Best Community Colleges in Alabama
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Alabama houses excellent community colleges and four-year colleges that help students launch their careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual average salary for all jobs in Alabama was $46,840 in 2020. The highest-paid professionals in Alabama are obstetricians and gynecologists, surgeons, and anesthesiologists.
In this guide, readers can explore educational opportunities and employment outlook in Alabama. Readers can also find answers to frequently asked questions, such as the number of community colleges in Alabama, what jobs are in demand in Alabama, and the cost of community college in the state.
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Why Study in Alabama?
Alabama is home to 37 four-year colleges and universities and 25 community colleges. Students in Alabama who enroll in a two-year community college program often transfer their credits to a four-year university to earn a bachelor's degree. Many of the top colleges in Alabama offer accredited online programs for both in-state and out-of-state students.
About 60,660 students graduate annually in the state of Alabama each year, about 20% of whom earn associate degrees and about 54% of whom earn bachelor's degrees.
The University of Alabama's business school projects that the state's economy will grow by 5.5% in 2021. Alabama gained 89,200 jobs from June 2020 to June 2021. In that same time period, the unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% to 3.3%.
Cost of Living
Overall, the cost of living in Alabama is cheaper than the average cost of living in the United States. The median home cost in the state is $129,300 compared to the national median home cost of $231,200.
Alabama residents pay less on average for groceries, housing, and transportation than in other states. However, costs such as healthcare and utilities are more expensive in Alabama than the national average.
Cultural and Community Offerings
Alabama offers many art and music festivals throughout the year. Students can enjoy events like the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival in Foley, and the Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores.
Students can also explore museums like the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Alabama features music festivals as well, especially for country music lovers. Students with access to a car or public transportation can easily access most community offerings.
Alabama has a humid, subtropical climate. The state typically experiences hot summers and mild winters, though parts of the state may see freezing temperatures during the winter. Alabama may experience tropical storms and hurricanes throughout the year due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season generally lasts from June through November.
Alabama boasts one of the largest inland waterway systems in the nation. As a result, large parts of the state feature wetlands and swamps.
Top Degree Programs in Alabama
Best Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs
Best Online Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Best Online Associate in Computer Science Programs
Alabama Employment Outlook
Alabama employs almost two million workers across all industries with an average annual salary of $46,840 in 2020. The state government found that Alabama's unemployment numbers were below the national average for 2021.
High-demand jobs in Alabama include administrative support, sales, transportation, and healthcare. The most lucrative careers in the state are also in the healthcare industry, with obstetricians and gynecologists earning an average annual salary of $269,920 in 2020.
Below are five in-demand jobs that students can attain with an associate degree in Alabama.
5 Alabama Jobs in Demand for 2021
- Annual Median Salary: $62,810
- Job Outlook: 19% growth from 2019-2029
Respiratory therapists work in hospitals and medical clinics. These professionals work directly with patients who have trouble breathing, including patients with asthma and chronic respiratory disease. Respiratory therapists determine patient needs and help doctors design treatment plans. Almost all states require licensure for this career.
- Annual Median Salary: $36,260
- Job Outlook: 16% growth from 2019-2029
Veterinary technologists and technicians may work in animal hospitals, vet clinics, and research labs. Vet technologists and technicians help test and diagnose animal patients. These professionals often prepare and maintain testing equipment at the animal hospital as well. Depending on the state, these professionals may need certification or licensure.
- Annual Median Salary: $77,090
- Job Outlook: 6% growth from 2019-2029
Dental hygienists mostly work in a dental office under the direction of a dentist. Hygienists work on patients, providing cleanings and health screenings for signs of oral disease. These professionals may also assist the dentist with more complicated dental procedures. Dental hygienists need licensure from their state of residence.
- Annual Median Salary: $52,180
- Job Outlook: 5% growth from 2019-2029
Insurance sales agents sell different types of insurance through direct contact with customers. Insurance agents typically work in an office setting, though some agents may travel to meet customers. These professionals split their time making sales pitches and preparing presentations and paperwork. Insurance agents must receive licensure for their state of residence.
- Annual Median Salary: $79,590
- Job Outlook: 5% growth from 2019-2029
Nuclear medicine technologists may work in hospitals, diagnostics labs, imaging clinics, and physicians' offices. These professionals prepare and administer radioactive drugs for patient imaging and treatment. This career often requires certification or licensure, depending on the state of residence. Technologists need an associate degree from an accredited nuclear medicine program.
Popular Career Paths in Alabama
Business Administration Healthcare Administration Political Science Sports Medicine History Aeronautics Biotechnology Mechanical Engineering Education
Best Accredited Community Colleges in Alabama
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Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Alabama
How many community colleges are there in Alabama?
Alabama houses 25 community colleges. Some of the best community colleges in Alabama include Northeast Alabama Community College, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, and Wallace Community College. Community colleges typically offer two-year degree programs and certificate programs in both in-person and online formats.
How much is community college in Alabama?
The average cost of in-state community college tuition in Alabama is $4,540. The average cost for out-of-state residents is $9,410. The average cost of living on campus for community colleges reached $13,070. The cost of in-state and out-of-state tuition for community colleges in Alabama was higher than the national average.
Does Alabama offer free community college?
No, Alabama does not offer free community college. In 2015, Alabama created a program that offered free community college tuition for certain Alabama residents. The program lasted seven years. The state of Alabama did not release any plans to renew the program after it concluded. Students should seek financial aid to help pay tuition costs.
How do I pay for college in Alabama?
Students should seek financial aid for tuition costs in Alabama. Many sources, including community college financial aid departments, the federal government, the state government, and independent organizations, can offer student loans, scholarships, and grants. Students should look for scholarships and grants, as these types of aid do not need to be repaid.