Best Community Colleges in Maryland

The higher education experts at have reviewed the top community colleges in Maryland. Start planning your future now.
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Updated on June 28, 2023
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Community colleges in Maryland offer several benefits to prospective students. These include cost savings, a large variety of options, and individualized attention from instructors. In-county, out-of-county, and out-of-state learners pay different fees at the state's community colleges.

With 16 community colleges serving 23 counties, Maryland students can look closely at different options when scouting the right fit. Maryland's Health Manpower Shortage Program offers discounted tuition for students pursuing certain high-need careers.

Community college programs often allow students to take classes online or in person during days, nights, and weekends.

Why Study in Maryland?

Educational Opportunities

With hundreds of degrees offered on a variety of schedules, students at community colleges in Maryland can benefit from a great deal of flexibility in their education. All campuses offer daycare for busy parents. Students can receive personal attention from their instructors since most classes enroll fewer than 30 students.


Technology, trade, and transportation fit Maryland perfectly. Maryland ranked 15th in the nation in terms of gross domestic product in 2020. CNBC named Maryland the most improved state for business in the summer of 2021. Maryland also ranks fourth out of all 50 states in terms of internet access and speed. The state looks to expand access even more with the Digital Connectivity Act of 2021.

Information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace/defense are Maryland's top industries. Community college graduates can pursue several excellent job opportunities with an associate degree or certificate.

Cost of Living

Maryland ranks above the national average when it comes to cost of living. The average home price reached $380,000, as of November 2021. Rental rates are in the top 10 nationwide. The Maryland Affordable Housing Trust helps offset some costs and make affordable housing more available statewide.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Maryland is a central location along the Eastern Seaboard, and the District of Columbia is just a stone's throw away. Sightseeing and community cultural offerings are packed into this small state. Visitors can find Northern and Southern influences throughout communities.

You can also check out Maryland's seashore with a national park island and wildlife management area.


In the fall and spring, Mayland's weather remains fairly temperate. Summers bring thunderstorms, while winters bring snowstorms. About once a year, Maryland experiences the remnants of a hurricane, although a hurricane has never hit the state directly.

Top Degree Programs in Maryland

Featured Online Programs

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

Maryland Employment Outlook

Healthcare is projected to remain a central industry in Maryland for years to come. As of 2018, jobs in healthcare were among the fastest-growing occupations in the state. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated that growth.

Food industry occupations are also in demand throughout Maryland.

5 Maryland Jobs in Demand

Occupational Therapy Assistants

These professionals help patients manage their day-to-day lives as they recover from illnesses and injuries. They need a relevant associate degree and must get a license from the Maryland Board of Occupational Therapy Practice.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $60,950
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 53%

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

These professionals take medical images of patients using high-tech equipment. These tests then go to doctors who help with diagnosis. There are various specific imaging jobs available.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $70,380
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 29%

MRI Technologists

These technologists prepare patients for MRI tests. The majority of professionals in this field hold an associate degree. MRI technologists do not need a license in Maryland to practice.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $63,170
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 26%

Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aide

These aides help patients who have an injury, disability, or illness carry out day-to-day tasks. Duties can include changing bandages, bathing, dressing, and giving medications. Around 3.5 million people work in this field nationwide.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $27,080
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 44%

Food Preparation and Serving Workers

In Maryland, there are 12-week programs for students who want to quickly enter the food service and culinary industries. Workers must recertify every three years. With a little more education, students can earn an associate degree in restaurant management, which offers the potential to nearly double their salaries.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $26,070
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 22%

Popular Career Paths in Maryland

Best Accredited Community Colleges in Maryland

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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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 Maryland

  1. Carroll Community College

    Westminster, MD



    Carroll Community College is a two-year commuter school located in Westminster. The college enriches and strengthens the local community by offering associate degrees, career education, entrepreneur support, and corporate training. Approximately 11,000 students enroll each year. Involvement opportunities include athletics; concerts; and student organizations like Latinx Club, Cru Club, and Dungeons and Dragons Club.

    The five most popular majors at Carroll Community College include arts and sciences, general studies, business administration, nursing, and teacher education. By working with an advisor, students can customize their arts and science degree to meet their academic goals while preparing to transfer to a four-year university. More than 100 courses can be taken in an online or hybrid format.

    Prospective credit-seeking students can fill out a free online application. Applicants need to complete placement testing or satisfy college-level course eligibility through other accepted means, such as qualifying ACT/SAT scores or a minimum GPA.

  2. Frederick Community College

    Frederick, MD



    Frederick Community College serves approximately 15,000 students each year, more than 90% of whom are local residents of Frederick County. To better meet the needs of students, FCC offers a variety of flexible learning options, including traditional day classes, as well as evening, weekend, online, and hybrid courses.

    FCC offers more than 85 degree and certificate options. Popular academic areas include general studies, healthcare, business administration, STEM, and cybersecurity. Qualifying students can participate in a credit for prior learning program, earning up to 15 credits toward their degree. Students can engage in a variety of on- and off-campus activities, such as clubs and organizations, community service, events, and field trips.

    FCC welcomes all prospective students who hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Applicants must fill out an online application, take placement tests, and participate in a student orientation.

  3. Harford Community College

    Bel Air, MD



    Situated on 350 acres in Bel Air, Harford Community College boasts an annual enrollment of nearly 10,000 credit-seeking students, with 11,000 additional students enrolled in noncredit, continuing education courses. This two-year commuter school provides students with engagement opportunities in the form of athletics, clubs and organizations, and local and national volunteerism.

    HCC's affordable academic offerings include more than 80 associate degrees and certificate programs in six departments. Represented disciplines include humanities, social science, business, health professions, and STEM. Students interested in teacher education can pursue a career-ready associate of applied science or a transfer-ready associate of arts in teaching. HCC also offers a variety of online and hybrid courses each semester.

    Prospective students can apply online or by submitting a paper-based application. Specific procedures and required documentation vary according to a student's status and residence. The nursing program requires separate admission.

  4. Hagerstown Community College

    Hagerstown, MD



    Founded in 1946, Hagerstown Community College is the oldest community college in Maryland. Its 319-acre campus houses an outdoor amphitheater, community recreation center, and Maryland's largest and most comprehensive technology-based business incubator. More than 6,000 credit-seeking and 9,000 noncredit-seeking students attend HCC annually.

    HCC currently offers over 100 programs for university transfer and career preparation, including substance abuse counseling, biotechnology, visual arts, dental hygiene, and truck driver training. Hundreds of courses are offered in online and hybrid formats, and more are added each semester. Outside of class, students can participate in intercollegiate athletics and a variety of student groups, including the student government, Robinwood Players theater club, and anime club.

    Prospective learners must submit an application and official transcripts. Unless they obtain an exemption based on their GPA, ACT/SAT scores, or prior college experience, incoming students must complete a free placement test.

  5. Montgomery College

    Rockville, MD



    Montgomery College is one of the most expansive community colleges in Maryland, encompassing three major campuses that serve thousands of students each year. The suburban Rockville campus is the largest, while the Takoma Park/Silver Spring location houses the school of art and design and MC's health sciences program. The Germantown campus features the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology, including the Holy Cross Germantown Hospital.

    MC's associate programs require students to complete 60-70 credits. Certificate requirements vary, with a minimum of 12 credits. Students can select their preferred academic pathway from 126 programs, including astronomy, broadcast media production, construction management, and world languages. MC offers four fully online degrees in business, computer science and technologies, criminal justice, and general studies. The school's student community boasts more than 130 clubs, cultural groups, and athletics and arts offerings.

    MC has an open-door admission policy. Prospective students must complete an application, submit official transcripts, and determine placement through testing.

  6. Garrett College

    McHenry, MD



    Garrett College is a two-year institution located in McHenry. Its 62-acre main campus overlooks Deep Creek Lake -- a scenic resort destination. Garrett College offers on-campus housing, intercollegiate athletics, study abroad opportunities, and a variety of clubs and organizations. Three outreach centers extend education services to surrounding communities in Accident, Grantsville, and Oakland.

    Garrett College's unique location allows for two academic offerings not seen at other community colleges in Maryland: associate of applied science programs in adventure sports management and natural resources/wildlife technology. More than 30 other academic offerings are available in business and information technology, arts and sciences, health professions, and teacher education. Garrett College offers a variety of online and hybrid courses each semester.

    The school uses an open-door admission policy and accepts all prospective degree-seekers with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Admission requirements vary according to a student's status, but applicants should be prepared to provide official transcripts and test scores.

  7. College of Southern Maryland

    La Plata, MD



    The College of Southern Maryland serves more than 20,000 students from Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's counties. The school's main campus in La Plata is assisted by three other full-service campus locations throughout the tri-county area. The centrally located Hughesville campus is the future site of CSM's nursing, allied health, and trades programs.

    CSM students can select from more than 100 transfer and career-readiness programs. All major academic disciplines are represented in CSM's catalog, including science and engineering, business and technology, arts and humanities, education, health sciences, English and communication, and mathematics. Students can enhance their experience through online learning, service learning, and travel study.

    Like other community colleges in Maryland, CSM uses an open-door admission policy. Prospective students with a high school diploma or GED certificate are guaranteed acceptance. All incoming students must complete a new student orientation -- either online or in person.

  8. Chesapeake College

    Wye Mills, MD



    Established in 1965, Chesapeake College was the first regional community college in Maryland. Today, it primarily serves five counties on the Eastern Shore: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot. Cheseapeake boasts a 170-acre rural main campus in Wye Mills and a satellite campus in Cambridge. More than 7,000 students enroll in for-credit and noncredit courses each year.

    Chesapeake's comprehensive academic offerings include 20 non-degree programs, 24 certificates, 22 career-focused associate degrees, and 18 transfer-ready associate degrees. Associate degree students have more than 70 majors to choose from, including accounting, early childhood education, and engineering technology. Hybrid, online, and accelerated course options are available. Chesapeake offers six intercollegiate sports programs; a variety of clubs and organizations; and on-site childcare for students, staff, and faculty with children between the ages of three and 10.

    Prospective students can apply online or fill out a paper application. Placement testing is required for all applicants who do not meet exemption criteria.

  9. Anne Arundel Community College

    Arnold, MD



    Located on 230 acres in Arnold, Anne Arundel Community College is the largest single-campus community college in Maryland. AACC makes learning more accessible by offering flexible online course options, free evening childcare, and support programs for specific student populations. AACC is a three-time recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.

    Approximately 40,000 students enroll each year in AACC's 3,500+ courses. Its main academic catalog offers 46 associate degrees and 62 certificates in 11 broad disciplines, including architecture and interior design, law and criminal justice, teacher education, and visual arts. Custom transfer degrees can be designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year program.

    AACC practices an open-door admission policy. Credit-seeking students must provide official high school transcripts or proof of GED completion. They must also take a placement test unless they are granted an exemption based on their GPA, ACT/SAT scores, or prior college experience.

  10. Baltimore City Community College

    Baltimore, MD



    Baltimore City Community College is headquartered in the state's most populous city and provides comprehensive education opportunities to nearly 14,000 students each year. BCCC operates five major locations: the main Liberty Heights campus, a Downtown Harbor campus, a Reisterstown Plaza campus, the Life Sciences Institute, and the National Weatherization Training Center.

    A majority of BCCC's students enroll in the school's workforce development and continuing education division; however, the school also offers 37 associate degrees and 17 certificates. Major academic disciplines represented at BCCC include technology, business, healthcare, and teacher education. Many courses are offered both on campus and online. Students can get involved in more than a dozen clubs and organizations.

    BCCC welcomes all students with a high school diploma or GED certificate. Individuals interested in nursing or allied health programs must complete an additional admissions process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Maryland

Are community colleges worth it?

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Yes. Community colleges offer themost affordable postsecondary education available. Certificate and associate programs can allow you to start your career right away. You can also transfer your credits to many four-year colleges to get a head start on a bachelor's degree.

Maryland community colleges also offer the WorkSmart program, through which employers can team up to train students for particular jobs.

Are community colleges free in Maryland?

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No, not for everyone. Maryland's Promise Program offers the possibility of tuition assistance. The Promise Program provides up to $5,000 in financial aid to help eligible students attend community colleges in the state. The program only covers tuition and fees, however, after any other grants or scholarships are applied. Check with your college of choice to see what funding is available.

How much is community college in Maryland?

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Maryland's community colleges charge different rates for in-county, out-of-county, and out-of-state students. The average annual tuition rate for 2021-2022 is around $7,420 for in-state students and $9,450 for out-of-state learners. Howard Community College is among the most affordable options.

How do you qualify for free community college in Maryland?

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Maryland's Promise Program provides students with the chance for free or discounted education. Applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.3 (or minimum community college GPA of 2.5), be eligible for in-state tuition, have a household income of less than $100,000 ($150,000 for a two-income household), enroll full time at a community college, and not hold an associate or bachelor's degree.

Maryland's Near Completer grant is available for students who have completed some college coursework but do not hold a degree.

Is community college free in Baltimore?

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Potentially, if you qualify for the Promise Program. By combining Promise scholarships, support from the city of Baltimore, scholarship opportunities, and other funding, Baltimore City Community College has been able to offer free tuition to many students.

The college also works with the state's One Step Away Grant Program, which helps community colleges by providing funding to students who dropped out of school before completing their degrees. 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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