According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), New Hampshire currently has an unemployment rate of only 2.5%, tying it with Iowa for the third-lowest unemployment rate of all 50 states. For comparison, the current national unemployment rate is 3.7%.
New Hampshire's thriving economy supports high employment of professionals working in office and administrative support, sales, production, education, healthcare, business, and management. Popular occupations include registered nurse, general and operations manager, accountant, and office clerk.
Top 5 Community Colleges in New Hampshire
- Manchester Community College - Manchester, NH
- White Mountains Community College - Berlin, NH
- Nashua Community College - Nashua, NH
- Great Bay Community College - Portsmouth, NH
- Lakes Region Community College - Laconia, NH
The cost of living in New Hampshire is higher than the national average -- primarily driven by higher prices for housing and utilities. One way state residents can try to mitigate these high housing costs is by pursuing advanced employment and higher salaries through college education. While four-year universities are often seen as the standard pathway to a degree, the value of community colleges should not be underestimated.
Community colleges provide a number of benefits directly to students, including smaller class sizes, diverse academic and vocational program options, and significant cost savings. Students who attend a community college for two years before transferring to a bachelor's program typically save thousands of dollars.
Although elements of college life like residence halls are less common at community colleges, these two-year schools often boast thriving on-campus communities. Students should not worry about missing out on opportunities for socializing, networking, or recreation.
To help you make an informed decision, we've sorted through all of your options and ranked the top five community colleges in New Hampshire. The list below highlights valuable information about each institution, including things like campus and location details, notable degree offerings, admission procedures, and student involvement opportunities.
2020 Best Accredited Comunity Colleges in New Hampshire
Manchester Community College
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Established in 1945, Manchester Community College began as a trade school for returning veterans seeking retraining after World War II. After undergoing several name changes and relocations, MCC now sits on 57 acres north of Manchester's city center and serves approximately 3,500 students each year. It is the second-largest of the seven community colleges in New Hampshire.
Students can choose from more than 60 associate degrees and certificate programs. Staying true to its vocational roots, MCC offers programs in a variety of trades, including manufacturing, welding, and automotive technology. Traditional academics are also represented, with programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, business, and healthcare. Students seeking a degree or certificate in accounting or management can complete their studies entirely online.
MCC offers opportunities for student involvement through athletics, more than 30 student clubs, and spring/winter break trips. An open admissions policy guarantees acceptance to any prospective student with a high school diploma or GED.
White Mountains Community College
|Berlin, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
White Mountains Community College is a two-year commuter college located along the Androscoggin River in Berlin. Two supplemental academic centers expand educational services to residents in nearby Littleton and Conway. WMCC offers affordable, high-quality education to prepare students for today's jobs and university transfer pathways.
WMCC's 24 associate degrees and 30 certificates encompass a diverse set of academic and vocational fields, including education, conservation law enforcement, human services, library technology, and business administration. Flexible hybrid and online learning options are available for some programs. In partnership with the Omni Mount Washington Resort, WMCC also offers a three-year culinary apprentice program that requires a minimum of 5,000 hours working in the kitchen. This world-class training leads to an associate of science in culinary arts.
Students can get involved on and off campus in a variety of extracurricular events and activities. WMCC practices open admissions, and applicants must provide official high school transcripts or high school equivalency documentation.
Nashua Community College
|Nashua, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Nashua Community College serves nearly 2,000 students each year from the greater Nashua area and beyond. NCC prides itself on offering flexible learning options, with more than half of all learners enrolling on a part-time basis and nearly a quarter taking at least one online class. The school offers numerous on- and off-campus engagement opportunities, including student clubs and organizations, activities and sports, service trips, and study abroad.
NCC offers 35 associate degrees and 22 certificate programs, with liberal arts and business studies as the most popular subjects. Certificate students most commonly focus on machine tool CNC programming, massage therapy, and early childhood education. Course scheduling options are available in traditional, hybrid, and online formats.
Learners can enroll at NCC by completing an online or printed application, providing proof of high school completion, and submitting qualifying SAT scores or sitting for a placement exam.
Great Bay Community College
|Portsmouth, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 16%||
Great Bay Community College includes a primary campus in Portsmouth and the Advanced Technology and Academic Center (ATAC) in Rochester, one of the largest grant projects undertaken by any community college in New Hampshire. GBCC enrolls more than 2,000 students each year and offers learners opportunities to participate in student government, civic engagement clubs, and Heron athletics.
GBCC's academic offerings include 28 two-year associate degrees and 25 certificates. Certificates available through the ATAC campus provide students with advanced training that prepares them for employment in a variety of manufacturing and technology careers. At the Portsmouth campus, students can pursue a range of associate programs in fields like criminal justice, early childhood education, fine arts, hospitality management, and veterinary technology.
GBCC features an open admissions policy. Prospective students need only fill out an application, provide proof of high school graduation, and schedule a placement exam (unless exempt).
Lakes Region Community College
|Laconia, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Lakes Region Community College has served the city of Laconia and the surrounding communities for more than 50 years. LRCC enrolls more than 1,000 students each year and is one of the only community colleges in New Hampshire to offer on-campus housing, including fully furnished apartments less than a mile from campus.
LRCC offers students the choice of 28 associate degrees and 37 certificates. Dozens of disciplines are represented, with the most popular areas including fire science, general studies, liberal arts, and business management. Nearly a dozen local fire departments offer LRCC fire science students the opportunity to participate in a live-in program, providing an unmatched opportunity for on-site experience and training.
Prospective students must provide official high school transcripts, apply for federal financial aid, and arrange to take a placement exam (unless exempt via GPA, test scores, or prior college experience).