Affordability is an increasingly important factor for students who are considering earning a degree. According to a recent Learning House report, nearly half of the students surveyed reported choosing their school based on its low price tag alone. To accommodate these students’ needs, a growing number of colleges and universities are now turning to online programs.
Not only is an online associate degree extremely flexible, it is one of the cheapest paths to a college education. The online format allows you to complete your degree at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home, providing the opportunity to simultaneously work and study while cutting out room & board and transportation expenses. Though many students consider a bachelor’s to be the default degree option, an associate has proven to be just as, if not more, lucrative. According to a recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, nearly 30% of Americans holding an associate degree earn more than those with a bachelor’s.
If you want a cheap path to a degree that can help advance your earning power, read on to find our ranking of the most affordable online associate degrees across the country. By weighing criteria such as tuition cost, school graduation rate, and the number of students receiving student aid, we’ve created a list of associate programs that are not only low cost, but valuable in the long run.
East Mississippi Community College
|Value Score 8.20|| |
Located in the small town of Scooba, East Mississippi Community College offers a range of career-technical associate degree programs designed to prepare students for the workforce. Each program consists of at least 30 credit hours. Specific areas of study include automotive, business and marketing, drafting and design, industrial maintenance, and practical nursing. Seventeen of the school’s career-technical programs also offer vocational certificates. On-campus and online associate degree programs are available at EMCC; the bulk of courses are taught at the school’s primary Golden Triangle campus.
Students who are currently employed in the same field as their major may also qualify for EMCC’s work-based learning program; eligible candidates are paired with a local employer, where they will spend the term working for industry wages and earning college credit. Local high school students may also sign up for dual enrollment, which allows them to take college courses and earn credit while still attending high school.
Holmes Community College
|Value Score 7.51|| |
Originally founded as an agricultural school in 1911, Mississippi’s Holmes County Community College has operated as a junior college since 1929. Students who enroll at HCCC can choose from two different educational pathways. AA degrees are available in 10 different academic areas; the bulk of these 62-credit programs fall within the fields of business, education, or natural sciences. Alternatively, students may pursue an AAS degree or professional certificate in one of the school’s 21 technology-oriented programs.
Students who prefer to study off-campus can sign up for online courses using the Mississippi Virtual Community College server. These courses are primarily virtual, allowing students to access course materials, participate on class discussion boards, and submit assignments via email. All HCCC programs feature at least two proctored exams which require classroom attendance; however, exemptions are available for disabled students and students who live out-of-state.
Allen County Community College
|Value Score 7.29|| |
Students who attend Allen County Community College in southeastern Kansas may choose from four associate-level degree pathways in 38 different fields of study. The AA and associate of science degrees carry a 64-credit requirement, while the AAS and associate in general studies (AGS) options are capped at 60 credits. In certain fields, more than one type of associate degree will be available. Additionally, opportunities at the school for distance learners include exclusively online, hybrid, and web-enhanced (supplemental) courses. Students who require educational assistance may access the school’s online writing lab (OWL) or web-based tutoring services.
ACCS offers a handful of institutional scholarships and grants to students who meet specific requirements pertaining to academic history, residency, and demonstrated financial need. Roughly 2,500 students enroll at ACCS each semester.
Pamlico Community College
|Value Score 7.10|| |
Pamlico Community College lies in the small coastal community of Greensboro, North Carolina. Academic pathways are offered in 17 different areas of study, including allied health, business, education, and career-oriented technical fields. Most programs culminate in either an associate degree or a professional certificate; both options are available in certain fields. And as a certified Electronic Campus with the Southern Regional Education Board, PCC offers exclusively online associate degree programs and courses (as well as hybrid options) across all areas of study.
PCC’s small business center works with students who hope to pursue an entrepreneurial career after graduation, and those who want to improve their office skills can enroll in a WorkKeys® certification course. The school is also home to a corrections education program that allows inmates living at nearby Pamlico Correctional Institution to earn diplomas and/or vocational certificates in 18 different technical fields; these include auto repair, carpentry, and plumbing, as well as a basic adult education course that culminates with a high school equivalency exam.
West Kentucky Community and Technical College
|Value Score 7.02|| |
The city of Paducah is home to West Kentucky Community and Technical College. The school’s academic pathway options include two-year associate degree, diplomas, and professional certificates, as well as on-site work training programs. Students can also follow a track with the college’s Accessible College Education (ACE) program; options through ACE include receiving credit for prior work experience, signing up for evening/weekend/courses, or completing a degree program exclusively online. WKCTC also offers numerous, non-credit community courses throughout the year.
WKCTS was formed in 2003 following a merger between Paducah Community College and West Kentucky Technical College. The institution serves 10 counties throughout the Bluegrass State, and enrolls roughly 6,500 full- and part-time students every semester. Nearly 3,000 of these students are distance learners, while another 1,400 are high school students sponsored under the college’s dual enrollment program. WKCTS also boasts a student-to-teacher ration of 20:1.
Hutchinson Community College
|Value Score 6.99|| |
First established in 1928, Hutchinson Community College is named for the small Kansas town it resides in. Students who enroll at HCC can pick from more than 120 majors in 15 different academic areas. The majority of the school’s two-year programs culminate in either an AA or an AAS degree; certificate programs are also available in fields like agriculture, business, computers, healthcare, and industrial technology. Exclusively online and blended courses are available through the school’s OnLine Ed platform.
Enrolled students can pick up extra credit through Quickterm, a program that allows individuals to sign up for mini-courses between semesters; some courses require as little as one week of study. Students set to graduate soon can also access the CareerZone at Hutchinson Community College to learn more about internships, local employment opportunities, and career counseling services.
Oconee Fall Line Technical College
|Value Score 6.85|| |
A member of the Technical College System of Georgia, Oconee Fall Line Technical College serves 11 counties with campuses in Sandersville and Dublin. The school offers 25 career-technical pathways that culminate in an AAS degree, a diploma, or a professional certificate; in certain fields, more than one of these options are available. OFTC also features distance learning options. Exclusively online, hybrid, and supplemental web-enhanced courses are all available.
An institutional, need-based scholarship is offered for students pursuing a degree in practical nursing. A handful of scholarships and grants through the OFTC Foundation are also available. The school offers adult education courses designed to boost English literacy and prepare individuals for the GRE exam. Eligible high school students may participate in the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program, which allows them to earn college credit through courses at OFTC. In most cases, MOWR will cover the student’s full tuition and textbook expenses.
Madisonville Community College
|Value Score 6.84|| |
Kentucky’s Madisonville Community College offers associate degrees, diplomas, and professional certificates in six academic areas: allied health, applied technology, humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, nursing, and social sciences. Certain programs enable students to take part in paid, onsite job training through Workplace Solutions. Adult education courses are also offered in areas like GED prep and literacy instruction; these courses may be taught online or in small groups. Additionally, local high school students may earn tuition-free credit at MCC under the Pathways to College dual enrollment program.
As a partner school of the Kentucky Virtual Campus, MCC offers various distance learning opportunities for students. Those who enroll in online courses will gain access to a web-based library, virtual bookstore, and 24-hour tech support. The school offers 20 institutional need- and merit-based scholarships to help students with tuition and other college costs.
Western Wyoming Community College
|Value Score 6.77|| |
Located in the town of Rock Springs, Western Wyoming Community College offers AA, AS, and AAS two-year degrees. Professional certificates are also available in certain fields of study. Distance learning opportunities at WWCC are not self-paced. Students must log on at least three times week, and study at least three hours a week per course credit. Incoming freshmen with a 3.5 high school GPA or currently enrolled students with a cumulative 3.25 GPA or higher are invited to enroll in honors courses each semester.
Graduating high school seniors with a cumulative 3.75 GPA are eligible to apply for the Superior Scholarship, a recurring annual award that provides recipients a stipend of $4,500 for all four years of undergraduate study. Eleven other institutional scholarships and grants are available through WCC.
Pitt Community College
|Value Score 6.70|| |
Pitt Community College hosts a range of associate degree and professional certification programs, many of which are concentrated in health sciences or construction and industrial technology. Other academic divisions include arts and sciences, business and public services, and fine arts. Additionally, PCC offers online programs in business administration, early childhood education, information technology, and marketing; web-based certificate and diploma programs are also available in 40 different subdisciplines.
The on-campus Small Business Center (SBC) provides training in finance, management, and other related areas for students who plan to pursue an entrepreneurial career. Under the Career and College Promise program, local students can enroll at PCC tuition-free and earn college credit ahead of their high school graduation. Public Safety Training courses at the college also allow students and local residents to earn certificates in law enforcement, firefighting, EMT, EMS, and detention.
Central Georgia Technical College
|Value Score 6.68|| |
Central Georgia Technical College operates three main campuses in Macon, Milledgeville, and Warner Robins, along with educational centers in seven other communities. The school offers more than 190 academic degree and certification programs in five core areas of study: aerospace, trade and industry; business and computer technologies; health sciences; public safety and professional services; and general studies. CGTC also offers adult education courses aimed at helping men and women develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Eligible high school students may also participate in dual enrollment with the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program, which allows them to earn tuition-free credit.
The school’s Academic Success Center offers various tutorial services for students who require educational assistance. Annual study abroad opportunities are available as well. Under Title IV, students with demonstrated financial need may qualify for book vouchers.
Northeast Community College
|Value Score 6.66|| |
Students can pursue more than 120 different academic programs at Northeast Community College, a learning institution in Nebraska with campuses in Norfolk, West Point, O’Neill, and South Sioux City. The two-year programs culminate in an AA, AS, AAS or associate of nursing degree. Diploma, certification, and training programs are also available. In many fields, students can choose between two or more of these options.
Local secondary students are invited to enroll in NCC’s dual credit program, allowing them to earn college credit prior to graduating high school. Students with a demonstrated financial need may qualify for tuition assistance through Project HELP, a program designed to support low-income learners pursuing degrees in nursing, medical assistance, and other healthcare-related fields. Students enrolled at NCC can also access study abroad opportunities and a virtual job board maintained by the school’s career center.
Barton County Community College
|Value Score 6.55|| |
Located in the town of Great Bend, Barton Community College serves students in seven different counties of central Kansas. Associate degree and professional certificate programs are offered in five core academic areas: communications; developmental education; health, physical education and recreation; humanities and social sciences; and math and science. A sixth “pre-professional” category is designed to prepare students for continuing education in fields like law, medicine, dentistry, and public administration. Students may also complete associate-level training courses in three safety-oriented areas: OSHA, HazMat, and Emergency Management/Homeland Security. General studies and liberal studies pathways are available, as well.
Students who enroll at BCC have multiple options for distance learning. BARTonline allows students to take online courses in niche areas like military studies, business and pension administration, and dietary management. Additionally, accredited courses offered through edukan are available to students who attend any of the six Western Kansas Community College partner schools.
Coastline Community College
|Value Score 6.54|| |
California’s Coastline Community College operates three main campuses in the cities of Westminster, Garden Grove, and Newport Beach. The school offers associate in arts or associate in science degrees in several fields, including: accounting, business codes technology, business, computer networking, digital media foundations, emergency management, paralegal studies, process technology, and real estate broker. All associate-level degree programs at CCC require a minimum of 60 credits. Certificates of achievement, accomplishment, and specialization are also available in certain academic areas. Distance learners may also earn their associate degree online or supplement their coursework with blended classes.
Students who wish to follow an accelerated pathway may be eligible for the STAR program, which allows them to complete 60 transferable credits over four semesters and a summer session. Prospective educators may also qualify for TEACh3, a web-based program geared toward K-12 teachers and classroom professionals.
Trinity Valley Community College
|Value Score 6.52|| |
Located in the East Texas town of Athens, Trinity Valley Community College is a premier academic destination for students pursuing two-year degrees in healthcare. The school’s Health Sciences Center (HSC) offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN), as well as transitional programs designed to help paramedics and licensed vocational earn an ADN. The HSC also offers an AAS degree and certification pathways in emergency medical services, vocational nurse training (with licensure), and certification for both surgical technology and patient care technology. In addition to healthcare-related studies, those who enroll at TVCC may earn an AA degree. Online programs for AA, AAS, and certification are also available for Texas residents.
Local 11th and 12th grade students are invited to enroll part time at TVCC and earn college credit prior to their high school graduation. The school also offers adult education courses designed to help immigrants prepare for U.S. citizenship exams. In addition to the main campus in Athens, TVCC operates a library in Kaufman and satellite campuses in Palestine and Terrell.
Lanier Technical College
|Value Score 6.51|| |
Georgia’s Lanier Technical College operates a main campus in Oakwood and five satellite locations, serving a total of seven counties. The school’s academic offerings include a robust fire program with concentrations designed for firefighters, officers, and technology professionals. LTC is also home to one of the nation’s only programs dedicated to ammonia refrigeration training. Other technical areas of study include automotive, industrial technology, and computer information systems; additional programs offer degrees and certificates in fields like accounting, early education, and marketing management. A handful of online pathways are available at LTC, as well. Web-based associate degree options include accounting, healthcare technology management, and business management. Students may also choose from more than 20 online certificate and diploma programs.
High school students who wish to earn dual credit at LTC are invited to enroll in the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program. More than a dozen institutional scholarships (both merit- and need-based) are offered through the Lanier Tech Foundation.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
|Value Score 6.51|| |
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is headquartered in Valdosta and operates three other satellite campuses. The school offers AAS degree pathways in five core academic fields: business, computer science and digital media, healthcare, professional services, and technical and industrial. Dozens of professional certificates and diplomas are also available in these five categories, as well as an associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree. WGTC also allows prospective educators to participate in GaTAPP, an alternative pathway for teachers and classroom professionals who already have a college degree in a non-education field.
As part of the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection (GVTC), WGTC also offers nine exclusively online degree and certification programs, as well as hybrid and web-enhanced (supplemental) courses. High school students are invited to earn college credit through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program, either through dual enrollment or the specialized SB2 Alternate Diploma path.
|Value Score 6.48|| |
More than 80 associate degree and professional certificate programs are offered at Foothill College, an institution headquartered in the city of Los Altos Hills, California. Degree options include both AA and AS pathways, 21 of which are geared towards students who plan to transfer into the California State University (CSU) system and obtain a four-year degree. Certification is available in 37 fields. Online associate degree programs at Foothill College are not self-paced; students must follow the standard school calendar and meet weekly deadlines.
Additionally, enrolled students may participate in paid apprenticeships for the following occupations: general and residential electrician; field ironworker; plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting; refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning; sheet metal; and sound and communication. Those who enroll in the school’s Honors Institute will have the opportunity to take specialized courses and qualify for a scholarship if they choose to transfer into the CSU system. Study abroad options are also open to eligible students.
North Central Missouri College
|Value Score 6.45|| |
Formerly known as Trenton Junior College, North Central Missouri College was established in 1925 and now serves students on three regional campuses. The school’s two-year offerings include AA degree pathways in 23 core areas of liberal arts, and AAS programs covering 19 technical fields. An associate in arts in teaching track is also available for prospective educators who plan to eventually transfer into a four-year program. Other options include an associate in general studies and 15 one-year certification programs. Those who wish to pursue a degree entirely online may choose from eight different degree and certification pathways.
NCMC allows high school students to enroll part-time in on-campus or line courses and earn college credit through the A+ program. Participants must maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA while attending postsecondary courses; in exchange, the school will cover the student’s tuition expenses up to $158 per credit hour.
|Value Score 6.44|| |
Named for the West Texas city where the main campus is located, Odessa College was established in 1946 and today enrolls roughly 5,000 students per year. Associate degree offerings at the school are divided into two categories. The arts and sciences division comprises 18 areas of study, including specified fields like kinesiology/exercise science and substance abuse counseling. The career, technical, and workforce education branch represents another 20 two-year pathways. OC students may also choose from more than 70 certification programs.
OC awards more than $500,000 in scholarship funding every year to students who demonstrate academic excellence. Eligible local students at all four high school grade levels are welcome to apply for the Odessa College NOW dual enrollment program, allowing them to earn college credit at a reduced tuition rate. Additionally, the Weekend College program enables students to earn a full associate degree over two years of courses held exclusively on Saturday and Sunday.
Southwest Virginia Community College
|Value Score 6.44|| |
Located outside the city of Richlands, Southwest Virginia Community College serves roughly 4,000 students per academic year in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell Counties. The school’s two-year degree offerings include 16 associate of arts & science (AA&S) and 25 AAS pathways. Career studies certificate (CSC) pathways are also available in 45 niche fields, including adventure tourism, crime scene technology, horticulture management, and outdoor recreation. Currently, 22 degree, certificate, and CSC programs are available entirely online; other pathways allow students to take distance learning courses as part of the required curriculum.
SVCC’s community, workforce & economic solutions (CWES) division is designed to aid students who plan to become business owners or managers. Courses and trainings through CWES include classroom, online, and hybrid formats. The campus is also home to a fully functional clinic simulation center for students in medical and healthcare programs to receive hands-on training.
Laramie County Community College
|Value Score 6.40|| |
Wyoming’s capital city of Cheyenne is home to Laramie County Community College, the largest two-year institution in the state by enrollment. The school’s two-year pathways include 22 AA, 23 AS, and 26 AAS degrees. Twenty professional diplomas and four certificates of completion are also offered in technical fields of study. Currently, LCCC offers exclusively online programs in business management (entrepreneurship), Microsoft systems and networks, office applications specialist, web design, medical office essentials, and medical office coding.
Additionally, life enrichment courses in arts and crafts, dance, gardening, and water aerobics are also offered through LCCC. Students with a background in education or classroom management may also be eligible to serve as counselors for the school’s Summer Education Experience for Kids (SEEK) program. Prospective students can learn more about educational opportunities, services, and campus life through the school’s online newsletter, Wingspan.
Mountain Empire Community College
|Value Score 6.38|| |
Located in the Appalachian town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia’s Mountain Empire Community College serves students in four nearby counties. The school offers an extensive list of two-year degree, certificate, and professional specialization programs. MECC’s manufacturing division is particularly large, with 18 different pathways in cutting-edge fields like 3D design, computer-aided drafting and design mapping, computerized manufacturing technology, and energy technology. Other large areas of study include allied health, clinical health, business, and construction. Students who wish to enter a four-year program or higher can enroll in transfer degree programs concentrated in areas like business administration, dental hygiene, and pharmacy.
MECC’s Center for Workforce Development offers KeyTrain and WorkKeys trainings to help students build their workplace skills. The school’s Small Business Development Center also offers courses geared toward students who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Eligible high school students are welcome to take part in the AIMS Higher Scholarship program, which allows them to complete up to two years of college courses without paying tuition.
Forsyth Technical Community College
|Value Score 6.30|| |
One of North Carolina’s largest two-year learning institutions, Forsyth Technical Community College is headquartered in downtown Winston-Salem. Degrees, certificates, and diplomas are offered in five core academic areas of study: business and information technology, engineering technologies, health technologies, humanities and social sciences, and math, science, and technologies. Currently, the school’s exclusively online offerings include an AA pathway designed for students who plan to transfer into a four-year program, eight business administration tracks, and four global logistics technology programs.
Students at FTCC may participate in work-based learning internships with local businesses, government offices and agencies in the public or private sector. The school also maintains study abroad partnerships with institutions in Europe, Asia, and Africa. High school students can participate in the NC Career & College Promise program, which allows them to earn transferable college credit or work toward an entry-level job credential.
Southeastern Technical College
|Value Score 6.30|| |
Serving eight different counties in Georgia, Southeastern Technical College operates a main campus in the city of Vidalia and satellite campuses in Glennville and Swainsboro. Academic programs fall under four core categories: business technologies, health sciences, human services, and industrial and environmental technologies. The school offers 14 associate-level programs in areas like accounting, nursing, and computer information systems. Diplomas and professional certificates are also available. Six degrees, eight diplomas, and 17 technical certificates of credit are available in an exclusively online format.
STC’s Business & Industry division features a small business center to assist aspiring entrepreneurs, professional certification licensure renewals, and customized training in different occupational fields. Adult education courses help men and women build literacy skills and prepare for GED exams. Continuing education programs (both face-to-face and online) are also available in areas like awareness for women, computer courses, and personal enrichment.
State Fair Community College
|Value Score 6.27|| |
Located in the town of Sedalia, State Fair Community College is named for the adjacent Missouri State Fairgrounds. Twenty-seven associate degree pathways are offered in core academic areas of study, as well as specialized fields like CIS accounting, diagnostic medical sonography, and industrial technology—biomass energy. The school also offers 22 AAS degree programs that also include a professional and/or skills certificate. Distance learning courses at SFCC are offered in exclusively online, hybrid, and web-enhanced (supplemental) formats.
Low-income students may receive financial support for attending SFCC by participating in the Students in TRIO for Educational Preparation & Success (STEPS) program. Literacy and GED exam prep courses are also available for adults free of charge. Dual enrollment opportunities are open to eligible high school students who wish to earn college credit, while the Upward Bound program is geared toward college-bound first-generation students at all high school grade levels.
Gateway Community and Technical College
|Value Score 6.25|| |
Kentucky’s Gateway Community & Technical College is an open-admission institution with an annual enrollment of roughly 3,500 students. Associate degrees are available in 30 academic areas of study; these include core subjects like criminal justice, education and nursing, as well as specialized fields like computerized manufacturing and machining, fire science technology, and supply chain management. Online courses offered at GCTC are fully transferable, and available in five, eight, 10, and 12-week formats.
Adult education courses help men and women build literacy skills and prepare for the GED exam. GCTC offers dozens of scholarships for both high school students and current students; some awards are general (merit- or need-based), while others are reserved for certain majors or academic divisions. Incoming students are welcome to sit for a COMPASS exam to test their reading, English, and math skills in lieu of an ACT score.
Cowley County Community College
|Value Score 6.25|| |
The Kansas town of Arkansas City is home to the main campus of Cowley County Community College, an institution that also operates satellite campuses in Winfield, Mulvane, and Wichita. More than 80 transfer and career-ready academic programs are available to students. Two-year options include AA, AS, AAS, and AGS tracks. Certificates are also offered in technical fields like automotive technology, medical coding healthcare, numerical control programming, and welding. More than 30 associate degree and professional certificate programs can be completed entirely online.
Eligible high school students may participate in the Upward Bound program, which enables low-income college-bound individuals to earn college credit free of charge. Adult education courses cover areas like literacy, basic math skills, and GED exam prep. Continuing education programs are offered in areas like medical recertification and motorcycle safety; the Golden Tigers program is specifically geared toward learners over the age of 50.
|Value Score 6.21|| |
Built on the site of Fort Crowder, an outpost that gained recognition during WWII, Missouri’s Crowder College is located in the town of Neosho. Roughly 5,580 students enrolled at the school in the fall of 2015, representing a 169% enrollment increase since 2001. CC’s degree and certificate offerings reflect the school’s longstanding reputation as an academic leader in the field of green technology. An AAS degree in alternative energy is offered with five different specializations; other eco-oriented options include pathways in agribusiness, active solar technology, and wind energy. Additionally, 26 transfer tracks are geared toward students who plan to eventually pursue a four-year degree.
Online courses are not self-paced, and students who enroll in distance learning should follow the school’s standard curriculum schedule. Eligible high school students may pursue dual enrollment at CC, and top-performing individuals may qualify for the school’s Presidential Honors Scholarship program.
Cochise County Community College District
|Value Score 6.20|| |
Arizona’s Cochise College offers 30 associate-level programs designed for students who plan to transfer into a four-year program; these include pathways for AA, associate of arts in elementary education, associate of business, AS, and AGS degrees. Additionally, 32 AAS degrees are offered for students who plan to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Twelve of these options may be completed entirely online.
CC students pursuing certain degree tracks may qualify for admission into the school’s honors program, which entitles them to scholarship opportunities and a note of distinction on their college transcript. Eligible high school students are invited to participate in dual enrollment, allowing them to earn college credit ahead of graduation. Other options for high school students include Innovation Campus and Running Start Academy, two projects geared toward learners who want to pursue degrees in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field.
Albany Technical College
|Value Score 6.19|| |
Georgia’s Albany Technical College offers degree and diploma pathways in more than 50 core areas of business, healthcare, and technical education; 10 of these programs are available in an exclusively online format. ATC’s distinguished campus includes a career development center, a courtroom simulation for criminal justice students, and a full-service construction academy dedicated to trades like carpentry, plumbing, and masonry. The school boasts a 92% job placement rate among graduates.
The school’s Go Back, Move Ahead program is targeted at former college students who earned some course credit but did not fully complete their degree pathway. Eligible high school learners can also choose between the Move On When Ready placement program (which counts toward a high school diploma) and joint enrollment at ATC (which does not count toward a high school diploma). Adult education courses tackle subjects like literacy, English as a second language (ESL), and GED exam prep.
Hazard Community and Technical College
|Value Score 6.18|| |
Founded in 1968, Kentucky’s Hazard Community and Technical College offers AAS degree programs in nursing, radiography, information technology, criminal justice, and human services. Alternatively, students who plan to transfer into a four-year undergraduate program may pursue an AA, AS, or AFA track. Diploma and certification programs are also offered in career-technical fields. Options for distance learners include exclusively online degrees in business administration, computer and information technology, criminal justice, health IT and medical IT. More than 30 diploma tracks are also offered in the web-based format.
HCTC is home to the Kentucky Coal Academy, an institution dedicated to improving safety conditions for miners. In addition, HCTC’s Workforce Solutions division offers career-technical courses for occupational roles such as linemen, fiber optics technicians, and laboratory technicians. Online training workshops are also available. Students with a strong work background may also qualify for the Workforce Transitions program, which awards credit for on-the-job experience.
Wayne Community College
|Value Score 6.15|| |
At North Carolina’s Wayne Community College, students can choose from three transfer-ready two-year degrees: an AA, AS, or associate of engineering degree. For students who don’t plan to transfer into a four-year program, WCC also offers more than 30 career-technical degree pathways; specialized options include collision repair and refinishing technology, simulation and game development, and turf management technology. More than 50 diploma and certificate programs are available as well. Distance learners can also choose from 18 exclusively online degree, diploma, and certificate programs; the majority of these pathways are concentrated in either business administration or healthcare-related fields.
WCC’s continuing education opportunities include courses in allied health, nonprofit management, notary public education, and public safety. Courses in adult literacy and high school education/GED exam prep are also available. Students may also receive workplace training through WayneWorksNC, a division of WCC’s Business and Industry Center.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
|Value Score 6.15|| |
At Georgia Piedmont Technical College, students may choose from more than 100 educational tracks. AAS degree programs generally run 18 to 24 months in length, and consist of occupational training supplemented with college-level English and mathematics courses. Diploma and technical career certificate opportunities are also available; these pathways vary in length, but most carry a one-year commitment. In addition, adult education courses are offered in five areas: career and professional development, computer training, CPR and health, industrial and manufacturing skills, and transportation (forklift, motorcycle, truck, and transit).
GPTC is committed to building science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills among students. The school offers 17 STEM-focused degree programs and publishes a quarterly STEM newsletter. Eligible high school students are welcome to enroll at GPTC and earn dual credit through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program; the school currently serves students at 33 high schools in four counties.
Surry Community College
|Value Score 6.14|| |
Located in Dobson, North Carolina’s Surry Community College offers more than 30 two-year programs. These include general associate degrees, as well as specialized trainings in fields like automotive systems technology, medical assisting, and viticulture and enology. Diplomas and certificates are also offered in more than 50 vocational areas of study. Eight degrees and six certificate programs are available to distance learners in an exclusively online format, as well as hybrid course options. Additionally, students can enroll in job training courses for 18 vocational fields.
SCC’s Career and College Promise program is aimed at local high school students who wish to pursue dual enrollment; eligible candidates earn transferable college credit without paying for tuition. The school also provides personal enrichment courses free-of-charge for students to learn about leisurely pursuits like arts and crafts, dancing, disc golf, and yoga. Students seeking financial aid can apply for more than 200 foundational scholarships.
Stanly Community College
|Value Score 6.12|| |
The town of Albemarle is home to North Carolina’s Stanly Community College, an institution that offers 27 AAS degree programs. Twelve of these pathways are available in both classroom and online formats. Additionally, students can choose from 40 vocational diploma and certificate programs, most of which can be completed in one year or less. Distance learners may pursue online degrees in accounting, arts, business administration, computer information technology, criminal justice, early childhood education, human services, and school-age education; web-based diploma and certificate programs are also available.
Continuing education courses cover a range of topics, from industrial fields like automotive and HVAC to areas of business administration, corporate development, and public service. Local high school students with a 3.0 GPA and sufficient SAT/ACT scores may qualify for the Career and College Promise program, which allows them to enroll at SCC for dual credit and take courses free of charge.
Wake Technical Community College
|Value Score 6.08|| |
Located in the capital city of Raleigh, Wake Technical Community College is the largest two-year postsecondary institution in North Carolina. Students can choose from 180 degree, diploma, and certificate programs covering technical fields, the arts, and general studies. The school’s largest department is simulation and game development; other robust academic areas include accounting, business administration, and web technologies. Eleven degrees, two diplomas, and 41 certificates are offered in an exclusively online format; more options are available with a combination of online and hybrid courses. Students with a 3.3 cumulative GPA or higher may be eligible to join the WTCC honors program.
WTCC’s Workforce Continuing Education division provides training courses to help students earn credentials, certification, and licensure in fields like barbering and cosmetology, fire services, and sustainable technology; apprenticeships are also available. High school students may pursue dual enrollment through the Career and College Promise program, which allows them to earn college credit without paying tuition.
Craven Community College
|Value Score 6.08|| |
North Carolina’s Craven Community College was originally founded as an industrial training center in 1965. Today the school offers six transfer-ready associate degree programs, as well as 18 AAS pathways in fields like accounting, automotive systems technology, early childhood education, and nursing. Additionally, more than 80 diploma and certificate programs are available. Online options for distance learners include AA and associate of general education (AGE) degrees, seven AAS degrees and 35 diploma and certificate programs.
Eligible high school students are welcome to apply for the Career and College Promise program, which allows them to enroll in college courses and earn credit; opportunities are available for students who wish to attend a four-year program after graduation, as well as those who plan to enter the workforce. Thanks to an integrated online system, CCC students who wish to obtain financial aid can apply for more than 80 scholarship awards with a single application.
Lenoir Community College
|Value Score 6.08|| |
North Carolina’s Lenoir Community College is headquartered in the town of Kinston, and operates satellite campuses in two adjacent counties. Two-year degree programs cover four core areas of study: arts and sciences; business, industry, and emerging technologies; health sciences and nursing. The school is also home to the 2+2 Engineering Program, which is designed for engineering students who wish to complete coursework at LCC before transferring into a four-year undergraduate program. Diplomas and certificates are also offered in a range of vocational fields. Nine associate degrees and 33 certificate/diploma programs are offered in an exclusively online format; additionally, distance learners can select from more than 100 virtual courses every semester, along with hybrid courses.
Continuing education courses for adults cover 23 specialized areas, such as aerospace, cosmetology, motorcycle safety, and real estate. Qualifying high school students are invited to take part in the Career and College Promise program, which allows them to enroll at LCC and earn college course credits.
Somerset Community College
|Value Score 6.01|| |
Located in the small Kentucky town that shares its name, Somerset Community College serves students in 10 different counties. Degree-seekers can choose from career-oriented AAS programs in health sciences or applied technology; AA and AS pathways are also available for students who plan to transfer into a four-year undergraduate program. The school is also home to a training center dedicated to professional development for linemen. More than 1,000 courses are offered exclusively online or in a hybrid format.
Students pursuing education in welding, nursing assistance, or culinary arts may be eligible to participate in Accelerating Opportunity Kentucky, an initiative designed to boost employment rates in niche fields throughout the state. The school’s Workforce Solutions division offers courses in CDL, fiber optic technology, and other technical fields. SCC’s dual credit program allows local high school students to enroll in college courses with discounted tuition rates.
|Value Score 6.00|| |
The Arkansas town of Melbourne is home to Ozarka College, a two-year institution founded as a vocational school in 1975 that today serves students in five different counties. AAS degrees are offered in six vocational fields: automotive service technology, business technology, culinary arts, general technology, health information technology, and registered nursing. AS and AS degree options are also available, as well as 19 certificate programs. Online courses are offered on a rolling basis.
OC provides GED exam prep courses for adults who wish to obtain high school equivalency. In Spring 2016, 1,068 students attended the school; more than half were enrolled full-time, and nearly 200 were high school students earning dual credit. A recent economic impact study found that the college and its students/alumni have raised more than $40 million for the local community, where the median annual income for residents falls below $19,000.
Hopkinsville Community College
|Value Score 6.00|| |
Named for the town in which it’s located, Hopkinsville Community College serves students in three counties in southwestern Kentucky. Students who plan to transfer into a four-year undergraduate program can choose from an AA or AS degree path. AAS degrees, diplomas, and professional certificates are also offered in 16 career-technical fields. Additionally, students planning to pursue careers in STEM-related fields are invited to earn an AS pre-professional or pre-engineering credential; both of these pathways are designed to prepare students for immediate entry into the workforce after graduation. Distance learners can choose from more than 1,100 online courses, thanks to HCC’s partnership with the Kentucky Virtual Campus.
Eligible high school students may participate in dual enrollment through HCC, allowing them to earn up to 12 college credits every academic year. GED exam prep and ESL courses are offered through the school’s Adult Education and Academic Foundations division.
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
|Value Score 5.98|| |
Elizabethtown Community and Technical College serves students in 12 counties across northern Kentucky. The school offers AA and AS programs geared toward students who plan to eventually transfer a four-year undergraduate program; the Weekend College program allows individuals to complete their degree requirements by exclusively attending Saturday and Sunday courses. Additionally, professional diplomas are available in 30 different career-technical fields.
ECTC’s Workforce Solutions division provides practical job training in various technical fields. Aspiring truck drivers are welcome to sign up for the school’s four-week CDL training course, which culminates in full licensure (pending drug test results). Eligible candidates may sign up for the school’s semester-length Advanced Manufacturing Program, which combines classroom coursework with on-site practical instruction. The campus is also home to a Japanese academy dedicated to child language education and Summer Kid’s College, a STEM-driven showcase with exhibits and mini-courses for child learners.
Rio Salado College
|Value Score 5.92|| |
Headquartered in the city of Tempe, Arizona’s Rio Salado College operates an additional 15 satellite locations and learning centers throughout Maricopa County. The school offers associate degrees, professional certificates, and diplomas in more than 50 areas of academic study. Most of these options are available exclusively or partially online. Aspiring teachers planning to pursue a career in elementary, secondary, or special education may take part in the bachelor’s degree pathway; this joint program enables students to begin their education at RSC before transferring to Northcentral University for the final two years of their undergraduate education. The school’s Tempe campus is also home to one of the state’s leading dental hygiene programs.
For more than 30 years, RSC has worked with local correctional facilities to create educational opportunities for incarcerated individuals. Teacher certification is also offered to seniors through the 50+ Encore program, which is held exclusively online.
Maysville Community and Technical College
|Value Score 5.91|| |
Named for the Kentucky town where its main campus is located, Maysville Community and Technical College operates three additional satellite locations in Licking Valley, Montgomery, and Rowan. AA and AS degrees are available for students who plan to transfer into a four-year undergraduate program. Additionally, AAS pathways are offered in 20 career-technical fields. Incoming students with an extensive work background may qualify for up to 20 credits for prior work experience.
Adult education courses cover ESL, GED exam preparation and other areas related to college and career readiness. The school currently offers 16 courses (some of which are taught online) for high school learners who wish to earn college credit at a discounted tuition rate. MCTC provides a total of 22 foundational scholarships for students hoping to obtain financial assistance.
Montgomery Community College
|Value Score 5.90|| |
North Carolina’s Montgomery Community College is headquartered in the city of Troy. Students planning to transfer into a four-year baccalaureate program may pursue an AA, AGE, or AS degree. AAS tracks are also available in core academic areas like accounting, business administration, law enforcement, and nursing, as well as specialized fields like forest management technology, gunsmithing, and metal engraving. The campus is also home to the NC Prescribed Fire Training Center, which offers five-day courses for aspiring wildland firefighters.
Eligible high school students are invited to enroll at MCC and earn course credit at a discounted tuition rate through the Career and College Promise program. Continuing education courses are offered in 18 fields, including business and industry, fire/EMS/public safety, and real estate. Classes for GED exam prep, ESL, and adult basic education are also hosted on-campus.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
|Value Score 5.90|| |
Headquartered in the town of Rock Spring, Georgia Northwestern Technical College operates five campus locations serving students in nine different counties. The school boasts a robust healthcare education program, which includes 20 two-year degree pathways and 10 diplomas. GNTC also features an extensive transportation education division, with degrees, diplomas, and certificates offered in the fields of automotive, aviation, and commercial truck driving. The Blackboard Learn! learning management system was unveiled in January 2016, allowing students to earn credit for online, hybrid, and web-enhanced (supplemental) courses.
Through the Move On When Ready (MOWR) program, high school students can enroll at GNTC and earn credit that’s fully transferable to any institution in the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) or the University System of Georgia (USG). Continuing education courses for adults are offered in both classroom and online formats. The campus also hosts WorkKeys training sessions designed to help employers choose, hire, and retain high-quality employees.
Southwestern Oregon Community College
|Value Score 5.82|| |
The coastal town of Coos Bay is home to Southwestern Oregon Community College, the oldest community college in the Beaver State. Students pursuing an AAS degree can choose from 15 career pathways, including core fields like accounting and business, as well as niche areas of study like baking/pastry arts, and fire science technology. In addition to AA, AS, and AGS options, the school offers two-year degrees in business and computer science designed for students who plan to transfer into a four-year bachelor’s program. SWOCC also provides professional certificate programs that may be completed within one year or less. Specialized Career Pathway Certificates of Completion are available in two programs: advanced nursing assistant and medical aide.
SWOCC carries a dual enrollment partnership with the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and five other postsecondary institutions in the state. Students who participate in this program simultaneously enroll in two schools, allowing them to seamlessly transition into a four-year program.
Tulsa Community College
|Value Score 5.81|| |
Tulsa Community College is the largest two-year postsecondary institution in the state of Oklahoma. More than 200 academic pathways are offered, including AA and AS degrees for students who wish to eventually transfer into a four-year program; and AAS degrees and professional certificates for students who plan to immediately enter the workforce. A total of 20 associate degrees and professional certificates are available in an exclusively online format.
Students who complete the advanced 24-credit requirement will qualify for admission into the TCC Honors Program, which allows them to gain access to unique scholarship opportunities and graduate with distinction as an Honors Scholar. Two-week study abroad sessions are also available to students during spring and summer terms. Adult learners may pursue skills and development courses through the school’s Continuing Education and Workplace Development division.
Central Carolina Community College
|Value Score 5.81|| |
Located in the city of Sanford, Central Carolina Community College offers three academic pathways for students. Transfer associate degrees are geared toward individuals who plan to eventually enter a four-year undergraduate program; transfer diploma options are available, as well. Alternatively, AAS tracks allow students to immediately enter the workforce once their program is complete; areas of focus include agriculture and renewable energy, healthcare, and industrial technology. A third option allows students to satisfy their degree requirements on an accelerated schedule, either within one year or two years of bi-weekly nighttime coursework. The school also features non-credit job training sessions in fields like automotive, computer technology, and commercial truck driving.
High school students may enroll at CCCC and earn credit at a reduced tuition rate as part of the Career and College Promise program. GED exam prep and ESL courses are also offered for adult learners.