Community colleges, especially those with online programs, provide a quick and easy way to prepare for certain careers. For example, a two-year associate degree in nursing qualifies you for registered nurse positions, an occupation that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will experience significantly faster-than-average employment growth in the coming years. Many schools offer one-year technical certificates in computer networking, positioning students for entry-level roles in information technology. Earning a certificate or associate degree can open the door to many career opportunities.
Attending a community college can also help you save money on your way to earning a bachelor's degree. According to the National Center on Education Statistics, the average two-year college charged $10,598 in tuition and fees in 2017, while the average four-year institution charged $26,593. Many community colleges in Missouri hold articulation agreements with public colleges and universities, making it easy to transfer credits after earning an associate degree.
Top 10 Community Colleges in Missouri
|1||Mineral Area College||Park Hills, MO|
|2||St Charles Community College||Cottleville, MO|
|3||Moberly Area Community College||Moberly, MO|
|4||Jefferson College||Hillsboro, MO|
|5||State Fair Community College||Sedalia, MO|
|6||Crowder College||Neosho, MO|
|7||Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City||Kansas City, MO|
|8||East Central College||Union, MO|
|9||Three Rivers College||Poplar Bluff, MO|
|10||North Central Missouri College||Trenton, MO|
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center projects that employment across all industries in the state will grow by 7.31% from 2016 to 2026, slightly faster than the national average. Industries that should experience the most growth include business administration and healthcare. Most of these jobs will likely require at least some form of postsecondary education.
Attending community college can help you take the next step in your career, but it can be difficult to find the school that best suits your academic interests and professional goals. To help guide your research, we have compiled a ranking of the best community colleges in Missouri. This list includes information on each institution's accreditation, admission requirements, and financial aid opportunities. It also indicates whether programs at these schools are available online, an important consideration for students who plan to pursue a degree or certificate while keeping their full-time job or attending to other personal obligations.
All of the schools on this list hold regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
2020 Best Accredited Community Colleges in Missouri
Mineral Area College
|Park Hills, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
With a rich array of online, in-person, and hybrid programs, Mineral Area College is one of the best community colleges in Missouri. Students at the college can explore a wide variety of fields, including computer programming, criminal justice, industrial maintenance, and paramedic technology. They can also choose to earn an associate degree in general studies to more easily transfer to one of Missouri's state colleges or universities.
All prospective students must submit official copies of their high school transcripts or GED scores. MAC applicants must also share results from the ACT or ACCUPLACER placement exams.
In addition to state and federal aid, students can also apply for more than $1 million in MAC-funded scholarships. For example, a scholarship available through the Board of Trustees offers up to $3,000 in aid per year to high school students who graduated in the top 10% of their class.
St Charles Community College
|Cottleville, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Alongside workforce training and professional development programs, St. Charles Community College offers certificates and associate degrees in subjects like graphic design, business technology, computer security, and early childhood education. In addition, 16 of the college's programs can be completed online or in a hybrid format, making SCC an ideal choice for working professionals or those with familial obligations.
Distance learners also benefit from many of the same services provided to on-campus students, including tutoring in math, science, and writing. They can also access academic advising, mental health counseling, and a variety of career services, such as interview preparation.
To apply to SCC, you must have a high school diploma, GED certificate, or HiSET scores. Incoming students must also take either a placement exam and enroll in an orientation seminar.
Moberly Area Community College
|Moberly, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
With six locations and online and hybrid course offerings, Moberly Area Community College aims to increase access to high-quality education and strengthen local communities. The college offers degrees and certificates, a high school equivalency program, and an honors program in which current high school students can earn college credit. MACC also provides arts and personal enrichment opportunities to the general public.
Online classes allow students to watch lectures, contribute to class discussions, and complete assignments at home on their own schedules. An associate of arts, designed to meet the general education requirements of a four-year bachelor's program, is also available entirely online.
MACC requires prospective students to complete an online application and submit official copies of their high school transcripts or equivalency certification. Applicants must also take either the ACT or ACCUPLACER. They can also apply for a variety of scholarships, including awards for journalism and law enforcement students.
|Hillsboro, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Since 1963, Jefferson College has prepared more than 25,000 learners for careers in fields such as business, healthcare, education, information technology, and law enforcement. New students can choose to pursue a degree or certificate at one of three campuses or through an online and accelerated format. Learners can also enroll in hybrid programs, combining the convenience of distance education with the interactions and support of a classroom experience.
Regardless of their location, online students at JC pay less per credit than those who study on campus. To further reduce the cost of education, the college provides a host of institutional scholarships. The Adult Re-Entry Scholarship supports older learners who have deferred their education due to work or family obligations, while the Special Opportunity Scholarship provides aid to students with high GED scores and demonstrated financial need.
State Fair Community College
|Sedalia, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 31%||
With seven campuses and multiple programs available completely online, State Fair Community College provides an accessible and affordable path to a range of careers. For example, the college's online associate of applied science in management equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to take on entry-level roles in business. An associate degree at SFCC also helps meet the general education requirements of a bachelor's program at a four-year institution.
To apply to this community college in Missouri, you must have a high school diploma, GED certificate, or HiSET scores. You must also submit results from a placement exam, like the ACT or ACCUPLACER, taken within the last three years. Some programs, particularly those in the health sciences, may require applicants to meet certain academic or professional benchmarks to earn admission.
SFCC awards roughly $250,000 in scholarships each year. Incoming students may receive a scholarship on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and community service, or exceptional performance in the arts or athletics.
|Neosho, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Serving students across nine counties, Crowder College provides more than 80 certificate and degree programs in subjects like journalism and public relations, psychology, alternative energy, and veterinary technology. While Crowder does not offer fully online programs, the school delivers many courses through its distance learning platform.
The college provides a variety of support services. For example, the career coach system allows learners to take an online career assessment, browse a database of academic programs and corresponding careers, and use a resume-building tool. Career advisors are also available to provide specific guidance and feedback.
Crowder awards more than 200 scholarships annually. While many of these are based on academic excellence, the College Assistance Migrant Program specifically supports seasonal farmworkers seeking to continue their education. Incoming students apply for aid during the admissions process, which also requires transcripts and placement exam results.
Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City
|Kansas City, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Metropolitan Community College is the oldest and largest public institution of higher education in Kansas City. Since its founding in 1915, this community college in Missouri has grown to offer more than 125 degrees and certificates at five campuses and online. MCC emphasizes diversity, with students of color making up more than 40% of the overall student body.
In addition to high-quality classroom learning, MCC works to provide field-based experiences to students. The college partners with local businesses to operate apprenticeship programs in fields like healthcare, manufacturing, and agriculture. MCC also offers job shadowing and other career research opportunities.
MCC has an open admissions policy. Applicants without a high school diploma or equivalent may still earn conditional admission. These students must take a limited course load and participate in a re-evaluation process at the end of their first semester. Incoming students can also apply for nearly 100 different scholarships.
East Central College
|Union, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
In addition to a suite of for-credit online courses, East Central College offers fully online workforce training programs in areas like child development, solar power, composites manufacturing and repair, and industrial automation. Students can complete most of these programs in four months or less to quickly develop the skills needed to enter a new field or advance in their career.
In-person degree and certificate programs at ECC cover subjects like fire technology, health information management, environmental science, and sociology. The college also offers dual-enrollment programs for current high school students and associate degree transfer programs for students planning to continue their education at a four-year institution.
Applicants must have either a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate. Prospective students must also take a placement exam if they did not maintain at least a 3.0 GPA during high school.
Three Rivers College
|Poplar Bluff, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
With five convenient campuses in and around the Bootheel, Three Rivers College serves the educational needs of Butler, Carter, Ripley, and Wayne counties. Unlike many other community colleges in Missouri, however, TRC does not offer any fully online degree or certificate programs.
All associate programs at TRC incorporate the Core 42 Standard Transfer Curriculum. This set of core courses, covering subjects such as math and social science, satisfies the general education requirements of bachelor's programs at all public colleges and universities in Missouri. Several private schools in the state, including Central Methodist University and Missouri Baptist University, also participate in this transfer agreement.
TRC features an open admission policy, though applicants must still demonstrate their readiness to study at the college level by submitting high school transcripts, GED scores, or results from a college entrance exam. Certain programs, such as nursing or occupational therapy, may set additional admission requirements.
North Central Missouri College
|Trenton, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
With roots going back to 1850, North Central Missouri College offers 35 associate degrees and certificates and boasts an extensive set of options for distance learners. The college delivers fully online associate degrees in behavioral health support, criminal justice, early childhood education, general studies, and nursing. Students who want to graduate more quickly can also enroll in online certificate programs, honing professional skills in areas such as accounting, business technology, and financial management.
Both students taking classes at the college's campus in Trenton and online learners have access to tutoring, academic advising, writing assistance, and career counseling. The NCMC digital bookstore also makes it easy for students to find required course materials.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. During the admissions process, prospective students may also apply to a variety of financial aid programs, including five institutional scholarships that provide up to $600 per semester to international students, students who have excelled academically or athletically, and students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds.