Finding the Best Online Community Colleges 2021

September 14, 2021

Finding the Best Online Community Colleges 2021

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Community College Online

Pursuing a degree from an affordable online community college benefits cost-conscious students in many ways. For example, online learners do not incur commuting and living expenses like their on-campus counterparts. Online enrollees often save a substantial amount of money, even if on-campus and online tuition costs the same. Most online programs offer multiple start dates and rolling admissions, which means students can enroll almost as soon as they are accepted.

Prospective learners should look for the same indicators of quality in an online program or community college as an on-campus one. Factors such as accreditation, faculty credentials, available specialization courses, and scholarship opportunities matter just as much for online schools as they do for brick-and-mortar institutions.

Community college benefits students uninterested in a four-year university as well. When applying for jobs that do not require a college diploma, associate degree-holders may experience a competitive edge. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of attending community college and helpful resources. Discover the best online community college for you by checking out the rankings below:

Break down your current financial situation, and receive a college tuition estimate you can afford to pay.

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Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.


Online Community College Cost, Quality, and Location

Q. Is online college more affordable?

Online colleges can yield substantial savings since students do not incur additional transportation and living expenses. Additionally, some colleges charge online enrollees the same tuition as in-state students regardless of residency.

Q. Are online colleges accredited?

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits schools offering at least 51% of their academic programs online.

Q. Does the physical location of an online community college matter?

Online students enrolled in a nearby community college can engage in face-to-face interactions with their teachers and peers, which can foster greater collaboration.

Q. How long does it take to earn an online degree?

Several factors influence the length of time it takes to complete an online program, including enrollment status, number of starting dates each year, and specific program requirements.

Why Study Online?

Learners often cite affordability and flexibility as the two main reasons for choosing an online program. The flexibility of online community college degrees refers as much to the asynchronous delivery of courses as it does to multiple starting dates and rolling admissions. An asynchronous delivery format means learners can attend classes when it fits their schedule. Students with family, work, and personal responsibilities often benefit greatly from asynchronous online programs.

Online programs also offer flexibility, enabling working students to keep their jobs while they pursue their degree. As a result, they can continue to earn an income. Many colleges and universities permit online learners to enroll full time or part time, giving students more control over their learning experience and completion time.

Prospective students should look for schools that allow out-of-state online enrollees to pay in-state tuition. This can result in significant savings since the average difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition hovers around $9,000 a year.

Career and Salary Outlook for Community College Graduates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), individuals with an advanced degree earn significantly more than workers with just a bachelor's or an associate degree. For example, doctoral degree-holders earn a median weekly salary of $1,883, while bachelor's degree-holders earn $1,248. Furthermore, professionals with postgraduate degrees enjoy a much lower unemployment rate than other workers.

Some high-paying professions require only an associate or the completion of a postsecondary non-degree program. For example, air traffic controllers (who must typically undergo extensive on-the-job training) need only an associate degree. According to the BLS, these professionals earn an annual median salary of $122,990. Postsecondary non-degree programs in electrical repair and fire prevention qualify graduates for positions that pay twice as much as the average median wage ($78,410 and $76,170, respectively).

Accreditation

A voluntary and exacting process, accreditation signals the quality and rigor of a school's educational offerings. Overseen by the Department of Education (ED) and the Commission for Higher Education Accreditation, the accreditation process requires several months to complete. Depending on the accreditation type, schools must complete the process every 5-10 years.

Students who plan to seek federal financial aid must enroll in an accredited school or program because the ED channels financial assistance only through accredited institutions. Most private organizations sponsoring scholarship and grant programs also prefer to extend financial aid to students enrolled in an accredited school or program.

Finding the Best Online Community Colleges 2021



Frontier Community College View School Profile Fairfield, IL $670

Located in Fairfield, Illinois, Frontier offers online programs through the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges system. Students can complete certificate choices as well as associate and transfer degrees fully online with minimal residency requirements.

Students looking for employment skills can choose certificates such as medical assistant, professional bookkeeper, or special events management. Learners who choose to pursue additional education can complete one of four associate of applied science degrees in accounting, certified medical assistant, health information technology, or sports management. Frontier also offers transfer degrees designed to help students move easily to a four-year school for degree completion. Students can choose an associate in science transfer degree, an associate in arts transfer degree, an associate in science and arts transfer degree, or an associate in general studies degree.

Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit ACT or SAT scores or other placement exams such as ACCUPLACER.

Frontier is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College View School Profile Rome, GA $2587

Based in Rome, GNTC offers online programs for students needing flexibility and affordability. With more than 30 technical certificates, more than 10 diploma choices, and 16 associate degree options, students can receive the training they need for employment on a convenient schedule.

The school offers certificate choices in fields such as computer science, education, healthcare, and finance. Notable diplomas include accounting, criminal justice technology, marketing management, and early childhood care and education. Learners can also choose an associate of applied science in cybersecurity, logistics and supply chain management, healthcare management, and website design and development. Students can transfer credits from GNTC to four-year schools to finish a bachelor's degree if necessary.

The school prefers applicants to possess a high school diploma but may admit students without one by using placement exams. Students pursuing programs in the nursing school and allied health departments must review additional program requirements.

GNTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College View School Profile Valdosta, GA $1551

Located in Valdosta, Wiregrass offers several online programs, including degrees, diplomas, and certificates with little-to-no residency requirements. Online programs follow the same curriculum as on-campus options, and students may access student services online as well.

The school offers certificates in concentrations such as child development specialist, fire officer, quality assurance specialist, or technical specialist. Diplomas include accounting, business management, and fire science technology. Learners can also choose from five associate degree choices, including two in business (management or technology), as well as programs in accounting, criminal justice technology, or fire science technology.

Students need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply for most programs through the online school. Applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores or another placement exam such as Compass or ACCUPLACER.

WGTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College View School Profile Wesson, MS $4990

Located in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin offers 33 online associate degree programs. Students can transfer credits to a four-year program later or use the training to find employment directly after graduation.

The school provides choices in fields such as arts and humanities, social sciences, health services, and education. Notable degree choices include international business, speech pathology, paralegal studies, and athletic training. The school also offers four career technical programs: accounting technology, administrative technology, business management technology, and healthcare data technology. Nursing students can choose from two tracks: a pre-associate or a pre-bachelor's. The school provides advising and career services for online students as well.

Students should send high school transcripts or GED records, as well as SAT or ACT scores, to apply. The school also accepts placement exams such as ACCUPLACER instead of standardized tests.

Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Palo Alto College View School Profile San Antonio, TX $3897

Located in San Antonio, Texas, PAC offers online programs through the Alamo Colleges District. Students can choose from over 75 degrees and certificates thanks to the centralized online system.

PAC specifically offers eight different associate of applied science programs in fields such as business management, office management, logistics and supply chain management, and criminal justice. Technology students can choose from computing sciences and technology or a niche-specific energy technology concentration.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply. The school does not require standardized tests, but first-year students may need to take a placement exam without them.

PAC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Southern Regional Technical College View School Profile Thomasville, GA $774

Located in Thomasville, Georgia, SRTC offers severalonline programs, including degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Students complete courses online with few to no residency requirements, and the college makes it simple to apply.

The school offers technical certificates in child development, medical billing, small business management, and technical management — as well as 15 other options. Students can also complete year-long diploma programs in accounting, business management or technology, marketing management, or social work assistant. Full associate degree programs include options in accounting, marketing management, social work, or business.

The school provides career and student services for online students and features dedicated advising for military students. Students need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply for associate degree programs. Homeschooled students must submit SAT or ACT scores, and other students may need to take placement exams as well.

SRTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wytheville Community College View School Profile Wytheville, VA $2304

Located in Wytheville, Virginia, WCC offersonline degrees and certificatesthrough their online learning department. Students can complete programs with few to no residency requirements and on an asynchronous schedule.

The school offers 13 certificate programs, including cybersecurity, legal assisting, medical transcriptionist, and web design and office applications. Full associate degree choices include an associate of arts and sciences in business administration, an associate of applied science in administrative support technology, an associate of arts and sciences in science with a specialization in computer science, and an associate of applied science in administrative support technology with a specialization in legal assisting.

The school prefers applicants to possess a high school diploma to apply. Students may waive placement exams with SAT or ACT scores, a satisfactory high school GPA, or competitive GED scores.

WCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Albany Technical College View School Profile Albany, GA $459

Located in Albany, Georgia, Albany Tech offers severalonline programs, including certificates, diplomas, and associate degree options. Earned associate degree credits can easily transfer to a four-year college.

Students can choose from certificates such as criminal justice specialist, industrial operations technician, supply chain management, and quality assurance specialist with a lean Six Sigma green belt. Students can also choose certificates in accounting technology, cybersecurity, or business management. The school also offers 13 associate degree programs, including operations management, fire science technology, cybersecurity, or business technology.

The school offers online student services and career development. Students need a high school diploma or GED to apply for associate degree programs. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores or placement exam scores (waived for 2021).

Albany Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

West Georgia Technical College View School Profile Waco, GA $3535

With campuses based throughout Western Georgia, WGTC offers several online programs, including certificates, diplomas, and associate degree options. Students complete programs on their own schedule and with little-to-no residency requirements.

Notable associate degree choices include business healthcare technology, cybersecurity, marketing management, or accounting. Students can also complete certificates in most of the available fields to augment their associate degree or use them to launch entry-level careers. Students can complete certificates in fields such as office accounting, healthcare billing and reimbursement assistant, small business marketing manager, or medical coding. Diploma seekers can choose options in marketing management, business healthcare technology, fire science technology, or accounting.

The school prefers applicants to possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply. Applicants must provide SAT or ACT scores or arrange to take a placement exam such as the ACCUPLACER.

WGTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kaskaskia College View School Profile Centralia, IL $4923

Based in Centralia, Illinois, KC offers ten online degrees and five different certificate choices. Students can take courses on their own time and from anywhere in the country.

Students can begin with certificates in fields like accounting, small business accounting, entrepreneurship, or computer applications. For associate degrees, students can choose from programs in business management, construction project management, business marketing, or early childhood education. Students who remain undecided can choose a general studies program. Technology majors can also choose health information technology or library technical assistant. Students can also choose non-credit courses to train for the skills needed in current employment positions or professional development.

The school prefers applicants to possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply. KC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Union County College View School Profile Cranford, NJ $3268

Located in Cranford, New Jersey, Union offers several online degree and certificate programs. The school offers online tutoring, advising, and student services to online students.

Students can choose from associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science options. Notable choices include programs in public administration, business management, computer information systems and technology, and supply chain management. Undecided students can choose liberal studies or liberal arts programs. The school also offers two certificate options online in criminal justice and liberal studies, as well as four certificates of achievement in business fundamentals, blockchain technology, homeland security, and supply chain management.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and should send SAT or ACT scores to begin the application process. Students may also take placement exams like the ACCUPLACER.

Union is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Western Piedmont Community College View School Profile Morganton, NC $3460

Located in Morgantown, North Carolina, WPCC offers three online associate degrees, in addition to diplomas and certificate options. Students complete courses online and on their own schedule with minimal-to-no-residency requirements.

Students can choose from three associate of applied science degrees in business administration, information technology, paralegal technology. The school also offers two diploma programs in business administration or accounting and finance. Learners can use one of the seven certificate options to augment their degree tracks. Notable certificate choices include computerized accounting, computer networking, general accounting, and administration specialist.

The school offers tutoring and student services to online students. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply for most associate degree programs. The school does not require standardized tests, but applicants must complete one of the school's placement exams.

WPCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Vance-Granville Community College View School Profile Henderson, NC $3836

Located in Henderson, North Carolina, VGCC Online offers ten associate degree programs. Students can complete degree requirements solely online with little to no residency requirements.

Students can choose a general associate of science or arts if they remain undecided about their majors. The school also offers associate degree programs in criminal justice, IT business support, networking and security, or medical office administration. Students can also choose to pursue an associate degree in early childhood education to begin a career in daycare centers or preschools.

The school offers online tutoring and career services for off-campus students. Students should send transcripts from high school or GED records to apply for associate degree programs. The school does not require ACT or SAT scores, but students will need to take placement exams without them.

VGCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

State Fair Community College View School Profile Sedalia, MO $4351

Located in Sedalia, Missouri, SFCC offers two 100% online associate degree programs and a handful of mostly online options. Students can transfer credits to a four-year college or can leverage the training for a new career.

Fully online options include an associate of arts in general studies or an associate of applied science in business management with a management specialty. Other options for mostly online associate degree programs include health management technology, healthcare specialist, with an emphasis in pharmacy technician or medical assistant. Online offerings also include certificate choices in complementary fields.

Along with student services, the school offers career services to online students. The school does not require high school transcripts to apply, but students can send them to apply for scholarship opportunities or to use instead of placement exams. Students can also send SAT or ACT scores.

SFCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Cayuga County Community College View School Profile Auburn, NY $5009

Located in Auburn, New York, Cayuga offers seven online associate degree programs, as well as certificate choices. The school offers student services, military student advising, and career services for online students as well.

Students can choose from two associate programs in business administration, as well as programs in criminal justice and police, event and tourism management, or criminal justice and corrections. Students can also choose a liberal arts concentration in either humanities and social science or mathematics and science. The school also offers certificates in criminal justice, event management, general business, or tourism management.

Students need to send transcripts from high school or GED records to begin the admission process. The school does not require SAT or ACT scores, but applicants need to take placement exams in their place.

Cayuga is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

With an undergraduate degree in communications and a master's in education, Emma finds writing for the education vertical to be the perfect niche.

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