Best Community Colleges in Maine

The higher education experts at BestColleges have reviewed top community colleges in the state of Maine. Start planning for your future today.
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The staff writers for BestColleges collaborate to deliver unique, student-driven content on topics such as career development, college life, and college planning....
Updated on June 28, 2023
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Taylor Gadsden has worked as an editor for BestColleges, focusing on degree, college, and career planning resources for prospective students. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Georgia. Taylor is a former editor at Red Ventures....
Learn more about our editorial process 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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Fall colors and epic winters define Maine, but the state offers more than just gorgeous scenery. Some of the lowest-cost community colleges in New England are located in Maine. The state also features plentiful lobster and huge blueberries and is the only state to border just one other state.

The community colleges in the Pine Tree State train students for in-demand jobs. Maine houses some of the top online community colleges in the country.

Why Study in Maine?

Of all the New England states, why choose Maine? There are several excellent reasons to work, study, and live in Maine, including the state's economy and climate.

Educational Opportunities

Maine's community colleges cost less than most others in New England, and they offer a variety of courses. Over 70% of students receive some kind of financial aid, and various programs provide discounts for students from surrounding states in New England, allowing them to pay only slightly more than Maine residents.

Similar programs allow attendance by students from neighboring Canadian province New Brunswick on a space-available basis.


Financial services drive Maine's economy, including industries like insurance and investment, followed closely by government employment. The largest projected growth over the next decade in Maine is in healthcare and education.

Food products and transportation also play a large role in the economy, including seafood, blueberries, and spring water. The small-to-medium-sized business community, especially in communities like Portland, supports growth in the state by bringing entrepreneurs attracted by Maine's lifestyle and cost of living.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Maine varies greatly by location. It is 33% lower in Bangor than Portland, for example. Median home prices define this difference, but overall, the cost of living in Maine remains lower than in the rest of the United States and markedly lower than surrounding New England states.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Painters, artists, and writers were drawn to Maine from the beginning, including literary giant Stephen King. Places like Ogunquit provide artists of all types with opportunities to learn and grow. Visitors discover this rich heritage reflected in art museums and exhibits throughout the state. Maine also houses theater, orchestras, symphonies, music events, art walks, and festivals.


Long, snowy winters and mild summers define Maine's climate. The state owes both climates to its far northern location, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and the position it holds in the storm track.

Fall and spring both delight visitors and residents of the Pine Tree State due to the abundance of non-evergreen varieties of trees in its forests.

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.

Best Community Colleges in Maine

  1. Washington County Community College

    Calais, ME



    Based in Calais, WCCC serves around 500 students and offers diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees in more than 20 areas of study, including adventure and recreation tourism, criminal justice conversation law, geographic information systems, and pulp and paper. Students can also complete a two-year liberal studies program that prepares them to transfer to a four-year college.

    WCCC recognizes the varied challenges facing community college students, and the school offers comprehensive support services for learners of all backgrounds. WCCC's TRiO Student Support Services office provides academic advising and counseling for first-generation and low-income students, with services including academic tutoring, degree planning, career counseling, transfer assistance, and financial aid counseling. Students can also access library services, technical support, and disability services.

  2. Kennebec Valley Community College

    Fairfield, ME



    With campuses in Fairfield and Hinckley, KVCC ranks among the top community colleges in Maine, serving over 2,400 students annually. The college offers academic and professional programs in more than 30 areas of study, including biological science, allied health and nursing, early childhood education, mental health and psychology, and trades and technology. Candidates can pursue a professional certificate or degree to enter the workforce as quickly as possible, or they can complete a transfer degree and advance to a four-year college.

    KVCC also offers five fully online programs in marketing, accounting, early childhood education, liberal studies, and mental health. The liberal studies program functions as a transfer degree, enabling students to transfer their credits to a four-year school. The other four programs award associate of applied science degrees and prepare graduates to pursue entry-level jobs. Mental health students can also earn a mental health rehabilitation technical/community certificate.

  3. Central Maine Community College

    Auburn, ME



    CMCC enrolls more than 2,700 students annually at its campus in Auburn, and it ranks as one of the larger community colleges in Maine. Students can choose from a wide selection of certificate programs and associate degrees, such as forensic science, e-sports management, life science, and physical fitness. CMCC students with relevant professional experience may be able to earn credit based on prior learning, which enables them to complete a degree or certificate faster.

    CMCC offers several distance education and hybrid programs, including six fully online degrees in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, general studies, human services, and medical coding/electronic health records. These programs require no campus visits, and most courses use a fully asynchronous format with no required class login times. Online learners receive many of the same support services as on-campus students, including academic advising, library resources, tutoring, and financial aid assistance.

  4. Northern Maine Community College

    Presque Isle, ME



    Based in Presque Isle, NMCC serves around 1,000 students through campus-based and online programs. As one of the top community colleges in Maine, NMCC offers a large selection of degrees and certificates through several academic and professional departments, including arts and sciences, business technology, trade and technical occupations, emergency medical services, and nursing and allied health. Students can complete many courses from a distance, though the college does not offer any fully online degrees.

    NMCC students gain access to an assortment of support services that can assist them throughout their education, from enrollment to after graduation. The school's Academic Success Center offers free services to all NMCC students, including academic advising, homework help, and placement testing. Students can also receive individual and group tutoring and support for academic writing. Additionally, NMCC's student services office provides help with the admissions process, financial aid support, and general student counseling.

  5. York County Community College

    Wells, ME



    Established in 1994 in Wells, YCCC now serves around 1,700 students annually through an assortment of on-campus and distance education programs. The college offers dozens of professionally focused degree and certificate programs in popular fields such as animal care and management, computer science, culinary arts, digital media, and hospitality and tourism management. Students can pursue three fully online certificates in gerontology, help desk and user support, and web development.

    YCCC also offers four fully online associate degree programs: behavioral health studies, gerontology, information technology, and liberal studies. The liberal studies program is a transfer degree that prepares students to transfer into a liberal arts program at a four-year college. The other three programs award associate of applied science degrees and are intended to prepare students to enter the workforce. All four degrees require about two years of full-time study, require no campus visits, and use an asynchronous delivery format.

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Top Degree Programs in Maine

Featured Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Maine Employment Outlook

Maine boasts a low unemployment rate and growth at or above the national average in many areas. While construction and government jobs have declined, other fields like healthcare and education are in high demand.

Leisure and hospitality show the fastest growth, as the Maine tourism economy recovers and strengthens. Financial services of all types and a growing manufacturing sector follow closely behind. All in all, Maine weathered the COVID-19 crisis better than neighboring New England states and continues to recover quickly.

Top 5 Maine Jobs in Demand

The growth in Maine in key career fields has created a demand for skilled workers in a number of key fields. Take a look at five top careers in the state.

Paralegal and Legal Assistants

A paralegal can influence public policy by assisting attorneys with research and preparation for briefs, trials, and appeals. Working as a paralegal can also serve as a gateway to other growing legal professions.

A paralegal can start with a relevant associate degree and gain experience from there.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $49,500
  • Job Growth Projection: 12%

Mechanical Drafters

Drafters use software and other tools to take the ideas of engineers and architects and turn them into technical diagrams that can be used in the design and construction process. Most mechanical drafters work in offices full time, but some may occasionally work on job sites in the field.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $57,960
  • Job Growth Projection: -2%

Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists work in dental offices and perform cleanings and minor procedures. They also educate patients on oral care and conduct examinations for dental diseases like gingivitis.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $77,090
  • Job Growth Projection: 11%

Radiologic Technologist

These professionals use imaging equipment to examine ill or injured patients. Usually, a physician then receives the information and makes a final diagnosis. Radiologic technicians work either in doctor's offices or hospitals and generally work full time.

The job requires an associate degree and, in Maine, professional licensure.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $63,710
  • Job Growth Projection: 9%

Civil Engineering Technicians

Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers in designing and planning infrastructure projects. They often help in the building process as well. They spend most of their time in offices, but they occasionally work on construction job sites when required.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary: $54,080
  • Job Growth Projection: 2%

Popular Career Paths in Maine

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Maine

Are community colleges worth it?

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With nearly 75% of all students receiving some sort of financial aid, attending a community college in Maine can reduce the overall cost of college significantly, even for other students in the surrounding New England states.

As a result, Maine boasts some of the most affordable online community colleges in the country, and they offer excellent educational opportunities.

What are the seven community colleges in Maine?

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The seven community colleges in Maine are:

  • Central Maine Community College
  • Eastern Maine Community College
  • Kennebec Valley Community College
  • Northern Maine Community College
  • Southern Maine Community College
  • Washington County Community College
  • York County Community College

Is community college free in Maine?

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No. While community colleges are not free in Maine, they are some of the cheapest in New England, and most students receive financial aid in some form. Even students from nearby New England states can qualify for reduced tuition.

Make sure to investigate any fees that may apply to your enrollment, and related expenses like textbook costs, technology purchases, and transportation to and from school.

How many community colleges are in Maine?

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Maine houses seven community colleges that can be found in locations throughout the state. The state is also home to several colleges and universities that offer four-year degree programs, such as Bowdoin College, Colby College, Bates College, and the University of Maine.

What is the cheapest college in Maine?

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Maine's Community College System all charges the same tuition rate: $96 per credit for in-state learners. Maine's tuition rates and fees are some of the cheapest in New England. Students may also be able to find scholarships and grants, as well as other forms of financial aid, to help them cover college costs. 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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