The increasing importance of earning college credentials for career entry and advancement drives higher education enrollment in the United States. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of undergraduate students is expected to grow from 16.8 million in 2017 to 17.2 million in 2028. Earning postsecondary credentials positions graduates to benefit from more job opportunities, lower unemployment rates, and better pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that those with an associate degree earn $7,000 more in average annual salary than individuals with high school diplomas.
The substantial cost of a college education may deter you from attending four-year institutions. Fortunately, community colleges provide affordable and transfer-oriented associate degrees in broad fields like business administration, psychology, and pre-engineering. Alternatively, you can prepare for high-demand trade occupations by earning a technical certificate in under 12 months. Like universities, community colleges foster your academic and professional growth by providing scholarships, study abroad programs, and career services.
Top 10 Community Colleges in Oklahoma
- Carl Albert State College - Poteau, OK
- Redlands Community College - El Reno, OK
- Northern Oklahoma College - Tonkawa, OK
- Tulsa Community College - Tulsa, OK
- Seminole State College - Seminole, OK
- Western Oklahoma State College - Altus, OK
- Eastern Oklahoma State College - Wilburton, OK
- Rose State College - Midwest City, OK
- Connors State College - Warner, OK
- Murray State College - Tishomingo, OK
The plethora of higher education options can be overwhelming. To assist you in your research, this guide ranks the 10 best community colleges in Oklahoma in terms of tuition prices, retention rates, and overall student success. The following rankings provide information on each institution's programmatic offerings and general admission requirements. If a college interests you, consult the school's admission specialists. These counselors can help you apply for enrollment, find scholarships, and choose the right certificate or associate program.
Oklahoma offers ample career opportunities, particularly in major sectors like biotechnology, healthcare, and aerospace technologies. In August 2019, the Sooner State's unemployment rate sat at 3.2%, far below the national average of 3.7%. By attending a community college in Oklahoma, you also enjoy an affordable cost of living. Even in metropolitan areas like Oklahoma City, living expenses fall 15% below the U.S. average.
2020 Best Accredited Community Colleges in Oklahoma
Carl Albert State College
|Poteau, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Based in Poteau, Carl Albert State College delivers high-quality and career-relevant academic programs to 2,000 students. The school offers one of the lowest tuition rates in the region and provides financial aid in the forms of federal funding and state grants. Learners can also apply for institutional scholarships, including awards specifically for candidates pursuing credentials in nursing, agribusiness, and physical therapy. Applicants must submit standardized test scores.
Students can pursue a one-year certificate in areas such as organizational leadership, social services assistant, and hospitality and event management. They can also earn a child development director's certificate or prepare for police academy training by developing skills in law enforcement procedures. At the associate level, CASC offers transfer-focused degrees in business administration, computer technology, general studies, and prelaw criminal justice. The college also operates a two-year nursing program that prepares candidates to earn state licensure and work as registered nurses. As one of the best community colleges in Oklahoma, CASC delivers eight degrees and three certificates entirely online.
Redlands Community College
|El Reno, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Located in El Reno, Redlands Community College serves 2,000 students each semester. One of the most affordable community colleges in Oklahoma, Redlands features tuition rates that fall far below the state average for public institutions. All students benefit from financial aid, which includes scholarships for candidates who transfer to a partnering four-year institution. The school also hosts the Oklahoma's Promise initiative, which provides free tuition to state residents who meet designated criteria.
The academic catalog features certificate programs in fields like athletic training, corrections, and human/social services assisting. Students who want to earn an associate degree can pursue topics such as psychology, life science, or business administration technology. The school also provides associate of agriculture programs, with concentrations in animal science, agroecology, agribusiness, and agriculture education.
Redlands also delivers dual enrollment for high school students and continuing education options for working professionals. High-achieving students can enroll in the honors program, which offers dedicated scholarships, innovative coursework, and independent research opportunities.
Northern Oklahoma College
|Tonkawa, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Established in 1901, Northern Oklahoma College focuses on affordable and transfer-friendly academic programming. The college allows students to complete general education and lower-level major classes before transferring into a bachelor's-completion program at the University of Oklahoma. To qualify for transfer, students need to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. NOC also operates a bridge program with Northwestern Oklahoma State University, allowing learners to jointly enroll at both schools.
NOC offers certificate programs for practical nursing and childcare program management. Associate degrees cover fields like respiratory care; mathematics and physical science; and digital media, animation, and design. For students who want to earn a business management degree, NOC offers tracks in accounting, entrepreneurship, and hospitality. The college also delivers two associate nursing programs for prospective RNs and candidates who want to go on to earn their BSN. Additionally, NOC delivers an associate program in applied technology with an emphasis on military services.
Tulsa Community College
|Tulsa, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
Tulsa Community College serves more than 27,000 students annually at four major campuses and additional satellite locations in surrounding suburban areas. The institution also delivers distance education opportunities through the Blackboard platform. Students can take individual blended and fully online classes, or they can pursue entire certificates and degrees remotely. Fully online options include associate programs in business administration, elementary education, and mathematics. Undecided students can prepare for transfer by earning an online associate of liberal arts with a general education emphasis.
For students who prefer campus-based programs, TCC delivers workforce certificates in high-demand occupations like aircraft dispatch, dental hygiene, and advanced firefighting. Students can also train to work as phlebotomists by earning a certificate in medical laboratory technology. Associate options include programs in biotechnology, geographic information systems, and world languages, the last of which features tracks in Spanish, French, Japanese, and interpreting skills. Like some community colleges in Oklahoma, TCC delivers pre-professional associate degrees in health sciences. Candidates pick from dentistry, optometry, medical imaging, occupational/physical therapy, and veterinary medicine.
Seminole State College
|Seminole, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Founded in 1931 as an extension of a local high school, Seminole State College now enrolls 1,600 students in affordable certificate and associate programs. The school maintains an open-door admissions policy that requires only that applicants submit an online application, academic records, and standardized test results. Each student receives individualized guidance from a counselor, who walks them through enrollment and helps them access financial aid. Award opportunities include scholarships specifically for transfer candidates, nontraditional learners, and agricultural science students.
SSC operates transfer-oriented associate programs in biology, computer science, enterprise development, and pre-engineering. The college delivers several options for secondary education, with emphasis tracks in history, physics, math, and chemistry teaching. Furthermore, students can enroll in the social science program, focusing on either sociology or history/government.
SCC also operates two-year technical occupation programs. Students can earn associate credentials in business technology, nursing, and physical therapist assisting. Consistent with other community colleges in Oklahoma, SCC delivers online programs through Brightspace.
Western Oklahoma State College
|Altus, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
Located in Altus, Western Oklahoma State College is the oldest two-year, postsecondary school in the state. The institution serves 1,300 students every semester and features affordable tuition prices based on residency status. WOSC offers comprehensive financial aid opportunities that include state grants, veterans benefits, and work-study positions. Students can also apply for institutional awards based on academic performance, such as the Presidential Academic Scholarship.
WOSC operates three state-approved employability certificate programs. Candidates can pursue training in either infant and toddler care or child development assisting. They may also enroll in the ranch and farm management program, which involves coursework in plant science, livestock management, and soil science. Candidates round out training by completing an agriculture internship.
As one of the top community colleges in Oklahoma, WOSC delivers associate programs in behavioral science, physical and engineering sciences, and criminal justice with a specialized corrections track. Students can also enroll in a two-year program for agriculture education, communication, and leadership. Additionally, the college provides applied training for aspiring aviation mechanics and pilots.
Eastern Oklahoma State College
|Wilburton, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 24%||
Based in Wilburton, Eastern Oklahoma State College offers affordable certificates and associate degrees to 1,500 students across four campuses. Prospective learners receive one-on-one guidance from academic counselors who help them clarify career goals and schedule classes. In addition to low tuition rates, EOSC provides institutional scholarships based on a candidate's GPA and standardized test performance. The college also facilitates federally and privately funded work-study positions.
EOSC operates academic programming that covers six broad areas of study. Students interested in business can pursue associate degrees in business administration and enterprise development. The school also provides a variety of life science degrees, including tracks in biology, communication science and disorders, and prepharmacy.
Setting itself apart from many community colleges in Oklahoma, EOSC delivers an associate of science program in forestry and natural resource management. Students pick from three degree tracks: wildlife ecology, ecosystem/range management, and environmental science and natural resources. Outside the classroom, EOSC supports learners by offering online tutoring services, distance education through Blackboard, and study abroad opportunities.
Rose State College
|Midwest City, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Rose State College enrolls 13,000 students at its Midwest City campus. The school offers the lowest tuition prices among higher education institutions in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Over 75% of full-time students receive some form of financial aid such as government grants, tuition waivers, or veterans benefits. The school also facilitates ample scholarship opportunities, like the Ticket to Rose program for local high school graduates. Consistent with other community colleges in Oklahoma, Rose State operates an open-door admissions policy.
The catalog features over 60 associate programs, many designed for transfer to partnering four-year institutions. Degree options include health and sports science, psychology, biological sciences, and fine arts. Students can also enroll in an engineering program, selecting either an electrical/computer or mechanical/aerospace engineering track. For learners who want to pursue technical occupations, Rose State offers two-year programs in dental assisting, paralegal studies, and network security.
Connors State College
|Warner, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 23%||
Based in Warner, Connors State College serves more than 2,000 students each semester. The school provides accessible campus-based and distance education programs. CSC delivers dual-enrollment opportunities for high school juniors and seniors with either a minimum 3.0 GPA or adequate ACT scores. All students benefit from affordable tuition prices and scholarship opportunities. CSC also provides dedicated resources for low-income students through its FOCUS initiative. This program offers technical training and career placement for candidates who receive federal aid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Similar to other community colleges in Oklahoma, CSC operates transfer-oriented associate programs in fields such as psychology, computer information systems, and social sciences. The school offers registered nursing programs for active LPNs and paramedics as well as candidates without relevant work experience. Students can also train for careers as physical and occupational therapy assistants. Additionally, CSC offers a plethora of agriculture programs, with specialized tracks in food science, purebred ranch operations, preveterinary medicine, and biosystems engineering.
Murray State College
|Tishomingo, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 27%||
Located in Tishomingo, Murray State College educates over 2,100 students. The school maintains an open-door admissions policy for first-time students. Transfer candidates need to submit evidence of a minimum 2.0 GPA and adequate performance on the SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER exam. On top of low tuition rates, MSC offers generous financial aid that includes state-funded grants and institutional scholarships based on academic performance and area of study.
Students may enroll in associate programs in child development, international studies, and veterinary technology. They can pursue two-year training in business management with concentrations in administrative accounting, office technology, or retail sales. The school also offers an associate of hospitality management.
MSC stands out from other community colleges in Oklahoma by providing associate programs in gunsmithing technology and custom gunmaking. These programs combine classroom lectures with hands-on training through workshop projects and practicum requirements. Students who want to pursue online education pick from seven fully remote associate degrees.