Why This Matters


    According to College Navigator, there are 63 two-year institutions that offer associate degree programs in Illinois.


    Data from College Board reveals that, during the 2020-21 school year, the average Illinois student paid $4,399 in tuition at public in-district community colleges.


    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 437,899 students attending two-year programs in the United States received some form of financial aid during the 2018-19 school year.

Our Research

To create a comprehensive list of the learning opportunities and job training available in Illinois, we reviewed private and public community colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. We examined tuition fees, the mandatory number of credits for graduation, and the coursework delivery format (in-person, online, etc.).

We only included accredited institutions on our list, which helps guarantee the quality of these education programs. Most of these colleges are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a peer-reviewed organization that enforces high standards for post-secondary education institutions located in the central United States. It bases its evaluations on school objectives, ethical conduct, resource availability, and overall effectiveness.

  • 79hours to write this article
  • 68universities and colleges we assessed
  • 136education programs we compared

The Top 50 Community Colleges in Illinois

Best Community Colleges in Illinois Badge
loader Image

What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in Illinois

While preparing for community college, you should consider your career objectives and desired salary. Data from May 2020 shows that the highest-paying jobs for associate degree holders in Illinois are air traffic controllers, funeral home managers, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, and diagnostic medical sonographers.

New graduates entering the workforce should take into account which career fields tend to have high employment rates. The occupations projected to have the most annual job openings for associate degree holders in Illinois are preschool teachers, paralegals and legal assistants, computer network support specialists, dental hygienists, and physical therapist assistants.

Associate degree holders in Illinois should also be aware of which career fields are expected to experience a decline in job availability. The occupations projected to undergo a large drop in employment over the next 10 years are respiratory therapy technicians, desktop publishers, mechanical drafters, human resources assistants, and nuclear technicians.

What’s Next?

There’s no doubt that higher education can be expensive. As you research community colleges, you should consider how you plan to fund your education. Below, we’ve put together a list of federal and state resources to help associate degree students in Illinois find scholarships, grants, and loans.

  • Illinois State Board of Education. The Illinois State Board of Education encourages prospective students to plan for college by providing information about scholarships, federal aid, and loans.
  • Federal Student Aid. The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid awards over $120 billion of financial aid to students across the country every year. Interested parties can check their eligibility at the FAFSA4caster and apply through the online FAFSA form.
  • CareerOneStop. This resource, sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, helps students find scholarships available in their state and at their degree level. It also connects users to helpful information about award amounts, minimum requirements, and deadlines.