Why This Matters


    In Washington state, there are 40 community colleges with associate degree programs, which gives prospective students plenty of options when choosing a school.


    The average tuition and fees for in-district WA students during the 2020-2021 school year was $4,775.


    An estimated 76.9% of students enrolled in a 2-year community college associate’s program received financial aid for the 2018-2019 school year.

Our Research

To create a comprehensive list of the learning opportunities and job training available in Washington, we reviewed private and public community colleges as well as trade, technical, and vocational programs. Our rankings were determined using criteria such as tuition cost, credits required for graduation, and whether the programs are offered online or on-campus only.

The two-year community colleges on this list are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This nonprofit corporation accredits higher learning institutions in multiple states and is recognized by both the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The NWCCU judges colleges on integrity and ethics, performance, and overall quality when awarding accreditations.

  • 40hours to write this article
  • 44universities and colleges we assessed
  • 116education programs we compared

The Top 50 Community Colleges in Washington

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What You Should Know About Graduating From Community College in Washington State

If you’re unsure which two-year community college program to choose, consider career fields with the highest earning potential. Based on data from 2019, the best-paying careers in Washington that require only an associate degree are web developers, radiation therapists, and nuclear medicine technologists. MRI techs and dental hygienist are close behind.

When it comes to career fields with the most job openings in Washington that require an associate degree, there are a variety of industries from which to choose. Web developers, preschool teachers, paralegals, dental hygienists, and computer network support specialists rank as the professions with the largest number of available jobs.

But by that same line of thinking, it’s also helpful to know which occupations have the highest rate of decline. The top five most rapidly declining careers in Washington state for associate program graduates are respiratory therapy technicians, morticians, embalmers, funeral service managers, and geological and petroleum technicians.

What’s Next?

If you’re seriously considering an associate degree in Washington state, it’s smart to start looking into financial aid now. Check out these state and federal resources for associate degree students, which will direct you to scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial assistance.

  • Washington State Higher Education Agency. This agency directs prospective students to financial aid opportunities in the state of Washington, which include need-based and merit-based programs.
  • Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Billions in student aid are provided each year by the U.S. Department of Education through the office of Federal Student Aid. This assistance comes in the form of various types of loans, grants and scholarships. You can check eligibility at the official website, which is also where you can complete your FAFSA application.
  • CareerOneStop. Find information about loans, grants, and scholarships at this site, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. The data can be filtered to only show financial programs and resources for associate degree students in Washington, so you can narrow down your options.