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With university and college enrollments on the decline for the first time in decades, and tuition rates going steadily higher and higher, there is a lot of concern in higher education that not enough people are getting the education they need to compete in a tight labor market.
Community colleges are a key part of picking up that slack, by providing career and technical training, associate’s degrees, and the opportunity to transfer to 4-year institutions at a fraction of the cost of even the cheapest public universities.
The 10 Best Community Colleges for 2021 are:
- Guttman Community College
- College of San Mateo
- De Anza College
- State Technical College of Missouri
- Moorpark College
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
- Las Positas College
- Orange Coast College
- Oakton Community College
- North Dakota State College of Science
Continue below for the whole Top 50 Best Community Colleges!
Who’s Going to Community College?
Today, as much as 45% of US undergraduates are enrolled at a community college, and community colleges are especially important for first-generation and minority students: well over half of all African-American, Native American, and Latino students are enrolled in community colleges, according to the American Association of Community Colleges Fact Sheet. Community colleges are central to social mobility, educational access, and entry into professional careers.
Community colleges are also crucial for working adults. The US economy has changed in major ways in the last couple of decades, with manufacturing and industrial jobs giving way to a professional and technical workforce, and community colleges have been the key force in educating and preparing working adults for the new world of work. For working adults already in a career, or who depend on their jobs too much to take time off for school, community colleges provide convenient, flexible courses in evenings, on weekends, or online.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Community Colleges
With more than 1400 community colleges across the US, ranking the best community colleges is a big job. The schools on the Value Colleges list are selected because of student satisfaction, including scores from Wallethub and Niche, and ranked by their overall value – tuition cost, reputation, and average graduate salary. Data comes from IPEDS.
1. Guttman Community College (CUNY)
Guttman Community College, the newest CUNY school, was developed as a community college with a primary focus on student success on a timely basis. As one of midtown Manhattan’s best community colleges, Guttman Community College requires students to attend a bridge program over the summer before entering the school to ensure students are primed for success. Additionally, freshmen students are required to attend classes as full-time students in a cohort that fosters teamwork/collaboration. GCC offers several associated level degrees in the areas of information technology, liberal arts/sciences, urban studies, and business.
Guttman Community College, established in 2012, is the newest school that has been added to the City University of New York’s (CUNY) system in forty years. From its midtown location on 40th street in NYC, GCC is accredited by the MSCHE with a student enrollment of over 1,000 students.
Highlight: Applicants to GCC are accepted if they hold a high school diploma or its equivalent.
2. The College of San Mateo
The College of San Mateo offers a variety of post-secondary education options by way of certificate programs, associate degrees (AA and AS programs), and associate degrees that provide transfer to a four-year institution of higher education. The associate degree programs from one of Northern California’s best community colleges are available in business, accounting, criminal justice, liberal arts, addiction, sciences, construction, computers, communications, dental hygiene, and kinesiology, to name a few.
The College of San Mateo is a member school of the county’s district of community colleges that was established in 1922. Located in the northern part of Silicon Valley, CSM’s 150+acre campus is one of three campuses in the district, with the other located in Redwood City and San Bruno.
Highlight: The College of San Mateo offers its students a guaranteed transfer admission to nine of the University of California’s members as well as other California private schools.
3. De Anza College
De Anza College is one of the Bay area’s best community colleges, offering more than 175 associate degree and certificate programs in a variety of fields from women’s studies to business & accounting, to name a few. Students who attend classes at De Anza College do so to improve their job skills, expand their knowledge, or transfer to a four-year higher learning institution. DAC offers peer tutor online services via Zoom, including scheduled workshops and drop-in tutoring sessions throughout the week.
De Anza College was established in 1967 and also a member school of the CC district of the Foothill-De Anza area. DAC consistently provides the first (or second) number of transfer students to CSU or UC campuses across the state.
Highlight: A large portion of the 21,300+ students attending classes at De Anza College hails from international locations.
4. The State Technical College of Missouri
The State Technical College of Missouri is recognized among the state’s best community colleges, offering students an impressive 99% job placement with the school and more than 500 industry partnerships. The State Technical College of Missouri holds the distinction of having the number one graduation rate in the state of Missouri, offering truly hands-on technical education. In addition, the State Technical College of Missouri is recognized as a military-friendly school and designated as such.
The State Technical College of Missouri was established as a technical junior college in 1961 but began awarding associate-level degrees in the early 1990s. STCM is recognized as the state’s only technical school, which participates in Missouri’s A+ education program.
Highlight: STCM was recognized by Forbes & WalletHub among the top three trade schools in the nation.
5. Moorpark College
Moorpark College is a two-year college in Ventura County, California, that offers a variety of certificate options and degree programs in the fields of science, math, education, arts, media, health/wellness, business, communication, and information technology, to name a few. In addition, Moorpark College is recognized as a designated Hispanic-serving institution of higher education. Moorpark College has been recognized among the best community colleges in California (and the United States) and a best-value school by ValueColleges.com. Moorpark College also operates a high school for high achieving junior and senior students in the vicinity.
Moorpark College is a public institution of higher learning and a member school of the community college district of Ventura County that was established as a community college in 1967. The college’s 150+ acre campus is home to about 13,950 students.
Highlight: Moorpark College is home to more than 200 animals who are a part of an exotic animal training & management.
6. The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is recognized among the best community colleges in Nebraska, offering Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs for students wishing to enter the workforce after two years, or an Associate of Science degree for students planning to transfer to a four-year university to complete their education. Additionally, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture offers a variety of certificate programs in the various aspects of the field of agriculture, irrigation, and animal care, among others.
The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture was established initially in the early 1900s as a boarding school for high school students. The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture was converted to an agricultural school for post-secondary students in 1965. The college’s rural campus in Curtis serves about 295 students.
Highlight: NCTA a member school of the state of Nebraska’s university system in the mid 1990s.
7. Las Positas College
Las Positas College is ranked among the best community colleges in the greater San Francisco area. LPC is a higher learning institution that is focused on each student’s success, whether they are looking for career training or beginning their journey towards a four-year post-secondary academic degree. Las Positas College offers various transfer Associate degrees, certificate programs, and occupational-related associate degrees, plus coursework to help community members enrich their lives through educational options.
Las Positas College was initially developed as an extension facility for Chabot College in the mid 1960s. A few years later, Las Positas College was developed into a community college and a member school of the Chabot-Las Positas CC district. The school’s urban 140+ acre campus is home to about 11,140 day and evening students.
Highlight: LPC won the college level division III ultimate frisbee championship.
8. Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College is recognized among the best community colleges in the Southern California area. OCC offers students more than 125 academic and certificate programs, with about 30 associate degree programs offering students the opportunity to transition to a four-year institution of higher education. OCC is accredited by the Commission for Community & Junior Colleges and WASC. Additional accreditations include nutrition, culinary, medicine, dentistry, and speech pathology, to name a few.
Orange Coast College was established as a community college in 1947. As one of the largest colleges in Orange County, Orange Coast College is home to approximately 23,900 students, vying for associate degrees and certificate programs on the college’s suburban campus in Costa Mesa.
Highlight: Orange Coast College is one of three member schools that make up the Coast CC district.
9. Oakton Community College
As one of Chicago’s best community colleges, Oakton Community College offers more than 75 study areas to those living in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Additionally, Oakton community College operates more than 200 educational sites through the state of Illinois, plus comprehensive online learning opportunities of nearly 100 options. Oakton Community College offers students associate and certificate programs that prepare them for careers or to transfer to a four-year higher learning institution.
Oakton Community College was founded in the late 1960s in Morton Grove. Oakton Community College is now a multi-campus two-year school with campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines, serving more than 45,000 degree and non-degree students.
Highlight: OCC offers dual enrollment with the City College of Chicago and Shimer College and serves northeast Cook County’s population that totals near ½ million.
10. The North Dakota State College of Science
The North Dakota State College of Science is considered one of North Dakota’s best community colleges as it offers a variety of certificate, diploma, and degree programs in more than one-dozen academic areas. Among the more than 80 academic options (with 33 associate degree programs) are STEM, health, IT, business, education, agriculture, law, and manufacturing, to name a few. Nearly 95% of NDSCS’s students receive some form of financial aid.
The North Dakota State College of Science (ND Science) was established in 1903 and is recognized as the second oldest junior college in the country. NDSCS now operates as a member school of the state’s university system. NDSCS’s rural campus in Wahpeton is home to about 3,000 students but also serves a robust online student population.
Highlight: NDSCS maintains an additional academic facility in Fargo.
11. San Jacinto Community College
As a multiple-campus comprehensive school, San Jacinto Community College is recognized among the Lone Star State’s best community colleges by offering more than 190 academic degree and certificate programs across eight areas of study. These areas include business, construction & manufacturing, art/humanities, health sciences, education, public safety, STEM, and behavioral/social science. Jacinto Community College offers campus-based and online programs with an impressive average class size of 21 students.
Established in 1961, San Jacinto Community College serves the greater Houston metro area, with a student enrollment that exceeds 30,750 students. San Jacinto Community College maintains five distinct campuses (including Houston, La Porte, Pasadena, Pearland & Deer Park, among others) and another six academic centers in the vicinity.
Highlight: Each of SJCC’s campuses has its own athletic teams represented in the conference.
12. Mt. San Antonio College
Mt. San Antonio College is ranked among the Los Angeles area’s best community colleges, offering a variety of associate degree, certificate, and career training programs in study areas that ranges from agriculture to nursing to AC repair, among others. Mt. San Antonio College is also one of the top ten community colleges in terms of transfer to four-year universities in the state of California.
Mt. San Antonio College is a public community college that was established in 1946. The college’s suburban campus in Walnut covers more than 400 acres and serves about 29,150 students. Mt. Sac serves many towns and communities on the eastern portion of LA County but accepts students outside the district and even internationally.
Highlight: The original campus was leased from the state and had been a hospital run by the US Navy.
13. Carroll Community College
Carroll Community College is ranked among Maryland’s best community colleges with various options that provide students with associate degrees (more than forty transfer patterns and degree options), personal enrichment, or professional development programs. The credit programs that offer associate degree programs are in the fields of education, social sciences, business, humanities/communication, computers, health, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), creative arts, and exercise science. CCC offers students a guaranteed transfer to any public four-year university in Maryland in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree.
Carroll Community College is a public institution of higher education that was established in 1976. The school serves more than 9,050 credit and non-credit seeking students. Students earning associate degrees transfer the most to Towson University than any other university in Maryland.
Highlight: Carroll Community College offers more than one-thousand campus-based and online/hybrid classes to Carroll County residents.
14. Kapiolani Community College
Kapiolani Community College is recognized among Hawaii’s best community colleges with its many campus-based and online degree and certificate programs across a number of study topics. The average age of students enrolled at Kapiolani Community College is approximately 25 years old. KCC’s online associate degree programs include business, education, or liberal arts (family resources or English). Credit programs available from KCC range from culinary, to dentistry, to business, technology, medicine, hospitality, and education, to name a few. Kapiolani Community College is accredited by the ACCJC.
Kapiolani Community College was established in 1946 as a technical school. KCC is a member school of the state’s university system as well as a space-grant institution of higher education. The college’s urban campus in Honolulu is home to approximately 7,000 students.
Highlight: Kapiolani Community College holds the distinction of being Hawaii’s largest & most comprehensive two-year higher learning institution.
15. Northwest Iowa Community College
Northwest Iowa Community College, with a near 100% job placement rate, is ranked among Iowa’s best community colleges. Northwest Iowa Community College offers a wide variety of campus-based, online, and hybrid degree and certificate programs in the areas of IT, business, design, agriculture, manufacturing, health, general studies, electrical/construction, or transportation. In addition, NICC offers high school students the opportunity to earn college level credit while still completing high school through its available concurrent enrollment program.
Established in the mid-1960s, Northwest Iowa Community College is a public post-secondary institution that serves Sheldon, Iowa, and surrounding counties of Osceola, Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, and part of Cherokee. NICC’s rural campus is home to about 1,800 credit students, which offers students an impressive 13 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Highlight: More than 25,000 students attend classes and programs offered by NICC.
16. Mitchell Technical College
Mitchell Technical College is recognized among the best community colleges in South Dakota, offering graduates in South Dakota the best 10-year return on their education investment. Mitchell Technical College offers students nearly 40 academic degree programs available online and on-campus. These associate degree and certificate programs are available in the areas of health science, energy production, engineering, business, construction/manufacturing, agriculture/transportation, plus a variety of advanced technical education options. MTC offers students a more affordable option in career training and for those who wish to complete their general education required credits prior to transferring to a four-year school.
Mitchell Technical College was established in 1968 as a technical school. Mitchell Technical Institute operates two academic centers in Mitchel and Yankton, California. MTC is accredited by the HLC and offers approximately 40 associate degree and certificate programs.
Highlight: Mitchell Technical Institute is home to about 1,200 students and offers students a student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to 1.
17. Cerritos College
Cerritos College is recognized among the best community colleges that are also designated Hispanic-serving higher learning institutions – with the eighth highest enrollment of Hispanic students across the nation. Cerritos College offers more than 200 academic degrees and diploma/certificate programs both online and campus-based, or a combination of both delivery methods. CC was awarded the honor of being the Champion for Higher Education for African Americans by the state’s Campaign for College Education. CC’s on-campus art gallery is ranked among the best in Southern California for college-level galleries.
Established in the mid 1950s, Cerritos College (Cerritos) serves the neighboring areas of Norwalk, La Mirada, BellFlower, Artesia, Downey, Cerritos, and Hawaiian Gardens. CC’s metropolitan campus covers more than 110 acres and is home to about 22,550 credit and non-credit students.
Highlight: The original classrooms for Cerritos College were held in a local high school for about the first six years.
18. Montgomery College
Montgomery College offers more than 125 academic degrees and certificate programs across its campuses in Maryland. As one of Maryland’s best community colleges, MC offers students an impressive faculty-to-student ratio of 17 to 1 and is ranked as the most diverse community college located within the lower 48 states. Additionally, Montgomery College offers more than 390 credit classes through the college’s distance learning platform, which has been recognized by Best Online Community Colleges as number one in Maryland. TheBestSchools.org has ranked MC’s associate degree in computer science among the best in the nation.
Montgomery College is a multi-campus institution of higher education that was founded in 1946. The college’s campuses, located in Germantown, Silver Spring, and Rockville, serve approximately 54,550 noncredit and credit seeking students.
Highlight: Montgomery College also operates several business-training centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton, and Westfield.
19. Kingsborough Community College (CUNY)
Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) is recognized among New York’s and the nation’s best community colleges, offering more than fifty academic degree programs in the fields of business, nursing, criminal justice, and liberal arts, to name a few. KCC offers unique programs related to sleep-disorders and maritime technology, for example. Kingsborough Community College is home to more than 13,400 students and makes up one of the most diverse student enrollments in the nation. Additionally, KCC offers college courses to high achieving students in Brooklyn.
Kingsborough Community College is a member school of the City University of New York’s system, located in Brooklyn. KCC is recognized by the Aspen Institute among the top ten and thus best community colleges in the nation due to its educational and think-tank policies.
Highlight: Established in 1963, Kingsborough Community College holds the distinction of being the only community college that is situated within the boundaries of the borough of Brooklyn.
20. Irvine Valley College
Irvine Valley College is a mid-sized community college that is recognized among the best community colleges within the greater Los Angeles metro area. Irvine Valley College provides students with more than seventy majors in the areas of business, social sciences, technology, or liberal arts/sciences. Irvine Valley College provides distance learning options (including many general education options) that include a large & diverse selection of classes that hundreds of students take each year.
Irvine Valley College (IVC) is a member school of the state’s community college system that was established in 1985. Irvine Valley College was originally developed as the northern campus of Saddleback College about a decade earlier, but now has a student enrollment of about 14,850 students.
Highlight: Irvine Valley College’s campus is located about 10 miles from the Pacific Coast’s Laguna Beach.
21. Glendale Community College
Glendale Community College is recognized to be one of the best community colleges in the greater metropolitan area of Los Angeles. Glendale Community College has received its accreditation from the ACCJC as well as the WASC. Glendale Community College offers a variety of associate of arts (AA), an associate of science (AS), and certificate programs – including transfer associate degrees designated as clear paths to California State University baccalaureate degrees. Those graduating from Glendale Community College with a transferrable associate’s degree can complete their bachelor’s degree by earning an additional 60 semester credits.
Established in 1927, Glendale Community College is now a member of the California Community Colleges System (CCCS). Glendale Community College provides students an open–admission policy and even college credit for life experience.
Highlight: GCC is home to nearly 24,000 students, with many famous alumni in the sports and entertainment fields.
22. Southeast Community College
Southeast Community College is ranked among Nebraska’s best community colleges that offers a one-to-one credit for all earned credits for students transferring to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. SCC provides students with more than fifty academic programs of study from which to choose. The more than 9,650 students enrolled at SCC are offered an impressive 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio that allows for students to receive more personal attention. The available associate degree and certificate programs are available online and on-campus.
Established in 1941, Southeast Community College Area is a multiple campus college developed to serve the southeastern portion of the state of Nebraska. The largest campus is in Lincoln; however, SCC maintains an additional twenty campuses across fifteen campuses in Nebraska.
Highlight: Most students graduating from SCC enter the University of Nebraska (UNL) as juniors as Southeast Community College is UNL’s largest community college feeder school.
23. Shoreline Community College
Shoreline Community College is considered among the Northwestern United States’ best community colleges offering more than one hundred technical, professional, and career training degree and certificate programs. About half the students enrolled in Shoreline Community College are full-time students. Students enrolled in Shoreline Community College enjoy a faculty-student ratio of only 1 to 18. The degree and certificate programs available from SCC are in the areas of business, communication, social sciences, health, arts, education, medical, business, and STEM.
Shoreline Community College was established in 1964 to serve the residents of Shoreview Park, Washington., a community located to the north of Seattle. SCC’s campus covers more than 75 acres and is home to about 14,000 credit and noncredit students.
Highlight: Shoreline Community College’s automotive training program has received award winning accolades and attracts students from international locations.
24. San Diego Miramar College
San Diego Miramar College is ranked among the best community colleges in Southern California, offering a variety of campus-based and online degree and certificate programs. San Diego Miramar College offers residents of the San Diego area more than 150 academic degree programs and certificate options on its campus and distance learning platform. Available programs include more than 40 academic degrees in transportation, STEM-related, medicine, health, business, social science, entrepreneurship, and education, to name a few.
Established in 1969, San Diego Miramar College now operates as a community college that is a member of the state’s and San Diego’s community college system. SDMC’s suburban campus is home to about 12,350 students vying for a variety of two-year degrees and diploma programs.
Highlight: The San Diego Community College District includes SD Mesa, SD Miramar, SD City, and SD continuing education.
25. The Minnesota State Community and Technical College
The Minnesota State Community and Technical College is recognized among Minnesota’s best community colleges offering associate of arts transfer degrees, as well as an associate of fine arts, an associate of science, and an associate of applied science degrees, plus a host of certificate and diploma programs. The Minnesota State Community and Technical College offers programs in business, human services, agriculture, art, communication, engineering technology, computer information, transportation/manufacturing, plus a number of transfer options.
Established in 2003 by a merger of existing schools, the Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) is a multi-campus community college and a member of Minnesota’s university and college system. The school’s campuses are located in both rural and suburban locations and serve about 6,250 students.
Highlight: M State operates campuses in Wadena, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, and online.
26. Folsom Lake College
Folsom Lake College offers a wide variety of associate degrees in a number of 1study areas that include liberal arts, business & management, social sciences, health & education, or STEM-related fields (Science Engineering Technology and Math). Folsom Lake College is considered one of Sacramento’s best community colleges, with nearly ¾ of students seeking to transition to a four-year university upon graduation. About 1/5 of the students attending Folsom Lake College are the first generation of college students in their family.
Folsom Lake College was founded in 2004 and is a member of both the Los Rios and California community college systems. The college campuses in Folsom, Rancho Cordova, and El Dorado serve approximately 8,450 students.
Highlight: Folsom Lake College operates several academic centers outside its main campus in Folsom and the greater Sacramento, California location.
27. Queensborough Community College (CUNY)
Queensborough Community College (CUNY) is recognized among New York’s best community colleges, where more than half the graduates choose to transfer to a four-year school within the City of New York’s university system. QCC offers pre-college options and a variety of associate degree options in liberal arts (which include criminal justice and education options), visual/performing arts, Stem-related, business, and health-related sciences. In addition, QCC offers academic and tutoring support options and a dedicated mathematics learning center open year-round for students of all ages.
CUNY Queensborough Community College was established in 1959 as a member of the SUNY system but became a CUNY school several years later. QCC is a member school (one of seven) that make up the CUNY system.
Highlight: More than 15,000 students attend classes offered online and on the school’s 30+ acre campus from Queensborough Community College.
28. Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College is among Los Angeles County’s best community colleges offering more than 250 associate degrees, noncredit, and credit certificate programs. More than 50% of students attend PCC on a reduced or waived tuition, and more than half are 24 years old or younger. Students are offered transition programs, innovative programs in engineering, technology, health science, and the arts. Additional Pasadena City College offers a number of support services and classes in the school’s Veterans Service Center.
Pasadena City College (PCC) was founded in 1924 as a public junior college to serve the greater Pasadena area and its surrounding communities. The school’s campus and distance learning platform serve more than 27,150 credit and noncredit students.
Highlight: Pasadena City College maintains four satellite academic centers in addition to its main campus, with some shuttle services available between campuses.
29. Western Technical College
Western Technical College is among Wisconsin’s best community colleges serving about a dozen counties in Wisconsin and offering an innovative competency-based education model. Western Technical College provides western Wisconsin residents with a wide variety of associate degree and certificate programs across many study areas. Programs are available in the arts, business, agriculture, construction, transportation, law, public safety, information technology, marketing, human services, hospitality, finance, and education, to name a few.
Founded as a public school in 1912 to primarily serve adult education, Western Technical College is a member of the state’s technical school system. The school maintains six satellite campuses through the western portion of Wisconsin that serves approximately 7,950 students. In 2007, WTC joined the ACUP climate commitment to reduce and ultimately eliminate all global warning issues happening at the school.
Highlight: WTC’s other locations include Tomah, Sparta, Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, and Viroqua.
30. Hillsborough Community College
Hillsborough Community College is one of the best community colleges located in the greater metropolitan area of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg. Hillsborough Community College offers nearly 200 associate degrees and certificate/diploma programs from its five campuses across western-central Florida. HCC holds the distinction of awarding the eighth most associate degrees in Florida and twentieth across the nation. Study areas offered by HCC include options from accounting/business to engineering to health, humanities, arts, math, and education, to name just a few.
Hillsborough Community College was established as one of the last member schools of the Sunshine State’s 28 member schools that make up the community college system. More than 42,500 students attend classes offered online, and on-campuses maintained Hillsborough Community College.
Highlight: HCC holds the distinction of being one of only a few of Florida’s community colleges that offer students the option of on-campus residences.
31. Howard Community College
Howard Community College serves the greater Baltimore area as well as the nation’s capital, offering a variety of associate-level degrees that either lead to employment or a seamless transfer to a four-year degree program. As one of Maryland’s best community colleges, HCC also offers proficiency certificates and continuing education for residents in and around Columbia and its satellite locations. HCC’s academic divisions include arts/humanities, business, computers, languages, health sciences, STEM, education, and social sciences.
Howard Community College was established in the mid-1960s and is now home to more than 14,250 students vying for associate degrees, plus another 12,000+ noncredit students enrolled in continuing education programs. Howard Community College operates a main campus in Columbia and two satellite facilities in the greater Baltimore/Washington DC area.
Highlight: Howard Community College is only a half-hour from Baltimore and less than one hour from the nation’s capital.
32. Asnuntuck Community College
Asnuntuck Community College offers students in Connecticut and Massachusetts a variety of associate degree and certificate programs, plus continuing education options both on-campus and online. Asnuntuck Community College has been recognized among the state’s best community colleges boasting the number graduation rate in both states. ACC offers various associate of science and associate of arts degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce or transition to a four-year school to complete their bachelor’s degree. Areas of study include business, communication, engineering education, criminal justice, human services, and journalism, to name a few.
Asnuntuck Community College was established in the early-1970s and is one of the twelve member schools in the state’s college and university system. In addition, Asnuntuck Community College is home to nearly 2,000 students vying for certificate or associate degree programs.
Highlight: Asnuntuck Community College is named to honor the Podunk Tribe’s name for freshwater.
33. Fox Valley Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College is recognized as the largest and one of the best community colleges that make up the state’s technical college system. Fox Valley Technical College offers hundreds of associate degree and certificate/diploma programs in more than a dozen study areas. Among these programs, Fox Valley Technical College offers more than 70 associate’s in applied science degree programs, plus 65+ technical certificate programs. FVTC also offers thousands of noncredit classes and workshops to area residents both on-campus and online.
Fox Valley Technical College was established in 1912 as a technical school to serve the Appleton and Fox Cities. The college’s urban campus is home to approximately 49,700 students who can choose from more than 200 associate degree and certificate program options.
Highlight: FVTC’s students have won a variety of awards at the national level in information technology.
34. Saddleback College
Saddleback College is recognized as one of the largest and best community colleges in Southern California, offering nearly 200 diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs. These various programs are offered from these academic divisions – applied science/technology, behavioral/social sciences, business/economics, workforce development, extended learning, health sciences/services, fine arts, liberal arts, athletics, STEM, and counseling. Additionally, Saddleback College offers various career technical education programs that often include cooperative work experience options.
Established as a junior college in the late 1960s, Saddleback College is a member school of the South Orange County and California CC districts. Saddleback College is the southernmost community college in the South Orange County district, with a student enrollment of about 25,450 students.
Highlight: Saddleback College Is named as it sits between two peaks in the Cleveland National Forest.
35. Raritan Valley Community College
Raritan Valley Community College serves Somerset and Hunterdon County in central New Jersey, offering diverse educational opportunities to students in high school to all ages. As one of New Jersey’s best community colleges, Raritan Valley Community College offers nearly 100 certificate and associate degree programs. Students often transfer to Rutgers, Kean College, and Montclair State University to complete their bachelor’s degrees after graduating from RVCC.
Raritan Valley Community College serves the greater central New Jersey metropolitan area with about 7,100 students. The average class size is approximately 18 students.
Highlight: Raritan Valley Community College’s library system is open to local residents in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey.
36. Kauai Community College
Kauai Community College is one of Hawaii’s best community colleges, offering a variety of certificate and diploma programs, plus various associate-level degrees across a broad range of study areas. Among the 45+ program and study area options and degrees available to students are business, automotive tech, culinary arts, electronics technology, education, engineering, hospitality, computer science, public administration, medical, natural science, Hawaiian studies, veterinary, and nursing, among others. KCC has existing partnerships with eight campuses of the state’s university system and a robust distance learning platform that is even available to international students.
Kauai Community College is a member school of Hawaii’s university system that was established in 1925. Additionally, Kauai Community College is a space-grant college that serves the Niihau & Kauai islands and offers special accommodations to native Hawaiians.
Highlight: The campus of KCC offers several art installations first installed in 1977 and as late as 1999.
37. Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)
The Borough of Manhattan Community College is recognized as a Hispanic-servicing institution and one of New York City’s best community colleges, offering four separate campuses on the island of Manhattan. The Borough of Manhattan CC (BMCC) offers students the option of more than fifty associate degree and certificate programs. The school’s student population is comprised of more than half full-time students. The most popular major at BMCC is liberal arts, followed by criminal justice and business administration.
Established in the early 1960s, the Borough of Manhattan Community College is also a member school of the City University System of New York. The school serves nearly 27,000 students, many of which hail from international locations.
Highlight: BMCC maintains four campuses across Manhattan in the downtown financial district, lower Manhattan (main campus), Tribeca, and the Civic Center.
38. Aims Community College
Aims Community College is ranked as one of the best community colleges in Colorado, and the Midwest offers two hundred certificate and associate degree programs from its four campuses and online. Additionally, Aims Community College offers students a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1 to its students and is recognized as one of the most affordable community colleges in the state of Colorado. ACC offers evening and weekend classes, GED and ESL programs, plus a variety of programs designed for workforce development and college prep for high school students. ACC offers certificates and degrees in nursing, engineering, fire science, art, business, and professional development, to name a few.
Aims Community College was established in 1967 and is a space-grant school. The college maintains several campuses across northern Colorado that serves approximately 6,450 students.
Highlight: ACC’s campus in Greeley offers students a stunning Rocky Mountain view that covers more than 100 miles.
39. Lake Area Technical College
Lake Area Technical College is a community and technical college that offers more than forty associate degrees, diploma, and certificate degree programs on-campus and online. Lake Area Technical College offers students an impressive 17 to 1 student to faculty ratio. As one of South Dakota’s best community colleges, LATC offers programs in welding, diesel, nursing, agriculture, aviation, and cosmetology, to name a few. LATC won the Aspen Prize for excellence in community college education.
Lake Area Technical College was established in 1965 and operates as a space-grant school. The college’s rural campus in Watertown was the first technical school developed in the state, with three additional technical schools opened after LATC. LATC serves more than 2,550 students from its rural campus.
Highlight: LATC boasts a placement rate for graduates of 99%.
40. Sheridan College
Sheridan College offers a variety of campus-based and online associate degree and certificate programs, which is why it is considered among Wyoming’s best community colleges. Academic options offered include business, agriculture, psychology, art, biology, business, computers, criminal justice, medicine, education, diesel/automotive, engineering, health, STEM, music, nursing, and industrial technology, to name a few. Sheridan College seeks to serve the residents and veterans in and around Johnson County, Wyoming.
Sheridan College was established in the late 1940s and is a member of the Northern Wyoming Community College District. The school’s campus in Sheridan is home to approximately 4,040 students vying for associate degrees or workforce training program certificates. The campus sits at Big Mountains base.
Highlight: Students enrolled in Sheridan College enjoy a faculty to student ratio of 1 to 17.
41. St Cloud Technical and Community College
St Cloud Technical and Community College offers various certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs across a variety of study areas. SCTCC is one of Minnesota’s best community colleges that offers programs in business, education, health sciences, transportation, construction, information technology, and nursing. Online programs are available in both workforce training and transfer associate degree in art or an associate degree in science/applied science in the fields of business, finance, medical coding, liberal arts, health information technology, and psychology, to name a few.
St Cloud Technical and Community College was established in the late 1940s as a technical school. St Cloud Technical & Community College (CC) is a member of the state’s college/university system with a student enrollment of more than 4,050 students.
Highlight: SCTCC’s athletes compete in Division III of the NJCAA.
42. Western Iowa Tech Community College
Western Iowa Tech Community College is recognized as one of the best community colleges in Iowa and serves six counties – Ida, Woodbury, Cherokee, Plymouth, Crawford, and Monona. WITCC offers a variety of online and campus-based programs that can be used as career/workforce training or transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees at a number of Iowa four-year universities. Programs are available across industries and include law, manufacturing, transportation, hospitality, education, information technology, communications, health science, and business, among others.
Western Iowa Tech Community College is a multi-campus community college that serves the north and western sections of the state of Iowa. It was established in 1966 under an Iowa code. The various campuses of WITCC are home to a total of 6,750 part-time and full-time students.
Highlight: Students attending Western Iowa Tech Community College enjoy a student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1.
43. Bates Technical College
Bates Technical College maintains three campuses and offers certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs as one of Tacoma’s best community colleges. The median age of students at Bates Technical College is 32 years of age. The most popular programs offered by BTC include welding, early childhood education, fire service, heavy equipment, electrical construction, and practical nursing. More than 60% of the programs offered by Bates Technical College are awarded industry/specific accreditation, with the school regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Established in 1940 in a local elementary school, Bates Technical College is now a multiple-campus college that serves the greater metro Tacoma area. The school’s campuses are home to about 4,400 students vying for associate degree and diploma/certificate programs.
Highlight: High school students are offered supplemental paths to a diploma.
44. Casper College
Casper College is ranked among Wyoming’s best community colleges offering more than 135 certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs from the college’s five academic divisions – health science, business, science, fine arts/humanities, and social/behavioral science. Casper College offers associate of business, associate degree in nursing, an associate of arts, an associate of applied science, an associate of fine arts, and associate of science degree programs both on-campus, online, and through a hybrid delivered course. Additionally, the school offers certificate and post-certificate programs across a variety of industries.
Casper College was established in the mid-1940s as a junior college. It is ranked among the largest community colleges in the greater Casper region, with a student enrollment that exceeds 3,950 students.
Highlight: Notable alumni of Casper College include several professional basketball players and Dick Cheney.
45. Diablo Valley College
Diablo Valley College is ranked among the East Bay area’s best community colleges offering a wide variety of academic associate degree programs as well as certificate/diploma programs. DVC also offers career training and pathways for high school students in the area. These programs are available across these industries, social science, math, construction, engineering, science, health, art, language, information technology, business, architecture, economics, and communication, among others. The average age of students at Diablo Valley College was 24 years old.
Diablo Valley College was established in the late 1940s as a public junior college. Currently, Diablo Valley College maintains several campuses in the east bay area of San Francisco and Contra Costa County. The school’s campuses and online platform serve about 27,900 students.
Highlight: In addition to the Pleasant Hill campus, DVC also maintains a campus in San Ramon.
46. The City College of San Francisco
The City College of San Francisco is the only community college in San Francisco. CCSF is recognized as one of northern California’s best community colleges and accredited by the ACCJC. CCSF provides students with more than one hundred occupational training disciplines as well as more than 50 academic associated degree programs. Among the many study areas available to students are arts, business, communication, entertainment, management, entrepreneurship, education, health, STEM, social justice, and tools/trades.
The City College of San Francisco was established in 1935 to serve the greater San Francisco area. CCSF enrolls about 1 in 9 residents each year. The school’s student enrollment is approximately 23,600 students attending classes online and on-campus.
Highlight: CCSF operates various campuses and academic facilities across the city.
47. Frederick Community College
Frederick Community College offers nearly 75 certificate and associate degree programs from its Frederick campus and on its distance learning platform. Frederick Community College holds the distinction of being the only community college with a contract with FEMA and their managerial institute. As one of Maryland’s best community colleges, FCC offers degrees and programs in business, arts, healthcare, hospitality, information technology, social sciences, public safety, and STEM, among others. Additionally, the school operates and an internship and honors college.
Frederick Community College is a public junior college that was established in 1957, with the first classes held in a local high school. The school now serves more than 6,150 students on-campus and online.
Highlight: FCC offers students a student to faculty ratio of 1 to 17.
48. Oxnard College
Oxnard College is one of Southern California’s best community colleges, offering a variety of associate level degrees that also include the California transfer option. Certificate, diplomas, and degrees are available HVAC, business, medicine, art, astronomy, science, communication, computers, hospitality, management, EMT, engineering, fire technology, education, sign language, chemistry, office technology, film/television, math, paralegal and music, to name a few. OC also provides transitional study programs for ESL students.
Oxnard College was founded in 1975 to serve the Ventura County district cities of Oxnard Plain, Camarillo, and Port Hueneme. Nearly 7,000 students attend classes on the school’s 100+ acre campus and online through the schools’ online platform.
Highlight: The school is organized into four divisions career/technical, STEM & athletics, transitional studies, and liberal studies.
49. Westchester Community College (SUNY)
Westchester Community College (SUNY) is located just to the north of New York City and is ranked among the best community colleges in the southeastern district of New York. WCC offers more than 55 academic associate and certificate degree programs online and from the many academic facilities. More than 40% of Westchester County’s students transfer to a four-year university to finish their degrees within one year of graduating. Many of WCC’s associate degree programs are offered as hybrid delivered coursework.
SUNY Westchester Community College was established in 1946 and is a member of the state’s university system. The school’s Valhalla suburban campus is home to about 11,450 students.
Highlight: Westchester Community College operates a dozen off-campus satellite locations across Westchester County from Yonkers to Peekskill to Mahopac and Portchester.
50. Grossmont College
Grossmont College offers more than 145 certificates, associate degree, and diploma programs online and from the school’s Southern California campus. As one San Diego’s best community colleges, Grossmont College offers students low-cost educational alternatives that offer transfer opportunities to state schools. These various programs are offered through GC’s academic divisions, which include allied health, technical ed, social/behavioral sciences, STEM, exercise science, and communication, to name a few.
Grossmont College was established in the early 1960s to serve the residents of Santee and San Diego. Grossmont College is a member school of the state’s community college system. The school’s suburban campus in El Cajon and online is home to more than 17,950 students.
Highlight: GC athletes complete across a variety of sports in baseball, football, tennis, and volleyball, among others.
How Do I Choose a Community College?
If you are looking for the best community colleges in the USA, there are plenty of things to consider. Since no two people have the same educational goals, you need to be sure to follow the steps that will help ensure that you can find the best community college for your educational goals. To do so, you simply need to consider the following:
Solidify Your Professional Goals: If you want to find the best community colleges in the US, one of the first things you need to do to choose a community college is to solidify your professional goals. You will not be able to decide on a program, let alone a college, if you have not yet solidified your professional goals. Therefore, you should take the time to make your professional plans more concrete.
Investigate the Industry: Next, you should take the time to investigate the industry you want to enter. Before you can truly be sure if you are on the right track, you must be able to learn more about the industry you are thinking about entering. This is because the more you learn about an industry, the easier it will be to decide whether you want to enter into the industry or not.
Audit Classes: Next, you may want to take the time to audit some classes. This means you can sit in on classes without enrolling in them to get a feel for the material and setting in general. Auditing classes can be one of the best ways to get an up-close and personal view of the courses and subjects you are considering. This makes it much easier to make a decision moving forward.
Seek Advisement: You should then seek advisement from a counselor at the school you are considering attending. Once you have applied and have been accepted, you can seek out counseling services from advisors. Advisors can help provide you with invaluable insight in terms of what each career track entails and what needs to be done to secure a career upon graduation.
Find Out about Transferring Credits: Lastly, if you want to find the best community colleges in the United States, you always want to find out about transfer credits and how they work. For instance, if you are transferring in from a high-school level program, you may have taken some courses that can give you college credit. If so, you must take the time to make sure the school you are choosing will accept those credits. On the flip side, if you are transferring from a college, you must also make sure that you are transferring to a college that accepts those credits.
What is Community College?
For those who are yet unfamiliar or are simply seeking a community college definition, a community college is a college that takes only 2 years to complete. Also known as junior colleges, the definition of a community college is a college in which you attend to receive 2-year training for careers that require less formal training or a college in which you can get your first 2 years of college education, before transferring to a university or other accredited institution. So, what is a community college? It’s a college that is more accessible to all members of the community because it has fewer requirements for entry. Moreover, community colleges are preferred because they are typically far less costly than mainstream universities. Also, many community colleges have the same schedule as their local school districts, which makes them an obvious option for parents who have children in their local school systems.
How Much Does Community College Cost?
In terms of community college costs, that is something that varies from place to place. However, no matter where you choose to go, you will typically pay far less than you would when attending larger universities. For instance, if you are a resident of New York state, the cost to attend community college is around $5,000. On the other hand, if you live in New Mexico, the average cost is around $1,700. Either way, the cost of community colleges varies depending on the cost of living, and other variables.
What Can I Study at Community College?
If you are interested in getting a degree at community college, you have plenty of options in terms of what you can study. Some of the most common subjects are:
- Liberal Arts
- Dental Hygiene
- Electrical Engineering
- Health Care
If you are wondering whether or not you should attend community college, that is something that is totally up to you. Either way, keep in mind that plenty of people choose community colleges because they are more cost-effective and offer a wide variety of topics and subjects.
Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.
Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.
In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.
With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.