Best Community Colleges in Michigan

Check out our list of the top accredited community colleges in Michigan, and find an in-demand career that matches your interests.
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Published on January 13, 2022
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Michigan is the 10th-most populous and the second-most agriculturally diverse state in the nation. Community colleges in Michigan offer affordable and flexible programs in both part-time and full-time settings. Manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture are three of Michigan's major industries, and the state is home to automobile giants like General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. Michigan also boasts the largest state forest system in the U.S. and offers plenty of natural, recreational, and social opportunities to its citizens.

This guide highlights some of the best community colleges in Michigan in terms of education quality, affordability, and other important factors.

Why Study in Michigan?

Educational Opportunities

Thirty-one community colleges in Michigan offer two-year associate degrees. Three of those schools also operate as four-year institutions. The majority of the students who attend these community colleges take classes on a part-time basis.

As of 2018, approximately 58% of public community college students in Michigan received financial aid, while 34% received federal grants and 24% received state allowances. Prospective students looking to reduce out-of-pocket expenses can apply for various types of financial assistance.


Unfortunately, Michigan was among the most adversely impacted states at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the state's economy rebounded, showing the third-highest GDP growth out of all 50 states during the second fiscal quarter of 2021.

Cost of Living

Michigan is one of the more affordable places to live in the U.S., with an average cost of living roughly 9% below the national average. Additionally, by some metrics, the average housing costs in Michigan are only 65% of the national average. However, housing costs can vary widely by location. For example, renting a house in the suburbs can cost half as much as renting a home in downtown Ann Arbor. In contrast, transportation costs in Michigan are roughly 15% higher than the national average.

Cultural and Community Offerings

Michigan features the world's largest open art competition and various cultural festivals. The state houses lively urban districts and plenty of natural wonders to explore. Surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan is known for recreational activities like swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and diving.


Michigan residents experience a continental climate, although the Upper Peninsula is cooler. Throughout the year, temperatures typically range from 20-83 degrees. The weather is often partly cloudy. The hottest month is July, while the wettest and coldest months are May and January, respectively.

Featured Online Programs

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

Michigan Employment Outlook

Although the unemployment rate in Michigan improved significantly in recent months, it still lags behind the national average (5.9% vs. 4.2%, as of November 2021). Some industries have been slow to recover, although short-term projections from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiativespoint to healthcare, construction, and transportation as fields that should see growth in the coming months.

5 Michigan Jobs in Demand For 2022

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

These professionals help lawyers prepare for cases by conducting research and gathering facts. They may also help prepare courtroom documents and keep legal materials organized. Paralegals and legal assistants must have a good eye for detail and communicate clearly.

  • Annual Median Salary (May 2020): $50,510
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028): 9%

Occupational Therapy Assistant

These assistants help patients carry out treatment plans. They may be responsible for recording vitals and keeping certain medical records up to date. An associate degree is the most common academic requirement for this career. Workers may also need to be licensed, depending on their state.

  • Annual Median Salary (May 2020): $49,760
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028): 17%

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers

Diagnostic medical sonographers use soundwaves and imaging equipment to create images of the body's internal organs and tissues. Sonographers primarily work in hospitals and diagnostic labs. They help doctors and physicians assess and treat various medical conditions.

  • Annual Median Salary (May 2020): $65,560
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028): 8%

Dental Laboratory Technicians

These technicians work in the dental field, primarily making and repairing dental appliances, such as dentures. Although some of these positions may be available without a postsecondary education, earning an associate degree can improve a worker's job prospects. Depending on where they work, dental laboratory technicians may also need an occupational license.

  • Annual Median Salary (May 2020): $44,860
  • Job outlook: 26%

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists examine and assist patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary problems. These therapists work with patients of all ages. Creating effective therapy plans is another key task for these professionals.

  • Annual Median Salary (May 2020): $59,920
  • Job Outlook (2018-2028): 13%

Popular Career Paths in Michigan

Best Accredited Community Colleges in Michigan

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Best Community Colleges in Michigan

  1. West Shore Community College

    Scottville, MI



    Located in Scottsville, WSCC enrolls around 1,200 students each year through campus-based and distance programs. The college offers a wide selection of academic and professional programs, including associate degrees and professional certificates. Students can choose from associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied arts and sciences, and associate of general studies degrees. Numerous transfer programs also enable candidates to continue their studies at a four-year college.

    WSCC offers dozens of degrees and certificates, including digital literacy, social sciences, agricultural operations, mechanical systems, and precision machine technology. The school offers many courses in online or hybrid formats, and students can also take courses through the Michigan Colleges Online (MCO) program. MCO enables online learners to enroll in courses offered through other community colleges in Michigan, dramatically increasing potential course selections.

  2. St Clair County Community College

    Port Huron, MI



    Based in Port Huron, SC4 also maintains learning centers in Algonac, Harbor Beach, Peck, and Yale, serving students throughout the Blue Water area. As one of the top community colleges in Michigan, SC4 offers a wide selection of associate degrees and certificates in areas including business, information technology, health and human services, humanities and fine arts, and social sciences. The school also participates in the Michigan Transfer Agreement, which enables students to transfer their credits toward a four-year degree at many Michigan schools.

    SC4 also oversees the University Center program, which enables students to earn bachelor's degrees through partnerships with several four-year Michigan colleges, including Ferris State University, Walsh College, and the University of Michigan-Flint. Participants can complete their bachelor's entirely on SC4's campus, with many courses available in the evenings and on weekends. The University Center program offers several degrees, including criminal justice, psychology, nursing, information technology, and business administration.

  3. North Central Michigan College

    Petoskey, MI



    Serving more than 2,300 students annually from its campus in Petoskey, NCMC offers dozens of academic and professional programs, including certificates and associate of arts, sciences, and general studies degrees. Students can complete several transfer programs, including specialized degrees in early childhood education and environmental and sustainability studies. NCMC also offers professional programs in areas including communication, criminal justice, education, and health sciences.

    As one of the most comprehensive community colleges in Michigan, NCMC provides a generous selection of resources for students, including counseling, academic advising, and career services. The school's learning support services office offers various academic tools, such as academic tutoring in many subjects, a computer lab, study guides and various tutorials, and test proctoring. Students can also receive academic assistance through the school's writing center and math lab.

  4. Glen Oaks Community College

    Centreville, MI



    Based in Centerville, GOCC serves students around southwest Michigan and offers a variety of degrees and certificate programs in areas including agriculture, arts and communication, business and management, computer science, and manufacturing and industrial technology. Along with professional and academic offerings, the school hosts several notable programs in the visual arts, including associate of arts tracks in commercial photography, fine art, and graphic design.

    GOCC participates in the Michigan Virtual University program, which enables students to enroll in online courses at several member institutions. By making available online courses at other community colleges in Michigan, the Virtual University gives students a wider selection of course and degree options, while still providing support through the home campus. All online students can access free online tutoring through GOCC's NetTutor program, which pairs participants with an experienced academic tutor in a live online environment.

  5. Washtenaw Community College

    Ann Arbor, MI



    Serving more than 18,000 students annually, WCC is among the largest community colleges in Michigan. The school operates a main campus in Ann Arbor along with a sizeable distance education program. WCC offers academic and professional programs through 12 major departments, including advanced manufacturing systems, business and entrepreneurial studies, criminal justice and law enforcement, culinary arts and hospitality management, and nursing and health sciences.

    WCC maintains articulation agreements with several four-year Michigan colleges, including Eastern Michigan University, Madonna University, and Davenport University. Unlike many community colleges in Michigan, WCC's 3+1 transfer program enables students to complete up to three years of study at WCC before transferring to a four-year school to complete their final year. The 3+1 program features dozens of degree options, including 3D animation, baking and pastry arts, computer science, and web design.

  6. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

    Mount Pleasant, MI



    Founded in 1998 in Mount Pleasant, SCTC is operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, though the school offers education and other resources to the Mount Pleasant community at large. SCTC hosts four associate degrees in the arts and sciences: Native American studies, business, liberal arts, and sciences. Each degree requires 62 credits and prepares graduates for professional employment or transfer to a four-year Michigan college.

    SCTC provides generous support services for all students, including career development, academic advising, leadership development, financial aid counseling, and transfer assistance. The school's student resource center offers tutoring in common academic subjects as well as refresher courses in math and English for new students. The center also houses the SCTC library, which offers a variety of books and research materials. Additionally, SCTC hosts student advocacy resources for academic and non-academic issues.

  7. Muskegon Community College

    Muskegon, MI



    Enrolling around 4,800 students annually, MCC hosts a main campus in Muskegon along with extension centers in Coopersville and Fremont. Students can choose from more than 70 degree and certificate programs, encompassing fields such as allied health, applied technology, English and communication, life sciences, and respiratory therapy. The school has offered distance education options since 1998, making it one of the oldest online community colleges in Michigan. Most distance course use an asynchronous format.

    MCC offers several special learning opportunities, including internships and study abroad programs. Students can gain professional experience and make valuable connections through internships at many Michigan business and other organizations, in fields like business, technology, and education. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA to participate in internships. Study abroad programs offer additional opportunities for experiential learning through global partnerships in many foreign countries, including Germany and Belize.

  8. Kirtland Community College

    Roscommon, MI



    With campuses in Roscommon, Grayling, and Gaylord, KCC serves students throughout Roscommon County. The school offers more than 35 degree and certificate programs to on-campus and online learners. Students can earn a degree in areas including business and entrepreneurship, health sciences, public safety, STEM, and art and design. The college also hosts several fully online degrees and certificates in professional fields, such as accounting, business administration, business management, cybersecurity, and health technology.

    Emphasizing both academic excellence and workforce training, KCC provides several helpful resources for campus-based and online students, including career counseling, academic advising, and tutoring services. The school's career counseling office offers connections to jobs as well as interview and job hunting strategies, while the academic advising office assists with enrollment, course selection, and transfer pathways. Students also receive free academic tutoring in many academic subjects, including math, science, and composition.

  9. Gogebic Community College

    Ironwood, MI



    Founded in 1932, GCC is one of the oldest community colleges in Michigan. The school operates a main campus in Ironwood along with an extension site in Houghton. It offers career, transfer, and certificate programs that encompass most major academic and professional subject areas, such as business, healthcare, liberal arts, and sciences. GCC also hosts several online programs, three of which serve as transfer degrees: general arts, general sciences, and business administration.

    GCC's career programs include associate of applied science, business, and technology degrees, along with certificates. Students can choose from dozens of technical and vocational programs, including forestry technology, cosmetology, and ski area management. Most professional programs are not intended to transfer to other colleges, though students may be able to enter related bachelor's programs in some cases. Candidates interested in transferring should consult GCC's faculty advisors.

  10. Kalamazoo Valley Community College

    Kalamazoo, MI



    Serving a student body of more than 11,000 learners, KVCC is one of the larger community colleges in Michigan. With four campuses in the Kalamazoo area, the school offers dozens of professional and academic programs of study in fields including art and new media, healthcare, industrial trades, public service, and sustainable food systems. KVCC also offers several experiential learning opportunities -- including internships and apprenticeships -- along with prior learning assessments that award academic credit for relevant professional experience.

    KVCC offers popular programs focused on sustainability, including two associate of applied science tracks in sustainable food systems and sustainable brewing. The food systems degree examines culinary arts and entrepreneurship, building knowledge of the best farm-to-table practices. The brewing degree explores brewing science and technology, along with additional topics in science, sustainability, and business. KVCC also offers related certificate programs in sustainable brewing and dietary management.

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges In Michigan

Are community colleges worth it?

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Community colleges can help students transition into higher education and learn at their own pace. The national student debt topped $1.7 trillion in 2020, and affordability is top of mind for many students. Learners can save money on their education by earning an associate degree or taking transferable general education courses at a community college and then transferring to a four-year institute.

Community college classes are generally smaller, allowing for a more personalized learning experience. These colleges also offer professional and short-term certificate options for students who want to enter the workforce quickly.

How many community colleges are in Michigan?

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Michigan is home to 31 public community colleges.

What is the cheapest community college in Michigan?

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Wayne County Community College District is the least expensive community college in Michigan. As of spring 2022, tuition is $109 per credit for in-district residents and $118 per credit for other Michigan residents. For out-of-state residents and international students, tuition is $149 per credit. Financial assistance is available for eligible students. The college offers over 90 AA, AAS, and certificate programs in fields like accounting, surgical technology, and social work.

How much does it cost to go to a community college in Michigan?

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The average in-state tuition cost at a community college in Michigan was $3,570 per year during the 2020-21 school year. Out-of-state tuition was $6,750. This cost is much less than the annual in-state tuition at a four-year institute in Michigan, which was $12,810.

What is the biggest community college in Michigan?

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Located in Southeast Michigan, Macomb Community College is the biggest community college in Michigan. It serves nearly 38,000 students. Macomb offers over 200 degree and certificate courses at approximately 25% of the tuition cost of a public university.

The college provides 250 private scholarships to its students, while 80% of graduates leave debt-free. The student-to-faculty ratio at Macomb is 25-to-1, and students can take some courses entirely online. 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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