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Why This Matters

  • 68 NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOLS OFFER ASSOCIATE DEGREES

    Data from College Navigator shows that there are 68 educational institutions in North Carolina offering two-year associate degree programs.

  • $2,495 AVERAGE IN-DISTRICT TUITION IN NORTH CAROLINA

    According to College Board, community college students in North Carolina paid an average of $2,495 for in-district tuition and fees during the 2022-23 school year.

  • 80.6% OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS RECEIVE FINANCIAL AID

    The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 370,718 students attending two-year institutions during the 2020-21 school year received some type of financial aid.

Our Research

This list features some of the best community colleges in North Carolina. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included small, midsize, and large colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The colleges on our list are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a reputable organization that examines objectives, quality and overall effectiveness of education programs in the southern United States.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Community Colleges in North Carolina

Best Community Colleges In North Carolina Badge
01

Wayne Community College
01

Pamlico Community College
01

Stanly Community College
01

Western Piedmont Community College
01

Vance-Granville Community College
01

Southwestern Community College
01

Mayland Community College
01

Rockingham Community College
01

Randolph Community College
01

Montgomery Community College
01

Johnston Community College
01

Richmond Community College
01

Brunswick Community College
01

Gaston College
01

Carteret Community College
01

Isothermal Community College
01

Piedmont Community College
01

Alamance Community College
01

Sandhills Community College
01

Halifax Community College
01

Cleveland Community College
01

Sampson Community College
01

Central Carolina Community College
01

Surry Community College
01

Craven Community College
01

Central Piedmont Community College
01

Guilford Technical Community College
01

Wake Technical Community College
01

Catawba Valley Community College
01

Wilkes Community College
01

Lenoir Community College
01

Cape Fear Community College
01

Davidson-Davie Community College
01

Pitt Community College
01

Durham Technical Community College
01

Fayetteville Technical Community College
01

Forsyth Technical Community College
01

Tri-County Community College
01

Haywood Community College
01

Mitchell Community College
01

Nash Community College
01

Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
01

South Piedmont Community College
01

McDowell Technical Community College
01

Southeastern Community College
01

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
01

Beaufort County Community College

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What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in North Carolina

Your career options should be part of the decision process when choosing a North Carolina community college. Based on 2021 data, the five careers in North Carolina requiring only an associate degree that pay the most were nuclear technicians, radiation therapists, dental hygienists, funeral home managers, and diagnostic medical sonographers.

Another important factor is the number of available jobs in North Carolina that require an associate degree. The five careers with the most available job openings are preschool teachers, paralegals and legal assistants, radiologic technologists, dental hygienists, and physical therapist assistants.

It’s also important to consider which jobs are on the decline. In North Carolina, human resources assistants, desktop publishers, and drafters have the worst outlook in the state.

What’s Next?

Another part of choosing a North Carolina community college is understanding your financial aid options. The state and federal resources listed below give you a starting point for exploring the scholarships, grants, and loans that are available to community college students in North Carolina.

  • College Foundation of North Carolina. Learn more about the grants, scholarships, and loans available for North Carolina college students. There are also resources for planning your future and applying to college.
  • Federal Student Aid. Offering over $120 billion in financial aid each year, the office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities. Visit FAFSA4caster to check your eligibility, then submit the online FAFSA form to apply.
  • CareerOneStop. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop breaks down scholarship, grant, and other financial aid options by state, degree type, and other criteria. It includes details on qualifications, application processes, and contact info.

Community Colleges by State


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