According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Connecticut's largest employers are government; education and health services; and trade, transportation, and utilities. Popular career fields throughout the state include management, nursing, business and financial operations, computer science, and architecture and engineering.
Attending one of the top community colleges in Connecticut can prepare you for a career in any of these fields. Earning your degree through a community college can significantly reduce tuition costs and provides students numerous program options. For instance, associate degree students can complete general education requirements at a fraction of the cost of a university, typically saving thousands of dollars on the overall out-of-pocket cost of higher education. Most community colleges also maintain agreements with a number of universities to facilitate easy transfer into a bachelor's program.
Community colleges in Connecticut also offer education options for individuals who want to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, such as associate programs or non-degree certificates.
Enrolling in community college may be one of the best decisions you ever make. Choosing what school to attend, however, can be difficult. The most important consideration for most prospective students is location and proximity, as most community colleges are commuter schools that do not offer any on-campus housing. Other factors to consider include program offerings, online learning options, and on-campus activities.
Best Community Colleges in Connecticut
- Middlesex Community College - Middletown, CT
- Manchester Community College - Manchester, CT
- Quinebaug Valley Community College - Danielson, CT
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College - Winsted, CT
- Naugatuck Valley Community College - Waterbury, CT
- Asnuntuck Community College - Enfield, CT
- Housatonic Community College - Bridgeport, CT
- Norwalk Community College - Norwalk, CT
- Tunxis Community College - Farmington, CT
- Three Rivers Community College - Norwich, CT
To help you make an informed decision about your future, we compiled the following ranked list of the best community colleges in Connecticut, according to a methodology that primarily focuses on affordability and academic outcomes. For the schools listed below, you can expect to find relevant information such as details about academics, admission, campus amenities, and student services.
Ranking the Best Community Colleges in Connecticut
Middlesex Community College
|Middletown, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
From its tree-lined, centrally located campus in Middletown, Middlesex Community College offers programs in six academic areas including business and hospitality, health services, humanities and creative arts, and STEM. MxCC accommodates all types of learning goals, with 45 associate degrees ideal for university transfer, 23 non-degree certificates ideal for workforce education, and a variety of noncredit continuing education courses for personal and professional development.
Twenty of MxCC's associate degrees feature a transfer guarantee to state universities, ensuring no loss of credit when applied to a bachelor's program in the same discipline. Students receive support from skilled professors; tutors; and academic, career, and transfer advisors.
Prospective students can apply online, in person, or via printed mail. MxCC requires proof of high school graduation or a GED. Before registration, most incoming students must complete math and English placement testing, with exceptions available for those who've already completed certain college coursework.
Manchester Community College
|Manchester, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
One of the largest community colleges in Connecticut, Manchester Community College serves over 15,000 students annually. More than 200 faculty members hold leadership roles throughout the community, representing business associations, civic groups, faith communities, and volunteer organizations. MCC offers credit-bearing study in three main academic divisions: liberal and creative arts; STEM; and social science, business, and professional careers.
Students can choose from 28 certificate programs to prepare for careers in a variety of fields including office administration, dental assisting, and entrepreneurship. Many of MCC's 67 associate degrees offer a direct pathway to state university transfer. To provide learners with the flexibility they need to complete program requirements, the school delivers a number of courses online as well as on campus.
Prospective students can submit applications online, through the mail, or in-person at the MCC campus, located just minutes from Hartford. Incoming students must complete a placement exam unless they receive an exemption due to high SAT/ACT scores or prior college credit.
Quinebaug Valley Community College
|Danielson, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
Quinebaug Valley Community College is located on a 68-acre, rural campus in Danielson. The school's open-admissions policy means acceptance is guaranteed for all prospective students with a high school diploma or GED. Learners can select from more than 50 certificate and associate degree options in 12 areas including business, early childhood education, computer science, visual arts, and engineering science.
Like other community colleges in Connecticut, QVCC offers a variety of direct transfer pathways to bachelor's programs at state universities. Select online courses and in-person evening classes are available for students who have difficulty with a traditional class schedule.
Attending QVCC can save you thousands of dollars on your education. More than 70% of students receive financial aid, with over $100,000 awarded in QVCC Foundation scholarships each year. As an added financial bonus, residents of nearby Massachuestts and Rhode Island qualify for in-state tuition prices.
Northwestern Connecticut Community College
|Winsted, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 23%||
Located in Winstead, Northwestern Connecticut Community College offers 46 associate degrees, 19 certificate programs, and 20 noncredit programs in five academic areas: arts and humanities, business, health and veterinary sciences, public service and social and behavioral sciences, and STEM. Twenty-four of the school's associate degrees offer transfer pathways to universities within and beyond the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.
In addition to traditional student support services, NCC hosts a competitive Team Success Scholars program for learners ages 18-24. Students in this close-knit cohort receive mentoring, academic tutoring, and an internship experience. NCC also hosts a student food pantry operated by the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
Learners at NCC can earn their degrees even faster by taking advantage of credit for prior learning options. Qualifying opportunities include military experience credit, credit by exam, and transfer credits. NCC charges no fee to apply in person, online, or through the mail. Placement exams are required for most applicants.
Naugatuck Valley Community College
|Waterbury, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
Students at Naugatuck Valley Community College can attend classes during the day, night, or on weekends at two campuses located in Waterbury and Danbury. This versatile institution boasts the highest number of graduates among all community colleges in Connecticut, awarding more than 1,000 degrees and certificates each year for the past seven years.
NVCC offers workforce training, career-ready programs, and associate degrees in areas such as allied health, nursing, physical education, business, STEM, liberal arts, and behavioral and social sciences. Students can choose from 24 noncredit programs, 50 certificates, or 88 associate degrees -- with or without direct transfer pathways to state university bachelor's programs.
Admission procedures vary depending on whether an applicant is a first-time, transfer, or returning student, as well as the type of program. Associate degree applicants must provide proof of high school graduation or a GED, immunization records, and, unless exempt, complete a placement exam.
Asnuntuck Community College
|Enfield, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 34%||
Like all community colleges in Connecticut, Asnuntuck Community College makes a high-quality college education more accessible and affordable for all students. The campus in Enfield is easily accessible by public transportation. The school recently expanded its low, in-state tuition program to include residents of nearby Massachusetts.
Students can choose from a variety of associate degrees, certificates, continuing education programs, and dual-credit high school courses. ACC currently offers 12 associate degrees with eight available concentrations in fields like communications, liberal arts, and technology studies. These allow students to focus their studies according to their professional goals. Those interested in workforce training may choose from 21 for-credit certificates and 13 noncredit certificates.
ACC offers flexible options to meet every applicant's needs. Apply online, via mail, through fax, or in person. Admission procedures vary depending on student status and program type. Prospective students should be prepared to supply any applicable transcripts, standardized or placement test scores, and immunization records.
Housatonic Community College
|Bridgeport, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 12%||
From a campus in Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, Housatonic Community College serves the diverse needs of more than 5,000 students annually. HCC is a national network member of Achieving the Dream, a nonprofit organization dedicated to institutional improvement of community colleges.
HCC offers more than 75 associate degrees and certificate programs in five academic departments, including business administration, math/science, and humanities. Learners can choose from a variety of learning options, such as traditional on-campus classes, online and hybrid courses, accelerated 8-week courses, self-paced studies, and study abroad opportunities.
Many degrees and certificates can lead directly to entry-level career opportunities. HCC also maintains transfer agreements with more than 20 four-year institutions, ideal for students interested in pursuing a bachelor's. An open-door admissions policy guarantees acceptance to any applicant with a high school diploma or GED. Placement tests are required for most incoming students.
Norwalk Community College
|Norwalk, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 10%||
Located on a 30-acre suburban campus, Norwalk Community College is the second-largest community college in Connecticut. NCC serves approximately 13,000 students each year and offers entry-level job training, transferable associate degrees, and a variety of continuing education opportunities. NCC hosts thirteen academic departments, including nursing/allied health, computer science, and architecture and design.
Students at NCC receive a hands-on education, as they learn in a variety of real-world environments including electrical engineering laboratories, television studios, culinary arts kitchens, and graphic design studios. Students who require additional flexibility can register for asynchronous online and hybrid courses.
Although NCC is a nonresidential school, learners have plenty of opportunities to get involved through 40+ student clubs, interest groups, and organizations. An open admissions policy makes it easy to get started. First-time applicants need only provide proof of high school graduation or GED, submit immunization records, and complete a placement test.
Tunxis Community College
|Farmington, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
Named after the Tunxis Native Americans, Tunxis Community College enrolled its first class of 494 students in 1970. Today, the school is one of the top community colleges in Connecticut, serving approximately 7,000 full- and part-time students annually. Academic offerings include more than 75 certificates and associate degrees.
A number of TCC certificates prepare graduates for immediate entry-level work, including career-track studies in 15 diverse healthcare programs. Students who plan to continue their education at a Connecticut state university can pursue any of TCC's 20 transfer-ticket associate degrees, which are guaranteed to transfer without loss of credit. TCC offers several fully online options for learners who cannot attend classes on campus in Farmington, including four certificates, an associate degree in criminal justice, and an associate degree in general studies.
TCC adheres to an open admissions policy that accepts all high school graduates and GED recipients. A majority of incoming students must take a placement exam before registering for classes.
Three Rivers Community College
|Norwich, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
Three Rivers Community College takes its name from three local rivers: the Shetucket, the Yantic, and the Thames. Each year, TRCC provides academic services and support to a diverse student body numbering more than 6,000. The school's 29-acre, accessible, modern campus in Norwich houses 30,000 square feet of lab space.
TRCC features sixty certificates and associate degrees in five academic departments: business and technologies, English and communication, humanities and social science, mathematics and science, and nursing and allied health. Students who want to earn their degree faster can take advantage of seven- and 12-week accelerated courses. Fully online learning options include a general studies associate degree and a certificate in library technology.
Every degree-seeking applicant with a high school diploma or GED is eligible for full admission. Students seeking continuing education or other noncredit learning opportunities are limited only by restrictions on class size. TRCC accepts applications on a rolling basis.