benefit from small class sizes and cutting edge technology that the school invests in.

Among the many subject areas that students can choose from include:

  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Financial Services
  • Human Services Technician

LATI also encourages and helps its students achieve their career and educational goals. Most of the time, this requires students to transfer to other colleges and universities. Part of the way in which LATI helps students is having articulation agreements with other schools. One such school is South Dakota State University. Students may transfer technical credits which they have earned at LATI to a specific degree program at SDSU. Furthermore, statistics show that 76% of full-time (and first time) students at LATI graduate or transfer to a four-year college or university. Considering the fact that the national average for this is 40%, LATI is clearly in a league of its own.

Upon graduation, students can expect to gain impressive job placement opportunities. Staff members at LATI, work in conjunction with the school’s numerous business partners to help students get a clear understanding of what the industry expects from graduates. Armed with this knowledge and the requisite skills, graduates from LATI can expect to fare much better in the job market.

For all of its impressive achievements, the Lake Area Technical Institute has won recognition on a number of occasions including:

  • In 2013, being named a Finalist with Distinction by The Aspen Institute in its Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence
  • In 2011, winning the same prize
  • In 2012, being ranked #11 in the CNN Money List of Community Colleges
  • Being ranked #1 by The Chronicle of Higher Education as the number one public two-year college in the United States for graduation rates

7. Fort Scott Community College

Fort Scott Community College is located in Fort Scott, Kansas, and is one of the oldest community colleges in the country, having been founded in 1919. It also happens to be the first community college in the state of Kansas.

The school has a student body of around 2000 students and offers programs in a number of different subject areas. These include:

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Business Computers
  • Construction Trades
  • Cosmetology
  • Harley-Davidson Technician
  • John Deere Ag Technician
  • Heating
  • Ventilation
  • Air Conditioning
  • Refrigeration
  • Manicurist
  • Masonry
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Welding

Fort Scott Community College is committed to helping its students realize their educational goals. It boats an impressive 87% graduation or transfer rate which is more than double the average rate for other colleges. Another distinguishing feature for Fort Scott Community College is the fact that its student-teacher ratio is 12:1 which ensures that students get the proper attention and instruction that they deserve.

8. Scottsdale Community College   

Scottsdale Community College is located in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, which is in the suburbs of greater Phoenix, Arizona. The school has a student body of over 10,000 students and is one of the top ranked large two-year institutions in the entire nation. In fact, it ranks among the top 20% of large community colleges in the United States.

For students interested in attending SCC, there are a wide range of programs available to choose from including associate degrees, certificates, as well as occupation programs.

There are three associate degree program categories, including:

  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Business
  • Associate in Science
  • And a Transfer program

A Certificate of Completion (CCL) is an award which is given when a student completes an occupational program. These programs require fewer credits to complete than full degree programs but equip graduates with the skills necessary for a chosen occupation.

Occupational Programs are intended for those who are looking to pursue a specific career. These programs are designed to equip students with the necessary skills to achieve their career goals.

These are available in the following fields:

  • Administration of Justice Studies
  • American Indian Studies / Tribal Development
  • Architectural Technology / CAD
  • Building Safety Technology
  • Business
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dance Technology
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Emergency Medical Technology
  • Equine Science
  • Fire Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Graphic Design
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Interior Design
  • Motion Picture / Television
  • Music Business / Audio Production Technologies
  • Nursing
  • Recreation Management
  • Yoga Instruction

SCC is also a great value school because it provides affordable tuition rates.    

9. North Central Missouri College

North Central Missouri College is located in Trenton, Missouri, and consistently ranks among the top ten community colleges in the United States. This two year public community college offers a number of certificate and associate degree programs for students to choose from.

In terms of Return on Investment (ROI), NCMC offers the seventh highest ROI in the country. Students can expect to earn salaries which are roughly 45% higher than the total cost of getting their entire degree.

10. Mayland Community College

Mayland Community College is located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and is part of the North Carolina Community College System. It also operates two separate learning centers, namely, the Avery Learning Center in Newland, and the Yancey Learning Center in Burnsville.  

MCC offers its students the chance to enroll in over 35 different degree programs including an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Fine Arts and an Associate in Science degree.

The school has the following academic departments:

  • Arts & Sciences (College Transfer)
  • Basic Skills
  • Business, Engineering & Public Service Technologies
  • Health Sciences
  • Applied Technology Programs

Furthermore, MCC has partnerships with numerous colleges and universities within the area in order to provide its students with a host of transfer options and opportunities. Students can enroll in classes for college credit, personal enjoyment, enrichment, and skills development.

What’s more, Mayland Community College was ranked the #4 community college in the 2010 Washington Monthly ranking of America’s best community colleges.

11. Los Angeles Harbor College

Los Angeles Harbor College is located in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, California. Its motto is “Where Students Learn” and the college strives to live up to its motto by providing students comprehensive and engaging programs to enroll in.

LAHC offers students the chance to enroll in courses which may be taken either on campus or online. All programs are affordable and available in a variety of different disciplines.

12. Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College is located in Mesa, Arizona and was established in 1965. It is part of the 10 community colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, and also the largest of them all.

Since it opened, the college has been committed to providing its students with high quality services, innovation, and empowerment. The school spends significant amounts on online learning, and its online programs are of the same caliber and quality as on-campus ones. MCC offers a number of online degree programs which can be taken completely online in a wide range of academic fields including emergency management and justice studies.

MCC offers students over 200 degree programs to choose from in academic fields such as:

  • Agribusiness
  • Business
  • Bio Technology
  • Computer Science
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Electronics
  • Engineering
  • Fire Science
  • Mortuary Science
  • Nursing
  • Urban Horticulture

MCC is located next to one of the largest universities in the United States, Arizona State University. Many students from MCC end up transferring to ASU, another school which is a leader in online education.

13. Northern Virginia Community College

Northern Virginia Community College (also informally known as NOVA) has six campuses in Northern Virginia, with its largest and main campus being the Annandale Campus. This two year public community college system is the second largest of its kind in the country.

Throughout its six campuses, NOVA has more than 75,000 students and over 2,600 faculty members. The college system is one of the most internationally diverse, having students enrolled from over 180 countries around the world.

At NOVA, students can choose from over 160 different degree programs, which may be associate degrees or certificate programs. There are also a number of continuing education courses, as well as distance learning options.

NOVA also encourages its students to transfer into four year degree programs. To facilitate this, there are a number of public colleges and universities which have a transfer agreement with NOVA.

14. Rend Lake College

Rend Lake College is part of the Illinois Community College System along with 48 other 2-year schools. Located in Ina, Illinois, this institution offers students the chance to pursue diplomas, certificates, and degrees in a wide range of disciplines.

RLC also has partnerships with a number of four-year colleges and universities in the surrounding area under the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). This is essentially a statewide transfer agreement which allows general education credits to be transferred among a large number of participating colleges and universities within Illinois.

Some of the institutions that are a part of this agreement include:

  • Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville
  • Western Illinois University

RLC also offers “two-plus-two” programs. These programs essentially ensure that students who complete a two year course at RLC will have their credits transferred to their majors at a four-year institution.

Within the school, there are seven primary divisions or academic departments. These include:

  • Advanced Technology
  • Math/Science/Education
  • Allied Health
  • Health & P.E.
  • Applied Science
  • Skills Center
  • Liberal Arts
  • Special Programs

In total, there are about 43 associate degree programs and 80 certificate programs which are offered within these divisions.

Furthermore, statistics indicate that graduates of RLC can expect to earn starting salaries which are 1.3 times the full cost of their tuition.

15. Cochise College

Cochise College is located in Douglas, Arizona, and is consistently ranked among the top three community colleges in the country. The two main campuses of the school are located in Douglas and Sierra Vista. CC also has a number of differed centers which are located in Benson, Fort Huachuca, Nogales, and Willcox.

At Cochise College, students can choose to enroll in associate degree programs in:

  • Art
  • Applied Science
  • Business
  • Elementary Education
  • General Studies
  • Science

The school also offers over 30 different certificate programs as well as transfer programs which allow students to transfer to universities which it has partnership with.

Statistics indicate that graduates from CC earn salaries which are 60% higher than their total tuition costs, making CC a school with an excellent ROI.

What’s more, CC even has its own airport which was made specifically for the aviation program offered at the college. If aviation is something that you’re interested in, CC is the place to go.

16. Mitchell Technical Institute     

Mitchell Technical Institute is located in Mitchell, South Dakota, and is listed among the top 150 community colleges in the United States. This institute has a small student body of about 1,200 students and therefore an ideal student-teacher ratio.

MTI offers students the chance to choose from 25 associate degree programs and 15 certificate programs to enroll in.

Some of the subject areas that students can choose to pursue include:

  • Agricultural Technology
  • Satellite Communications
  • Wind Turbine Technology
  • Radiation Therapy

17. Labette Community College

Labette Community College is located in Parsons, Kansas, and is a fully accredited two-year public institution. It has a total student body of 1,200-1,900 with a student-teacher ratio of 14:1.

At LCC, students can enroll in associate degree programs as well as diplomas and certificates. Some of the fields in which students can gain a degree include:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Related Support Services

18. Meridian Community College

Meridian Community College is located in Meridian, Mississippi, and is a public two-year institution. It has a student body of roughly 4,000 students and a student-faculty ratio of 22:1.

Students can pursue degrees and certificates in the following fields:

  • Liberal Arts
  • Sciences
  • General Studies
  • Humanities
  • Health Professions
  • Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Related Support Services

Students also have the opportunity to pursue a variety of technical fields. Here, the college provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to start a career in their chosen fields. These include:

  • Construction Trade Technology
  • Broadcasting
  • Machine Shop Technology
  • Electronics
  • Cosmetology
  • Dental Hygienics
  • Nursing

Meridian students also have a program completion rate of 64%, which is much higher than the national average (40%).

19. Northern Oklahoma College   

Northern Oklahoma College is located in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, and has campuses in Enid and Stillwater. NOC has been committed to providing students with high quality, accessible learning programs so that they can go on to become responsible successful citizens. It is a college that believes that affordable education opportunities are what individuals need in order to contribute to the world around them.

Students can enroll in associate degree programs, continuing education courses, and a number of different technical programs. In addition, NOC facilitates transfers into four year colleges/universities.

Some of the areas of study offered at NOC include:

  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Agriculture
  • Journalism
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Engineering Technologies

Furthermore, NOC has the highest ROI rating of any two year institution in the entire country. In general, students can expect to earn starting salaries which are 1.88 times the total value of their education. 

20. Lee College

Lee College is located in Baytown, Texas, which is roughly 30 miles outside of Houston. The college offers students the chance to pursue a wide range of disciplines and earn diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees.

Some of the many subject areas which students can choose to pursue include:

  • Computer Science
  • Construction Engineering Technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Criminal Justice & Corrections
  • Law Enforcement
  • Legal Assistant
  • Liberal Arts
  • Machine Shop
  • Management
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Pilot Training
  • Physics

For students who have jobs and cannot afford to attend full-time classes, Lee College offers part-time enrollment. In fact, statistics show that about 70% of the students at Lee are studying part-time.

21. Western Wyoming Community College

Western Wyoming Community College is located in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and is a technical and liberal arts institution. Here, students can choose to pursue a number of different programs including one year certificates and diplomas, as well as two year associate degree programs. WWCC also has a partnership with the University of Wyoming and therefore offers some four year degree programs in cooperation with the university.

WWCC is unique; it is situated 6,500 feet above sea level and therefore experiences some very harsh winters. Because of this, the campus at WWCC is entirely indoors and connected via an intricate maze of hallways. Furthermore, the Rock Springs region of Wyoming is home to numerous fossils, many of which are displayed at WWCC. The college also has a Wildlife Museum which displays numerous preserved species.

Another unique feature of WWCC is its highly acclaimed online programs. WWCC offers a number of programs which can be taken 100% online in fields such as business administration, criminal justice, and computer information systems. The school also offers low tuition rates so that students don’t graduate with mounds of debt. 

22. Odessa College

Odessa College is located in Odessa, Texas. The college helps over 5000 students meet their career goals by helping them gain credentials, which can later be transferred to institutes of higher learning. It also offers a number of continuing education and basic courses.

OC is cited as an Achieving the Dream Leader College. This essentially means that they have an incredible track record for producing graduates, as well as a very high course completion rate (a whopping 94%!). These statistics are indicative of Odessa’s commitment to supporting students meet their goals.

For those looking to study remotely, OC Global is the college’s online learning platform. There are over a dozen different fully online degree programs available for students to choose from including Associate in Science and Associate in Arts degrees.

23. Kentucky Community and Technical College System

Kentucky Community and Technical College System is located in Versailles, Kentucky. The College system is comprised of 16 different colleges with over 70 campuses all across Kentucky. In order to ensure open admission education, the college offers online degree programs to its students across the state. Each individual college within the KCTCS retains its own unique identity and is able to provide students with something new and unique. The benefit of having 16 different colleges within the system is that it allows for a consolidation of all of their joint resources, functions, services, and programs. The result is that students in Kentucky benefit from getting the best education, as well as career guidance and technical training. Students can also easily transfer between the colleges and take their courses online or in the evenings to suit their schedules.

In the KCTCS system, students can enroll in:

  • Associate degrees
  • Pre-Baccalaureate programs to transfer to a public 4-year institution
  • Adult Education
  • Continuing and Developmental Education
  • Customized Training for Business and Industry
  • Distance Learning

Furthermore, the KCTCS education is affordable, and offers the same low tuition rates to In-state and out of state students.

24. Barton Community College

Barton Community College is a two year public community college which is located in Great Bend, Kansas. The main campus is located in a rural area and the student body is approximately 5,200 students. At Barton, the student-teacher ratio is 24:1 making learning more interactive and giving students the chance to thoroughly engage with their teachers and class.

BCC plays a huge role in the community that it is situated in and participates and contributes to its cultural life. The college has a gallery of fine art, an orchestra, and a planetarium among other cultural amenities.

For students who have work or family commitments, which make it difficult for them to physically attend campus, BCC has a fantastic online education system called BartOnline. BartOnline offers over 30 online degree programs which students can choose to enroll in.

Degrees are offered in areas such as:

  • Business and Economics
  • Computers and Information Systems
  • Health Professions
  • Public Safety
  • Liberal Arts
  • Humanities
  • Engineering Technologies

In addition, BCC offers low tuition rates.

25. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is located in Rome, Georgia, and is the largest college in the region. It is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). Students can enroll in one of the five campuses of GNTC which are located across Georgia. This includes the Walker County Campus, Floyd County Campus, Gordon County Campus, Polk County Campus, and Whitfield-Murray Campus.

GNTC specializes in offering students continuing education, occupational education, skills training, as well as workforce development.

For students unable to attend classes on campus, GNTC offers a number of online as well as hybrid degree programs. This includes diplomas, certificates, and AAS degrees.

26. Clovis Community College

Clovis Community College is located in Clovis, New Mexico, and is a two year public educational institution. The college partners with the Eastern New Mexico University in order to help students transfer to four-year programs.

In the spirit of accessibility, CCC also offers its students numerous online degree programs which allow students to remotely earn a degree of their choosing. Currently, the college offers programs such as:

  • Paralegal Studies
  • Behavioral Science
  • Computer Information Systems

Lastly, in order for CCC to keep to its commitment of accessibility, tuition rates need to be reasonable. That’s why tuition rates for residents are as low as $39 per credit hour. This incredibly low rate ensures that students can prepare for a promising future with very little financial risk involved.

27. Amarillo College

Amarillo College is a two year public community college located in Amarillo, Texas, and has six fully functioning campuses. Most of the campuses are located in and around Amarillo, while two are located in other parts of Texas.

Amarillo College has a student body of over 10,000 students making it one of the largest community colleges by enrollment in the United States.

Since its creation, AC has been focused on providing its students with practical career education which allows them to immediately enter the workforce upon graduation. To aid in this endeavor, AC opened an allied health center as well as an industrial technology center which help provide students with necessary training. 

Some of the courses that are offered at Amarillo College include:

  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Aircraft Systems
  • Introduction to Archeology
  • Graphic Design
  • Advanced Web Programming

The college is also committed to helping students transfer to four year bachelor’s degree programs.

Students who are unable to physically attend classes may enroll in Amarillo College’s online degree programs. Subject areas such as Radiation Therapy and Criminal Justice can be pursued from the comfort of your own home, and on your own timetable.

28. Johnson County Community College

Johnson County Community College is located in Overland Park, Kansas, and is the largest undergraduate institution in the state. Due to its commitment to academic excellence, the college has emerged as an educational leader in the community college network.

This large college has a student body of over 20,000 students in continuing education and credit based programs.

 Johnson County Community College also offers online learning options whereby students can enroll in degree and credit programs via the web. There are over 19 fields of study offered at JCCC including:

  • Accounting
  • Sciences
  • Fire Services
  • Management

JCCC prides itself on being affordable and accommodating, and is committed to helping students realize their career and academic goals.

29. Portland Community College

Portland Community College is located in Portland, Oregon, and is the largest community college in the entire state. The college has four major campuses around the Portland area, as well as a number of centers which offer similar but limited programs.

Today, there are over 90,000 students at PCC including full-time and part-time students. PCC offers students the choice of taking courses on campus and online. In fact, PCC offers one of the largest numbers of higher education courses online and provides its students with a flexible and economical way of getting the degree or qualification that they want. Lessons feature a ton of effective multimedia lessons and resources, and online programs allow students to engage and interact with other online students.

30. Spokane Falls Community College

Spokane Falls Community College is located in Spokane, Washington, and is a two year public institution. It is a part of the Community Colleges of Spokane network.

At SFCC students can pursue an associate’s degree in a number of different academic fields. In addition, the college offers certificate programs as well as a number of technical degrees.

Distance learning is also an option for students who can’t make it to campus. Programs are tailor made to suit the students’ needs and preferences in order to realize their educational goals.

 

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