Best Community Colleges in Montana
The higher education experts at BestColleges.com have reviewed top community colleges in the state of Montana. Start planning for your future today.
Montana boasts both natural beauty and great outdoor opportunities. The state also features some of the top online community colleges in the nation.
For those who want to attend community college in Big Sky Country, certain students can receive their schooling free. The Montana Promise Act offers those with at least 12 months of state residency and certain academic achievements the opportunity to attend community college through a unique grant program that pays for their tuition in full.
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Unlike some other programs, these grants may also pay for career certifications related to in-demand careers in Montana.
Why Study in Montana?
Montana has a lot to offer, including educational opportunities, culture, and gorgeous vistas. Montana is a great state to live, work, and learn in.
The Montana Promise Act offers grants to pay student tuition at the community college level. Beyond community college, the state is home to multiple four-year universities and they make transferring from community college easy.
The state's top schools include Montana State University, with campuses in Bozeman and Billings, the University of Montana in Missoula, and Montana Tech (of the University of Montana).
The economy in Montana has outperformed the national average since 2000, and it performed better and recoveredfaster than the national average during the 2007 recession. The state's low unemployment rate also beats the national average.
The primary industries in the state are agriculture, forestry, mining, and energy production. Demand continues to grow for new housing, metals for the production of technology, and energy to power a modern lifestyle.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Montana generally falls below the national average, but not by much, with housing as the highest expense. Wages vary by occupation and location, and affordable student housing can often be found near campuses.
Some grocery items cost less in Montana than in other states. Those not already living in Montana can compare the cost of living to where they currently reside using a cost of living calculator.
Cultural and Community Offerings
Montana houses a rich arts and culture community, especially in college towns like Missoula and Bozeman. Thanks to annual events, museums, and a rich music scene, students can usually find something to love.
Many long-time Montana residents love the small town feel that can be found in even the largest cities in the state. Billings, voted one of the best cities to live in the country in 2016, offers plenty of concerts, theater, and outdoor activities right outside of students' doors. People often move to and stay in Montana because of the outdoor recreation opportunities and the friendly, down-to-earth people.
Montana possesses two unique climates. The western part of the state boasts a Pacific Northwest climate with relatively mild temperatures in both summer and winter. Mountain areas receive a significant amount of snow, making for great skiing and winter recreation.
The eastern part of the state, separated from the west by the continental divide, offers more of a high desert plains climate, with cold winters, hot summers, and a lot of wind. Most of the state stays fairly dry with relatively low humidity year-round.
Overall, most people enjoy the four seasons offered by the climate in Montana and the recreational opportunities that result.
Top Degree Programs in Montana
Featured Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Montana Employment Outlook
Montana lacks the large population growth that other areas feature. However, unemployment rates remain relatively low compared to the national average, at just over 3% as of late 2021.
Growing industries include healthcare and transportation, along with occupations in the tourist industry, with an overall annual mean salary in Montana of $47,270 according to the BLS. Occupations in business, finance, and operations management pay significantly more.
Like other states, Montana offers some in-demand professions that continue to grow in 2021.
5 Montana Jobs in Demand for 2021
Software developers create computer programs and applications. Typically, they work in offices full time, although many developers also work remotely. An associate of science in software development can help you launch a career in this field.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary: $110,140
- Job Growth Projection: 22%
Athletic trainers prevent, treat, and work to rehabilitate injuries sustained to muscle, soft tissue, and joints due to sports activity. They can work in gyms, schools, for athletic teams, or in physical therapy private practice.
This field requires an associate of science in sports medicine.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary: $49,860
- Job Growth Projection: 23%
While healthcare administration offers excellent career opportunities, healthcare technicians play a key role in medicine. Jobs like radiology technician involve direct care with patients, as well as administering and evaluating test results, and database management.
Some of these technicians earn higher wages based on their specialty and enjoy strong demand in Montana. Heath technicians need an associate of science degree in their chosen specialty.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary: $63,710
- Job Growth Projection: 9%
Occupational Therapy Assistants
These professionals assist occupational therapists in helping patients who were injured or displaced from their jobs return to work through a combination of proper training, adaptation, and education.
An associate of science degree in the field serves as the starting point for these professionals.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary: $60,950
- Job Growth Projection: 34%
Paralegals and Legal Assistants
A paralegal can influence social change and public policy by assisting attorneys with research and legal preparation for briefs, trials, and appeals. Working as a paralegal can also serve as a gateway into other growing and lucrative legal professions.
A paralegal can start with an associate of paralegal sciences degree and gain valuable experience from there.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary: $52,920
- Job Growth Projection: 12%
Popular Career Paths in Montana
Best Accredited Community Colleges in Montana
Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
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Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Montana
Are community colleges worth it?
For those looking to get the most out of their college experience, community colleges provide an affordable way to get started. In fact, some of the most affordable online community colleges offer outstanding educational opportunities, and there are a lot of benefits to attending a community college.
How many community colleges are in Montana?
Montana houses 12 community colleges.
How much is community college in Montana?
Community college in Montana costs an average of $4,139 per year for in-state students and $8,788 for out-of-state students.
Is college free in Montana?
No. While college is not free in Montana, students can get free tuition for community college through the Montana Promise Act grant program.
Does Missoula have a community college?
Yes. Missoula College is located in Missoula. Affiliated with the University of Montana, the school makes the transfer from community college to university simple.
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