Technology and the internet have made higher education more accessible than ever, with ever-increasing numbers of colleges and universities offering digital learning. In fact, according to Babson Survey Research Group, 70% of education leaders say that online learning will be a critical factor in their institutions' long-term growth.

An associate degree online is a great place to start your academic journey, even if your ultimate goal is to get a bachelor's or master's degree. These programs are usually much more affordable than the typical four-year school, and they also offer the flexibility you need to take classes and complete assignments on your own schedule.

Thanks to credit transfer agreements, high-quality instruction, and the efficiency that comes with online learning, it's no surprise that it has become such an attractive option for students across the country and around the world.

The Best Community Colleges & Trade Schools Online

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Brandman University

Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 79%

Founded in 1958, Irvine, California-based Brandman University originally served as an educational institution for the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. While it has expanded to serve learners of all ages and backgrounds, Brandman remains military friendly, with expanded programs for working professionals. U.S. News & World Report ranks this university among the most innovative schools in 2019.

Brandman's bachelor of arts in criminal justice degree requires 120 credits, including general education and program specific units. Learners can complete this degree either entirely online or as a hybrid program. The curriculum covers various criminal justice topics, including corrections, forensics, and immigration and national security.

Brandman's online corrections degree requires a capstone course, which involves examining the U.S. criminal justice system from a critical perspective. This course also includes solving various problems related to the criminal justice system. Designed for working students, courses start every eight weeks, six times a year.

To apply for Brandman's online corrections degree, applicants must already hold a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and at least 12 transferable, bachelor-level credits from a regionally accredited school. Students without transfer credits may need to take additional general electives.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previous educational institutions. The Brandman Track, a four-course program provided through the university's School of Extended Education, offers degree candidates the opportunity to earn up to 12 credits needed for admission. Distance learners may complete the Brandman Track entirely online.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Tuition: $500/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (877) 516-4501
Email: apply@brandman.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

A private Christian research university founded in 1978, Regent University ranks among the top national universities and best online bachelor's programs in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, this university delivers more than 130 programs on a 70-acre campus located just 16 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Regent's numerous online degree offerings include a bachelor of science in criminal justice. This degree prepares learners for a law enforcement career, with graduates working as game wardens, border patrol officers, and police officers. This 120-credit degree emphasizes a Christian worldview, ethics, and critical thinking. The optional concentration in corrections focuses on issues in juvenile justice, law, and criminal justice systems. Each course lasts just eight weeks.

Regent offers an attractive transfer credit policy, accepting up to 90 transfer credits towards the criminal justice degree. For this program, degree candidates must complete 50% of major requirements at Regent. This criminal justice corrections degree online provides an easy application process. Candidates must submit unofficial transcripts and complete an admissions questionnaire.

Distance learners may take advantage of Regent's Online Peer Mentorship Program, online tutoring services, career services, and weekly chapel on the web or on campus. Regardless of residency, distance learners pay the same per credit hour tuition rate. Regent charges part-time learners slightly more per credit hour than full-time students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $395/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT, ACT, or CLT

Contact
Phone: (800) 373-5504
Email: admissions@regent.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Founded in Manchester in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest growing universities in the country. With a degree catalog of more than 200 options, SNHU delivers education online to more than 90,000 students annually. Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, SNHU ranks first among most innovative schools according to U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list.

SNHU's online bachelor of science in criminal justice program requires 120 credits, including either 12 credits for major electives or the optional concentration in corrections. The concentration focuses on correctional administration, offender rehabilitation, and community-based corrections. SNHU's transfer policy accepts up to 90 undergraduate credits towards a program. Degree candidates complete courses asynchronously, with classes lasting just eight weeks and with start dates six times a year.

The school provides an easy admissions process. After online application, SNHU retrieves transcripts from the learner's previous schools and evaluates credits for transfer. Distance learners who completed basic police, parole, or corrections training may qualify for up to 12 credits towards SNHU's criminal justice degree. This program does not require GRE, SAT, or GMAT test scores. Unlike other institutions, SNHU does not require an application fee. The university also offers a 30% tuition discount for U.S. military and spouses of active-duty service members.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $320/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (888) 327-SNHU
Email: enroll@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Lowell, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

A national research university, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell delivers courses to more than 18,000 students online and on-campus. The school ranks 80th among top public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

UMass Lowell's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice requires 120 credits, including 36 credits in criminal justice courses. Learners can complete the criminal justice program entirely online or as a hybrid program. To provide studies in key criminal justice areas, the university offers five concentrations: police, violence, corrections, homeland security, and crime and mental health. Distance learners majoring in criminal justice must earn at least a 2.2 GPA overall and a minimum 2.5 GPA in all criminal justice courses.

Degree candidates can also pursue an accelerated track, completing a bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously. UMass Lowell counts two graduate classes towards the bachelor program's 120 credits.

UMass Lowell accepts up to 90 transfer credits toward a degree. To qualify for admission, learners must hold a high school diploma or successfully pass a GED or HiSET exam. GRE or GMAT scores are optional. For online programs, the university charges the same tuition rate to all students, regardless of residency. UMass Lowell's Online and Continuing Education School accepts students on a rolling basis.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $380/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (978) 934-4106
Email: CJGradAdvisor@uml.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

West Texas A&M University

Canyon, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

With a rich history dating back to 1910, West Texas A&M University remains the northernmost senior institution of higher learning in Texas. Located in Canyon, Texas, this public university is part of the Texas A&M University System, one of the largest higher education systems in the country. WTAMU uniquely offers two different pathways for criminal justice majors: a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

The bachelor of science requires additional math or science classes, while the bachelor of arts program includes a foreign language component. Regardless of degree type, this interdisciplinary program allows degree candidates to select a major track in policing, corrections, or administration. Each degree requires 120 credits.

Students can complete WTAMU's criminal justice administration degree entirely online. Distance learners can complete any of the degree pathways in four years. WTAMU requires all criminal justice majors to complete a six-credit internship at a criminal justice agency. Degree candidates work with the program director to locate an internship tailored towards the student's career interests.

To apply, distance learners must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Applicants must also earn a class rank along with a specific ACT or SAT test score. Students who do not receive a class rank or meet test score requirements may still apply, but the university reviews those applications on a competitive basis.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice - Corrections; BS in Criminal Justice - Corrections
Tuition: $8,982/year in-state; $10,608/year out-of-state with waiver; $22,158/year out-of-state without waiver
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (806) 651-3310
Email: bbang@wtamu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Bemidji State University

Bemidji, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Located on the western shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University serves more than 5,100 students online and on campus. BSU's emphasis on Native American culture and history reflects the heritage and priorities of the Lake Bemidji community. Among the school's several unique programs offerings are aquatic biology, Indian studies, creative and electronic writing, and wilderness management.

Bemidji gives students the opportunity to complete the last two years of a four-year criminal justice degree entirely online. Through the bachelor of science in criminal justice degree, learners can choose among four emphases: corrections, victimology, law enforcement, or tribal justice. The corrections emphasis prepares students for careers in probation, counseling, court services, and correctional facilities. The university does not offer required courses for the tribal justice emphasis online. Learners enrolled in this emphasis must visit the campus.

The criminal justice major requires 48 credits for completion. Degree candidates must first transfer at least 24 semester credits to begin the online program. BSU works with several regional colleges in Minnesota to help students complete and transfer specific courses for this degree.

Graduation requires learners to complete a full-time, supervised field instruction internship at a public or private criminal justice agency. BSU requires degree candidates earn a minimum 2.25 GPA to graduate. BSU's criminal justice degree meets the requirements for the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $296/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (218) 755-2068
Email: Bonner.Karger@bemidjistate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

A public, historically black university located in Durham, North Carolina, North Carolina Central University aims to advance research in biotechnological and biomedical sciences. The school houses two advanced biotechnology research facilities on campus. While NCCU requires all degree candidates to perform community service before graduation, online students are exempt from the volunteer requirement.

The university's entirely online bachelor of science in criminal justice degree provides learners with an overview of the criminal justice system, including the system's history. This 120-credit program requires learners to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to graduate. Students can choose from among the following concentrations: law enforcement, homeland security, corrections, or juvenile justice. The juvenile justice concentration requires regular campus visits to complete courses. Distance learners typically finish the criminal justice degree in four years. Online courses last 16 weeks and follow a regular semester schedule.

Through the university's Department of Criminal Justice, NCCU provides all distance learners with an academic adviser. All criminal justice degree candidates must complete a three-credit, 80-hour internship. The university waives the internship requirement for students employed for at least one continuous year in a criminal justice position. Learners exempt from the internship must still complete an additional three-credit course. NCCU requires criminal justice majors completing the internship to purchase liability insurance.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $144/credit in-state; $574/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (877) 678-0006
Email: nccuonline@nccu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Park University

Parkville, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 23%

A private, liberal arts institution founded in 1875, Park University delivers courses to more than 16,500 students online and at 41 campuses around the world. Located just minutes from Kansas City in Park, Missouri, the university's flagship campus comprises 700 acres of woodlands and historic buildings, featuring a unique and extensive underground campus with business offices and a library.

Offered online and on campus, the school's bachelor of science in criminal justice administration degree requires only 45 credit hours to complete. Degree candidates can select a concentration in law enforcement, security, or corrections. Each concentration involves two courses.

For this criminal justice degree, students must complete either an internship or a senior writing project. The school partners with local, state, and federal offices to offer internship opportunities, giving learners the chance to gain real-world experience in the field. The internship involves an outside professional who evaluates students in a work environment. The internship comprises either 135 hours for three credits or 270 hours for six credits.

The senior writing project offers an alternative to the internship and caters to students currently employed in a criminal justice position. Delivered regularly online, this course consists of activities related to the student's current, full-time work in the criminal justice field. Learners use or create an existing project from work and are evaluated by a supervisor. Substituting the senior writing project for the internship requires approval from the school's Criminal Justice Department.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $399/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Contact
Phone: (816) 741-2000
Email: john.hamilton@park.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Eastern Kentucky University offers programs both online and at its Richmond-based campus. Located 26 miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky, and within a short drive from several historical sites, the surrounding community features theaters, a regional shopping mall, and many cultural activities and events.

EKU ranks 28th among top public schools according to U.S. News & World Report. The university offers an online bachelor of science degree in corrections and juvenile justice studies. While the school accepts up to 90 transfer credit hours, degree candidates must complete at least 30 of the 120 credit hours at EKU. To offer convenience, the university provides six start dates for the degree throughout the year.

EKU's criminal justice corrections degree online includes asynchronous classes lasting only eight weeks. The curriculum focuses on community corrections, the juvenile justice system, and rehabilitation strategies for adults and juvenile offenders. Distance learners receive a personalized graduation plan and access to an academic adviser.

EKU offers a special tuition discount for active-duty service members. Transfer students must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Incoming freshmen must earn a minimum 2.5 high school GPA or meet specific ACT or SAT scores.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Corrections and Juvenile Justice Studies
Tuition: $409/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (859) 622-9951
Email: Courtney.Spradling@eku.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Western New Mexico University

Silver City, NM Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

Founded in 1893 in Silver City, Western New Mexico University delivers programs to 3,500 students online and on campus. WNMU's campus lies a few hours drive away from major cities, including Tucson, Arizona and El Paso, Texas. The surrounding Silver City community features a thriving art community with dozens of galleries.

WNMU's bachelor of science in criminal justice degree prepares students for careers in corrections, the military, and law enforcement. Distance learners can complete this entirely online corrections degree in four years with full-time study. The university delivers courses asynchronously, giving learners the flexibility to complete coursework from any location at any time. Students may choose a concentration in corrections, policing, or forest wildlife law enforcement, although WNMU does not offer the forest wildlife law enforcement concentration online.

Students must complete 120 credits for this criminal justice degree. The corrections concentration requires 24 credit hours, including nine core classes and 15 electives. WNMU offers online support to distance learners, including online tutoring and tech support any time of the day. All distance learners also receive access to online student advisers.

This university offers scholarships to qualifying freshmen and transfer students. As part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, WNMU provides waivers to students from Arizona, Colorado, and El Paso, Texas, granting in-state tuition rates to students from these areas. Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $3,033/term in-state; $6,770/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT; ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (575) 538-6187
Email: bullockd@wnmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Montana State University - Northern

Havre, MT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Founded in 1929, Montana State University-Northern serves a large geographic region in north central Montana, including four Native American reservations. The university's campus in Havre, Montana, lies only a three-hour drive from Glacier National Park -- and a 20-minute drive from camping, hiking trails, and fishing in Beaver Creek Park, the largest county park in the country. MSUN ranks high among regional colleges in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 best colleges list.

MSUN's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice prepares learners for careers in criminal justice, including positions in corrections, probations, security, and private investigations. This 120-credit program is offered asynchronously, and students complete coursework through the university's Brightspace online platform. Distance learners may choose the criminal justice major or a minor in the field.

Accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, this university requires official high school transcripts from first-time students applying to the program. MSUN also requires ACT or SAT scores from all applicants under the age of 21. Transfer students must send official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities attended. Admission requirements also include immunization records.

Coordinated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the Western Undergraduate Exchange provides out-of-state students with a tuition discount. Learners residing in one of 15 states may qualify for the program. The university also offers scholarships and priority registration for outstanding high school students.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Tuition: $2,978/term in-state; $9,333/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (406) 265-3595
Email: jack.bieger@msun.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Lee University

Cleveland, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

A private university located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Lee's campus comprises nearly 120 acres in Cleveland, Tennessee. Although one of the largest Christian private institutions in Tennessee, and the largest in the Appalachian College Association, this university boasts small class sizes with a 16-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

As part of Lee's Division of Adult Learning, students can complete the 120-credit bachelor's degree in criminal justice in four years. The program offers students the choice between a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. Learners enrolled in the bachelor of arts program must complete at least six hours of a foreign language at the intermediate level. Degree candidate may choose an emphasis in either corrections or criminology and juvenile justice. Each emphasis requires 24 semester credits.

Students must complete at least 25% of the required credits at the university; criminal justice degree candidates must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. Learners complete asynchronous classes lasting just seven weeks. Students should expect to spend approximately 16 hours per week on coursework. Lee's Division of Adult Learning also offers accelerated on-site instruction in which a student attends classes once a week for three hours on campus and completes online assignments.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $8,040/term
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: SAT or ACT

Contact
Phone: (423) 614-8500
Email: admissions@leeuniversity.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

University of Maine at Fort Kent

Fort Kent, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Nestled in St. John Valley, an international crossroads comprising Maine, Quebec, and New Brunswick, the University of Maine at Fort Kent offers a unique rural setting with convenient access to two major cities. This rural university also lies in the Acadia of the Lands and Forests, where descendants of French settlers maintain and celebrate cultural identity. UMFK also enrolls a high percentage of international students, giving degree candidates the opportunity to meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Distance learners can complete the university's bachelor of science degree in public safety administration with a specialization in corrections in four years. The program emphasizes public safety, management, and administration. This criminal justice degree requires 62 credits for core classes and a minimum of 30 credit hours for the planned field of study. Learners work with a program coordinator to design an individualized study plan.

For the correctional officer degree online, UMFK recommends that students earn an associate degree in criminal justice before entering the bachelor's program. The university counts all credits earned in an associate program towards the criminal justice degree. To apply, incoming high school applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a school counselor or teacher. All other applicants must send either official high school or college transcripts or an official GED score report.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Public Safety Administration
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $239/credit in-state; $382/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 121 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum
Work Experience: Required (unless recent high school graduate)

Contact
Phone: (888) 879-8635
Email: umfkadm@maine.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook

14

Missouri Western State University

St. Joseph, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Founded in 1915, Missouri Western State University is a public university located in St. Joseph, Missouri. It boasts small class sizes, with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, and enrolls students from all over the United States and countries around the world.

MWSU's bachelor of science degree in criminal justice prepares distance learners for careers in law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Graduates pursue careers such as court administrators, law enforcement officers, and corrections officers. Students can tailor the program towards specific career goals and interests by picking among five concentrations: legal studies, law enforcement, juvenile justice, corrections, and administration.

While MWSU offers most courses online, some classes may require campus visits; a few require synchronous video-conferencing. This university does not offer self-paced classes. Students receive instructions and deadlines from instructors for assigned readings, homework, and discussions. Distance learners submit assignments either through the course website, email, fax, or through regular mail. Coursework is delivered online through the Canvas platform, which students can access from any location at any time.

MWSU's online corrections degree requires 42-47 credit hours for the core curriculum and 28-31 credits for the concentration. The program offers two tracks for completion. The first involves a senior seminar and either an internship, requiring at least 135 hours in a criminal justice position, or a practicum, which includes working 135 hours under direct supervision. The second track involves a research proposal and a quantitative analysis. Students can complete this degree in four years. Missouri Western State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview
Program Name: BS in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Corrections
Tuition: $206/credit in-state; $426/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Program Length: 4 years

Delivery
Format: Online

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT

Contact
Phone: (816) 271-4293
Email: cjlssw@missouriwestern.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

New England College

Henniker, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, New England College ranks 173rd in best online bachelor's programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 best colleges list. A private liberal arts college in Henniker, New Hampshire, NEC engages through experiential learning. The university boasts small class sizes with a 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. NEC participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which grants funding to eligible veterans and dependents for tuition and fees.

This university offers several entirely online programs, including a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice with a concentration in institutional and community-based corrections. This program focuses on legal and policy-driven pathways for offenders reentering society. The online corrections degree requires 120 total credits, including 40 credits in general education, 32 credits in the major, 16 in the required concentration, and 32 elective credits.

Each course lasts only seven weeks, and distance learners can complete the program in four years. Notable courses include legal and policy issues in corrections administration, law enforcement supervision, management and leadership, community-based corrections, and restorative justice.

NEC offers an attractive transfer policy, accepting up to 90 credits towards a bachelor's degree. This university does not require any fees or standardized test scores for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previous schools attended.


Program Overview
Program Name: BA in Criminal Justice
Available Concentrations: Institutional and community-based corrections
Tuition: $405/credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (855) 300-9387
Email: info@newenglandcollegeonline.com
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Why Choose to Attend an Online Community College or Trade School?

Is it Cheaper to Attend an Online Community College or Trade School than a Traditional University?

Attending an accredited online community college or trade school offers a range of benefits, especially when it comes to saving on expenses. While online programs usually charge the same tuition rates as their on-campus counterparts, they also provide flexibility and freedom that can save you a considerable amount as you work toward your degree. Because you can complete your coursework from anywhere with an internet connection, you may realize savings in the form of reduced childcare and transportation costs, along with fewer academic fees.

The total amount of money you spend on your associate degree online will depend on many different factors, including the type of degree you pursue, your chosen area of study, and your desired career path. These factors also may affect the length of time required to meet your course requirements, especially if your program includes an internship or practicum.

If you need help paying for online community college or trade courses, financial aid is available in the same way as with on-campus schools and programs. As long as your school is accredited, you may qualify for aid based on financial need.

Average Full-time Cost of Community College, 2016-17

Tuition $3,520
Room and Board $8,060
Books and Supplies $1,390
Transportation $1,760
Other Expenses $2,270
TOTAL $17,000

Salary for Associate Degree Graduates

Earning an online associate degree is an investment that can pay incredible dividends, both short and long term. Equipped with a degree, you'll qualify for many jobs unavailable to those with a high school diploma alone. A College Scorecard study found that college graduates typically earn $1 million more than high school graduates over their lifetimes.

If you want to earn more money and provide yourself with greater career opportunities, exploring various online associate degree programs is an important first step. The table below reflects the value an associate degree can provide:

Online Trade Schools, Technical Colleges, and Career Colleges

Trade schools, like community colleges, typically offer students the opportunity to earn a degree in two years or less at relatively low tuition rates. However, trade schools are somewhat different from colleges in that they provide more focused training on specific jobs or industries. Community colleges, meanwhile, tend to offer more generalized degrees.

  • Trade Schools: These schools provide focused study on a broad range of vocations, such as automotive repair, plumbing, and cosmetology. They are typically government backed or approved, and their credits will typically transfer to other accredited institutions. Students usually receive certificates, rather than degrees, upon completing these programs.
  • Technical Colleges: These two-year colleges are similar to trade schools in that they train students for specific careers. However, graduates typically receive associate degrees—rather than certificates—as a result of their coursework. Technology-related programs, such as information technology, are common areas of study.
  • Career Colleges: The term "career college" is usually associated with for-profit schools that are not accredited and therefore not recognized by most reputable two-year or four-year institutions. These programs focus on specific careers, and students often complete them in nine months to a year.

How to Choose an Online Community College or Trade School

Choose Your Career Path and Major

Before you begin looking at community colleges online, think about your long-term career goals and the vocations that interest you most. Your desired career path will inform your choice of a major and ensure you're working toward a degree that will allow you to enter a specific field. If your potential career requires a bachelor's degree, choose an online community college program that will enable you to transfer your credits to a four-year program later.

Also note that some schools don't offer all types of majors, and so you'll want to avoid enrolling at a college where you cannot pursue the career you want.

Finally, consider your local economy and the industries and employers that seem to be doing the best in your state. Opting for a career in a high-demand field can help ensure you secure a job after graduation.

Get the Facts

Once you've chosen a career path and major, take some time to research potential online associate degree programs. Check to see if each program meets your requirements, and if not, eliminate it from your list of possible schools. Below are several key factors to consider during this search:

Program Cost

When you're on a tight budget (and most college students are), even a small variance in tuition and fees can make a big difference. Make sure you know how much each school charges per term or per credit, and look into any technology and academic fees you may need to cover.

Transfer Policies

At some point, you may wish to transfer to a different institution, especially if you plan on pursuing a bachelor's degree. Try to find schools that have transfer agreements with other institutions. You will want as many credits as possible to transfer.

School Size and Type

Think about the type of academic experience you would like. If you prefer smaller class sizes, look at schools that highlight their small instructor-to-student ratios. Also consider whether you'd prefer a private or public college. Public schools may be less expensive, but private institutions generally offer more personalized instruction.

Program Length

How long will it take you to complete your program if you're attending full time or part time? See if you can find a planning guide for each program and determine how many credits you'll need to take each term to graduate within a certain period of time.

On-campus Requirements

Some online associate degree programs require students to attend class or seminars on campus periodically. If you live close to the campus, this might not be a problem. But if you live far away, an on-campus requirement could be extremely difficult to meet—especially if you have children, a full-time job, or other personal obligations.

Accreditation for Online Community Colleges

Among the most important factors when choosing an online community college is the school's accreditation status. All reputable colleges and universities are either regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious of the two, and there are six regional bodies for institutions across the country. Many online-only schools are nationally accredited. These institutions still offer high-quality programs, and they tend to come with the added benefit of lower tuition. Some programs within schools may be independently accredited, as well.

The nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education, a federal agency, oversee accrediting agencies. Both organizations maintain strict standards related to the processes accrediting agencies use when analyzing schools and programs nationwide. This is important, as it ensures that accrediting bodies use standardized, fair procedures when awarding schools with accreditation. Thus, students can rest assured that their programs are providing them with a quality educational experience.

Online Community Colleges & Trade Schools by State

One of the great things about the many community colleges online is that you can attend school in just about any state you wish. This can open up opportunities you might not have considered, giving you an excuse to embark on a new adventure. Conversely, there are so many great options out there that you're likely to find a school that meets your needs close to where you already live.

See the map below to browse online community college and trade school programs across the United States:

What Associate Degrees Can I Earn Online?

If you wish to get an associate degree online, you should understand that there are several types of these degrees available. The option you choose may have a long-term impact on your academic career, as it will affect the majors available and the four-year programs into which you can transfer. It could even influence the careers available to you after graduation. Take some time to understand the types of associate degrees and find the best one for you.

  • Associate of Arts (AA): These programs typically focus on general education classes, rather than those concentrated on a specific career or major. This can prepare you well for transferring to a bachelor's of arts program in the future. Courses usually include English, mathematics, social sciences, and laboratory science.
  • Associate of Science (AS): This two-year degree can be a great option if you wish to enroll in a bachelor of science program in the future. In most cases, an AS degree provides a strong academic foundation rather than specific career training. Some AS programs offer concentrations in majors like biology, computer science, physics, and health science.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS): These programs are usually focused on preparing students to enter specific career fields upon graduation. They may require you to complete a few general education classes, but most of the coursework is concentrated on your chosen major. Examples of AAS programs include computer technology, healthcare systems technology, and hospitality management.
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA): This category includes specialized programs that train you for a specific vocation. Unlike AAS degrees, AAA programs tend to focus more on the visual arts, music, and advertising. Students may take some general education classes, along with major-focused coursework like photography, graphic design, and art history.

Common Areas of Study for an Associate Degree

When you select a major for your online associate degree program, you make an important decision concerning the subject areas you will explore during your time in school. In fact, this decision could influence which bachelor's programs you can transfer into once you've completed your two-year degree. And, of course, your major affects the jobs you may qualify for in the future. Below are a few of the most common majors within community college online programs:

Business Administration

This major covers a range of topics related to the business world, including management, sales, marketing, accounting, and organizational structures. Students also learn how to apply their newly acquired skills in a practical setting, while preparing themselves to move seamlessly into a four-year business program.

Healthcare

These programs provide a comprehensive introduction to the healthcare sector for students who typically go on to engage in more focused health services bachelor's degree programs. Students take courses across the sciences, along with those pertaining to research, clinical procedures, and various healthcare professions.

Education

Students in these online associate degree programs learn about theories and practice in teaching and learning, along with basic educational psychology. They also learn how to plan lessons, contribute to the social and academic growth of students, and manage school health and safety issues. Many students later enroll in four-year elementary or secondary education programs.

Social Sciences/History

These are general majors that prepare students for various bachelor-level programs. They may cover a range of subjects, including sociology, ancient and modern history, social issues, and political science. The ultimate goal is to give students a solid foundation of knowledge of social institutions and behaviors.

Psychology

Honing in on the study of the social behaviors of individuals and groups, an associate degree in psychology gives students a base of knowledge that they can use in their future studies. Students learn about various subfields of psychology, how to conduct thorough research, and how to conduct scientific experiments and tests.

Communications

This major explores the multiple facets of communication among people, including in person, in groups, and through different forms of media. Interpersonal, organizational, professional, and intercultural communication are key areas of study.

Typical Curriculum for Online Associate Programs

Most of the online community college courses you'll take will be general education classes. These typically revolve around core subjects like English, the humanities, mathematics, and the sciences. For example, your school could require you to complete two science classes, with the options including astronomy, biology, chemistry and physics. Therefore, you'll have some flexibility as to which classes you take to meet various general education requirements. Some programs may require you to take other types of general education courses, such as those focused on cultural literacy, communication, or foreign languages.

Often, the general education classes you take as part of an associate degree online program are the same as those you'd find in a four-year program. This is why so many students choose to complete this coursework at a less expensive community college before transferring into a bachelor's-level program at a four-year university.

You may also be able to complete some major-focused or upper-division classes through an online community college. This is especially true if you pursue an AAS or AAA degree, which both focus on preparing students to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

How do Online Classes Work for Community College?

Most online associate degree programs involve specialized software or digital platforms that allow students to access course materials, take part in class forums, interact with instructors, and complete assignments and exams. These platforms also give students access to technical support and tutoring resources. Ultimately, online programs aim to replicate the in-person educational experience, while making the best use of technology to make the learning process as efficient as possible.

In many courses, you will need to interact with your fellow students. This takes place via online discussion boards and forums, through which you may discuss assignments, ask questions, and provide feedback on the subjects covered in class. Your instructor will also post grades to the platform. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your grade with your instructor, you will have the opportunity to do so online.

When it comes to taking exams, many online community college programs require students to go to a certified testing center. There, professional proctors will issue your exam and ensure you are completing it within the allotted time frame and without the use of textbooks or other course materials, if necessary. In other situations, you may be able to take your exams online, but may have a limited amount of time to complete them.

Popular Online Associate Degree Programs

Applying to an Online Community College or Trade School

Once you've found a community college online program that meets your needs, your next step is to apply to that school. You will need to prepare a few documents regarding yourself and your academic history. There may also be an application fee and, for some associate degree programs, an admissions essay. Below is an overview of the most common application requirements:

  • Requirements/Prerequisites: Nearly all associate degree programs require prospective students to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to be eligible for admission. Some may require you to have completed certain prerequisite courses, such as a certain level of English or math. If you don't meet these requirements, you may need to take a remedial class before you can officially begin the program.
  • Application Fee: The application fee varies from college to college, but in general, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 to apply to your desired program. Some schools don't have application fees, while others may waive the fees for applicants who can demonstrate financial need.
  • Application Materials: In addition to paying an application fee and providing your high school transcripts/GED certificate, you may need to submit a resume, one or more letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or essay. These materials give you an opportunity to make your case for why you deserve to be accepted to your desired community college online program.

Transferring to a Bachelor's Program from an Online Community College

Many students may wish to transfer into a bachelor's program after they complete their community college studies. Getting an early start can help ensure your online associate degree credits transfer seamlessly into a relevant four-year program.

To transfer credits, you'll work with a transfer counselor at the college or university you'd like to attend. This person informs you which credits will or will not transfer, and how transferred credits will cover various general education requirements. This process typically works best if you've planned ahead and attended a community college that has an established transfer arrangement with the four-year school in question.

Not all schools will accept your online associate degree program credits, and so it's important to do some research and make sure the courses you're taking will help you achieve your academic goals. In general, most transfer students find they can complete a bachelor's degree in about two years if they get an associate degree first.

What are Transfer Agreements?

Many community colleges online have credit transfer or transfer articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. These arrangements allow students to first obtain an associate degree and then use the credits they've already earned toward a bachelor's program. This can be incredibly helpful if your long-term goal is to continue your studies, as it ensures you won't waste your time on courses that will not ultimately count toward a more advanced degree.

Contact each of your prospective associate degree online programs to determine if they have credit transfer agreements with other institutions. If so, find out if you might wish to attend any of those institutions in the years to come so that you can plan the most efficient way to achieve your educational and professional goals.