According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in October 2019, the state of Washington had an unemployment rate of 4.5%. This low rate indicates nearly full employment, a situation when the number of open positions matches the number of job seekers. Workers benefit from a job market like this as employers try to attract top talent through competitive salaries and benefits. To take advantage of this economic opportunity, consider starting a new career in one of the state's top-paying fields like business and finance, management, or education. Professionals in these fields earn approximately $57,000-$127,000 per year.
A new career can help you in more ways than just a larger paycheck. The Seattle area experienced a 2.2% jump in the consumer price index in the year leading up to October 2019. As a result, workers have less purchasing power than their peers in other metropolitan areas throughout the United States. A new career with a higher salary can ensure that you can live comfortably despite rising prices for goods and services.
Top 5 Community Colleges in Washington
- Walla Walla Community College - Walla Walla, WA
- Big Bend Community College - Moses Lake, WA
- South Puget Sound Community College - Olympia, WA
- Everett Community College - Everett, WA
- Shoreline Community College - Shoreline, WA
Community colleges in Washington prepare graduates with new skills to compete in the job market. Unlike most four-year colleges and universities, community colleges offer low tuition rates and many essential student services. They award not just associate degrees for transfer but also professional certificates and degrees that convey in-demand job skills.
To help you select the best Washington community college, we ranked the state's top five schools. Each of these colleges offers dozens of programs that attract prospective students with diverse interests, needs, and goals. The following information highlights each school's programs, student support services, and application requirements, among other relevant information. As you review the information below, remember that you have unique academic needs, and as a result, this ranking may not contain the right school for you. In any case, you can use the information in this ranking to gain a better understanding of what makes a school excellent.
2020 Best Accredited COmmunity Colleges in Washington
Walla Walla Community College
|Walla Walla, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
WWCC's multiple academic pathways appeal to students with varied academic interests and career goals. The college's divisions -- many of which offer transfer degrees and certificates -- feature unique options, including carpentry, commercial truck driving, and energy systems technology. E-learners at this Washington community college use Canvas to access asynchronous course content.
The Advising and Counseling Center at WWCC provides in-person and online counseling services. The Career Services Department delivers workshops, one-on-one advising sessions, mock interviews, and resume critiques. WWCC proudly participates in the federal TRIO program to provide additional resources to economically disadvantaged students.
Like all Washington community colleges on this ranking, WWCC accepts GED certificates. The college also accepts transfer credit and awards credit for prior learning through an exam. Additionally, incoming learners without ACT or SAT scores take placement tests to determine initial English and math courses. Foundation scholarships for WWCC students use a March 31 application deadline.
Big Bend Community College
|Moses Lake, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
BBCC offers students numerous associate degrees and certificates. Those seeking an associate degree can select from six areas of interest, including aviation, healthcare, and STEM. Professors help learners stay on top of grades by using the Academic Early Warning System; when a student's grade drops, their professor sends them an email encouraging a face-to-face meeting.
Student life at BBCC provides learners with many opportunities to socialize and network outside of class. The college hosts men's and women's basketball, wrestling, and baseball teams. Unique clubs include the Aviation Club, the Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Club, and Phi Theta Kappa.
BBCC recommends that prospective degree-seekers attend an information session before applying. Placement tests require a small fee. Scholarship application requirements include high school or undergraduate transcripts and two recommendation letters. Additionally, BBCC uses a March 13 scholarship application deadline.
South Puget Sound Community College
|Olympia, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
The 10 areas of study available through SPSCC include unique programs in hospitality, cultural studies, and manufacturing. The college also offers six transfer degrees, two of which train the next generation of registered nurses. AAS degrees include culinary arts and medical assisting, and certificate-seekers can choose from more than 20 options.
SPSCC delivers online, weekend, and evening courses in 13 programs. The fully online AA transfers seamlessly to in-state colleges and universities, and online degree-seekers enjoy the same academic options and student support services as on-campus learners. Student support services at this Washington community college include optional study abroad opportunities. These programs last four weeks and take place between academic semesters.
Prospective students can apply for the spring, summer, fall, or winter semester. The school's nursing and dental assisting programs feature special application requirements such as additional applications or immunizations. After degree-seekers submit FAFSA results, they can access the college's financial aid portal to explore and apply for scholarships.
Everett Community College
|Everett, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
The eight academic pathways at EvCC feature degrees and certificates in the arts, business, and healthcare. Unlike other Washington community colleges on this ranking, EvCC features a Transitional Studies division that helps learners earn GED certificates and hone English and math skills. Successful Transitional Studies students can enter an associate or certificate program.
Distance education students at EvCC use Canvas. To help online learners succeed, EvCC developed Starfish, a software program that allows degree-seekers to identify and remedy barriers to academic success. Other valuable student support services at this Washington community college include career interest and readiness assessments as well as one-on-one counseling and advising sessions.
EvCC accepts new learners at four points throughout the year. The college's open-enrollment policy means that all applicants with a high school diploma or GED scores can attend. Incoming degree-seekers may qualify for foundation, East County, or cap and gown scholarships. These and other financial aid opportunities have their own application requirements.
Shoreline Community College
|Shoreline, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 31%||
Shoreline provides transfer degrees in three areas: general studies, natural sciences, and physical sciences. These options make Shoreline an excellent choice for STEM students. Professional and technical programs at this Washington community college include degrees and certificates in biotechnology, criminal justice, music performance, and more than a dozen other subjects.
Online students can select from seven transfer degrees and over 20 certificates. Unlike on-campus courses, online classes offer a flexible schedule that allows learners to start a program or course at many points throughout the year. Like on-campus degree-seekers, online students can access online advising and tutoring resources at no extra charge.
Some programs at Shoreline use rolling admissions, while others have specific application deadlines. Some programs may have additional application requirements. Financial aid opportunities at Shoreline include federal work-study programs, need-based grants, and merit-based scholarships. Students submit only one form to apply to over 140 foundational Scholarships.