Like the rest of the United States, West Virginia suffered during the Great Recession. However, the state's economy bounced back with a 4.7% unemployment rate in September 2019. This figure indicates nearly full employment, a time when the number of open positions matches the number of candidates looking for a new career.
Compared to past years, West Virginia residents have a much easier time gaining employment in one of the state's largest employment fields, like office and administrative support, healthcare, or education.
Top 5 Community Colleges in West Virginia
|1||BridgeValley Community & Technical College||South Charleston, WV|
|2||Blue Ridge Community and Technical College||Martinsburg, WV|
|3||West Virginia Northern Community College||Wheeling, WV|
|4||Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College||Mount Gay, WV|
|5||New River Community and Technical College||Beaver, WV|
Many of the careers in these fields, some of which pay excellent salaries, require some college education. Fortunately, West Virginia offers many excellent schools that can help you turn your career goals into reality. Before enrolling in a four-year college or university, consider starting your educational journey at a West Virginia community college.
Community colleges offer a host of benefits compared to traditional four-year colleges and universities. First, students pay a significantly lower per-credit tuition rate. Also, learners who earn a transfer degree can enter a bachelor's degree completion program.
In the classroom, community college professors can focus on teaching and providing individualized instruction, whereas professors at four-year schools have multiple responsibilities, including performing research. Community colleges also host many of the same extracurricular activities as four-year schools.
With profiles of the state's top five community colleges, this article can help you find the best school for you. Below, you can learn more about each school's academic programs, extracurricular activities, and student support services, among other vital details. Each description includes a link to the school's website, where you can discover additional information.
Contact a school directly if you have any questions. Counselors should have the information you need to help you select a community college in West Virginia.
2020 Best Accredited Community Colleges in West Virginia
BridgeValley Community & Technical College
|South Charleston, WV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
With two campuses in the Charleston area, BridgeValley Community and Technical College offers approximately 2,000 students more than three dozen associate degree and certificate programs.
Popular associate degrees at this West Virginia community college include computer science technology, early childhood education, and marketing. The college recommends that degree-seekers who are planning to transfer to a bachelor's degree completion program choose to major in general education.
Besides earning a certificate or degree, students at BridgeValley can enroll in one of the school's many workforce and economic development programs. These programs, available in subjects such as pipefitting, pharmacy, and phlebotomy, instill in-demand skills that prepare learners for entry-level positions. BridgeValley also partners with local companies and organizations to design and implement workforce training programs.
Like all West Virginia community colleges on this ranking, BridgeValley has an open-door admissions policy, meaning that any prospective students with a high school diploma or GED scores can attend. Incoming degree-seekers without ACT or SAT scores take the ACCUPLACER exam.
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
|Martinsburg, WV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
With over 40 associate degree and certificate programs, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College caters to learners preparing for a wide range of careers. Career-aligned associate degrees at this West Virginia community college include options in electric distribution technology, business operations, and environmental science. Students planning to transfer to a four-year school can earn a degree in liberal arts or social sciences.
Blue Ridge's Career Advancement Education (CAE) program attracts learners who need additional skills to gain a promotion or start a new career. These self-paced online courses cover diverse topics including animal care, occupational safety, and computer software. Prospective students can take a free online seminar to practice learning with CAE.
Blue Ridge may ask some incoming degree-seekers to take placement tests to determine initial math and English courses. The college charges in-state students approximately 40% less tuition than out-of-state students. Financial aid counselors work closely with all learners to fill out the FAFSA and research scholarship opportunities.
West Virginia Northern Community College
|Wheeling, WV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Prospective students who live in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle should consider West Virginia Northern Community College for an associate degree or certificate. Programs at WVNCC include tracks in business, liberal arts, and education and human services.
Each program of study features multiple degree and certificate options, with healthcare learners able to choose from four certificates and four degrees. Additionally, the school website features informational articles that describe how each program can influence a graduate's career path.
This West Virginia community college hosts many extracurricular activities, such as the Student Government Association, intramural sports, and a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Popular clubs include the Bible Club and the Petroleum Technology Club.
In addition to high school graduates and individuals with GED scores, homeschooled students may also apply to WVNCC. Some programs with limited enrollment use additional application requirements to select the most qualified degree-seekers. Incoming learners who possess a high school diploma can apply for WVNCC's Foundation Scholarships.
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
|Mount Gay, WV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
Situated in Mount Gay, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College educates approximately 2,000 students, many of whom earn a degree for transfer.
Career-orientated associate degrees at this West Virginia community college include programs in criminal justice, medical laboratory technology, and respiratory care technology. Certificate programs prepare the next generation of electrical engineers and early childhood educators, among other professionals in rapidly growing career fields.
Online learners at Southern use Blackboard to access asynchronous course content. Both transfer degree options feature an entirely online curriculum, meaning that students can work full time or raise a family while earning a degree. Some programs also have a hybrid learning option.
Prospective students can apply online or through the mail. All applicants, whether they graduated high school or not, submit high school transcripts. In-state degree-seekers may qualify for the PROMISE Scholarship, which awards full tuition. Other financial aid opportunities include the federal work-study program.
New River Community and Technical College
|Beaver, WV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
A relatively new community college in West Virginia, New River Community and Technical College offers 15 associate degrees as well as certificate programs. Students can choose from a diverse selection of majors, including business administration, computer science - application specialist, and criminal justice - law enforcement.
New River CTC also helps community members prepare for new careers by offering continuing education programs.
A host of resources at New River CTC help learners succeed academically and translate a degree or certificate into a fulfilling career. The Student Success Center provides one-on-one tutoring services. Highly trained career counselors help degree-seekers and alumni explore careers and craft a resume. Also, local employers routinely post new jobs on the New River CTC website.
All incoming learners submit ACT or SAT scores and FAFSA results. The college requires an online new student orientation as well. Financial aid opportunities at New River CTC include the Presidential Scholarship, which awards funding to in-state students with a high school diploma.