Best Community Colleges in Ohio

portrait of Staff Writers
by Staff Writers

Updated September 22, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
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Ohio ranks fourth among all states for business climate for 2021, according to the annual rankings in Site Selection magazine. Community colleges in Ohio can help prepare students to work in the state's fast-growing industries, such as healthcare and healthcare support, education, and business services.

Ohio has a low unemployment rate and a relatively low cost of living, even in some of its more populated cities like Cleveland and Columbus.

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Ready to start your journey?

A college education can help graduates pursue a career in Ohio. Community college can be a more affordable way to do that.

Students can complete a certificate program to learn specialized skills in a high-demand field or get further training, and potentially a raise, for a current job. Some get an associate degree at a community college in Ohio before going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. Others choose to enter the workforce right away.

Why Study in Ohio?

Centrally located in the Midwest, Ohio offers plenty of recreational and professional opportunities for students interested in attending community college.

Education

Ohio offers many choices for those pursuing a higher education in the state. Options include: 23 two-year community and technical colleges, 14 four-year public universities with 24 branch campuses, and 50 four-year private universities. Also, attending an in-state community college can make it easier to transfer credits toward a four-year degree for those who want to further their education.

Economy

Despite some of the economic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio is experiencing economic growth. In 2019, Ohio launched the Office of Workforce Transformation to connect businesses and education. The goal is to prepare students with the right skills for the jobs in demand today, and in the future.

The state has many initiatives to encourage healthcare innovation, support minority-owned businesses, and help entrepreneurs thrive with startups. Ohio also has a large manufacturing sector. In 2020, the Department of Defense designated the state as a Defense Manufacturing Community to strengthen national security innovation.

Cost of Living

Ohio's cost of living ranks below the national average and below nearby states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Along with healthcare and transportation costs, housing costs also rank below the national average. This makes Ohio an affordable place for a college student to live and study.

Cultural and Community Offerings

The cultural opportunities in Ohio are as diverse as the communities that make up the state. It's home to the world-famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The state has many renowned museums and cultural sites, as well as more than 174,000 acres of state and national parks filled with Ohio history. Ohio also hosts dozens of annual festivals, and it has a winemaking history that dates back more than 170 years.

Climate

The state has four distinct seasons — rainy and mild spring, warm and humid summer, crisp autumn weather with beautiful fall foliage, and cold winters. Ohio's proximity to Lake Erie usually means plenty of rain and lake-effect snow in the winter months for the northernmost parts of the state. Temperatures in the winter can dip below freezing when colder air comes down from Canada. So for those who like to experience the different seasons, Ohio offers wide-ranging weather.

Top Degree Programs in Ohio

Ohio Employment Outlook

One benefit of getting an education at a community college in Ohio is the strong economic outlook for the state. As of October 2021, the unemployment rate was 5.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranking Ohio 30th among U.S. states. The real gross domestic product, a measure of economic strength, grew by 6.4% in the first part of 2021, matching the U.S. average. Median household income in 2019 (the most recent year that data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau) was over $56,600.

Ohio's workforce of more than 5.6 million people is larger than the entire population of 30 other U.S. states. These workers primarily work in:

The fastest-growing sector in the Ohio economy is healthcare. Four of the state's top 10 employers are healthcare companies.

5 Ohio Jobs in Demand

Radiation Therapist

U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $86,850

U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 9%

Radiation therapists help oncologists provide care for patients undergoing radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. They can work in hospitals, outpatient centers, or physician offices. Radiation therapy jobs require an associate degree and state licensing in Ohio. Most radiation therapy jobs in the state are located near the major metropolitan areas of Cleveland and Columbus.


Nuclear Medicine Technologist

U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $79,590

U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%

Nuclear medicine technologists work with radioactive materials to prepare them for use by radiologists. Most people work in a hospital, but there are also openings available in imaging clinics and diagnostic labs. Ohio requires nuclear medicine technologists to have an associate degree and a valid radiologic license to work in this field.


Web Developers

U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $77,200

U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 13%

Web developers help companies design and implement websites, apps, and database interfaces. These jobs are available in a wide variety of industries, including marketing and advertising, management consulting, business, and finance. Some entry-level web designer positions are available with an associate degree, while others require a bachelor's-level education.


Dental Hygienist

U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $77,090

U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 11%

Dental hygienists play an important role in providing dental care to patients. They work with dentists to offer preventive care, improve oral hygiene, and look for signs of disease. A dental hygiene program takes two years to complete. Ohio requires dental hygiene graduates to take a state test to get a license.


Computer and Information Technology (IT) Network Support Specialist

U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $55,510

U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 9%

Computer and IT network support specialists provide support to maintain computer networks. The job includes troubleshooting issues in IT, maintaining local area and cloud networks, and keeping computer servers up and running. Like many IT jobs, this is an area of significant growth for people with the right skills.


Popular Career Paths in Ohio

Best Accredited Community Colleges in Ohio

How We Rank Schools

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Best Community Colleges in Ohio

  1. Lorain County Community College
    Location

    Elyria, OH

    Tuition

    $3489

    LCCC offers 10 program and career pathways in fields such as computer and information technologies, culinary arts and hospitality, and liberal and creative arts. Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, LCCC offers associate degrees and certificates, and students can earn an AA for transfer entirely online.

    Besides traditional programs, LCCC boasts continuing education opportunities for learners of all ages. The college offers a GED-preparation course for degree-seekers and allows high school students to earn an associate degree and a high school diploma simultaneously. Students ages 50 and older can take one of many personal enrichment courses.

    All incoming degree-seekers at LCCC complete a new student orientation and take placement assessments. The college exempts learners from these assessments if they possess a minimum 18 ACT or 970 SAT score. Financial aid opportunities include on-campus work-study programs and dozens of college and departmental scholarships.

  2. Northwest State Community College
    Location

    Archbold, OH

    Tuition

    $8724

    NSCC attracts both traditional and accelerated students by offering courses in eight- and 16-week formats, as well as more than 70 certificates and degrees. This Ohio community college also delivers a specialized track that helps undecided degree-seekers -- approximately one-third of the student body -- select a major.

    Outside of class, learners can access more than a dozen valuable student services. When degree-seekers first enroll, they meet with an educational planning advisor to select courses and access resources to help them succeed academically. The Career Services Office works with students one-on-one to explore internships, polish resumes, and search for jobs.

    Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, NSCC accepts GED certificates. All incoming learners complete student orientation, advising, and registration (SOAR). Degree-seekers can complete SOAR entirely online or in person by making an appointment. NSCC awards both foundation and institutional scholarships; learners can apply for financial aid in the spring, summer, or fall semester.

  3. Valor Christian College
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $9318

    The only private school on this ranking, Valor Christian College affiliates with the World Harvest Church. The college's 12 associate degrees and five certificates prepare graduates to become ordained and lay ministers. Distance education students can complete one of six degrees entirely online, including programs in Christian ministries, organizational leadership, and youth ministries. This Ohio community college also offers courses in the evenings, an excellent option for degree-seekers who work full time.

    At the Valor Learning Center (VLC), degree- and certificate-seekers can receive one-on-one tutoring services; online students can also access tutors at no additional cost. Students can also turn to the VLC to improve their writing skills. Professors provide detailed feedback that learners can apply to current and future writing assignments.

    Valor Christian College requires prospective students to submit scores from the ACT or SAT. Applicants also submit a pastor's recommendation and an essay on a Christian service topic. Transfer credit must reflect a minimum C grade. The college offers four scholarship opportunities, one of which awards full tuition.

  4. Belmont College
    Location

    Saint Clairsville, OH

    Tuition

    $5443

    From its three Ohio campuses, as well as online, Belmont College educates over 1,200 students earning a degree or certificate. The college offers both AA and AS degrees that transfer to in-state, four-year colleges. Students in this track do not select a major but complete general education credits to satisfy bachelor's degree requirements. Certificate programs cover areas such as building preservation, public safety, and information technology.

    Student resources at this Ohio community college include academic advisors who help learners create a degree-completion plan. Students can also take a career-interest assessment and have a highly trained career advisor review their resume. Outside of class, degree-seekers can join the Student Government Association or one of many program-specific organizations.

    Applicants must complete a new-student enrollment checklist that involves submitting either high school transcripts or GED scores. All students complete a first-year experience orientation either on campus or online. Belmont College provides over a dozen scholarship opportunities that award up to $2,250 each semester. Some scholarships require a separate application.

  5. James A Rhodes State College
    Location

    Lima, OH

    Tuition

    $8009

    Rhodes offers academic programs in four divisions: allied health, arts and sciences, business technology and public service, and nursing. Each division awards degrees and certificates; however, only degrees in the arts and sciences division qualify learners to transfer to a four-year school. These AA and AS degrees feature concentrations (rather than majors) in English, history, psychology, and sociology.

    Degree- and certificate-seekers at Rhodes can access counseling or academic advising services by making an appointment. This Ohio community college's career development program features highly trained advisors who help students and alumni search for job opportunities and curate a professional portfolio. Additionally, employers throughout Ohio and the U.S. post job opportunities to Rhodes' website and actively recruit alumni.

    Rhodes accepts applications online or through the mail, and incoming learners also submit FAFSA results. New students without ACT or SAT scores take the COMPASS test to determine initial math and English course placement. Scholarship application requirements include a resume, personal statement, and two references.

  6. Sinclair Community College
    Location

    Dayton, OH

    Tuition

    $2902

    Sinclair holds transfer agreements with over 100 colleges and universities, making it an excellent choice for students planning to enter a bachelor's-completion program. The college's four academic divisions -- liberal arts, health sciences, business and public services, and STEM -- award both degrees and certificates. Distance learners can select from more than 20 entirely online programs.

    Like many excellent Ohio community colleges, Sinclair features an honors division through which students can select from the Honors Initiate Program or Honors Scholars Program. The former provides greater flexibility; students can take as many honors courses as they want, while those in the Honors Scholars Program can specialize in global studies. Candidates to either program must have a minimum 3.25 GPA and submit recommendation letters.

    Sinclair uses eight application pathways for different types of learners. Prospective students without prior college experience take placement tests, complete an orientation, and meet with an advisor. Scholarship opportunities require a separate application.

  7. Columbus State Community College
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $4740

    In addition to traditional AS, AA, AAS, and certificate programs, CSCC boasts a fifth option for prospective learners: an associate of technical studies (ATS). Degree-seekers earning an ATS work one-on-one with an advisor to create a custom major that can either transfer to a four-year school or prepare students for a new career. Other students at this Ohio community college can select a career-focused major through one of more than 36 academic departments.

    To help students in middle school and high school prepare for college and careers, CSCC features the College Credit Plus Program. The college partners with school districts near the Columbus and Delaware campuses to offer college-level courses that satisfy general education requirements at four-year schools.

    CSCC does not charge an application fee, and all incoming students submit FAFSA results. The college's honors program has additional application requirements. New, undecided, and transfer students can access specialized enrollment counseling resources. Degree-seekers interested in financial aid can apply for scholarships in the spring, summer, or fall semester.

  8. Washington State Community College
    Location

    Marietta, OH

    Tuition

    $7340

    WSCC delivers more than 45 degrees and certificates in six academic areas that include health, engineering, and public service. This Ohio community college features an engineering technology major with an optional concentration in robotics and mechatronics. This degree helps students develop in-demand skills and transfers to bachelor's-completion programs. Like many other schools on this ranking, WSCC participates in the College Credit Plus Program.

    The WSCC Honors Program attracts high-achieving students who want smaller class sizes and networking opportunities. Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 high school or undergraduate GPA and excellent ACT scores. Degree-seekers take 2-4 honors courses, complete a special project, and participate in service-learning. Honors students stay in good academic standing by maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.

    All incoming learners apply for financial aid by submitting FAFSA results. WSCC offers new scholarship opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Students with financial need may qualify for an Ohio College Opportunity Grant.

  9. Cuyahoga Community College District
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

    Tuition

    $4684

    Tri-C offers nearly 200 courses in technical and career program areas, making it the perfect choice for prospective learners researching certificate programs. Students can also select a degree in areas such as applied industrial technology, information technology, or manufacturing. Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, Tri-C also delivers transfer degrees. Additionally, the college features both online and fast-track options.

    Tri-C works with employers to host on-campus job fairs and place students in summer internships. Degree-seekers can visit the Career Center to attend a workshop, explore careers, or apply for an internship. Other valuable student services at Tri-C include academic counseling and tutoring.

    Tri-C accepts ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores. All incoming learners submit FAFSA results. Students submit only one application to apply to all college-funded scholarship and grant opportunities. Degree-seekers enrolled in the college's honors program may qualify for additional financial aid.

  10. North Central State College
    Location

    Mansfield, OH

    Tuition

    $3852

    From its Mansfield campus, NC State delivers more than 60 degrees and certificates, nine of which students can complete entirely online. Degree-seekers planning to transfer can major in one of 13 areas, including administration, criminal justice, education, and social work. This Ohio community college also tailors certificate programs to the busy schedules of working professionals.

    Academic advising at NC State features success coaches who meet with students immediately after enrollment. After the first semester, the college assigns learners an academic advisor. The Career Development Services Department hosts training workshops, critiques cover letters, and provides job search resources.

    NC State encourages prospective students to meet with an admissions counselor before enrolling. These counselors help applicants complete steps such as submitting transcripts and taking placement tests. Full-time College Credit Plus or Career Tech students with a minimum 2.75 GPA may qualify for free tuition.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Ohio

Are community colleges worth it?

Attending a community college costs less than a four-year university. So this can make community colleges a great choice to get a degree or certificate to start a career while saving money. At a community college, students can pursue many different associate degrees or certificates -- in high-demand fields. Community colleges also offer financial aid to help students pay for a degree. Many offer flexible options. These include online classes and outreach education in communities throughout the state so students can attend classes near where they live.

Does Ohio have good community colleges?

There are 23 community colleges in Ohio, with campus locations throughout the state. Students can find convenient options to attend class in person. Many also offer online classes to help students get an education that is convenient for work and family schedules. The schools are often in areas with a lower cost of living than many large states and cities. Students can afford to live and go to school as they prepare for an exciting new career or to continue their education. The best community colleges in Ohio also have strong workforce training and adult education partnerships to help nontraditional students get an education.

How much does it cost to go to community college in Ohio?

The average annual tuition for in-state students to attend community college in Ohio is $3,780, as of 2021. For out-of-state students, the cost is $7,680. The Ohio Department of Higher Education also has links to each of the state's community colleges. Prospective students can find detailed information on the price to attend and calculators to help determine the total costs and student loan repayment.

What is the cheapest community college in Ohio?

A number of factors can determine your tuition costs. Are you a full-time or part-time student? Are you an in-state or out-of-state student? On-campus or distance learner? Any of Ohio's community colleges can offer a path to a certificate or degree, at a more affordable cost. However, the cost of college includes more than just the tuition. You'll need to also calculate costs for housing or rent, food, books and supplies, transportation, and any other fees. Some colleges offer net price calculators to help you calculate your estimated cost to attend school.

Is Ohio a good place to live and study?

Ohio is a great place to live. It offers both urban and rural communities and has a lower-than-average cost of living compared to many other places in the U.S. Students who live in Ohio and qualify for in-state tuition can get a high-quality education at a lower cost. This can prepare them for jobs in high-demand industries like healthcare and computer science. Ohio also has a strong support network for entrepreneurs and small businesses for students interested in starting their own venture after graduation.

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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