Best Community Colleges in New Jersey
New Jersey offers free tuition programs to certain students. Learn about the best community colleges in New Jersey.
Historically, New Jersey has had trouble keeping its college students in state. However, thanks to new and expanding Community College Opportunity Grants, this has become less of an issue. In 2020, the Golden State Guarantee added more than $50 million to the program to pay for up to two years of education at four-year colleges for eligible students.
To try and keep in-state students and expand the educational opportunities for out-of-state learners, New Jersey has developed some of the top online community colleges in the country.
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Why Study in New Jersey?
Home to 18 community colleges and several four-year universities, New Jersey offers a lot of educational opportunities, along with several ways to pay for them. In addition to the Community College Opportunity Grants and the Golden State Guarantee, the New Jersey Scholar Program invites New Jersey residents attending universities outside the state to "come home" and attend an in-state college.
The program offers a seamless transition, in-state tuition rates, and additional benefits — regardless of how long the student has lived outside the state.
Due to high housing costs and widespread pandemic-related shutdowns, the state has suffered a great deal during the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is also positioned for many opportunities as restrictions are lifted and the state recovers.
The widespread trend toward greater urbanization means that many pundits are hopeful for a strong economic recovery for New Jersey in the coming years.
Cost of Living
New Jersey is the ninth-most expensive state to live in, although wages also tend to be above average. One of the biggest obstacles for students may be finding the right kind of housing, which is more than 40% more expensive than the national average. In contrast, healthcare costs are nearly 12% below average in New Jersey.
Cultural and Community Offerings
The home of hundreds of art organizations, New Jersey features a variety of art, music, and dance, as well as other cultural events and exhibits throughout the state. Larger metropolitan areas maintain a rich nightlife with an abundance of restaurants, clubs, and other attractions.
Winters in New Jersey can be cold, with more snow in the northern part of the state. Bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and by the Delaware River on the other, summers are warm and can be humid. Rainfall is relatively consistent throughout the year, except when it turns to snow in the winter.
Many residents consider New Jersey to be particularly beautiful in the fall, when changing leaves color the landscape and cooler temperatures provide relief from the summer heat.
Top Degree Programs in New Jersey
Featured Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
New Jersey Employment Outlook
Over the second half of 2021, New Jersey maintained a fairly consistent unemployment rate of around 7%, but that is improving. While construction is in decline, a lot of other industries are experiencing growth, including healthcare, technology, and leisure and hospitality.
As the economy continues to recover, New Jersey is projected to add jobs and population growth over the next decade. Occupations like physical therapists and health aides — along with many service industry jobs — can expect to see growth.
4 In Demand New Jersey Jobs
- Median Annual Salary: $70,140
- Job Outlook: 26%
Physical therapists supervise physical therapist assistants to help patients regain movement and strength after illness, injury, or disease. Assistant positions usually require an associate of science in physical therapy — one of many degrees available from several community colleges in New Jersey.
- Median Annual Salary: $71,500
- Job Outlook: 10%
A radiologic technician uses imaging equipment to examine patients who are ill or injured to determine what kind of treatment they need. Usually, they pass this information along to a physician who makes a final determination. Radiologic technicians generally work full time in doctors' offices and hospitals.
You need an associate degree to land a job in this field. In New Jersey, you also need to pass a certification test.
- Median Annual Salary: $77,840
- Job Outlook: 7%
A cardiovascular technician, much like a radiological technician, operates specialized equipment to produce images of the heart and cardiovascular system to assist physicians in the diagnostic process. They primarily work in hospitals, but some also work in private imaging clinics and doctors' offices.
To qualify for these positions, you need an associate degree. In the state of New Jersey, you also need to be certified.
- Median Annual Salary: $37,250
- Job Outlook: 21%
A medical assistant usually performs administrative and clinical duties in a physician's office or hospital. To qualify for these jobs, you need an associate degree or a career certificate from a vocational school, some experience, and good customer service skills.
Popular Career Paths in New Jersey
Best Accredited Community Colleges in New Jersey
Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team
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Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in New Jersey
Are community colleges worth it?
Community colleges can often shave thousands off your overall college bill, reducing out-of-pocket costs or student loans. Small class sizes mean ample personal attention from professors. In New Jersey, various programs to assist students with tuition can make the first couple years of college free.
This makes attending a community college a great choice and worth the effort for many students. New Jersey houses some of the most affordable online community colleges in the nation.
Does New Jersey have good community colleges?
New Jersey has some great community colleges, such as Ratan Valley Community College -- one of the best-ranked colleges in the state.
How much does it cost to go to community college in New Jersey?
In-state community college students in New Jersey can expect to pay roughly $6,000 per year, while out-of-state students typically pay about $7,500. However, some students can qualify for free tuition grants under one of New Jersey's financial aid programs.
What is the cheapest community college in New Jersey?
Brookdale Community College is one of the most affordable community colleges in New Jersey. The school charged $188 per credit for in-state tuition and fees as of spring 2022.
Is New Jersey a good place to live and study?
Many people love New Jersey for its four-season climate and the cultural and artistic opportunities that abound throughout the state. While the cost of living may be relatively high, wages also tend to be higher. The career and educational opportunities often make additional expenditures worthwhile for students who choose to pursue their education in New Jersey.
Feature Image: Howard Kingsnorth / Stone / Getty Images
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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