Best Online Community Colleges

There are a variety of online degree programs available through community colleges, which can offer students a lower-cost entry into careers and/or future educational pursuits.

Best Community Colleges with Online Programs

With many community colleges offering online programs for degrees, certifications, and diplomas, it's helpful to know what to look for. Students should consider what careers or educational pathways they're interested in, how long they want to spend in their program, and how well it works with their schedule. Listed below are 50 of the best community colleges that offer online programs.

1. Holmes Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Goodman, MS $3,110 91%

Holmes Community College offers programs for certificates, Associate of Arts degrees, and Associate of Applied Science degrees. Online courses are offered in 8-week and 15-week terms, and are part of the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC). MSVCC allows students at Holmes to access online courses from partner schools in addition to their own. Students can pursue a variety of focus pathways including arts, general education, STEM, public safety, health sciences, and business. HCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

2. Allen County Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Iola, KS $3,808 86%

Allen County Community College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and allows students to complete a variety of degrees completely online. Students can earn an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of General Studies, Associate of Applied Science, a certificate, or complete a licensure program (non-degree). 60 programs are available including options in agriculture, business, science, criminal justice, general studies, mathematics and more.

3. East Mississippi Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Scooba, MS $3,440 96%

East Mississippi Community College has over 450 online classes for transfer students as well as those who are ready to advance their careers. Students can earn an AA, AAS, or one of several certificates in areas such as management, healthcare, technology and accounting. Students who wish to transfer to a four-year university may choose a more generalized/flexible curriculum path through a general education AA program. EMCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Colleges, American Association of Community Colleges, and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

4. Northcentral Technical College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Wausau, WI $3,553 74%

Students at Northcentral Technical College can earn technical diplomas, certificates, and associate's degrees through entirely online programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of various organizations including the American Association of Community Colleges and the Midwest Institute for International/Intercultural Education. Online options include 40 different certificates (such as early childhood education and bookkeeping), 26 technical diplomas (including information technology and human resource management), and 23 associate's degrees including accounting, manufacturing, and information technology.

5. Northeast Mississippi Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Booneville, MS $3,596 99%

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Northeast Mississippi Community College offers more than 20 programs online. Students can pursue an AA, AAS, or certification in various fields. Not all fields of study are available in all degree types, but some fields students can choose from are accounting, technology, general studies, business management, education, and science. Northeast Mississippi boasts a retention rate of nearly 70%, meaning most first-time students returned for the second year.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Southwest Tennessee Community College Memphis, TN $4,255 92%
7 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN $4,368 74%
8 Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA $2,778 88%
9 Georgia Piedmont Technical College Clarkston, GA $2,924 90%
10 Central Texas College Killeen, TX $3,390 66%
11 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN $5,488 93%
12 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS $3,584 91%
13 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN $5,335 86%
14 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN $5,692 90%
15 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC $1,867 40%
16 Columbus State Community College Columbus, TN $4,269 94%
17 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD $5,332 92%
18 Southeastern Technical College Vidalia, GA $2,863 97%
19 Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA $2,748 84%
20 Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH $4,004 81%
21 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson, MS $3,180 92%
22 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA $2,798 91%
23 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, MN $5,628 78%
24 Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville, GA $2,728 95%
25 James A Rhodes State College Lima, OH $4,085 79%
26 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY $3,426 94%
27 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI $4,729 80%
28 Community Care College Tulsa, OK $17,508 89%
29 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI $4,247 74%
30 San Joaquin Delta College Stockton, CA $1,288 76%
31 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN $5,416 88%
32 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN $5,549 87%
33 Clovis Community College Fresno, CA $1,304 63%
34 West Georgia Technical College Waco, GA $2,838 87%
35 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, OR $6,077 91%
36 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY $4,248 98%
37 Lanier Technical College Gainesville, GA $3,336 80%
38 Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ $2,070 84%
39 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE $3,480 89%
40 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI $4,565 68%
41 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA $3,873 65%
42 Ultimate Medical Academy-Clearwater Clearwater, FL $26,660 99%
43 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY $4,248 98%
44 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO $4,320 91%
45 Albany Technical College Albany, GA $2,712 93%
46 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ $2,070 73%
47 Riverland Community College Austin, MN $5,570 84%
48 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI $4,403 62%
49 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA $2,876 89%
50 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC $2,673 53%

All tuition, fees and financial aid information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Community College Degrees

Students can pursue one of several associate's degrees online through community college programs. Students can often finish their programs in two years or less, depending on their course load. The types of associate's degrees available online from community colleges are discussed below.

Associate of Arts (AA)

Associate of Arts degree programs often provide students with a broad education in subjects such as math, history, English, and science. These programs are best for students who intend to pursue a four-year degree after earning their AA. Because an AA provides a more generalized curriculum, it's often ideal for students who haven't decided on an educational or career path.

Associate of Science (AS)

AS programs are a bit more focused than AA programs. Graduates are prepared to enter a four-year university, but may also be prepared for work in their field. For example, an Associate of Science in Nursing program qualifies graduates for nursing licensure, because they've developed basic nursing skills and expertise.

Associate of Applied Art (AAA)

This degree program is intended to improve the employment situation of students or prepare them for new employment in the area of their degree. For example, an AAA in Visual Arts helps students to further develop and market their artwork through a curriculum that is focused on visual arts.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Like the AAA program, AAS programs prepare students for employment or advance their current skills. An AAS in Child Care program, for example, would provide students with instruction in topics pertaining primarily to child care, and enable graduates to seek employment as child care providers.

Associate of General Studies (AGS)

AGS programs are for students who wish to take courses based on their interests and don't qualify graduates for any specific career or college transfers. These programs typically require students to work with their advisors and/or consult with their employers to find the courses that are best suited for students.

How to Choose an Online Community College

There are several things that you need to keep in mind when looking at community colleges for an online program; some of the most important are listed below.

Programs Available

The first consideration in choosing an online program is what path you're interested in. If you're interested in advancing your current position, you may prefer an AAA, AAS, AS, or even AGS. If you're interested in a four-year degree or higher as your long-term objective, an AA or AS may benefit you more regarding transfer credits. Once you've decided which type of degree is the best fit, check with your college choices to ensure they're offered as online options.

Accreditation

Community colleges can be accredited by various agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Accrediting bodies review colleges periodically to ensure that their processes and programs meet the criteria of that organization. Attending an accredited community college increases your chances of receiving a quality, productive education.

Cost

Online community college program costs vary by school and student but are typically significantly lower than the costs of four-year and graduate programs. When estimating total program costs, check to see if your program choices have flat fees, or if they require tuition and itemized fees.

Tuition & Fees for Online Community Colleges

Online programs at community colleges can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 in tuition from start to finish, but can vary by school and student transfer credits (when applicable). Associate's degree programs typically consist of around 60 credit hours, so a school with a tuition cost-per-credit of $150 will have a total program tuition of $9,000.

Bachelor's degree programs usually have around 120 credit hours, so a student pursuing a bachelor's degree with the same per-credit rate will have a total program tuition cost of $18,000. Associate's degree programs offer a low-cost starting point for students interested in bachelor's degree programs, and may save them money if they pursue a four-year degree.

Common Costs and Fees

Most programs contain itemized fees in addition to tuition. These fees might include technology fees, online course fees, registration fees, program-specific fees, and graduation fees. Students could have an additional $1,000 or more from these fees to include in their total program cost. Schools with a flat-rate fee may enable students to pay a flat fee per semester or credit hour for all fees, or fees and tuition.

Common Online Community College Degrees

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, some of the most popular online community college degrees are those in education, business, nursing, criminal justice, visual arts and social sciences. Several popular degrees available online through community colleges are listed below.

Associate's Degree in Business Management

One of the most popular degree programs is business management, which can be available in different degree types. In these programs, students learn about management skills, communication, business law, accounting, and leadership. These programs usually take two years or less and can be completed entirely online.

Associate's Degree in Nursing

Associate's degree in nursing programs prepare students for licensure as registered nurses (RNs). Although students can complete much of their coursework online, they are required to attend various clinical experiences to prepare for nursing roles. Within their program, students learn about nursing practices, health and illness, as well as caring for patients.

Criminal Justice Associate's Degree

Criminal justice programs teach students about the operations and theories within criminal justice, in preparation for more in-depth education or careers. Graduates of these programs may be able to enter the workforce as police, correctional officers, security personnel, or victim advocates.

Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting

Medical assisting associate's degree programs prepare students for certification as medical assistants. In these programs, students learn about various medical practices and regulations, patient care, and health sciences.

Associate's Degree in Early Education

Early education associate's degree programs prepare students for work in early childhood education by teaching educational principles and outcomes. Graduates can continue their education, or pursue careers such as daycare educators, childcare program administrators, and elementary school teacher assistants.

Accounting Associate's Degree

Accounting programs provide students with basic accounting and business knowledge that can be applied in entry-level positions (such as bookkeeping), or built upon in pursuit of higher degrees and careers. These programs include courses in financial and managerial accounting, business, and economics.

Enrolling in an Online Community College Program

To enroll in an online program, you should first fill out an online application. Some schools may require an application fee while others offer free applications to prospective students. You may need to upload your unofficial transcripts if required and any other applicable documents as requested (such as a copy of a high school diploma and resume). You should check your school choices' enrollment and program start dates. Make sure that the enrollment for your preferred program is open when you apply.

Acceptance and Registration

If accepted, you will receive an acceptance packet that may include items such as your student handbook, registration instructions, and student login information. Depending on your school, you may work with an advisor to register for your first courses, or you may have the option to create and/or edit your course registration online.

Technical Requirements

For online courses and programs, schools typically require students to meet certain technical requirements. These can include owning a computer with certain programs (such as Microsoft Office) and regular internet access. In addition, schools may require or recommend that students have later model computers to ensure that they can support the online learning platform.

Academic Advisors

For your first semester, you should consult with your academic advisor. These professionals will listen to your educational goals and help you devise a plan to achieve them. This includes creating a course load, guiding you to courses that may interest you, helping with transfer credits and giving you strategies for success.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Colorado State University Global

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