By BVS Staff
Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, are institutions that specialize in providing affordable, open access to postsecondary education. In contrast to traditional universities, most community colleges accept all applicants, meaning prospective students do not have to compete for spots on the basis of academic track record or other merits.
Featured 2-year Colleges
Junior colleges also differ from traditional universities in that they don’t usually offer four-year degrees. Instead, they provide two-year (associate’s) degrees as well as certificate, diploma, and vocational training programs. Many people start taking classes at a community college and then transfer to a larger university to finish their bachelor’s degree.
The 50 Best Online Community Colleges Ranking Methodology
There are at least 1,100 community colleges in the U.S., and we sorted through them all to find those that offer the very best value.
For the purposes of this ranking, we defined community colleges as public institutions that primarily offer associate’s degrees, diplomas, and technical/vocational certificates. As our focus was on online colleges, we only considered schools that offer at least one degree or certificateentirely through distance education. Online skills training and non-credit courses did not meet this criteria.
Finding the Best in Each State
Our ranking of the best community colleges online includes one school from each of the 50 states. As such, the first step in our methodology was to identify the top junior college in each state.
For this first round of filtering, we focused mainly on the number of online degrees – counting only associate’s, certificate, and diploma programs – that each college offers. In the event that two schools in one state offer a similar number of degrees online, we then looked at retention and graduation rate statistics to tip the balance.
Ranking the Top 50
Once we had identified the best online community college in each state, we ranked these top 50 schools by assigning them points in four categories:
- Their selection of online degrees and certificates (including hybrid programs with at least 75% of coursework available at a distance)
- Undergraduate retention rate (the percentage of new students who returned to the school for a second year)
- Undergraduate graduation rate (the percentage of full-time students who completed their program in at least 150% of expected time)
- The annual total cost of in-state tuition and fees
All the information we used in this ranking came from either the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the related College Navigator database, or directly from the colleges’ official websites.
After calculating the results for each school in each category, we added up the point totals and assigned final scores. Lastly, we scaled these scores so that the #1 community college earned a full 100 points. Look below to read more about the best, most affordable community colleges online!
50. Delaware Technical Community College
If you’re apprehensive about attending a top community college online, rest assured that Delaware Technical Community College has all the resources you need to make a comfortable transition to distance learning. Although the school offers just a few fully online programs, there is a large selection of individual courses available in online, hybrid, and web-enhanced formats. DTCC defines hybrid classes as ones with at least 50% of coursework online, while web-enhanced classes meet on campus more than 50% of the time. But regardless of which delivery method you choose – and you can certainly opt for a combination of all three – the college’s dedicated online learning management system will provide you with an interactive, engaging educational experience.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,607/yr
49. Community College of Vermont
Even students who take the majority of their classes in person at the Community College of Vermont typically enroll in a few online courses. That’s because this top online community college prioritizes small classes, experienced instructors, and opportunities for students to work together on group projects. CCV also offers an attractive new option for particularly ambitious learners: accelerated online courses that require just seven weeks to complete. Accelerated courses are available in numerous subjects, from psychology to computer science. And for high school students who’d like to knock out a few college credits, the school’s dual enrollment program could let you take an online course for free.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $6,222/yr
48. West Virginia Northern Community College
With affordable online associate’s degree programs and certificates in nearly a dozen subjects, West Virginia Northern Community College has something for just about everyone. Its selection includes A.A. degrees in popular topics like psychology, English/humanities, and history/social studies, plus an A.S. in business. Of course, the general A.A. transfer program is also available online. To boost your employability, you might also want to pick up a certificate in a career-oriented topic like Small Business Management or Microsoft Applications. And if you’re not sure whether you’d be a good fit for distance learning, the school has provides an online self-assessment to help you make that decision.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,684/yr
47. Spartanburg Community College
Whether you intend to stop after earning your associate’s degree or go on to complete a bachelor’s, Spartanburg Community College can help you meet your goal. The school’s top online college programs include two “university transfer” options. These two-year programs provide the coursework you need to make a smooth transition to a four-year college to complete your bachelor’s. Spartanburg offers both A.A. and A.S. tracks, which are designed to meet lower-level course requirements for a variety of B.A. and B.S. degrees, respectively. On the other hand, applicants who only plan to earn an associate’s will appreciate relevant programs like the A.A. in Management, which also offers electives in Fire Services and Marketing.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,332/yr
46. Tunxis Community College
Connecticut’s top community college represents a great opportunity for aspiring business professionals. Although Tunxis also offers associate’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Business Studies, the college places a clear emphasis on business. Students can enroll in an accredited online certificate program or earn a full A.S. in Business Administration. An accelerated degree + certificate program is also available. The latter option enables highly motivated participants to earn a certificate in just six months and/or an A.S. degree in only 22 months. Tunxis also ensures that their distance learning courses accommodate a variety of schedules. For example, you can choose from a fall or spring start date, and all classes are asynchronous.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,208/yr
45. Delgado Community College
New Orleans, LA
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,911/yr
44. Bismarck State College
It’s easy to see why Bismarck State College earns a spot on this list of the top online certificate programs. The school provides a wide range of career-focused applied science degrees – many tailored specifically to jobs available in North Dakota. Enrollees can choose among A.A.S. programs in Petroleum Production Technology, Geographic Information Systems, and Power Plant Technology, among many other options. And if you’re a current military member or veteran, you’ll appreciate a number of special perks. Not only will you earn tuition assistance for your service, but you can get course credit for your military experience.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,659/yr
43. Great Falls College Montana State University
Great Falls, MT
If you’d like to get a jump-start on a career in medical technology, take a close look at Great Falls College MSU. Enrolling in this affordable community college online will grant you access to programs in four in-demand fields: Health Information Technology, Health Information Coding, Medical Scribe, and Pharmacy Technician. Note that the pharmacy tech certificate requires an on-site clinical experience, where you’ll observe and work in both acute-care and ambulatory settings. You can complete all the other programs completely online at a pace that fits your schedule. And if you’re looking for a more substantial education, GFC offers online A.A. and A.S. general transfer degrees plus an A.A.S. in Accounting.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,130/yr
42. Roane State Community College
With fully online, interactive live video, and hybrid course options, Roane State Community College has classes to meet all students’ needs. One of the school’s best online associate’s degree programs is the A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education. Blending theory with practical knowledge, this eminently career-focused curriculum readies graduates for work in Tennessee’s Head Start program. And although most classes are online, you will have to complete a two-part practicum (one on campus and one in the field). If education isn’t your subject of choice, you can also pursue degrees in General Studies, Criminal Justice, and Health Information Technology.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,047/yr
41. Klamath Community College
Klamath Falls, OR
Klamath Community College’s online classroom uses the popular Canvas platform to provide distance learners with a comprehensive and unified learning experience. As a new student at KCC, you’ll first complete a Canvas tutorial to ensure you’re ready for the virtual classroom. Soon you’ll be busy participating in discussion forums, collaborating on projects, and submitting assignments through the electronic portal. And if you ever get stuck, just contact the 24/7 student support center. To top it all off, this efficient system supports some of the top online college programs in Oregon. The most popular associate’s degrees focus on business administration and education, but you’ll also find a general transfer option plus a unique certificate in Retail Management.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,687/yr
40. Snow College
If cost is a concern, you’ll find some relief at Utah’s best online community college. With in-state tuition and fees coming in around $3,600, Snow College represents a great opportunity to earn an eminently affordable degree. And price isn’t the school’s only hallmark. It consistently earns top ratings from multiple ranking agencies, boasts a 20:1 student-teacher ratio, and comes highly recommended by recent graduates. What’s more, badgers can choose from dozens of online courses and two fully online degrees, plus a generous credit transfer policy means you could earn your degree in 18 months or less.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,592/yr
39. Ivy Tech Community College
Alongside some more standard programs, Ivy Tech Community College offers a few gems you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. For example, the school’s accredited online associate’s degree programs in Cyber Security/Informatics and Database Management offer great opportunities to launch a career in two growing fields. The Cyber Security degree is certified by the NSA, while the Database Management degree prepares program members to transfer to a four-year college to earn their bachelor’s. And these are just two of the school’s many options. Other online associate’s degrees include Informatics, Software Development, and Logistics. Or if you can take a few classes on campus, hybrid programs in Early Childhood Education, Human Services, and Paralegal Studies are also available.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,175/yr
38. St Petersburg College
With nearly 40 affordable online college programs, degrees, and certificates available, St. Petersburg catapults itself into an elite group of community colleges. Of course a general A.A. is one option, but the school also offers a wealth of A.S. programs in hard-to-find subjects like Crime Scene Technology, Fire Science, Veterinary Technology, and more. Plus, you can earn one of many certificates as part of your continuing education efforts or to augment your associate’s degree. Many of these also focus on unique career areas, such as Funeral Arts, Help Desk Support, and Computer Related Crime Investigations. All coursework for these programs is available entirely online, with the exception of internships and practicums in certain cases.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,385/yr
37. College of Southern Maryland
La Plata, MD
Students with interests in business, management, or IT will be well-served by the College of Southern Maryland, which offers the best online certificate programs and associate’s degrees in the state. Business majors can choose from A.S. degrees in administration and technical management or opt for an A.A.S. in Business Management. There’s even a highly-focused program in Sport Management. Aspiring computer professionals enjoy a similar selection; A.A.S. degrees are available in Computer Information Systems and Information Services Technology (general and web development concentrations). What’s more, a variety of certificates in related areas – including Small Business Entrepreneurship and Technical Support – will help you augment your skills and boost your career preparedness.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $6,288/yr
36. Ozarks Technical Community College
Given the sheer size of the state, it makes sense that Alaska’s best community college puts a premium on distance learning courses for its many commute-challenged residents. Indeed, this top community college online provides a wide range of certificate programs, occupational endorsements, and associate’s degrees to help meet your career goals. Options range from accounting to education to IT, with a few unique outliers (a certificate in Medical/Dental Reception, for example). And if you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the school’s eLearning and Distance Education Department for support.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,164/yr
35. University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College
Not only does Leeward Community College offer some of the most affordable online associate’s degree programs in Hawaii, but it also boasts an impressive retention rate. Students clearly want to stick around once they enroll, perhaps partly due to the school’s supportive iLearn community. This robust support center gives distance learners the tools and resources they need to succeed, including articles on relevant topics (time management, tech support, and financial planning, for example) and targeted distance learning guides. Whether you’re pursuing a two-year associate’s degree or a shorter certificate, you’ll reap the benefits of an engaging learning environment and highly-invested faculty.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $9,300/yr
34. Leeward Community College
Pearl City, HI
Online education is a school-wide affair at the College of Southern Idaho. Several departments offer web-based courses as well as entirely online degrees, making this top online community college an attractive choice for anyone who places premium on variety. Indeed, few schools can boast that they offer an A.A. in Economics, an A.A. in Information Science, and an A.A.S. in Surgical First Assisting all in one place. One another note, aspiring educators will appreciate CSI’s numerous education-focused programs, which include a general A.A. in Education, two dedicated Education Assistant offerings, and quite a few options in Early Childhood Education.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,084/yr
33. College of Southern Idaho
Twin Falls, ID
If you’re trying to complete an accredited online college program in as little time as possible, check out Montgomery County Community College. The Pennsylvania school offers all manner of accelerated courses. You can choose from seven-, 10-, and 15 week-classes and three annual start dates. Interested students will also appreciate MCCC’s easy-to-navigate list of distance ed. programs. The website even posts the exact percentage of coursework that is available online for each degree. Most are available entirely via the internet, but a few require on-campus or hands-on work (e.g. to earn student teaching or internship credits).
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,120/yr
32. Montgomery County Community College
Blue Bell, PA
Alongside eight fully online degree and certificate programs, Massasoit Community College runs a bevy of hybrid options. This latter category includes more than 20 programs that offer anywhere from 50-95% of coursework online. And the occasional campus commute might be worth it to earn your associate’s degree in such unique fields as Media Communications, Theater, and Hospitality Management. MCC is also one of the top community colleges online for students who want to earn their bachelor’s. In fact, the school supports a comprehensive Liberal Arts Transfer program with specializations in Computer Science, Elementary Education, Psychology, and more.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $10,230/yr
31. Massasoit Community College
With an impressive 69% retention rate, the Community College of Rhode Island earns a spot as one of the best places to enroll in an affordable online certificate program or degree. And unlike some other places, distance learners aren’t a second thought at this school. In fact, they have access to a focused online orientation program that includes readiness quizzes, a virtual tour of the library, links to useful online resources, and other support services. There’s even an online Success Center where distance learners can go to get one-on-one help with assignments, just like their on-campus classmates.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,680/yr
30. Community College of Rhode Island
Of all the courses available at Snead State during the 2015-2016 academic year, a full 50% of them were online classes. That statistic epitomizes the school’s commitment to making distance learning accessible. Along with more typical accredited online associate’s degree programs, Snead State runs a few targeted options for adults with specific career goals. For example, you could earn an A.A.S. in Office Administration or in Mobility LPN-to-Associate Degree Nursing. Note that the latter requires a few on-campus meetings and a clinical placement. In addition, the A.A.S. and long-term certificate in Child Development both require on-site fieldwork.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,266/yr
29. Snead State Community College
Michigan’s top online community college consistently racks up accolades from ranking groups for its online offerings, and you can see why. For starters, the school offers a number of business-focused degrees and certificates – all at a great price. Options range from the general (e.g., the A.A. in Business) to the specific (e.g., the A.A.S. in Retail Management and the A.A.S. in Supply Chain Management), so you can choose whichever option meets your career goals. For anyone not interested in business, Washtenaw also runs a few IT-focused options, along with a transfer program in Liberal Arts.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,440/yr
28. Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, MI
Like all of the schools on this ranking, NMCC is home to an array of affordable online college programs. But Northwest Mississippi Community College does a lot more than that to attract distance learners. For example, the school runs a dedicated Facebook page for online students to help keep them informed and involved in campus activities. The college is also sensitive to the schedule limitations of busy adults and offers accelerated courses that take just eight weeks to complete. Lastly, NMCC goes out of its way to provide degree programs in current, in-demand fields like Marketing/Public Relations, Social Work, and Office Administration.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,888/yr
27. Northwest Mississippi Community College
Not only does Wyoming’s Casper College offer more than a dozen accredited online certificate programs and degrees, but it also runs about 50 hybrid options (at least 70% web-based). These partially online programs are convenient for local students and come in a variety of unique subjects, like Addictionology, Construction Management, and Nutrition. But even those who can’t swing the commute will be happy with their selection of online degrees, which run the gamut from Accounting to Psychology. And Job-focused applicants will especially appreciate that they can enroll in practical majors like Agribusiness, Fire Science, and Retail Management.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,800/yr
26. Casper College
Colorado residents who want to attend a top community college online will want to consider Front Range. FRCC boasts an expansive array of wholly online programs – more than two dozen A.A., A.S., and A.A.S. degrees plus another dozen training certificates. What’s more, there are another dozen degree and certificate options that are available at least 80% online. And many of these programs pair nicely together, allowing you to make the most out of your education and maximize your appeal in the job market. For example, you might earn an A.A.S. in Business with a certificate in Accounting, an A.A. in Communication with a certificate in Marketing, or an A.A.S. in Programming with a certificate in Web Development.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,832/yr
25. Front Range Community College
For rock-bottom prices, you won’t beat Clovis Community College. The school provides some of the most affordable online associate’s degree programs in the country. Yet its low prices come with a powerful return on investment. In fact, Clovis specializes in tightly-focused programs that help students quickly advance their careers. The A.A.S. in Legal Assistant Studies leads directly to a career as a paralegal, for example, while the A.A.S. in Computer Information Systems will grant you job marketability in a number of fields. You can even pair the latter with an industry-recognized certificate to really boost your resume! Or if you plan to earn your bachelor’s, degrees like the A.S. in Behavioral Science serve as a strong foundation for further study.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,660/yr
24. Clovis Community College
For more than 20 years, West Kentucky Community and Technical College has proudly offered web-based and web-enhanced classes to its distance learners. So it should come as no surprise that it ranks as the best online community college in the Bluegrass State. Although it offers plenty of common options, West Kentucky really stands out for its more unique programs. These include an A.A.S. in Marine Technology and a diploma or certificate in Computer Aided Drafting and Design. The former readies grads for careers as professional mariners, while the latter prepares you to work as part of an engineering design team.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $1,248/yr
23. West Kentucky Community and Technical College
Distance learners at Herkimer County Community College don’t have to worry about missing out on important activities or resources. As one of the top community colleges online, HCCC provides online students with access to all the same services as their on-campus counterparts. Plus, they even benefit from a specialized, 24/7 E-Tutoring center. As for the types of online degrees available, this school is a homerun for anyone interested in the travel industry. First, there’s the slightly more traditional (but still uncommon) A.A.S. in Travel and Events Management. Or you might go for the truly one-of-a-kind A.A.S. in Ecotourism and Adventure Travel, which promotes socially-conscious travel practices that protect the environment and indigenous populations.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,936/yr
22. Herkimer County Community College
Kennebec Valley’s accredited online college programs are ideal for students with an interest in health and/or technology. Fully and partially-online degree options include Mental Health Technology, Pulp and Paper Technology (both 100% online), Computer Information Systems, Health Information Technology, and Radiologic Technology (partially online). The Pulp and Paper Tech program in particular is one that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. This unique curriculum – which is available as either an A.A.S. or certificate – prepares degree candidates for work as lab technicians, engineering assistants, line supervisors, materials suppliers, and other essential jobs within the paper industry.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,980/yr
21. Kennebec Valley Community College
Oklahoma’s top online community college has plenty to recommend it: affordable tuition, a high retention rate, and a respectable selection of accredited online certificate programs and degrees. Carl Albert State College’s Virtual Campus department keeps an eye on course content, quality, and delivery to ensure online learners aren’t just a second thought, and multiple course delivery options (video, recorded lectures, live discussions) provide variability. Educators in particular can choose from quite a few options, including three certificates in child development and an A.A. or A.A.S. in the same subject.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,790/yr
20. Carl Albert State College
A stable internet connection and solid work ethic are all you need to complete your degree at Carl Albert State College. This accredited online community college offers a diverse selection of online associate degrees, including programs in Business Administration, Sociology, or Computer Technology. Eager to finish? Enroll in CASC’s accelerated, eight-week course options and fast-track your graduation timeline. In addition, all of Carl Albert’s general education courses are available online. This makes it easy to transfer your credits to a four-year university – and makes CASC a top choice for budget-minded undergraduates who want to save money on the road to their bachelor’s.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,160/yr
19. Southern Arkansas University Tech
Complete one of SAU Tech’s affordable online associate’s degree programs and you’ll have the freedom to transfer to any other college in Arkansas. But why bother attending this community college first? Because you can complete your general education requirements for half the cost of a larger university! Of course, some SAU Tech applicants are more interested in quick vocational training. For those trade-focused students, the community college offers industry-specific certificates in fields such as computer information technology, environmental facility management, and fire science. But SAU Tech also offers a special teacher education initiative. Thanks to partnerships with Henderson State and Southern Arkansas University, aspiring teachers can transfer seamlessly to either school and earn entire four-year degree online.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,677/yr
18. White Mountains Community College
Choosing the right school for your online degree or certificate can be a tough decision. And while there’s no single college that’s best for everyone, WMCC certainly makes a compelling argument. For one, the school has one of the highest graduation rates on this list (over 50% earn their degree in the expected timeframe). And its retention rate is even higher! These stats should give you confidence that WMCC cultivates a supportive learning environment that promotes student success. And indeed, the community college has designed programs for all types of learners. Whether you have an interest in Health and Wellness, Criminal Justice, Library Technology, or Autism Education, WMCC has some of the best online certificate programs that we’ve found.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $7,344/yr
17. Ocean County College
Toms River, NJ
True professionals are always thinking ahead to their next career move. Fortunately, OCC supports a number of affordable online certificate programs that will help you do just that. Whether you need to study for the LSAT, brush up on essential creative software, or review the fundamental principles of grant writing, OCC has what you need. Aspiring university graduates will also find plenty of options as well. Along with traditional degrees in fields like Computer Science and Engineering, the college also offers specialized programs like the A.S. in Homeland Security. You might even couple it with a certificate in Middle Eastern Studies to really enhance your résumé!
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,035/yr
16. Northern Virginia Community College
Most distance learners opt for online classes because they prioritize three things: flexibility, time, and affordability. If this describes you, then you’re sure to get excited about NOVA’s diverse array of online programs. The community college offers degrees in everything from International Studies and Political Science to Business Management. And while most of these degrees prepare you to transfer, the school also offers vocational certificates in cutting-edge fields like Social Media Marketing and Cyber Security. To top it all off, NOVA has one of the highest retention rates on our ranking – a stat that only solidifies its reputation as one of the best online community colleges in the nation.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,313/yr
15. Coastline Community College
Fountain Valley, CA
With an impressive 30 years of experience in distance education, Coastline has developed a tried-and-true approach to online learning. Their secret? At its core, this remarkably affordable online community college emphasizes effective and innovative teaching methods. Of course, its 40+ online associate’s degrees and certificates don’t hurt, either! Future transfer students can earn their A.A. in a traditional subject (e.g. American Studies or Science and Math) and make a seamless transition to a liberal arts program at any CSU institution. More career-minded applicants could opt for an A.A. in Gerontology, Health and Fitness, or Business Administration, or earn a certificate in a practical field like accounting, management, or process technology.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $1,136/yr
14. Shoreline Community College
If live in Washington and you’re determined to receive an affordable education, take a close look at Shoreline Community College. After earning their A.A. from this top online community college, most graduates can transfer to an in-state university with junior-level status. To start, enroll in Shoreline’s AA-DTA (“Associate in Arts – Direct Transfer Agreement”) program, which offers diverse majors like Criminal Justice, English Language & Literature, History, and Psychology. Or if you’d rather get the ball rolling and jump into a career as soon as possible, check out SCC’s numerous certificate programs. Options range from 19 (Cert. of Completion – Short Term) to 89 credits (Cert. of Proficiency) and cover relevant subjects like Microsoft Software Applications and Clean Energy Technology.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,735/yr
13. Mesa Community College
Whether you’re interested in the music business, international trade, or organizational leadership, Mesa Community College has a tailored business track just for you. Not only that, but you’ll benefit from unique course options that directly prepare you for success in your chosen field. For example, music business majors can complete an internship in the entertainment industry, while students focused on international trade are required to take foreign language courses. And since these accredited online associate’s degree programs come at such a reasonable price, there’s no reason not to supplement your degree – and boost your job prospects – with a certificate, too.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,094/yr
12. Northwest Iowa Community College
If you think distance learning is for you, you’ll be happy to hear that NICC is a member of Iowa’s online community college consortium. That means that you’ll have access to approximately 750 web-based courses at schools across the state – not just NICC. Another reason people choose Northwest Iowa is because of its emphasis on professional fields like education, business, and law. Degrees are also available in specialized trades, such as NICC’s accredited A.A.S. in Healthcare Information Technology. Participants in this top online college program boast a 100% exam pass rate on the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credentialing exam!
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,760/yr
11. Central Community College
Grand Island, NE
Central Community College has some of the best online college programs in the applied sciences, where hands-on, technology-oriented training is the name of the game. Consider CCC’s Quality Technology program, for example. Classes like “Design of Experiments” and “Statistical Sampling & Reliability” will prep you for in-demand positions in research analysis, quality assurance, and more. And if you’re not sure about your job prospects, CCC’s “Career Coach” interface will help you get started. You can browse job types, learn about average salaries, and consider potential workplace responsibilities before you choose the career-track that’s right for you.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,880/yr
10. Southeastern Technical College
One of the best things about online technical colleges is that they’re perfect for working adults. Indeed, busy professionals and high-school graduates with full-time jobs will have no trouble planning for success at Southeastern Technical. With its myriad certificate programs, this accredited online community college can help you become a specialist in professional fields like IT, business, and healthcare. Of these three, STC probably places the most emphasis on technology. You can even earn a degree (or technical certificate or diploma) in Website Design and Development. This degree includes over 50 hours of courses like “Web Graphics I”, “Java Programming I”, and “Interactive and Social Apps Integration.”
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,784/yr
9. Central Texas College
If your heart’s set on earning a two-year degree, Central Texas College may be the place to go. It offers some of the best online associate’s degree programs in a broad range of subjects, from Applied Technology to Medical Coding to Social Work. And while these programs are clearly career-oriented, CTC also wants to make sure you have the opportunity to explore. As such, students can take courses in a number of topics and majors before committing to a course of study. And if you still can’t decide, the school offers a design-your-own Interdisciplinary Studies major that you can transfer to a four-year baccalaureate program.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,940/yr
8. Lincoln Land Community College
Lincoln Land’s progressive approach to online education works to the advantage of its many nontraditional learners. LLCC understands that many students need to balance work and family life on top of their classes, and so the faculty have created a distance education system that is both flexible and dynamic. If you want to attend classes entirely through the web, LLCC offers a nearly overwhelming list of options. Associate’s degrees are available in more than 20 subjects, from Accounting to Sociology, Applied Computer Programming to Speech Communication. LLCC offers affordable online certificate programs in nearly as many subjects, with a focus on career-relevant topics like network administration and fire service/tactics.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,784/yr
7. Great Basin College
Like many of the best community colleges online, GBC primarily offers academic programs in popular career fields such as business, technology, and education. However, GBC is also a top choice for applicants who are drawn to less typical areas of study. Students interested in graphic communication, land surveying, and human services will all find associate’s degrees that match their career goals. But what makes Great Basin College even more unique is that it also offers online B.A.S. and B.S.N. degrees. This means that you could earn your full four-year bachelor’s at Great Basin without having to transfer to another university.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,910/yr
6. Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Granite Falls, MN
Whether you only need to take a few online classes or want to complete your entire degree at a distance, MWCTC has what you need. The school offers more than 40 degrees and certificates entirely online, to say nothing of the many other programs that provide partial web-based instruction. And if you’re looking to break into a lucrative career field as quickly as possible, take note: Minnesota West has some of the best online associate’s degree programs and certificates for accomplishing exactly that goal. In just one to two years, you could be ready for a job in biofuel technology, wind energy, manufacturing production, community health, or one of many other in-demand industries.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,640/yr
5. Columbus State Community College
With more than 60 top online college programs and a retention rate north of 50%, it’s easy to see why Columbus State deserves a spot on our ranking. Degrees are available in all the traditional areas, of course, as well as several unconventional topics. Want a certificate in digital photography? How about an A.A.S. in Sports Management? Or maybe a degree in Geographic Information Systems? CSCC has them all – and then some. And transferring to another university to earn your bachelor’s is especially convenient at Columbus State. The school has even put together a list of other more than a dozen online universities with bachelor’s degrees that mesh nicely with at least one of CSCC’s two-year programs.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,808/yr
4. Barton County Community College
Great Bend, KS
Few schools are as committed to distance learning as Barton County Community College. Nearly all of its programs are available online, meaning virtual students won’t miss out on any academic opportunities. Accredited online associate’s degree programs are available in traditional liberal arts subjects (Biology, Math, Liberal Studies, History, etc.) as well as vocational topics (e.g. Early Childhood Education, Physical Therapy, Veterinary Medicine, and Emergency Management). And since many of the online programs are also available on at least one regional campus, students always have the option to blend their e-coursework with some traditional classes.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $3,328/yr
3. Lake Area Technical Institute
Lake Area Technical Institute takes a slightly different approach to its “eDegree” program than many other online community colleges. As an online student at LATI, you’ll take most of your classes through the internet, but you’ll still have to travel to campus for certain hands-on training or clinical experiences. And while this may seem like an unnecessary hassle, LATI emphasizes the importance of practical, real-world knowledge in preparing students for 21st-century work. Indeed, many of the school’s eDegrees focus on cutting-edge technical subjects; examples include Robotics, Precision Machining, and Electronic Systems Technology.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $5,076/yr
2. Northcentral Technical College
It’s hard to overstate the benefits of attending Wisconsin’s top community college online. First of all, Northcentral Tech has created a dedicated distance learning division known as “Virtual College.” Members of Virtual College enjoy unprecedented flexibility in deciding when to begin class, how (and how quickly) to study, and even when to turn in assignments. This level of convenience might explain why more than 60% of NTC students return for a second year. Of course, it could also be due to the college’s vast array of online programs, which includes unique degrees in Digital Marketing, Leadership Development, and Small Business Entrepreneurship.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $4,313/yr
1. Wake Technical Community College
What does it take to earn the number one spot on our ranking? Although there are plenty of great schools on this list, none hold up to the overall variety, affordability, and quality of WTCC. For starters, Wake Technical Community College boasts a truly enormous selection of online programs – 130, to be exact. Good luck picking a major from this set, which includes everything from a Baking and Pastry Arts certificate to an AAS in Storage and Virtualization (whatever that is). Add high retention and low tuition rates on top of everything else and what do you have? The best community college online.
In-State Tuition & Fees: $2,768/yr
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