What is a Community College? | Types of Degree you can get

what degree can you get at a community college? If you are here that means you are considering a community college degree program.

who wouldn’t, if you are not able to afford the normal four-year university fees, then a community college degree won’t be a bad idea.

You will still get what you want, that is a certificate that you can use to apply for a job and perhaps further your education if you so wish.


These Community colleges, also known as city colleges or junior colleges, offer a variety of degree programs.

While the term “junior college” is now largely outdated, community colleges still play an important role in preparing students for the workforce.

There are more than 1,000 community colleges in the United States and they offer a variety of degree programs.

They are designed for students who want to complete their education and find their first job right away.

Community colleges also serve as an access point to a traditional university for students who plan on continuing their education.

Thus, you might be asking, So, what’s the difference between a community college and a four-year university?

stay with me, as I take you on this ride to fully understand the role these different institutions play in our community.


What are Community Colleges?

As the name implies, A community college is a lower-cost, less selective institution of higher education primarily serving its surrounding community.

Community colleges offer traditional academic classes like math and history that will transfer to a four-year college or university.

Community colleges are open to everyone but typically provide better opportunities to students who live in the communities where the colleges are located.

Junior colleges used to be a word commonly used to refer to community colleges, but it has since lost use. Community colleges have played and continue to play a significant role in helping students get ready for the workforce.

In the United States, there are over a thousand community colleges, and the majority of them provide a wide range of degrees or certifications that qualify both local and foreign students for their first entry-level job right away.

For students who want to continue their education, community colleges can act as a stepping stone into a regular institution.

Since these colleges are funded by local taxpayers, their focus is on increasing the number of people who have a college degree.

A full-time student at a community college in the state of Massachusetts is in a good position to get a job as a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Community college degrees While all community colleges are different, they all offer bachelor’s degrees in many fields.

Some offer higher-level degrees, including masters and doctorate degrees.

Is Community Colleges Free?

If there is a question that is very common about community colleges is this question; “is community colleges free”

“Free” does not always imply that your education will be free of charge. Fees, room and board, and transportation are frequently expected of students.

Furthermore, free community college frequently comes with prerequisites that limit who is eligible.

Receiving free tuition, for example, can be contingent on income, residency, previous education, age, and other factors. Furthermore, in some states, such as Kentucky, there are restrictions on your field of study that may affect your eligibility for free tuition.

Hence, In the United States, community colleges are not totally free.

However, at least 23 states currently offer programs that reduce or eliminate tuition costs for qualified students attending certain colleges. These programs typically do not cover associated costs such as books, lodging, or transportation.

Where is community college free?

The states and cities and counties that provide free community college change frequently. Search for grants or “promise programs” in your state or local area to find a program that can help you. Your local community college’s financial aid administrators may also be aware of available programs.

Before assuming you’ll get free tuition at a community college, make sure you qualify — and, in some cases, are accepted. Depending on the program, there may be numerous eligibility requirements.

The states offering free community college currently include:

  • Arkansas,
  • California,
  • Delaware,
  • Hawaii,
  • Indiana,
  • Kansas,
  • Kentucky,
  • Maryland,
  • Michigan,
  • Missouri,
  • Montana,
  • Nevada,
  • New Jersey,
  • New Mexico,
  • New York,
  • Oklahoma,
  • Oregon,
  • Rhode Island,
  • South Dakota,
  • Tennessee,
  • Virginia,
  • Washington and
  • West Virginia.

Important Facts about Community Colleges

Community college 2 year degree
Community college 2-year degree

A community college 2-year degree is a great option for students looking to change their career, enter the workforce, or simply get an arts degree.

What distinguishes a community college from a four-year institution, then?

A community college is precisely what its name suggests: It is an institution of higher learning that primarily serves the local community.

In addition to offering community programs like resume assistance for job seekers or swim lessons for kids, community colleges also offer standard academic courses like arithmetic and history that transfer to a four-year college or university.

Community colleges are servicing more people on a local and international level as their popularity rises.

Thus, here are important facts you need to know about community college degree programs.

#1. Community Colleges Bachelor degrees Entry Requirements

Most community colleges have open enrollment, meaning any student with a high school diploma or its equivalent is eligible for entrance.

However, some programs have additional requirements for entrance, (e.g medical programs) may have additional requirements for entry. such as a certain GPA e.t.c.

#2. Community College Cost Comparison

Community colleges average $3,347 per year for tuition and fees (compare with $9,139 for 4-year, public state colleges)

#3. Community College Enrollment stat.

According to provisional data from the National Center for Education Statistics, over 8.2 million undergraduates enrolled in public two-year colleges in the U.S. in 2018/2019.

Over 5.5 million students were enrolled in public two-year colleges in the fall of 2019.

This includes 1.9 million full-time students and 3.6 million part-time students. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center estimates

that 4.5 million students were enrolled in public two-year colleges in spring 2021, down 10% from spring 2020.

Nonetheless, a good number of these studies underestimate the number of community college students because about 100 community colleges offer a small number of bachelor’s degree programs and are thus listed in NCES as four-year institutions.

In accordance with CCRC’s analysis correcting for this misclassification, 6.7 million students were enrolled at community colleges in the fall of 2017, and about 10 million students enrolled at a community college over the course of the academic year 2017-18

#4. Community College Demographics

The average community college student is 28 years old, with about half of all students falling between ages 22 and 39.

More females than males attend community college and the majority of first-generation for a community college bachelor’s degree.

Now, you know the important facts about community colleges, thus, What Degrees Do Community Colleges Offer?

What Degrees Do Community Colleges Offer?

If you’re looking for a multi-year degree or a short certificate program that can be earned in a few months, community colleges have something for anyone.

These schools feature a wide range of study programs that will help you further your education and equip you with essential job skills.

The duration of the programs varies from a few months to several years and depends on your academic, professional, and personal needs.

Thus, here are the different types of community college 2-year degree, you can apply for.

#1. community college Associate’s Degree

An associate degree is one of the degree programs offered by a community college in USA.

Now more than ever, it’s important to get a well-rounded education. That’s why associate degrees are available in so many different fields. From accounting to digital media design.

Associate’s degrees are perfect for students who don’t want to commit to four years of education.

Associate degree programs typically require around 60 credits, although that number can increase to 80 depending on the degree program.

The courses consist of a mixture of general (or “core”) and Major-specific courses.

General education courses focus on developing skills and knowledge that can be applied to a range of occupations.

Course topics can include composition in English, basic math, physical education, and science.

Major-specific courses concentrate exclusively on subjects that are directly related to the Major chosen by the student.

You can pursue a range of rewarding and lucrative careers with an associate degree or opt for advanced studies.

Thus, Community colleges typically have agreements with larger universities that allow students with an associate degree to transfer their credits and enroll in a bachelor’s degree.

group of students with teacher in computer lab classrom learrning lessons,  get help and support
group of students with teacher in computer lab classroom learning lessons, get help and support

#2. Diplomas and Certificates

To answer the question What Degrees Do Community Colleges Offer? it will interest you to know that community colleges offer non-degree programs also aside from associate degree programs earlier mentioned in no.1.

These non-degree programs award student certificates and diplomas. If you choose this type of non-degree program, it can only last a few weeks to several months to complete.

Community colleges offer so many opportunities for students to learn and grow in their own way. You can take classes that are meant to be a stepping stone to a full degree.

Thus, If you’re looking to learn a specific skill without the commitment of a degree, there’s a new option for you!

Community colleges are now even offering technical certificate programs that let students use credits earned through these programs to earn an associate’s degree too.

#3. community college bachelor degree

The community college bachelor degree is not as popular as community college associate degree programs.

Still, many community colleges in USA are beginning what they call “community college 4-year degree“.

As the name goes, community college 4-year degree, these programs take four years which comprises 8 semesters to complete.

For a long time, bachelor’s degrees were only available at universities. But now, with community colleges in states like Washington and Florida offering this degree,

others like West Virginia and Texas, a bachelor’s degree is becoming more accessible.

As of right now, 22 states allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. The number is expected to grow in the future.

Furthermore, these are not the only degrees offered by community colleges.

There are still other quick certificate programs one can get from these colleges and they are called “Workforce development programs

#4. Workforce development programs

If you don’t have the time or resources, Community colleges also provide a great alternative to degree and certificate programs.

They provide a short-term alternative for students looking for a career or personal development courses.

The Workforce development programs eschew conventional education topics and concentrate exclusively on the job training. 

These Continuing Education Programs at community colleges provide hands-on training that is intended to prepare students for immediate employment.

Professionals looking to bolster their resumes and meet certification requirements can take advantage of these programs.

These courses teach a range of career-oriented skills ranging from more general language and writing skills to specific software applications such as SharePoint.

The completion of these courses usually leads to the award of advanced training units (CEUs).

While these credits cannot be applied to a degree, they can be used to meet professional certification requirements.

Admission requirements for lawyers, accountants, and many other professions often require a range of CEUs.

In Addition,

Many community colleges also offer credit-free courses that can be taken for personal enrichment or career development.

With course topics such as real estate, information technology, and transportation, these standalone courses allow students to explore their personal interests or prepare for certification and license exams.

Whatever your career and educational goals, there is a good chance your local community college has an education that can help you.

Whether it’s graduating or satisfying a personal curiosity, these programs have something for students of all walks of life.

Why Study at a Community College?

There are many reasons why attending a community college before transferring to a four-year university can be beneficial. Not only are the education you will receive just as good as that of a traditional four-year university, but prices are lower and it is easier to be admitted.

a community college is a perfect starting point if you wish to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree and here are just a few reasons why.

#1. To Save Money:

Students can earn a college-level associate’s degree while paying a small tuition fee and then move to a university for the additional two years required to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Community colleges are very affordable; Because of this, many students choose general study at a community college.

In some cases, you can take a course at a community college for one-tenth the price you would pay for a course at a university.

As an international student, you have to pay a higher price than other students, but tuition fees at a community college are lower than at a four-year college or university in general.

Living in the United States can be very expensive, so having to pay less for tuition to study at a community college is definitely a benefit, especially when you are getting the same quality of education that you would get at a university.

#2. Easier Admissions Process:

Some colleges are extremely competitive at the first-year admission level, but not as competitive at the transfer admission level.

This means that a potential freshman studying in a traditional four-year college or university will have to compete with thousands of other students.

However, if an international student applies as a transfer student, his chances of entering a traditional university may be better;

This is because many traditional universities have agreements or partnerships with community colleges that allow community college graduates to be automatically accepted into the university program of their choice provided the student completes all of the other courses).

More so,

Every community college is different, which means the type of partnership or arrangement you find will vary from school to school.

Some partnerships are linked to study programs; For example, a nursing program at a community college might have an agreement with a four-year nursing program at a university.

Other community colleges may have automatic admissions programs with some universities that are not dependent on degrees.

Check with the community college that interests you to see if there are any agreements or partnerships that could potentially benefit you.

While most universities require international students to take the TOEFL as part of the admissions process, many community colleges do not require TOEFL results.

Instead, community colleges give students the opportunity to take an on-site assessment of a student’s English proficiency,

and from there a student can take ESL courses to improve their English, reading, and writing skills if needed.

#3. Opportunity to prove your worth:

For many international students starting at the college level and achieving a high cumulative grade point average (GPA),

they can prove to college admissions staff that they can handle the academic rigor of an American university.

This is especially useful for students who do not have a strong GPA prior to attending community college.

In addition, community colleges are usually smaller and can therefore better support their study organization.

In a four-year college you will find large classes of sometimes hundreds of people in one auditorium;

On the other hand, at community colleges, it’s not uncommon for only fifteen or twenty other students to be in your class.

This smaller class size gives you more access to your teacher and the opportunity to develop close relationships with other students.

How To Finance your Community College Degree program

Funding your college degree can be very expensive that is a fact we can not disprove.

Hence, if you need help finding the financial resources to support your community college degree, check out these options listed below.

#1. Scholarships and Grants:

This is not surprising as any student that wants to focus more on their studies will want a scholarship or grants that will take away the burden of fees from them.

Whether you study in the USA or overseas, there are plenty of scholarships and grants available to help you finance your degree.

You can filter by which country you want to study in, what subject you are studying, and where you are from in order to save time.

College is not cheap. But with the scholarships included in our international student scholarship database, you can take care of your education without breaking the bank.

Search for a scholarship that suits your needs and budget, then apply directly to the company hosting it.

#2. Schools that Award Financial Aid

Another option to finance your community college degree is to look for schools that offer financial ads to their students.

For many students, attending college is not possible without substantial financial support from their university.

However, tuition fees and financial support can vary widely from school to school, making budgeting difficult.

To help you choose a school, we have a database of financial support that colleges and universities offer their international students.

#3. work and study programs

With a community college degree program, you will have time to work while you still keep your job.

Thus, Extra-occupational courses enable students to graduate and at the same time gain valuable connections and experience in their future professional fields.

This hands-on training and networking opportunity gives students a competitive edge in the workplace and additional resources in the meantime.

Top community colleges near me 2023

Are you searching for “community colleges near me” ? well, you dont have go through all that stress because we have ranked these communinity colleges based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

#1. Walla Walla Community College

LOCATION:Walla Walla, WA

Walla Walla Community College offers courses in academic transfer education, professional/technical education, transitional studies, and extended learning, and currently enrolls over 13,000 new, returning, and international students annually.

This could be one of the “community colleges near me” you could apply to.

Academic courses at WWCC that are 100 level or higher are typically transferable to the majority of four-year institutions. Through the e-learning program at WWCC, students can acquire an Associate’s degree wholly online or by taking courses both on and off campus.

Juniors and seniors in high school have the option to enroll in classes at Walla Walla Community College under the Running Start program.

In addition to offering traditional academic programs, Walla Walla Community College serves as a hub for technical and neighborhood learning. It is home to the Ag Center of Excellence, which offers agricultural education opportunities, the College Cellars of Walla Walla, which offers enology and viticulture education opportunities and operates a winery, the Learning Center for Nonprofits, which offers tools, training, and education to nonprofit staff and board members who are currently working with the public, as well as the Water and Environment program.

The Walla Walla Community College was selected the 2013 co-winner of the renowned Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence by the Aspen Institute. The junior college was named a 2011 Finalist with Distinction for the same award by the Aspen Institute.

#2. Santa Barbara City College

LOCATION: Santa Barbara, CA

If you are in the Santa Barbara area of Carlifornia and you are asking what are the community college near me? This old community college could be right for you.

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is a 104-year-old college in Santa Barbara, California, with a campus surrounded by breathtaking ocean views. The junior college serves Santa Barbara County’s south coast.

With an average class size of 28, the community college offers more than 50 certificate programs and 80 degrees. SBCC has 20,000 students, with over 7,500 of them enrolled full-time.

57 percent of full-time SBCC students transfer to four-year colleges, with more than half earning a bachelor’s degree. Agreements with 76 colleges (both in and out of state) ensure that SBCC credits are accepted for transfer; several schools guarantee admission if a student meets academic requirements. The Transfer Achievement Program (TAP) at SBCC assists students in making informed decisions about their transition from SBCC to a four-year university.

SBCC’s Express-to-Success program employs small learning communities to guide students through first-year remedial courses, resulting in a significant increase in course completion.

#3. Lake Area Technical Institute

LOCATION: Watertown, SD

Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI), a technical school in Watertown, South Dakota, was the state’s first technical school. The campus serves an area of 18,000 square miles.

Lake Area Tech offers 29 study programs as well as 11 E-degrees. More than 1,700 full-time, part-time, and online students attend the junior college. The school has a low tuition rate and a graduate placement rate of 99 percent.

Agri-Business, Custom Paint & Fabrication Cosmetology, Robotics, Aviation Maintenance, and Nursing are just a few of the school’s programs.

Lake Area Technical Institute has the highest graduation rate in the country and assists its graduates in obtaining high-paying jobs.

Within three years, 76 percent of first-time, full-time LATI students graduate or transfer to a four-year college; the national average is 40 percent.

LATI graduates recently earned 40% more than other new hires in the area.

LATI graduates from a specific program may transfer LATI technical credits to a specific degree plan at South Dakota State University through program-to-program articulation agreements. Certain general education classes and technical credits may be applied.

#4. New Mexico Military Institute


The New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), located in Roswell, New Mexico, is the country’s only state-supported, co-educational military boarding school. NMMI has a four-year college preparatory high school and a two-year junior college.

Thus, if you are living within the area and you are asking for community college near me, then this is perfect for you.

The organization and architecture of New Mexico Military Institute, one of only six military junior colleges in the United States, are based on Virginia Military Institute. The campus spans 40 acres and includes an 18-hole golf course.

NMMI students are known as “cadets,” and the school has an average of 975 cadets, with 95 percent of them going on to four-year universities. At any given time, cadets represent nearly every state in the United States as well as a dozen foreign countries.

The New Mexico Military Institute’s Corps of Cadets has its own chain of command, reporting to the Commandant of Cadets and his staff. All cadets are subject to an honor code and are expected to uphold the highest standards of personal integrity. According to the honor code, no cadet will “Lie, Cheat, or Steal, or Tolerate Those Who Do.” Cadets must defend and enforce the honor system.

More than one-third of college students want to join the Army. The school commissions approximately 35 cadets as US Army 2nd Lieutenants each year through a two-year Early Commissioning Program (ECP).

The liberal arts curriculum at New Mexico Military Institute is comprehensive. A sixty-eight-hour course load is required for an Associate in Arts degree. A cadet may choose to specialize while earning an Associate of Arts degree.

#5. North Central Kansas Technical College


North Central Kansas Technical College (NCK Tech) is a higher education institution that provides degree, certificate, and professional development programs. The main campus of NCK Tech is in Beloit, Kansas, and the branch campus is in Hays, Kansas.

North Central has an excellent reputation for graduate placement, with an annual rate of more than 90%. Graduate salaries at NCK Tech are consistently comparable to those at 2- and 4-year institutions.

The college offers 24 programs of study, including these major areas:

  • Automotive Collision Technology
  • Agricultural Equipment Technology
  • Nursing
  • Residential Electricity
  • Diesel Technology

NCK Tech offers statewide articulation agreements in the following pathways:

  • AV Communications
  • Information Support/Services
  • Network Systems
  • Production – Welding
  • Programming and Software Development
  • Web/Digital Communications

The junior college has also developed The Kansas Institute of Underground Technology, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and local businesses.

The community college ranked #5 in the CNN Money listing of community colleges in 2012 and listed among the top 10% of all U.S. community colleges by the Aspen Institute in 2013.


Studying at a community college can be very exciting and stressful as you get to experience the same level of stress an average university student experiences during their study year. we believe we have been able to give you all you need to know about applying and getting admitted into a community college in USA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of community college tuition and fees?

Over the 2020-2021 period, the average published tuition and fees for a full-time student at two-year public institutions nationwide was $ 3,770, compared to $ 10,560 at four-year public colleges. After the scholarship, students were left with an average of $ 220 for other expenses, well below their tuition fees.

According to the 2015-2016 National Post-Secondary Student Assistance Study, 44% of full-time community college students, after considering scholarships (but not tax credits), do not pay tuition fees or receive money to cover other expenses. About 14% pay something but less than $ 1,100, and about 14% pay more than $ 3,400 after considering grants.

How many students participate in dual enrollment?

According to recent statistics, 76% of schools reported that students took dual enrollment courses with an academic focus. Of those schools, 46% reported that students took dual enrollment courses with a career or technical-vocational focus.

Does everyone get accepted into a community college?

Almost all community colleges are open access, which means that almost all applicants are accepted. Usually, the highest degree a student can earn in a community college is an associate degree. Most community colleges are suburban schools and do not have student dormitories.

How many students are enrolled in community colleges in the US?

2.1 million students. With over 2.1 million students at 116 colleges, California Community Colleges are the largest higher education system in the country. One in four community college students across the country attends a California community college.

Is it too late to enroll in community college?

The answer is no. Several hundred universities will continue to accept applications and students until the beginning of the autumn semester. Now is the time to look at colleges known as “Late Application” or “Late Deadline” schools.

Can I go to community college with a low GPA?

The sad truth is that your GPA is just a number, but there is still a lot behind it. A student’s grade point average is an important factor for admission counselors. Community colleges are more geared towards non-traditional students and students who for some reason are not quite ready for a four-year college.

What state has the most community colleges?

There are 1,462 community colleges in the United States. Of these, 1,047 are public institutions and 415 are private. In 2000/01, the states with the highest number of public community colleges were California, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, and New York.

Can you start college whenever you want?

The truth is, it couldn’t be too late. Many universities continue to accept applications from students well beyond the advertised deadlines and throughout the summer. Some schools have continuous admission, which means they will continue to accept students until the class is full.

Can a community college reject you?

In general, like most other colleges, a community college can turn you down. The reasons for rejection can be different. They range from missing documents to missing resources due to a high number of registrations. You can visit the admissions office before applying if you think you might get rejected


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