Best Community Colleges in Mississippi
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What's the biggest perk of a community college over a four-year university? For many, it's affordability. Mississippi community colleges can offer that. No-cost tuition is available for some in-state students.
Some other advantages about community colleges? Smaller class sizes and a wide variety of courses.
Mississippi also boasts some of the top online community colleges in the nation.
Why Study in Mississippi?
There are all kinds of educational opportunities in Mississippi. One path allows students to start at a community college and then finish their studies at one of the state's well-known four-year schools.
"There's no doubt that the data for decades talks about that if you graduate from a community college in Mississippi that you will perform better in years three and four academically when you go to university," said Meridian Community College President Dr. Thomas Huebner in an interview with WTOK TV.
Like every other state, Mississippi is working to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For 2022, the state is projected to see steady, slow economic growth. The job outlook follows a similar pattern. Some professions like healthcare and various technology fields are growing faster than others.
While Mississippi's economy isn't "booming," the relative stability has helped the state overcome some economic ups and downs.
Cost of Living
According to the World Population Review, the cost of living in Mississippi was the lowest in the nation in 2021. Certainly, a contributor to this low cost of living is having the lowest housing costs in the country as well, with an average home price of $128,000.
Groceries and utilities cost less than in other areas of the country, along with transportation and gas prices.
Cultural and Community Offerings
Mississippi has plenty of cultural and community offerings. And they vary across the state.
Cities like Natchez have thriving tourism economies. Towns along the coast tend to be more relaxed.
The music scene in Mississippi can be incredible. It's the birthplace of the Delta blues. Gospel and rock also have a strong presence in the state.
Larger cities like Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi feature a rich nightlife with many restaurants and other venues that offer fine Southern dining and great entertainment.
If you prefer warmer weather over colder temperatures, Mississippi may be the right fit for you. Wintry weather rarely shows up in the state. Summers can be hot, and humid. High humidity is common throughout the summer months, and rainfall is pretty evenly distributed year-round.
However, Mississippi rarely has an "average" year.
Some years contain flooding and storms, and others are marked by drought. Locals call it "feast or famine" when it comes to weather. The year will either be calm or filled with weather events, with little in between.
Top Degree Programs in Mississippi
Featured Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Mississippi Employment Outlook
Mississippi's employment outlook overall is stable, but there are growing industries and careers. Average job growth is expected to remain between 1-2% overall. This is due to the declining number of jobs in the mining and logging industries and increases in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, and information technology occupations.
Employment in government jobs saw declines, but education and health services fields have added jobs slightly faster than other sectors.
5 Mississippi Jobs in Demand
Physical Therapist Assistant
- U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $49,970
- Job Outlook: The demand for physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 32% nationwide from 2020-2030. This is one of the jobs most in demand in Mississippi as well. It indicates the state is making strides in adding healthcare professionals to its workforce.
Job Outlook: The demand for physical therapist assistants is projected to grow 32% nationwide from 2020-2030. This is one of the jobs most in demand in Mississippi as well. It indicates the state is making strides in adding healthcare professionals to its workforce.
Description: Supervised by physical therapists, these assistants help patients regain movement and strength after illness, injury, or disease.
Home Health Aide
- U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $27,080
- Job Outlook: A job growth of 33% is projected in this field from 2020-2030, and this is one of the fastest-growing career areas in Mississippi as well.
Description: The home health aide or caregiver helps those with severe illness, dementia, or injury to manage everyday activities. They also monitor the health of these patients, assist them with nutrition and mobility, and more.
This career is often a gateway to other opportunities in the medical field. Those with some college or trade school education and on-the-job training may pursue these jobs. However, those with an associate degree in a healthcare-related field generally earn more.
Computer Programmer and Software Developer
- U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $89,190 and $110,140
- Job Outlook: Jobs for computer programmers are projected to decline nationally from 2020-2030. At the same time, jobs for software developers are projected to grow 22%. In Mississippi, information technology jobs are in demand.
Description: A computer programmer writes code or other computer languages that enable computer or phone applications and software to operate correctly. They'll usually work in offices or even remotely. Software developers design computer applications and programs.
You can pursue a job as a computer programmer or software developer with an associate of sciences in software development. However, many employers will want additional on-the-job training or a bachelor's degree if you want to move ahead in your career.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $38,270
- Job Outlook: The number of these jobs, while projected to slightly decline nationally between 2020 and 2030, is on the rise in Mississippi. This is partly due to increases in the state's manufacturing industry.
Description: Plastics technicians set up, operate, and monitor the machines that shape, mold, and cut plastics, often as a part of a more extensive manufacturing process. Most of the time they work in plants or factories. The most common degree is an associate of science in manufacturing or, in some cases, process management.
- U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $54,290
- Job Outlook: The number of industrial mechanics jobs is projected to grow 19% from 2020-2030, faster than the average for all U.S. occupations. As machinery in factories gets more advanced and complex, industrial mechanics will be required to develop more skills. These professionals are in high demand due to Mississippi's emerging manufacturing industry.
Description: The duties of the industrial mechanic involve installation, maintenance, and repair of factory machinery and other industrial machines in a variety of industries. The most common associate degree in the field is in mechanical engineering. Many industrial mechanics move on to pursue a bachelor's degree or other on-the-job and formal training.
Popular Career Paths in Mississippi
Best Accredited Community Colleges in Mississippi
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Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Mississippi
Are community colleges worth it?
Community college can be a great and inexpensive way to get an associate degree and training. And it can be a good choice for those who decide to begin there and then continue on to a four-year college or university.
Mississippi offers some of the most affordable online community colleges and programs where eligible students can get free tuition. So community college in Mississippi can be worth it.
Does Mississippi have good community colleges?
Mississippi has some great community colleges that can offer an affordable education. Small class sizes allow students to interact more with professors and peers.
The education students receive can help them go straight into the workforce or pursue additional education at a four-year institution. These are just a few of the benefits of attending a community college.
How much does it cost to go to community college in Mississippi?
For 2020-2021, the community college tuition in Mississippi was $3,280 for in-state students and $5,800 for out-of-state students, according to the Education Data Initiative. Students who enroll in some area community colleges right after high school can receive free tuition if they meet eligibility requirements.
What is the cheapest community college in Mississippi?
Mississippi Delta Community College is among the most affordable. In spring 2022, the full-time tuition rate is $1,545.
Is Mississippi a good place to live and study?
Many people are drawn to live and study in Mississippi because of the wide-open spaces, outdoor opportunities, low cost of living, and inexpensive educational opportunities. If you love summer, loathe winter, and are interested in a simpler, slower-paced lifestyle, Mississippi could be the place for you.
Feature Image: Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images