Finding the Best Online Community Colleges

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Online Community Colleges

Where flexibility and affordability meet

Like for-profit schools and non-profit universities, community colleges across the country have added distance learning to their program and course lists, helping students earn credits and work toward a degree with maximum flexibility. Yet one important thing sets community colleges apart: affordability. Using insight from distance learning experts and online students, the following guide examines how (and why) community colleges hit the cost and flexibility sweet spot.

About the Author

Jennifer Koebele, MS Ed. Jennifer Koebele, MS Ed. is a freelance writer and educator from Charlotte, NC. She has more than a decade of experience researching and writing on topics related to higher education, college financing and technology.

Expert Sources

Jennifer S. Distance Learning Instructor Tompkins Cortland Community College Dryden, NY
Mark Thompson Florida Tech Online Student
Nicole Campbell Online Student Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC)

Introduction

As the cost of tuition and fees at colleges and universities continue to rise, students are looking for creative ways to keep expenses down. Traditionally, community colleges have provided students the opportunity to pursue a certificate or degree at a low financial cost. Whether students wish to pursue an associate degree, receive training to enter the workforce, or earn a two-year degree to transfer to a four-year institution, community college can be an effective solution.

The increase in the number of online degree programs in the U.S. makes attending community college even easier. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are over 1,655 community colleges in the country, many which offer distance learning programs and courses. By making online classes available, community colleges are able to reach students located close by and in remote areas.

Distance learning has many benefits, including flexibility, fewer expenses and the ability to continue working. Of course, it is important for students to make sure the school they attend is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized agency.

Best Online Community Colleges for 2016-2017

Some community colleges offer a handful of online programs and courses. Others go above and beyond, with strong collections of distance learning options, hybrid programs, technological resources and faculty with experience delivering lessons to and engaging with students remotely. Furthermore, these schools keep their commitment to the community intact, with tuition, fees and support services that help students move their higher education in the right direction. See which online community colleges truly stand out for the 2016 – 2017 school year.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 East Mississippi Community College
99.83 78% 70 12:1 27%

East Mississippi Community College serves students in East Central Mississippi. Online classes are taught through the Mississippi Virtual Community College. Associate of Applied Science degrees are conferred in 20 fields, including nursing, automotive, medical billing and coding and banking and finance. Fully and hybrid online degrees are available. Minimum college entrance exam scores and writing tests are required to enter some degree programs. Virtual learning is administered through the learning management system, Canvas. Through Canvas, students complete activities like class registration, tutoring and scheduled online class discussions. Students also view live video conferences, upload completed assignments and check their grades in Canvas. The READI Assessment is an online tool that the college uses to help adults determine if they are ready to pursue online learning.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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2 Western Wyoming Community College
98.90 39% 32 16:1 53%

As many as 11 online associate degrees are offered at Western Wyoming Community College. The school operates on a semester basis. Accounting, business administration, social science and information systems are some of the subjects that two year degrees are offered in. Certificate programs and bachelor and master degrees are also conferred. The school's online degree programs follow a similar schedule as its onsite programs. Although online courses offer flexibility, for a three credit course, students must log into online classes at least three days or nights a week. Minimum study time per course is 9 hours a week. Mustang Cruiser houses school announcements, student work opportunities, school policies, webmail and Blackboard. Signing into Blackboard is a one-step process. Once logged into Blackboard, students review class schedules and complete course projects.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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3 Holmes Community College
98.51 37% 55 18:1 25%

Holmes Community College offers opportunities to earn dual associate online degrees. The degrees are earned in technical and administrative fields. Most of the college's online associate degrees require adults to complete a minimum of 62 credit hours. About 35 of these credits are in core courses. To graduate with some degrees, students need to pass proctored exams. MyHolmes, Canvas and MS Virtual Community College are online platforms that students log into to register for classes, watch instructional videos, review their grades and participate in class discussions in real time. Live technical support is available on both platforms. Holmes Community College also uses the video based resource, Community College Network (CCN). The network links community and junior colleges and two universities located in Mississippi. After accessing CCN, students watch live video conference and seminar events that are hosted by member CCN schools.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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4 Mesa Community College
96.88 25% 24 20:1 12%

Mesa Community College has three campuses located in Mesa, Arizona. Headquarters for its online college is at 1833 West Southern Avenue, the same address as the college's main campus. The college is part of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Online degrees place an emphasis on areas such as retail management, music business, general business and administration of justice studies. Some programs allow students to choose a specialization. Student email, Canvas and MyMaricopa are primary tools used by adults taking online classes. A help center, online tutoring and training on how to get the most out of video instruction are support resources designed for students enrolled in virtual classes. There is also an online orientation for new students.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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5 Tulsa Community College
96.81 39% 21 17:1 14%

Tulsa Community College was founded in 1970. The school serves Tulsa and the northeastern part of Oklahoma and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. In addition to three certificates, 17 online associate degrees are conferred. These 20 programs are taught fully online. Other programs are taught via a combination of classroom and online learning environments. It is necessary to take some exams at a proctored location. Prior to starting online classes, students must complete an online orientation. The orientation is accessed through MyTCC, the same utility that's used to access online courses, exams and interactive discussions.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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6 Kansas City Kansas Community College
96.80 22% 24 13:1 20%

Kansas City Kansas Community College is a two-year college located in the Northeastern part of Kansas. Supplementing its main campus are a technical education center and a career center. A 2.0 GPA or better is needed to graduate. Certain degree programs may require that students maintain more than a 2.0 in core courses. It takes approximately three days for the college to process admissions applications. Adult learners log into MyDotte, WebAdvisor and Blackboard to view class syllabuses, connect with academic advisors and complete assignments. Through the college's transfer agreements, students can earn a four-year degree at select schools without losing credits that they earned at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Articulation agreements allow high school students to start taking the college's courses before they graduate with a diploma.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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7 Barton County Community College
96.78 71% 33 25:1 30%

Since July 15, 1965, Barton County Community College has taught postsecondary classes to adults living in Central Kansas. Primary counties that the college serves are Stafford, Ellsworth, Rice, Rush, Pawnee, Ellis and Barton. Nearly 17,000 students take online and onsite courses at the college. More than two dozen online programs are available. BartOnline is the platform that students pursuing fully online or blended degrees log into. General education courses are taught through eduKan, a consortium of six Western Kansas Community Colleges. Within MyBarton are Cougar email and access to instructors and faculty. All school platforms require a user ID and password.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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8 Allen County Community College
96.76 68% 94 20:1 23%

Allen County Community College confers more than 39 associate degrees. Associate of General Studies degrees are built with elective options. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees are available in 39 degree tracks. Online options are completed fully online. The programs are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. At Allen County Community College, students log into MyAllen to keep up with campus announcements, admissions information, webmail and course schedules. Blackboard is also housed within MyAllen. In addition to undergraduate degrees, the college teaches classes that lead to 14 certificates. A total of 12 programs that lead to licensing are available.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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9 Pamlico Community College
96.57 11% 31 9:1 67%

Pamlico Community College first opened its doors in 1962. The college started as an industrial education school. The school was renamed Pamlico Community College in 1987. The two-year postsecondary institution is authorized to teach online courses to adult learners in 23 states. Many courses are taught as part of the Southern Regional Education Board's electronic campus. In addition to a high school diploma or equivalent, placement tests are required to get admitted to some degree programs. Each student is assigned a counselor who can let the student know if they need to take a placement test. To earn an associate degree, students must generally finish 60 to 65 credit hours. Web Advisor, Campus Cruiser, campus email and Moodle are resources for students taking online classes. Online orientation and online technical support are also open to students who complete degrees via distance learning.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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10 State Fair Community College
96.12 14% 41 17:1 21%

State Fair Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Adults residing in a total of 14 counties located in the Sedalia, Missouri area are educated at the school. Annually, the college teaches approximately 5,000 students. More than 2,000 of these students take one or more online courses. Two fully online associate degrees are available. These degrees are in medical assisting and business management. The same amount of credits and course material required with face-to-face classes are needed to pass online courses. Online services that students pursuing the two degrees can take advantage of are tutoring, the Donald C. Proctor Library, the bookstore and student advisement.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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11 Rio Salado College
95.93 4% 44 20:1 17%

Located in Tempe, Arizona, Rio Salado College has been providing adult learners the chance to earn online degrees for more than 15 years. The college is part of the Maricopa Community Colleges and offers technical support 24/7 to adults taking online courses. Online degrees and certificates are in careers, technical fields and administration specialties like accounting, dental assisting, human development, retail management and digital design. Students can expect to complete 61 to 65 credit hours of study before they graduate. The lowest GPA allowed is 2.0. RioLearn is the tool that is used to review course requirements, class schedules, academic progress and individual lessons. An online demo is available so that prospective students can get a firsthand feel for how the system works.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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12 Central Texas College
95.90 13% 43 18:1 14%

Through Central Texas College's online programs, civilians and military members living in more than 140 countries have earned undergraduate degrees. The degree credits are transferrable to four-year schools. Several of the school's more than 24 degrees can be completed online. The least number of credits required to earn an associate degree is 60. Similar to onsite classes, online courses are taught on a semester basis. Blackboard and Bio-Sig are available year round, both day and night. Students also have access to Eagle Mail, Pearson, Cengage and McGraw-Hill publisher products like MyMath Lab and CourseMate. Academic support resources and student services that are available to students attending on campus courses are also open to adults taking online classes.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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13 Frank Phillips College
95.73 30% 16 17:1 25%

Frank Phillips College is accredited to offer online Associate of Art, Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science degrees. Traditional and distance education options are taught at the college. Online programs are web based, requiring a reliable computer. Several of the programs are offered through the Virtual College of Texas. The student portal and student email are the main resources that connect adults taking online courses to classmates and instructors. Through the student portal, students download assignments, upload exams, check their course registration status and review course schedules. Online orientation teaches students how to use the student portal and campus email.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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14 Stanly Community College
95.72 15% 28 15:1 25%

Prior to enrolling in an online program at Stanly Community College, students can take a campus tour. A tour can show students local to Albemarle, North Carolina academic halls, the Small Business Center and the Crutchfield Education Center. Online degrees are in business administration, accounting, computer information technology, criminal justice, human services and education. Moodle, campus email, student forms, college catalogs and tech support are found on the main page of the college's website. The college uses Moodle to house courses, class registration forms, online tutoring and course materials. It is the same system that new students use to attend online orientation. More academic options come through certificates and diplomas.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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15 Lenoir Community College
95.72 13% 25 10:1 12%

Degrees, certificates and diplomas are awarded at Lenoir Community College. Member of the North Carolina Community College System, Lenoir Community College offers a range of online degrees in business, arts, technology, education and social sciences. Administrative oversight for online degrees is managed through the Distance Education division. Updates on class schedules, school events, upcoming exams and individual academic progress are available in LancerAlert, LancerMail and Web Advisor. If students need academic support, they reach out to advisors online via the Tutor interface. Moodle is where adult learners upload their completed papers. Assignments are required to be submitted by set deadlines.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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16 Northwest Mississippi Community College
95.67 26% 18 23:1 18%

Flexible schedules at Northwest Mississippi Community College are achieved, in large part, through the school's online courses. Degrees are rewarded in eight academic pathways. Among these academic pathways are business, education, fine arts, math and natural sciences. A dozen of the school's majors are taught completely online. An online program that the college is known for is its online associate in business administration degree. Although courses are fully online, adults may have to travel to an approved location to complete proctored exams. Work based learning accelerates the degree process, allowing adults to earn college credits for accepted types of work experience.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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17 Metropolitan Community College
95.63 20% 22 14:1 12%

Metropolitan Community College is part of the Nebraska community college system. Both a historic virtual tour and a virtual walking tour provide prospective students with a brief history background and visual introduction to the college. Specific study areas range from technology to education to social sciences. Associate degrees and certificates are awarded to adults enrolled in Distance Education classes. Although the courses are flexible, new classes start each quarter. An average of core courses worth 30 or more credits are built into online associate degrees. After logging into MyWay, students can sign up for classes, receive academic support, read messages sent from administrators and instructors and review a course syllabus.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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18 Truckee Meadows Community College
95.57 22% 21 19:1 21%

Truckee Meadows Community College is part of Reno, Nevada's education system. About 25,000 students attend the school each year, taking credit and non-credit continuing education classes. The school's WebCollege Department offers degrees that are completely online or comprised of a combination of online and face-to-face classes. It's possible to earn online degrees in subjects like dental assisting, business, history and education. Resources developed for online students are campus email, WebCollege and online student support. MyTMCC is the portal that is the gateway into Canvas and the online bookstore.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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19 Ozarka College
95.43 25% 19 16:1 22%

Community learning at Ozarka College reaches back to 1975. General education, applied science and associate science degrees are awarded to adults who successfully complete approximately 62 credit hours. Transfer credits are accepted. Through dual enrollment agreements, high school students can take courses at Ozarka College at the same time that they are finishing high school courses. To get admitted into the college, prospective students are required to submit high school transcripts, immunization record, a photo ID and an online application. Admittance into certain online degree programs requires passing placement exam scores. MyOzarka is the system that the college uses to administer online classes through.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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20 Northeast Community College
95.38 38% 20 17:1 43%

At Northeast Community College, adults can choose between 60 online classes when seeking academic flexibility and online degrees. Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Arts online degrees are awarded with a technical or career focus in areas like education, business and agriculture. Online partner programs are in early childhood education, library and information services and culinary arts. Without leaving home, adults can get a close look at the school's facilities using the webcams. My Account Access provides access to online registration, tuition records, class schedules, course overviews and DegreeWorks Audit. MyClassesOnline leads to actual class assignments. Help with class scheduling is available through the Online Advisor portal.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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21 Madisonville Community College
95.18 22% 25 14:1 30%

Madisonville Community College is one of Kentucky's 16 college districts. Types of postsecondary credentials that the college awards are online associate degrees, on campus undergraduate degrees, transfer degrees, certificates and diplomas. Local workers have the chance to receive non-degree technical and professional development training at Madisonville Community College. Tests for some online courses are taken at the Proctoring Center. Blackboard, campus email and the user account center are how students watch live video lectures and recorded training seminars. Student Self Service gets students into the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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22 Odessa College
95.10 32% 24 17:1 20%

More than 45 undergraduate degrees are offered at Odessa College. Distance education degrees are administered several ways, including via online courses, at extension centers or through the Virtual College of Texas. About 60 semester credits are needed to graduate with an associate degree. Six-week continuing education courses are also taught at the college. These courses lead to professional certifications. Academic and technical support are provided via email and chat. In addition to supporting current adult learners, email and chat is how the school responds to questions submitted from prospective students. To view class catalogs, students log into Blackboard with a username and password. Blackboard also supports class discussions, grade tracking and the status of class assignments. Tutoring, ebooks, webcam rentals and computers are located in the Student Success Center.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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23 Pitt Community College
95.08 11% 31 17:1 13%

Online degrees, certificates and diplomas are awarded at Pitts Community College. The college is headquartered in Greenville, North Carolina and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In-state adults seeking academic credentials in healthcare, technology, education and business can pursue online associate degrees. Adults living outside of North Carolina should contact the college to see if they qualify to take online degree courses. myPittCC serves as the doorway to Moodle, campus email, Moodle and student support services. Instructors teach online classes through Ed2Go. Moodle is the other portal that the college uses to teach virtual classes through.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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24 Laramie County Community College
95.04 31% 17 15:1 14%

Laramie County Community College is located in Wyoming's capital city of Cheyenne. The college has campuses in Laramie and Cheyenne. It has three outreach educational center, one which is at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base. Online degrees like the Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education and the Associate of Applied Science in Business Management can be completed fully online or in the classroom. Online tools that provide assimilated hands-on training, interactive class discussions and digital record management are EaglesEye, campus email and D2L. Dates for upcoming events, access to the bookstore and Wingspan are types of Information stored in EaglesEye. To find direct instructions on future class assignments, syllabuses, recorded lectures and course catalogs, students log into D2L.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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25 Yavapai College
95.04 15% 16 18:1 17%

Yavapai College is a community college that awards undergraduate degrees and certificates. Established in 1965, Yavapai College has expanded its catalog to include nine associate degrees and certificates that are taught entirely online. Certificates, like the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) A, B and S certificates require 35 credits to finish. A minimum of 60 credits are generally required for an associate degree. International and domestic students attend the college. To get admitted to the college, adults generally need a diploma from a regionally accredited high school or proof of graduation from an accepted state education agency.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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26 Crowder College
94.97 18% 21 15:1 22%

Crowder College was established in 1963. One year later, in 1964, the college started teaching its first class to a group of 361 students. Presently, the college offers more than 80 degrees and certificates. Blackboard, My Crowder, PowerPoint presentations, video and reading and research assignments are tools used during online courses. It could take six hours a week of study to keep up with the curriculum of a three credit class. Students are expected to log into classes regularly. Minimum scores from placement or COMPASS tests are necessary to enroll. The lowest ACT scores accepted are 18 in English and Reading and 23 in Math.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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27 Cochise College
94.94 22% 13 16:1 18%

Established in 1964, Cochise College teaches approximately 14,000 students annually in associate degree, certificate, professional development and workforce or career focused programs. Liberal arts, business, technology, math and sciences and nursing and allied health are departments that classes are taught within. Twelve of the school's degrees are entirely online. Related course materials for the online programs are stored in Moodle. To get into Moodle, the college's online learning management system, students sign into MyCochise. Although course assignments can be worked on 24/7, the assignments do not become available until 24 hours before a new term starts. Cochise College has articulation agreements with colleges within and outside of Arizona. The agreements make it easier for students to transfer to universities and colleges that offer four year degrees.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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28 Fayetteville Technical Community College
94.90 1% 37 20:1 7%

Fayetteville Technical Community College was founded in 1961. The two-year educational institution is headquartered in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A total of 15 associate degrees at the college are 100% online. Fully online and classroom training is complemented by non-credit based corporate and workforce development programs. Some certificate and diploma programs prepare students to pass professional licensing exams. To deliver classes in real time and via recordings, instructors and students use tools like Blackboard, campus email and WebAdvisor. Students who have mobile apps, can complete some distance learning class assignments with a cell or smart phone.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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29 Montgomery Community College
94.63 19% 17 8:1 33%

Academic programs at Montgomery Community College cover major corporate, business, technical, healthcare and education arts fields. Opportunity to earn an associate degree in a fully online learning environment is available in specialties like business, computer science and general studies. Within the online portal, Blackboard Learn, are resources like course assignments, student email, campus contacts and downloadable bookstore materials. Short contact forms to reach out to instructors, academic advisors and tutors are also located within Blackboard. Online orientation is delivered using a video housed in ELITE Distance Education.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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30 Maysville Community and Technical College
94.61 9% 23 11:1 30%

Maysville Community and Technical College is a member school in the Kentucky Community and Technology College System. The college was founded in 1968. It provides training that leads to associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. Provided learning environments take place face-to-face in a classroom, online and during evening hours. Associate degrees that are fully online are in criminal justice and medical information technology. Distance learning students can order textbooks online. Class schedules, student services support, Blackboard, video tutorials and PeopleSoft are tools used to deliver distance learning programs. College credit for relevant work experience is available. Students wishing to earn a four year degree, can work with the MCTC Transfer Center to get help to ensure that all of their credits are accepted by the new school.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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31 Gateway Community and Technical College
94.60 9% 27 12:1 34%

Gateway Community and Technical College provides concentrated study tracks that prepare students to enter high-demand and high paying jobs after graduation. Gateway offers many of its courses in both online and hybrid courses, so students who have busy schedules can be sure that they can find time to further their education. Associate degrees at Gateway are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and degree plans can be tailored to result in either transferring to a four-year university or immediate introduction to the workforce. Students who excel in their academics may also be eligible for a number of the scholarships offered at Gateway.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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32 Central Georgia Technical College
94.55 N/A 47 15:1 31%

Not only does Central Georgia Technical College offer many online courses, but incoming freshman are also able to complete their college orientation without ever being present on the campus. Through the numerous financial aid options offered at Central Georgia Technical College, students can focus on getting an education rather than paying for one. Students have the opportunity to pursue more than 190 degrees, diplomas, and certificates at CGTC, any of which will help to secure post-academic employment. CGTC also offers a number of courses designed to prepare students to earn and renew the necessary licensures for whatever field they may be employed in.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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33 Hutchinson Community College
94.45 59% 18 15:1 29%

Established in 1928, Hutchinson Community College has been providing students with a quality education for nearly 100 years. Today, more than 250 of the courses offered at Hutchinson Community College are also offered in an online format; this will help to guarantee students can find the necessary time to succeed in their academics. Hutchinson Community College also prides itself on providing a “real” college experience for its students, and rejecting the stereotypes that come with being a community college. Hutchinson is an active community with numerous on campus activities, clubs, and organizations. Student are also provided with all the support services necessary for success.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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34 Hazard Community and Technical College
94.41 19% 22 15:1 28%

Every student is unique when it comes to preferred modes of learning. That's why Hazard Community and Technical College offers many of its programs in an online and hybrid format, allowing students to create the schedule they feel they will function most efficiently in. The programs offered at Hazard Community and Technical College are designed to either help students transfer to a 4-year university to continue their education, or to allow immediate integration into the workforce. Many of the certificates offered at Hazard are designed to fit directly into associate degree programs, allowing students to complete both programs concurrently and increase their future marketability as an employee.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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35 Panola College
94.31 24% 19 18:1 20%

Not only does Panola College offer numerous online courses, but it also offers many programs in entirely online formats. With these flexible schedules, even students worried that their busy lives may interfere with their academics will find the time to complete their coursework. Testing centers are available to new and returning students who wish to attempt to place into higher level courses, potentially expediting their academic career. Dining and housing services are offered to all Panola College students, as well as academic advising, tutoring, and disability resources. Students will also be able to regulate their health at Panola's fitness center.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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36 Somerset Community College
94.27 8% 26 18:1 25%

As one of the quickest growing community colleges in America, Somerset Community College offers the education students need to thrive in a competitive workplace. Students who feel their outside lives may be too busy to earn a degree may be interested in the distance programs are offered at Somerset; the same thorough education is provided, but in a format that allows for more flexibility. Night classes, weekend classes, and multiple campus locations also help students to build the right schedule for themselves. Academic guidance is also offered through Somerset's academic advising offices, which happily helps students to find the quickest and cheapest path to their graduation.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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37 Diablo Valley College
94.15 N/A 37 27:1 39%

Students looking to complete an associate degree, but are also looking for minimal interference in their day-to-day schedules, may be interested in pursuing one of the online degrees offered at Diablo Valley College. Many of the online credits offered fall under the IGETC agreement that allows them to be transferred to a wide variety of 4-year universities, including Colorado State University. For students interested in immediate post-grad employment, Diablo Valley offers a number of career and technical education programs. In addition to daytime classes, Diablo Valley also offers night, weekend, and summer classes, allowing students to graduate as quickly as possible.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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38 Wake Technical Community College
94.11 2% 38 18:1 16%

More than 200 associate and certification programs are offered at Wake Technical Community College, making it an excellent environment for any student looking to extend their education. The online programs at Wake Technical Community College are prefaced by the eLearning Intro, which guarantee students will get the most out of their online education. Wake Tech believes extracurricular integration is an essential part of a thorough academic experience, and through Wake Tech XTRA—Wake Tech's club and organization management system—students will be able to become active members of their academic community.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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39 Bluegrass Community and Technical College
94.06 2% 30 16:1 18%

A student attending Bluegrass Community and Technical College will have the opportunity to pursue an associate degree, diploma or certificate in over 40 subjects. Distance learning at Bluegrass is offered in both hybrid and fully online formats, so students can construct their schedules to be as personally productive as possible. Students from 21 different countries attend Bluegrass at one of their six different campuses, as well as students from 38 U.S. states. The student-run clubs and organizations offered at Bluegrass will also help to enrich students' academic experiences; through these groups, students will find likeminded individuals while also exposing them to diverse new experiences.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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40 East Arkansas Community College
94.06 15% 17 16:1 12%

As one of the cheapest schools in the state, East Arkansas Community College is an excellent institution to receive an education. EACC is spread out over many campuses, allowing students to attend whichever site best fits their needs. The online courses at East Arkansas Community College are designed to accommodate the busy lives students lead outside of school. Financial aid comes in the form of academic and technical scholarships and is available to all qualifying students; students over the age of 50 also receive tuition discounts. Educational development is further ensured through EACC's student services, which include advising offices, counseling services, and tutoring.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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41 Guilford Technical Community College
93.94 5% 24 20:1 10%

The third largest community college in North Carolina, Guilford Technical Community College provides the education required for students to achieve their goals. A wide variety of the programs offered at Guilford technical Community College can be completed through fully online courses. After completion of a preparation workshop, students will be officially considered eDegree students; eDegree students are able to access all necessary coursework and resources remotely, and also are granted priority registration status. Paying for school is simplified with GTCC's annually awarded scholarships; more than $200,000 is awarded every year in the form of over 250 awards.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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42 Dakota College at Bottineau
93.91 40% 20 9:1 28%

Dakota College at Bottineau has been open for more than 100 years and since has been committed to providing a comprehensive education for all of its students. Now, more than 100 classes and 25 programs are provided in an online format at Dakota College at Bottineau. Online students will receive the same individualized educational experiences they would if they attended classes on-campus, but are able to access their courses from wherever they find is most comfortable. Students who wish to achieve employment as quickly as possible may be interested in pursuing one of DCB's AAS degrees, which are designed with career-oriented students in mind.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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43 Mohave Community College
93.89 9% 19 14:1 18%

Many of the programs offered at Mohave Community College are provided in an entirely online format, including transferable AA degrees for students interested in continuing their education at a 4-year institution. At Mohave Community College, students will be provided with all necessary resources to ensure their success, including disability and veteran services, career counseling, and academic advising. In order to make paying for college more bearable, MCC also provides financial aid to all qualifying students. Dual enrollment is also an option for high school students who wish to get a jump start on their college credits.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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44 Sinclair College
93.76 28% 14 15:1 17%

As one of the most prominent sources of online learning in Ohio, Sinclair College is an excellent option for any incoming freshman who is looking for flexibility in their academic schedule. Sinclair College has the lowest tuition in Ohio and offers the fully accredited and transferable credits that student need to meet their goals. The average graduate from Sinclair College can expect to receive a %114 median increase in annual income. Qualifying students may be awarded one or more forms of financial aid, including scholarships, loans, and federal student aid. Academic advising at Sinclair also guarantees students will be set on the cheapest and quickest path to graduation.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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45 Amarillo College
93.75 17% 19 22:1 15%

Online learning at Amarillo College is administered in multiple forms: fully online, hybrid, enhanced online, telecourse, and ITV. Paired with traditional learning—100% in in-person—students have a wide variety of options to build the most comfortable schedule possible. The associate degrees and certificates offered at Amarillo college are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and many are designed for students to be able to transfer their credits to a 4-year school. Tutoring and testing centers are also available to help any student that hopes to reach their academic potential.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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46 Haywood Community College
93.72 9% 14 6:1 20%

Haywood Community College makes receiving an education an achievable goal with its flexible online programs. HCC is also the owner of three forests, each of which is the setting for students in the Fish and Wildlife or Forest Management to receive hands-on educational training. Other field-specific facilities include automotive shops, a greenhouse, and a simulation lab for nursing students. Students who wish to continue their education at a 4-year institution will receive all the guidance they need for a smooth transition, including proofreading of application essays, help understanding which credits will transfer, and assistance in choosing the right school.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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47 Southwest Virginia Community College
93.71 58% 16 24:1 32%

The teachers at Southwest Virginia Community College are ready to provide a comprehensive education for their students, in whichever format the feel most comfortable. Outside of certain proctored tests, most online courses at SWCC can be completed entirely online, and the faculty is prepared to help students work around their lives outside of school. At SWCC, students can also be certain that if they excel in their academics, they are likely to receive some form of financial aid, be it loans, scholarships, or grants. Students will also be able to focus their studies through SWCC's tutoring centers and writing lab.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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48 Three Rivers Community College
93.70 17% 40 24:1 17%

Three Rivers Community College is an excellent option for any student looking to further their education, especially students who find they are short on time. With TRCC's distance learning programs, students will be able to meet their goals without interrupting their busy lives. The programs at TRCC are designed to be integrated with one another, making switching degrees a more seamless process. Workforce education programs offered at Three Rivers also allows students to receive customized educational experiences specific to a business or industry. Financial aid at TRCC comes in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and loans, any of which are available to students who meet the requirements.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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49 Columbus State Community College
93.69 20% 28 19:1 8%

Students who chose to seek an online education at Columbus State Community College have the advantage of being able to complete their coursework at whatever time and in whatever place best fits their schedule. The average class size at CSCC is 19 students, so students won't have to worry about not receiving the necessary attention for their success. CSCC also has transfer agreements with over 35 colleges, guaranteeing students looking to continue their education at a 4-year institution will find a school with which they are comfortable. In addition to CSCC's two primary campuses, the Columbus campus and the Delaware campus, they also teach from five other regional learning centers.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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50 Southwestern Community College
93.66 15% 13 15:1 32%

Students interested in the online program at Southwestern Community College will have the option to complete orientation in an online format. Similarly, much of the coursework at SWC may be completed entirely from the comfort of one's home. Over 320 associate degrees and certificates are awarded at SWC, so students can be sure they will find the program that will help them achieve their career goals. Students attending SWC will receive a comprehensive education that will prepare them for either immediate integration into the workforce, or for transferring to a 4-year university for further education.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Distance Learning Basics and Benefits?

Distance learning gives students the opportunity to pursue a certificate or degree without being physically present in the classroom. Instructors utilize a variety of formats when teaching classes online. Some classes require students and instructors to be online simultaneously (synchronous), while other classes provide more flexibility, allowing students to log in within a certain period of time (asynchronous). Hybrid courses are a combination of in-person instruction and online learning.

Instruction takes place through interactive videos, digital textbooks and virtual learning software such as Blackboard. Students interact with instructors and peers via e-mail, online discussion boards and Skype.

Advantages of Distance Learning

Flexibility: Students can complete coursework from any location where there is a computer and internet connection, allowing them to fit classes around busy family and work schedules.

No commuting: Location flexibility allows students to save money on the costs associated with commuting, such as gas and wear and tear on a vehicle.

Greater choice: Prospective students who live in small communities without nearby schools can attend online degree programs even if there is not a community college located nearby.

Resources:

U.S. Distance Learning AssociationNonprofit association that supports Distance Learning research and development across the complete arena of education, training and communications

Distance Education Associations and Professional OrganizationsLinks to associations and organizations compiled by the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Why Do Students Attend Community Colleges?

A community college is a two-year institution of higher education that offers different levels of instruction. Generally, community colleges are open to everyone, providing a quality learning opportunities with low tuition and fees. Students attend community college for a variety of reasons:

Career education: Students complete a two-year degree or certification program that allows them to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. There are numerous career options for students to pursue in these programs, depending on the school. Here are some examples:

  • Accounting Certificate (entry-level accounting)
  • Automotive Technology Certificate (automobile repair technician)
  • Dental Assisting (Dental Assistant)
  • Early Childhood Education: (Preschool or daycare employee)
  • Information Technology (entry-level IT position)
  • Nursing (Certified Nursing Assistant)
  • Paralegal Studies (Paralegal)

Transfer education: After completing a two-year degree program, students can transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a BS or BA degree. For example, University of California Board of Regents reports that 30 percent of UC graduates attended a community college before transferring to the university. Many colleges and universities have articulation agreements with community colleges that clearly spell out what students need to do in order to transfer. FinAid.org provides a list of schools with articulation agreements.

Developmental education: High school graduates who are not academically ready to enroll in college-level courses can take remedial education classes at community colleges. For example, Columbus State Community College has a Developmental Education Department with the goal of providing an educational opportunity for each learner to assist the college with the retention of students. Students take basic level courses and receive special support services.

Industry training: Local companies contract with community colleges to provide specific training or courses for their employees. Many community colleges have a Center for Workforce Development that provides training on site or on campus by experts to enhance employee skills. Services may include consultation and planning development and continuing professional education. Some examples of industry-specific skills are:

  • Electrical Pre Apprenticeship
  • Construction Estimating
  • Computer Skills
  • Project Management
  • Technical Writing

Continuing education: Individuals can take non-credit courses for personal development and interest in continuing education programs at community colleges, which can include courses, conferences and certificate programs. Students have the opportunity to refresh their knowledge and skills in self-directed and group-based classes. Individuals pursue continuing education to:

  • Earn a GED
  • Receive on-the-job training
  • Participate in corporate training
  • Gain English as a Second Language (ESL) experience
  • Build a business
  • Strengthen basic skills
  • Enjoy personal development

Resources

Department of Developmental Education, Columbus State Community CollegeAn example of a comprehensive developmental education department, including goals

Developmental Education Aligned to the Common Core State StandardsArticle about the connection between Common Core State Standards and developmental education

Developmental Education in Community CollegesAn in-depth examination of developmental education programs offered by community colleges

Tips for Transferring from a 2-Year to a 4-Year CollegeTimeline for transferring to college or university along with suggestions for making the process run smoothly

UC Seeks to Increase Transfer Students from Community CollegesArticle about California’s goal for transferring community college students to University of California schools

Affordability of Online Classes at Community Colleges

Students save a considerable amount of money by attending classes at community colleges. According to The College Board, the average tuition and fees at community colleges are less than half that of public four-year institutions and one-ninth that of private four-year institutions.

Community college students who enroll in online degree programs, or who take online classes, can save even more money because of the cost-saving benefits of distance learning, such as:

  • No commuting and parking fees
  • Ability to eat meals at home
  • Fewer childcare expenses
  • Uninterrupted work schedule

Even students at four-year institutions are beginning to understand the financial benefits associated with online community college classes. In some cases, students are taking online classes at community colleges and applying the credits to their bachelor’s degree requirements, saving hundreds of dollars per course.

Resources

Distance Education Training CouncilDETC is a private, nonprofit organization that operates as a national accreditor of distance education institutions

Get 4-Year Credits with Online Community College ClassesArticle about how students at four-year institutions are taking classes at community colleges to save money

Why Distance Education?The benefits of Distance Education by the Career Institute

Online Community College Degree Timeline

The flexibility of distance learning means students can create their own timelines in many cases. However, the following schedule illustrates how some students approach an online program from start to finish.

Application

Most schools have an online application link on their website. In some cases, students must print out the application and mail it in. Applications are also available at high school guidance offices, libraries and human service agencies. In addition to submitting an application, students must send or fax their official transcript or a copy of their GED diploma and scores to the college. If applying for financial aid, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

Year One

In order to graduate with an associate degree in two years, students must take five classes per semester, or 15 credit hours. During the first two semesters, students enroll in core general education courses.

  • Career Education: You have some time before you need to begin actively searching for a job. However, the first year is a good time to begin to investigate places where you would like to work. Seek internship and volunteer opportunities to build your resume.
  • Transfer Education: If you plan on transferring to a four-year school, meet with your transfer advisor during the first semester. Begin researching colleges and universities that interest you so that you can become familiar with their transfer policies. Begin to visit each school and talk to the transfer coordinator in the admissions office.

Year Two

The second year at community college involves taking classes within a student’s major. These classes prepare students to enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year institution.

  • Career Education: Students who will begin working after graduation need research job opportunities early. Each school has a career development center where students can receive guidance during their job search, including resume assistance, mock job interviews and job leads.
  • Transfer Education: Students planning to transfer to a college or university need to take entrance exams, fill out applications, and update FAFSA® forms. Many community colleges have articulation agreements with four-year institutions, so it is important to speak with your advisor.

Questions to Ask Before Enrolling

  • Does the institution have a special transfer relationship with any four-year colleges?
  • Will the institution accept all of my earned credits if I transfer?
  • Do I need to earn a minimum GPA to transfer?

Online Degree Profile: Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Although each school is different, these courses exemplify what’s typically found in an Associate of Arts in Business Administration online degree program.

Required Hours: 60 credit hours Time to Complete: 2 years (4 semesters)
Business Administration Courses:
24 credits total   BUS 100- Introduction to Business (3 credits) BUS 185- Business Law I (3 credits) BUS 220- Introduction to International Business (3 credits) BUS 101- Principles of Management (3 credits) BUS102- Introduction to Marketing (3 credits) BUS 106- Human Resources Management (3 credits) ACCT 131- Principles of Accounting 1 (3 credits) ACCT 132- Principles of Accounting 11 (3 credits)
General Education Courses:
36 credits total at 100 or 200 level
English Composition
WRIT 120 College Writing (4 credits) WRIT 130 Research Paper (2 credits)
Mathematics
MATH 160 College Algebra (3 credits) MATH 180 Applied Calculus (3 credits)
Speech
SPC 101 Fundamentals of Oral Communications (3 credits)
Sciences
SCIE 112 Intro to Human Biology (4 credits) SCIE 211 Understanding Science: Principles, Practice & Theory (2 credits)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
ECON 210 Introduction to Microeconomics (3 credits) ECON 220 Introduction to Macroeconomics (3 credits) PSYCH 110 General Psychology (3 credits)
Arts and Humanities
HUMN 211- Intro to Ethical Analysis and Reasoning (3 credits) HUMN 232- Introduction to Literature (3 credits)

Resources

10 Tips for First Year Community College StudentsSuggestions for making the first year of community college successful from Folsom Lake College in Folsom, CA

College InsiderTips for transferring from community college to a four-year college

Federal Student AidOnline FAFSA® form

Internship ProgramsWebsite with information and resources for finding internship opportunities

Tips on Transferring from a 2-Year to 4-Year CollegeIncludes interview with Stephen Handel, Ph.D., Executive Director, Community College Initiatives, The College Board

Who Learns Online at Community Colleges (and Why)?

Community college distance learning programs are ideal for many situations, from students who have just graduated from high school to working professionals seeking greater job security. There are online programs for people of all ages who wish to learn for personal advancement, degrees and pleasure.

[Community college students] come from all types of backgrounds — recent high school graduates, men and women employed full-time, women returning to school after raising children. Community college — and online programs in particular — is ideal for so many situations.

Jennifer S. Distance Learning Instructor Tompkins Cortland Community College Dryden, NY

Working Professionals: Job Security and Advancement

Unemployment is on the rise, and competition for available jobs is high. Professionals with advanced training and education have an advantage when it comes to keeping their jobs or getting promoted to higher roles. Additional training can also increase an employee’s chances of receiving a raise in salary.

Next Step: Contact your local community college for information about their continuing education classes and certificate programs that you can complete during your free time. Your employer may even reimburse you for taking classes.

I didn’t go to college after high school because I wanted to start working right away. Last year I started thinking about going back but didn’t think I could make it work with my schedule. Turns out my employer helps out through the tuition assistance program and I schedule classes around my work schedule. So in the end it was an easy decision.

Mark Thompson Florida Tech Online Student

Resources

Benefits of Continuing EducationDescription of the benefits for full-time employees who take continuing education classes

Continuing Education Programs Benefit Employees and EmployersArticle about the success of continuing education programs in the workplace

National Council for Continuing Education and TrainingOrganization committed to providing benefits that keep members up to date on new trends, help them to maintain a personal and professional network, and give access to leading-edge programs.

Peterson’s Education and Career CenterEducational opportunities at all levels, including distance education for continuing education

Working Professionals: Changing Careers

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Americans change jobs an average of every five years. For those professionals interested in making a career change, education can be the key to success. Community colleges offer online certification and training programs that ease the transition between careers. People can keep working their existing jobs while training for their career move by scheduling online classes around work hours. In fact, The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) found 21 percent of full-time community college students also work full-time.

Next Step: Schedule an appointment with the Career Services department at your local community college. They have career assessment tests to help you identify your strengths and interests.

Resources

FOCUS2 A career and education planning system for students

Keirsey Personality Test More than 40 million people have taken the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS-II) to assess personality types

O*NET Online Free database that contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors

The Meyers & Briggs Foundation The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality inventory assessment based on the theories of C.J. Jung

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Information about working conditions, training and education, and job prospects for a wide range of occupations

Traditional Students: Living in Remote Locations

Even though community colleges strive to be accessible to all members of the community, it is not always easy. For people who live in remote areas, it can be tough to attend classes on campus. Online programs at community colleges make it possible for these students to pursue certifications and degrees from home as long as they have access to a computer and an internet connection.

Next step: Call the nearest community college to inquire about their online programs. Many schools will even allow you to take placement tests from a remote location so that you do not have to travel to the campus.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Distance Learning Article CUNY Queensborough Community College

Distance Education Survey Results Instructional Technology Council article part of Trends in eLearning: Tracking the Impact of eLearning at Community Colleges

Community College FAQs Questions and answers

Traditional Students: Needing a Flexible Schedule

Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of distance learning. Over 60 percent of community college students are over the age of 22. Many of them hold full-time jobs and families. For these students, the availability of online programs makes it easier to schedule around their responsibilities.

Next step: Visit the website for your local community college for information about their distance learning programs.

Interview with an Online Student
Name: Kathleen Schvvoeneck Coursework: A.S. in Veterinary Technology

Why did you choose distance learning at a community college?

Community college was the most affordable way for me to start my degree program. It was about half the price of a four-year college. I chose online education because of the flexibility. At the time, I had an infant and two dogs and needed to study at odd hours like when my daughter napped. The self-paced program made it much easier for me to juggle everything.

What was your biggest fear and did you overcome it?

Two things really worried me. First, I had been out of school for six years, so I was scared that I’d be really rusty with basic skills. I was a little, but soon got in the groove. Second, I had never taken a class online before. How did it work? Was it the same as a traditional class? After talking to the counselors at the school and to a few other students, I had a lot more confidence. Third, I was taking courses to be a veterinary technician, a very hands-on profession. I was skeptical how an online program would handle this. I learned that academic coursework took place online (email, chat, Blackboard) and hands-on activities at clinics and offices that had relationships with the school.

We know some of the differences between online and traditional courses and programs. How are they similar?

The work. I’ve taken classes in both formats, and each one still had work to complete, tests to take, and people to communicate with. I needed to be organized and disciplined. Having a schedule helped, although maintaining it could be tough at times.

What factors were the most important to you when searching for an online program?

Three things really stood out. (1) Accreditation. I wanted to make sure the program I chose had been accredited by a government-approved agency, especially with my first time learning online. (2) Cost. I needed a program that fit into my budget, especially with a family. (3) Job placement. I wanted to attend a school with a good job placement program. The last thing I wanted to do was earn a degree and not be able to find a job afterward.

Resources

4 Types of People Who Benefit from Community CollegeHow older and younger students benefit

Community College Spotlight Flexibility of community college programs

Community Colleges Need You American Psychological Association

Distance Learning and Community Colleges: The Myths

There are numerous myths associated with both distance learning and community colleges. Let’s take a look at some of the most common assumptions.

1. Community colleges are for people who can’t gain admission to four-year institutions.

Many people believe that students attend community college because they can’t get into a four-year college or university. Community colleges play a significant role in the U.S. educational system. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, almost half of undergraduates in the country attend community colleges. Millions of learners would not be able to access the education they need to be prepared for the workplace without the existence of community colleges. Accredited community colleges meet rigorous quality standards. In addition, instructors at community colleges come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialties.

2. Distance learning programs are not as good as traditional programs

It is important for students to research their options before choosing any program. There are hundreds of community colleges with top-notch distance learning departments. Many times the courses offered online are the exact same courses offered in a traditional classroom. Students interact with expert teachers as they build skills, develop a portfolio and advance in their careers.

3. Community colleges are for people who pursue vocational careers

Although many community colleges have excellent vocational programs, that is only a small part of what they offer. Community colleges allow students to transfer after two years to a four-year institution for further education. Community colleges have continuing education and training programs for people of all interests and backgrounds.

4. Transferring to a four-year university is complicated

Most community colleges have a support and transfer system in place to make the transition to another college or university a seamless process. Many four-year institutions have articulation agreements with community colleges to guarantee transfer credit. Distance learning credits transfer just as easily, as long as the community college is accredited by the proper regional agency. It is essential that students meet with their academic advisor on a regular basis to ensure they are taking the appropriate classes.

Q&A: Are You a Good Fit?

While anyone can benefit from distance learning, some people are better suited for it than others. It is a good idea to think about your personal learning style before enrolling in a program. The following questions can help you decide whether you are a good match for online community college classes.

Do you have a computer and internet connection? Students are required to have a computer with a reliable internet connection. They must also be comfortable communicating via email and chat.
Can you invest time in the course? Online classes are not easier than on-campus classes. Students must still perform research, complete assignments and interact with other students. These tasks require students to log in everyday.
Are you self-motivated? Self-discipline is important. Although online classes are flexible and convenient, students must be motivated to complete coursework on time and to meet the instructor’s expectations.
Are you a procrastinator? In order to have a successful experience at an online community college, students must not leave work to the last minute. In fact, it is important to log in routinely to check for new assignments and instructions.
Do you enjoy reading? Online classes require students to do a large amount of reading and students need to keep on top of reading assignments. The volume of reading required can be overwhelming if students don’t keep up with it on a regular basis.
Are you confident enough to speak up? The only way an instructor will know if there is an issue is if the online student shares concerns. Students need to have the confidence to address questions and concerns as they arise.
Can you communicate clearly in writing? Online students need to be able to communicate effectively through their writing when contributing to online discussions, sending emails to the instructor, and completing coursework.
Do you have strong time management skills? Experts list time management as the number one skill necessary for a successful online learning experience. There are numerous apps and software programs that can help you strengthen your time management skills.
Are you able to communicate without face-to-face contact? Some people have a hard time communicating without being in the same room as the other person. Due to the nature on online learning, contact will be over Skype or through email.

Resources

10 Ways to Ensure Distance Learning Success Tips for succeeding as an online learner

CNM Community College Online Resources Website with a wide range of Distance Learning resources including a fact sheet with tips and suggestions

What Every Student Should Know about Online Learning John E. Reid, Jr. PhD. Coordinator of Distance Education Technology at Kennesaw State University addresses ways to ensure a successful online learning experience

Community College Accreditation

Accreditation ensures that schools maintain academic programs, faculty and resources (physical, technological and financial) dedicated to high quality higher education. Both government and private educational agencies work together during the accreditation process. The U.S. Department of Education, for example, does not accredit programs directly, but does endorse the entities responsible for conducting the examinations, all of which must be listed in the Federal Register. The six most notable accrediting bodies in the nation work on a regional basis, each covering a specific set of states and sovereign territories. For a detailed breakdown of the accreditation process, the criteria and the players, including profiles on each major body involved, please visit our complete guide to college and university accreditation.

At the two-year college level, accreditation varies by location. For example, in the western region, governed by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a special sub-division of the WASC handles quality assurance. This Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges examines all campus-based, online and hybrid programs and courses designed for completion in two years or less. In other regions, the parent agency the one that accredits universities may vet community, junior and sometimes vocational education. Before enrolling at an online community college, make sure to research its accreditation status thoroughly.

Other Accrediting Agencies & Resources

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges Accreditation of postsecondary, non-degree and degree-granting institutions organized to educate students for occupational, trade and technical careers, including distance education.

Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training Accreditation of institutions of higher education that offer continuing education and vocational programs that confer certificates or occupational associate degrees, including those programs offered via distance education.

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools Accreditation of private postsecondary institutions offering certificates or diplomas, and postsecondary institutions offering associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in programs designed to educate students for professional, technical, or occupational careers, including those that offer those programs via distance education.

Council on Occupational Education Accreditation throughout the United States of postsecondary occupational education institutions offering non-degree and applied associate degree programs in specific career and technical education fields, including institutions that offer programs via distance education.

Distance Education and Training Council, Accrediting Commission Accreditation of postsecondary institutions in the United States that offer degree and/or non-degree programs primarily by the distance or correspondence education method up to and including the professional doctoral degree, including those institutions that are specifically certified by the agency as accredited for Title IV purposes.

Conclusion

Distance learning programs at community colleges provide students with many opportunities. The benefits of online education include flexible scheduling, affordability and greater choice. Online programs at community colleges combine these benefits with the advantages of attending a two-year program.

In addition to giving students the opportunity to take affordable classes before transferring to a four-year school, community colleges have programs for people exploring new careers, building new skills and exploring personal interests.

With careful planning and research, students can find the best online community college program for their needs to ensure their future success, no matter what their future career plans include.

40 Top Online Community Colleges for 2014 - 2015

search college programs
1
Foothill College
Tuition and Fees: $360 Enrollment: 30,120 Website: http://www.foothill.edu/fga/degrees.php

Foothill College, located in Los Altos Hills, California, remains one of the premier community colleges in the state of California. With a combined total of nearly two hundred career certification programs, accelerated learning programs, and offered associate degrees, this college is a superb educational choice for students looking for a briefer post-secondary educational facility. Foothill College’s online programs can be completed fully online or largely online. Online degree programs at the school occur at the associate degree level and include subjects like accounting, art history, psychology, business administration and women’s studies. Exams associated with some of the programs may require students to test in-person. In addition to conferring undergraduate degrees, Foothill College administers online certificate programs. Subjects students can earn a certificate in while completing an online program include music technology, tax accounting, financial accounting, payroll preparation and web design and development.

2
Bunker Hill Community College
Tuition and Fees: $576 Enrollment: 17,853 Website: http://www.bhcc.mass.edu/bhcconline/onlinecertificates/

Charleston, Massachusetts, a quaint suburb of bustling Boston, is the home of Bunker Hill Community College. With its close proximity to the urban opportunities of Boston and the variety of associate degrees and certification programs, this college sees a regularly growing student population. This community college is a popular choice for international students seeking education in the New England area. Bunker Hill Community College offers eight online certificate programs. Areas of focus include accounting information, computer forensics, computer tomography, database support, law enforcement, magnetic resonance, mammography and world studies. Students must complete an estimated 27 credit hours to graduate from each program.

3
Mt. San Antonio College

Mt. San Antonio College is a community college located in Walnut, California. Because this community college is located within a suburb of the greater Los Angeles area, it is a very popular community college system. Mt. San Antonio College has the distinction of having one of the biggest campuses in the entire state, and the campus continues to grow with new construction and an increasing student population. Online programs at Mt. San Antonio College range from technology to hospitality certificate credentials, with the majority of the online programs offered in the technology space. These programs are fully online and include a professional certificate in networking, operating systems security, programming, telecommunications, visual basic, restaurant management and hospitality management. It takes from 12 to 21 credits to graduate from the college’s online certificate programs.

4
MiraCosta College

MiraCosta College is located in Oceanside, California. This public community college has two-year associate degree education paths from which students can choose. MiraCosta College, located close to downtown San Diego, also offers career certification courses in the health sciences, business and marketing, information technology and computer technology, and much more. MiraCosta College has a series of medical and technical online programs available. Concerning the medical field, students can enroll in the medical transcription with editing online program, an academic program with 640 hours of course material. Additional medical online programs at the college include professional medical coding and billing and pharmacy technician. These programs take 565 and 285 hours to finish, respectively. The college also has technical online programs such as electronics technician, robotics technician, electromechanical technician and programmable logic controller tech.

5
Mission College
Tuition and Fees: $864 Enrollment: 16,522 Website: http://www.missioncollege.edu/depts/CA/ca.html

Mission College is located in the city of Santa Clara, California. In addition to a beautiful, modern campus, this two-year community college offers a wide variety of course offerings to its student population, including public service certification, fire prevention and safety, and information technology. Mission College’s computer application curriculum is delivered online. Courses covered in the online program include JavaScript, Visio and Microsoft Office. Two associate degrees include an Associate of Science in Office Administration and an Associate of Science in Office Information Systems. Certificates give students a chance to earn professional skills in a variety of subjects, such as help desk specialist, internet application, office administration and office support specialist.

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Monterey Peninsula College

Monterey Peninsula College is located in Monterey, California. This community college offers two-year associate level degree opportunities as well as several certification courses. Many students opt to attend Monterey Peninsula College because of its lineup of accelerated educational opportunities and non-traditional classroom hours Five online degree programs are available at Monterey Peninsula College. These five degrees include an Associate of Science in Business Administration, Associate of Arts in General Studies with an emphasis on humanities and fine arts, Associate of Arts in General Studies with an emphasis on social science, Associate of Art in Family Research Studies and an Associate of Arts in Hospitality. The three certificate programs available via online learning at Monterey Peninsula College include general business, great books and family research studies. Students need approximately 16 credit hours to graduate from a certificate program and 60 credit hours to earn an associate degree.

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Ohlone Community College
Tuition and Fees: $864 Enrollment: 17,973 Website: http://www.ohlone.edu/org/commed/onlineclasses.html

Ohlone Community College is located in Fremont, California, and operates a single main campus as well as several smaller, satellite campuses in the surrounding area. Because it serves several cities in and around Fremont, the student population continues to grow. Students are attracted to Ohlone Community College’s affordable tuition and quality accreditation standards. At Ohlone Community College, online programs are largely offered through community-based courses. Examples of these online programs include the California notary class and a tax education course. The school’s online programs also partner with external colleges such as Michigan State University and Villanova University to teach business courses such as Six Sigma, supply chain management and project management.

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Pasadena City College
Tuition and Fees: $912 Enrollment: 35,756 Website: http://www.pasadena.edu/divisions/performing-comm/slpa/curriculum.cfm

Pasadena City College is one of the most well-known and highly respected community colleges in the state of California. Pasadena CC has the third largest junior college campus in the U.S. Located in Pasadena, California, Pasadena City College offers nearly a hundred associate degree educational paths as well as vocational training and certification. Pasadena City College’s speech-language pathology assistant online program is approved by the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Licensing Board. The online program is comprised of five semesters of study. Core courses that make up the curriculum include Behavioral Management in Special Education, American Sign Language, Infants and Children with Exceptional Needs, Voice and Diction and Intercultural Communication. A total of 62 credit hours are required to earn an associate degree in the subject.

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Los Angeles Harbor College
Tuition and Fees: $958 Enrollment: 15,515 Website: http://www.lahc.edu/classes/onlinedegree.html

Los Angeles Harbor College is located in Wilmington, California. This two-year educational institution has featured a constantly growing student population, likely due to its proximity to the heart of L.A. With associate degree programs, credits that can be transferred to other schools, and a variety of career certification programs, Los Angeles Harbor College is expected to continue growing. Los Angeles Harbor College offers a number of online associate degrees in areas such as administration of justice and fire technology. These two online programs lead to undergraduate degrees in public safety. Specific courses that make up the program curriculums include English, history, administration of justice, philosophy and political Science. A total of 60 credit hours are necessary to graduate from both programs.

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West Los Angeles College
Tuition and Fees: $958 Enrollment: 17,410 Website: http://www.wlac.edu/online/programs.asp

West Los Angeles College is located just outside of Los Angeles in Culver City, California. Unlike other community colleges within the state, West Los Angeles College offers a wide variety of athletic opportunities to its students. This community college also offers three educational opportunities: transfer courses, certificates and two-year degree programs. Through West Los Angeles College’s online programs, students can earn degrees and certificates fully and partially online. Degrees are fully online in programs in areas such as accounting, anthropology, business administration, fire technology, English, marketing and real estate. Fully online certificates include computer network management, hotel front desk management, back office operations and computer web support. Graduating from these programs could take from two semesters to two years.

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Amarillo College
Tuition and Fees: $960 Enrollment: 15,823 Website: https://www.actx.edu/cj/index.php?module=article&id=75

Located in Amarillo, Texas, this two-year college has continued student enrollment of about 10,000 students each semester. The junior college serves several different counties around the greater Amarillo area, and students can choose to complete either an associate degree or vocational training. Amarillo College has six fully online programs, five at the associate degree level and one certificate of completion. Programs include business administration, criminal justice, general studies, human sciences, psychology, and mortuary science (certificate). Amarillo College’s Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program requires 66 credits for completion. Focus areas for the program include corrections, law enforcement and court systems.

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Santa Barbara City College
Tuition and Fees: $1,008 Enrollment: 27,236 Website: http://www.sbcc.edu/distanceeducation/onlinedegrees.php

Santa Barbara City College is a community college in Santa Barbara, California, and is one of the oldest community colleges in the state. The two-year college has been offering educational courses to students for over a century, and students can still complete associate degrees in the sciences, arts and humanities, fine arts, and technology fields of study. General education requirements must be met before students enroll in associate online programs at Santa Barbara City College. After completing enrollment requirements, students can register for several fields of study. Certificates offered through the school’s online programs include access SQL and computer applications and office management. Depending on the program, it could take up to a year to earn a certificate and two years to earn an associate degree if students enroll in the programs full-time.

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Southwestern College
Tuition and Fees: $1,008 Enrollment: 25,907 Website: http://www.swccd.edu/index.aspx?page=996

Chula Vista, California, is the home of Southwestern College, a community college with both vocational training opportunities and associate degree opportunities. Even though Southwestern College has only been operational for about fifty years, an estimated 500,000 students have received education and training from the community college. Online programs at Southwestern College supplement working adults’ professional experience and skills. They also give adults the skills and knowledge to enter certain career fields. Types of online programs taught at the college include leadership and supervision, international business, insurance and travel and tourism. At the end of the online programs, students receive a professional certificate. Total units necessary to graduate range from 13 to 22.

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Navarro College
Tuition and Fees: $1,080 Enrollment: 15,272 Website: http://www.navarrocollege.edu/online/course-offerings/

Navarro College is located in Corsicana, Texas, and offers two-year educational opportunities and pursuits to its student population. The nearly 10,000 students who enroll in Navarro College each year can choose to pursue associate degrees, vocational training or transfer course credits to universities such as Texas A&M, with which it has a close affiliation. Eight degrees are conferred through Navarro College’s online programs, including a number at the associate level: Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice, an Associate in Applied Science in Cosmetology, an Associate in Arts in English and an Associate in Arts in General Studies. The online programs are offered through Navarro College’s eLearning Campus.

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Skyline College
Tuition and Fees: $1,080 Enrollment: 16,298 Website: http://www.skylinecollege.edu/distanceeducation/

Skyline College is located in San Bruno, California. This community college is a two-year post-secondary institution that was established to provide alternative education opportunities for students who cannot afford four-year programs in the state. One of the colleges in the San Mateo district, Skyline College offers eighty different degree options. Skyline College has online programs in several business, art, education and science fields. For example, the college operates online programs in accounting, business computer systems/management, biology, psychology, English, business and childhood education. Skyline College also offers a blend of online and classroom academic programs. Each course built into the online program generally takes a semester to complete.

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San Jacinto Community College
Tuition and Fees: $1,512 Enrollment: 41,792 Website: http://www.sjcd.edu/class/online-hr-fast-track-certificate-program

San Jacinto Community College is located in Pasadena, a part of the larger Houston area. Because of its proximity to urban development and expansion in South Texas, this school has ballooned to a population of nearly 30,000 students each semester. San Jacinto Community College is a two-year academic institution that offers career certification programs and associate degree options. San Jacinto College’s human resources fast-track certificate program is fully online. Performance management, compensation and benefits and strategic human resources planning comprise a portion of the online program. The course is designed for small business owners and human resources professionals, particularly human resources professionals entering the career field.

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Mesa Community College
Tuition and Fees: $1,824 Enrollment: 41,836 Website: http://www.mesacc.edu/programs/online

Mesa Community College is located in Mesa, Arizona, and this junior college is a part of the larger Maricopa County College District. The two-year learning institution specializes in career certification and training. Students choose Mesa Community College for certification in engineering, agriculture, medicine, public service, and several other industries that require certificate training. Mesa Community College has about two dozen online programs, each leading to an associate degree. Fields of focus include administration of justice, bookkeeping, business communication, business management, real estate, music business and international trade. Additionally, students can graduate from some of the school’s online certificate programs after they complete 18 credits. Associate degrees take an estimated two years of full-time study to finish. Many certificates can be completed in less than two semesters.

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Rio Salado College
Tuition and Fees: $1,824 Enrollment: 67,273 Website: http://www.riosalado.edu/PROGRAMS/Pages/default.aspx

Rio Salado College is a community college located in Tempe, Arizona. This community college is regionally accredited, which means students can easily transfer college credits, courses or even entire associate degrees to many four-year colleges or universities. Students who are interested in vocational education, distance learning and associate degree paths often choose Rio Salado College. Rio Salado College offers a broad range of online programs. Some of its online programs, such as the public administration and the accounting programs, lead to associate degrees. Other degree and certificate subjects taught online include infant and toddler development, military leadership, adult development and aging, computer technology, dental assisting and professional addictions counseling. The two-year online programs prepare students to meet the requirements to get accepted into bachelor’s degree studies.

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Hillsborough Community College

Hillsborough Community College is located in Tampa, Florida and serves students in Hillsborough County and some other cities in the general area. This community college offers two-year degree programs and transfer credits, but many students choose Hillsborough because of its expert and highly recommended training and certification programs. Online programs are taught through Hillsborough Community College’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies. Criminal justice technology is the specific online program offered at the school. Courses taught during the online program include Introduction to Criminology, Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminal Investigations, Juvenile Delinquency and Constitutional Law. Each of the courses runs three credits and can be taken individually or as part of an associate degree or certificate program.

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Georgia Perimeter College
Tuition and Fees: $2,065 Enrollment: 38,015 Website: http://www.gpc.edu/online/content/gpc-online-programs

Georgia Perimeter College operates within the University System of Georgia. While the school was initiated strictly as a two-year academic institution offering only career certification and associate degrees, the Georgia State Board recently allowed the school to add a few bachelor level degree programs to its lineup of academic offerings. One of the most popular is the Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language Interpretation. Georgia Perimeter College’s business administration department operates online programs with a three-year and a four-year graduation option. Both online programs are administered in conjunction with Georgia Southwestern State University. Other degrees offered through the school’s online programs include an Associate of Arts in Communications, an Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, an Associate of Arts in Philosophy and an Associate of Science in Psychology. A blend of core courses and electives make up the undergraduate online programs.

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Central Piedmont Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,128 Enrollment: 31,997 Website: http://www.cpcc.edu/distance/programs

Charlotte, North Carolina is home to many different community colleges and junior colleges, but Central Piedmont Community College is by far the largest. The school was actually founded when two preexisting colleges merged, and today Central Piedmont Community College has an average yearly student enrollment that exceeds 68,000, making it one of the largest community colleges in the state. Central Piedmont Community College operates online Certificate programs in several different career fields, including business administration, computer technology integration, construction management technology, criminal justice, fire protection technology and office administration. The school also offers two associate online programs, one in health information technology and another in fire protection technology. The third associate online program is in computer technology Integration. Certificate programs can generally be completed in one year, while associate programs take two years to complete if students are enrolled in the programs full-time.

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Wake Technical Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,128 Enrollment: 26,315 Website: http://www.waketech.edu/student-services/online-learning/online-programs

Wake Technical Community College is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It also has satellite campuses elsewhere in Wake County. The North Carolina Community College System includes Wake Tech offers both certificate and associate degree in a wide range of academic and technical disciplines. Wake Technical Community College offers online programs that lead to degrees such as the Associate in General Education, Associate in Arts, Associate in Computer Information Technology and an Associate in Medical Office Administration. Some of these programs include a blend of online and classroom coursework. However, the Associate in Fire Protection Technology and the Associate in Medical Office Administration are fully online. Certificate and diploma programs can be taken in subjects like accounting, advanced web development, IT foundations and manufacturing process control. Full-time students should plan on spending a semester to earn a diploma, a year to earn a certificate and at least two years to earn an associate degree.

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Oklahoma City Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,146 Enrollment: 22,522 Website: http://www.occc.edu/news/2012/onlinespeechlangpathassist12.html

While other community colleges in Oklahoma City compete for dominance, Oklahoma City Community College continues to be one of the most popular and highest rated. Nearly 20,000 students attend Oklahoma City Community college, and the school offers one of the widest varieties of associate degree and certification courses in the state of Oklahoma. The speech-language pathology assistant online program at Oklahoma City Community College is designed for working adults, particularly adults working a full-time job. A total of 61 credit hours are built into the curriculum. Nineteen hours of coursework reside in general studies, and 42 hours of the curriculum in speech-language. Upon graduation from the online program, students receive an associate in applied science degree.

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Brookhaven College

A part of the Dallas County Community College District, Brookhaven College is located in Farmers Branch, Texas. Because it operates slightly outside the Dallas city center, its student population is not as large as other junior colleges. However, the vocational certification courses offered at Brookhaven College are some of the most varied and comprehensive in the state of Texas. Undergraduate degrees like the Associate in Arts and the Associate in Science are offered through online programs at Brookhaven College. Students must obtain a minimum of 60 credit hours to graduate from most online programs. Students must also earn at least a 2.0 GPA in core courses such as English, critical reading and writing, wellness and the human experience and self and society. These online programs can be completed fully online or in conjunction with classroom courses. Additionally, Brookhaven College offers online certificate programs in a variety of subjects, including accounting assistant, accounting clerk, administrative, teaching careers and criminal justice.

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Eastfield College
Tuition and Fees: $2,490 Enrollment: 23,435 Website: http://www.dcccd.edu/CD/DCC/DLearn/about/Pages/Degrees.aspx

Eastfield College is located in Mesquite, Texas. This community college, offering two-year academic degree paths and vocational training for job certification, is a part of the large assortment of Dallas County Community Colleges. Over 11,000 students attend Eastfield College each semester, and some of these students are pursuing non-traditional learning programs online or in the evenings. The following online undergraduate degree programs are taught fully online at Eastfield College: Associate in Arts in Criminal Justice, Management Associate in Applied Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching and an Associate of Science in Business. A total of 60 credit hours and a minimum 2.0 GPA are required to graduate from the programs, which usually take two years to complete on a full-time basis. Certificate online programs available to Eastfield College students include an Administrative Certificate and a Criminal Justice Certificate.

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El Centro College
Tuition and Fees: $2,490 Enrollment: 19,312 Website: http://www.dcccd.edu/CD/DCC/DLearn/about/Pages/Degrees.aspx

El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, is part of the Dallas County Community College District, also known as the DCCCD. El Centro offers classes in both English and Spanish to help serve the diverse language needs of the community. In addition to bi-lingual flexibility, the college has a top-ranked Allied Health Program with courses and full degree programs available both on campus and online. Distance learning programs at El Centro generally take two years of full-time study to complete. Its online certificate programs can take between 30 and 46 semester hours to finish, depending on the subject area. Degrees are conferred at the associate level; specific degrees students could earn include an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Science with a business focus and an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration. Certificate programs that are fully online include network administration and support, software programming and information technology support, among others.

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Mountain View College
Tuition and Fees: $2,490 Enrollment: 15,107 Website: http://www.dcccd.edu/CD/DCC/DLearn/about/Pages/Degrees.aspx

Mountain View College is located in Dallas, Texas, and this junior college is just one of the schools that belong to the Dallas County Community College District. While the school only has a full-time enrollment of about 10,000 students, almost that same amount of students take part-time credits at Mountain View College to continue their education. Mountain View’s collection of online programs includes two-year credentials in criminal justice, business, computer design and architecture. For example, students can earn an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice or an Associate of Arts in Business Administration. These programs require 60 credit hours to be eligible for graduation. Online programs at Mountain View College are also offered in 30 – 46 semester hour certificate subjects like accounting, architectural drafting, network administrator and support and computer aided design operator.

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North Lake College
Tuition and Fees: $2,490 Enrollment: 20,817 Website: http://www.dcccd.edu/CD/DCC/DLearn/about/Pages/Degrees.aspx

North Lake College is located in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, but the school is still a part of the Dallas County Community College District. North Lake College is only a two-year educational institution, offering associate degree pursuit options and career certification courses for its average of 10,000 students who enroll annually at the school. Students at North Lake College can enroll in online programs leading to a certificate or an associate degree. Certificate-level academics include the human resources assistant certificate, administrative support certificate, software application specialist certificate and the help desk/user support technician certificate. When enrolling in the college’s hybrid programs, students should prepare to spend between 30 and 46 semester hours on campus, in addition to study and coursework time, to graduate. North Lake College also offers associate in arts and an associate in science online programs; both of these degree programs can be completed fully online and cover 60 credit hours.

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Richland College
Tuition and Fees: $2,490 Enrollment: 34,627 Website: http://www.dcccd.edu/CD/DCC/DLearn/about/Pages/Degrees.aspx

Richland College is located in Dallas, Texas, which makes this community college one of the many colleges included in the Dallas County Community College District. As such, this college receives regular accreditation and complies with strict educational standards, so students can trust the education they receive at Richland College to be of the highest quality. Richland College is the only community college in the Dallas Community College District that offers an online program where students can earn an Associate of Arts in Mass Communication/Journalism. Other degrees available online include an Associate in Sciences in Business and an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration. These programs take about two years for full-time students to complete, and up to five years to complete on a part-time basis. Additionally, Richland College offers online certificates in accountant assisting, accounting clerk preparation, software application specialist and personal computer user.

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Spokane Falls Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,531 Enrollment: 16,367 Website: http://ccsonline.spokane.edu/Pages/Future-Students/Online-Programs.aspx

Spokane Falls Community College is located in the beautiful and wooded region of Spokane Falls, Washington. This college has a sprawling and natural-looking campus with modern buildings and lots of student activity. Students can complete associate degrees at Spokane Falls Community College, but over half of the student population ends up transferring credits to a four-year school. Types of associate online programs that students can enroll in at Spokane Falls Community College include Associate in Business, Associate in Arts, Associate in Applied Science in Accounting Assistant and an Associate in Applied Science in Gerontology. Students can also enroll in online programs that lead to certificates in early childhood education, legal office software specialist and medical office receptionist.

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Arapahoe Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,540 Enrollment: 18,336 Website: http://www.arapahoe.edu/departments-and-programs/online-learning

Arapahoe Community College is located in Littleton, Colorado, but it was created to add yet another junior college option to the growing Denver community. Though it was only founded in 1965, Arapahoe Community College now offers more than a hundred different associate degree paths and vocational training certification options. Arapahoe Community College offers a number of online programs, including a flexible medical billing and coding program, which can be taken jointly if students choose. The medical billing online program is also offered independently for students who may already have the coding credentials. Courses covered in the programs include medical procedure coding, exploring pharmacology, exploring healthcare reimbursement and technology and the medical profession. The medical coding and billing online programs center on ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets, while the independent medical billing program centers on ICD-10 and X12510 code and billing sets.

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Red Rocks Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,540 Enrollment: 15,229 Website: http://www.rrcc.edu/online-learning/programs

Red Rocks Community College, located in Lakewood, Colorado, is named for its proximity to the famous Red Rocks National Park. The college has a satellite campus in Arvada, but most of the student population pursues associate degrees, credit transfer courses and vocational training and certification at the main campus in Lakewood. Fire science, fire technology, criminal justice, childhood education and technology represent five of the online programs offered at Red Rocks Community College. Some of the programs are fully online, while others are a blend of online and classroom courses. The fire science online program leads to an Associate in Applied Science Fire Science Management. There is also an option to focus on emergency management and planning. An Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice or Victim Assistance can be obtained through the criminal justice online program. The computer information systems online program focuses on web development and design, multimedia software developer and computer support technician. Additionally, under early childhood education, students can earn group leader, preschool group leader or infant/toddler group leader certificates.

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Lone Star College System
Tuition and Fees: $2,640 Enrollment: 86,966 Website: http://www.lonestar.edu/lsc-online/degrees-certs.htm

The Lone Star College System is a junior college system in The Woodlands, Texas. Students who graduated high school from or live in the northern part of Houston are able to take college-level courses that can either be transferred to a four-year university or used to achieve an associate degree. There are many different colleges in the Lone Star College System from which to choose. Fully digital, Lone Star College System online programs are taught largely at the associate degree level. Particular associate degrees designed with courses taught 100% online include an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice, an Associate of Arts in International Studies, an Associate of Arts in Speech Communication, an Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Medical Specialty and an Associate of Applied Science in E-Business Web Developer Specialization. If attending college full-time, students can expect to graduate in two years. Lone Star College System also offers certificate online programs such as business management specialization, programming specialist, human resources specialty and business operations support. These certificate programs require from 20 to 40 credits to finish.

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Tidewater Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,676 Enrollment: 44,393 Website: http://www.tcc.edu/cmve/onlineprograms.htm#top

Tidewater Community College serves southeastern Virginia with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach and regional centers devoted to automotive technology, the visual arts, health professions, and workforce development. TCC offers two-year associate degrees and more than 150 credentials in career and technical fields. Tidewater Community College students can choose from hundreds of online courses each semester. Through its Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE), the college offers a special collection of classroom, online and hybrid programs for military members, including maritime logistics, project management, OSHA-authorized maritime safety, and basic instructor training. Some of the certificate programs can be completed in 10 to 30 hours. In addition, through the Navy College Program Distance Learning Partnership, military professionals can earn associate degrees in accounting, management and industrial technology. CMVE specialists help military-affiliated students apply for and use military benefits, making college even more affordable.

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Portland Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,844 Enrollment: 53,172 Website: http://www.pcc.edu/about/distance/planning-classes-and-degrees/

Portland Community College is located in Portland, Oregon. The school currently offers several different associate-level degree options as well as one of the biggest assortments of vocational training courses in the state of Oregon. With an enrollment of over 80,000, Portland Community College is the biggest junior college in Oregon and one of the largest in the United States. Portland Community College offers several online programs, many leading to associate degrees. Examples of these online programs are the Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems, the Associate of Applied Science in Management and Supervisory Development, the Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection and the Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Management. Taking approximately two years to complete if students enroll in the programs full-time, the programs are fully online.

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Columbus State Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,879 Enrollment: 49,256 Website: http://global.cscc.edu/degrees/online.asp

Columbus State Community College is located in Columbus, Ohio. This community college has an incredibly large population of students when compared to other junior colleges in the state. Over 30,000 students pursue two-year degrees and vocational training or certification at Columbus State Community College each semester. Columbus State Community College offers 12 associate degree programs online. Undergraduate degrees are conferred in subjects that range from business management, digital design and graphics, finance, nursing and marketing. Up to 24 certificate programs exist in specialty fields such as electronic marketing, international business, medical coding and office communication. Laboratory and clinical courses associated with some of the programs like nursing may need to be completed on-site.

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Johnson County Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,880 Enrollment: 32,597 Website: http://www.jccc.edu/distance-learning/online-degrees.html

Johnson County Community College, located in Overland Park, Kansas, is one of the biggest community colleges in the Midwest. There are nearly 40,000 students who attend Johnson County Community College, and these students are either pursuing a college education for the first time or returning as adults, often to continue a partially earned degree. At Johnson County Community College, adults can get professional certificates while enrolled in online programs. More than a dozen online certificates could be obtained at the school, in subjects like complementary and alternative medicine, end of life care, food, nutrition and health, physical therapy and spirituality, health and healing. Several of these programs are administered as part of the school’s health care independent study branch.

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Ozarks Technical Community College
Tuition and Fees: $2,916 Enrollment: 19,054 Website: https://www.otc.edu/online/otconline-degreecertificate.php

The Ozarks Technical Community College is located in Springfield, Missouri. This community college was actually established by the city of Springfield and a partnership with surrounding high school districts looking for a reputable and affordable college option for high school graduates. The technical community college has a medium enrollment of about fifteen thousand students each semester. Students have the option of enrolling in nearly a dozen online programs, including associate degree and certificate programs at Ozarks Technical Community College. Developed the same as courses taught in the classroom, the online programs lead to Associate of Arts in Business, Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, Associate of Applied Science in Business and Marketing, a Certificate in Business Technology and a Certificate in Business and Marketing.

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Chabot College
Tuition and Fees: NR Enrollment: 21,214 Website: http://www.chabotcollege.edu/online/onlinedegreesandcertificates.asp

Chabot College is a community college that operates with a semester system and is located in Hayward, California. The school is quite varied for a community college, offering nearly two hundred different degree options and educational pursuits. Students can choose to complete either career certification programs or pursue an associate degree. Certificate and associate online programs at Chabot College are taught fully online. The programs are designed for adults who want to pursue careers in business, the social sciences and technology-related areas. Common online degree programs include an associate degree in behavioral sciences and an associate degree in business. Chabot College also offers online certificates in marketing, management, retailing, office technology and administrative assisting. The numbers of courses required to complete the programs varies, but ranges from 6 to 11.

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Cosumnes River College
Tuition and Fees: NR Enrollment: 22,825 Website: https://www.crc.losrios.edu/services/de

In Sacramento, California, Cosumnes River College was established in 1970. This two-year community college offers career certification programs, accelerated education programs, non-traditional college education programs and associate degree programs. The school has an average yearly enrollment of over 13,000 students, and its satellite campus recently became an independent institution. Students can earn an associate of science degree through Cosumnes River College’s nutrition and foods online program. Chemistry, food theory and preparation, composition and nutrition and metabolism and related topics fill the curriculum. On-site lab work may be required to complete courses like food theory and preparation. Graduating from the online program prepares students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in dietetics.