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:
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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
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.
Are online colleges accredited?
The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits schools offering at least 51% of their academic programs online.
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.
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).
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