Best Community Colleges in New Hampshire

The higher education experts at have reviewed top community colleges in the state of New Hampshire. Start planning for your future today.
portrait of Staff Writers
Staff Writers
Read Full Bio


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
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.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

Take our quiz and we'll do the homework for you! Compare your school matches and apply to your top choice today.

Community colleges in New Hampshire focus on helping students develop the industry-based skills and knowledge they need to navigate today's complex workforce. In particular, the state's growing healthcare, financial services, and computer information systems industries present many great career opportunities. New Hampshire houses some of the top online community colleges in New England.

In addition to positive academic and career opportunities, the state's four-season climate and natural beauty appeal to residents and visitors alike. Read on to learn all you need to know about community colleges in New Hampshire.

Why Study in New Hampshire?

Students attending school in New Hampshire can take advantage of abundant educational and career opportunities. There are also a variety of arts and culture for students to enjoy. In the following section, we delve into several reasons to study in the Granite State.

Educational Opportunities

New Hampshire's community collegesprovide students with multiple educational opportunities. The state's eStart program enables high school students to take online courses and earn both high school and college credit at the same time. The Running Start Program does the same with in-person classes, allowing for dual enrollment.

If a community college student plans to go on to a four-year institution, another dual-enrollment program admits them into the University System of New Hampshire while they are still attending community college.

In addition, for adult learners, the Work Ready New Hampshire program offers skill-building opportunities, assessments, training, and certifications related to the jobs employers are currently hiring for in the state.


Several industries in New Hampshire are growing, including financial services, healthcare, and technology. The state also boasts a favorable business tax climate — rated best in New England by The US Tax Foundation — with no sales tax, no inventory tax, and low corporate income tax. As of November 2021, New Hampshire's unemployment rate of 2.7% was significantly lower than the national average (4.2%).

Cost of Living

New Hampshire maintains a slightly more expensive cost of living than the rest of the country, on average, although this does vary depending on the area of the state. Transportation typically costs less due to the state's well-run public transit system. Healthcare also costs less than average.

Utilities and groceries cost a bit more than average. In general, utility costs are driven up by the cold winters, but this is somewhat offset by relatively mild, cool summers.

Cultural and Community Offerings

New Hampshire possesses a rugged beauty that artists, writers, and musicians often find inspiring. The seasons offer incredible color in the fall, and many local artists feature these different seasons in their work.

Additionally, the age of the state means many historic sites can be found. Galleries, events and festivals, and a strong theater community all create educational and inspiring entertainment.


While often considered to be especially cold in the winter, New Hampshire temperatures actually run about average when compared to other northern states. However, it can be windy and it does snow. Mild summer days often include rain. The proximity to the ocean feeds this typically humid climate, but without the extreme heat that can make the humidity unbearable.

Top Degree Programs in New Hampshire

Featured Online Programs

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

New Hampshire Employment Outlook

Employment in New Hampshire outpaces much of the country. While manufacturing jobs have declined slightly in recent years, many other career fields have enjoyed recent growth and are projected to continue to thrive in the coming years.

While the population remains steady, industries around the state need skilled workers to fill open positions. The financial and healthcare industries offer many opportunities for those who possess the right skills and education.

4 New Hampshire Jobs in Demand

Radiologic Technologists

These technologists use imaging equipment to examine ill or injured patients to determine what kind of treatment they need. A physician makes a final determination based on the findings of radiologic technologists. These professionals need an associate degree and typically work in doctors' offices or hospitals.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $64,940
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 8.9%

Software Developers

Software developers create computer programs and applications. They may work in offices or remotely as part of a team. Developers need, at minimum, an associate of science in software development, but additional on-the-job training and/or a bachelor's degree may be required for some positions.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $109,840
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 25.7%

Physical Therapists Assistants

Working under the direction of a physical therapist, these assistants help patients regain movement and strength after illness, injury, or disease. They may work at hospitals or in physicians' offices.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $62,110
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 23.5%

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Environmental science and protection technicians monitor and investigate sources of pollution and contamination and assist environmental scientists with enforcement and remediation. They work in offices, labs, or in the field. An associate degree is required for this position.

  • U.S. Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $50,840
  • Job Growth Projection (2018-2028): 17.4%

Popular Career Paths in New Hampshire

Best Accredited Community Colleges in New Hampshire

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

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 New Hampshire

  1. Manchester Community College

    Manchester, NH



    Established in 1945, Manchester Community College began as a trade school for returning veterans seeking retraining after World War II. After undergoing several name changes and relocations, MCC now sits on 57 acres north of Manchester's city center and serves approximately 3,500 students each year. It is the second-largest of the seven community colleges in New Hampshire.

    Students can choose from more than 60 associate degrees and certificate programs. Staying true to its vocational roots, MCC offers programs in a variety of trades, including manufacturing, welding, and automotive technology. Traditional academics are also represented, with programs in the arts, humanities, social sciences, education, business, and healthcare. Students seeking a degree or certificate in accounting or management can complete their studies entirely online.

    MCC offers opportunities for student involvement through athletics, more than 30 student clubs, and spring/winter break trips. An open admissions policy guarantees acceptance to any prospective student with a high school diploma or GED.

  2. White Mountains Community College

    Berlin, NH



    White Mountains Community College is a two-year commuter college located along the Androscoggin River in Berlin. Two supplemental academic centers expand educational services to residents in nearby Littleton and Conway. WMCC offers affordable, high-quality education to prepare students for today's jobs and university transfer pathways.

    WMCC's 24 associate degrees and 30 certificates encompass a diverse set of academic and vocational fields, including education, conservation law enforcement, human services, library technology, and business administration. Flexible hybrid and online learning options are available for some programs. In partnership with the Omni Mount Washington Resort, WMCC also offers a three-year culinary apprentice program that requires a minimum of 5,000 hours working in the kitchen. This world-class training leads to an associate of science in culinary arts.

    Students can get involved on and off campus in a variety of extracurricular events and activities. WMCC practices open admissions, and applicants must provide official high school transcripts or high school equivalency documentation.

  3. Nashua Community College

    Nashua, NH



    Nashua Community College serves nearly 2,000 students each year from the greater Nashua area and beyond. NCC prides itself on offering flexible learning options, with more than half of all learners enrolling on a part-time basis and nearly a quarter taking at least one online class. The school offers numerous on- and off-campus engagement opportunities, including student clubs and organizations, activities and sports, service trips, and study abroad.

    NCC offers 35 associate degrees and 22 certificate programs, with liberal arts and business studies as the most popular subjects. Certificate students most commonly focus on machine tool CNC programming, massage therapy, and early childhood education. Course scheduling options are available in traditional, hybrid, and online formats.

    Learners can enroll at NCC by completing an online or printed application, providing proof of high school completion, and submitting qualifying SAT scores or sitting for a placement exam.

  4. Great Bay Community College

    Portsmouth, NH



    Great Bay Community College includes a primary campus in Portsmouth and the Advanced Technology and Academic Center (ATAC) in Rochester, one of the largest grant projects undertaken by any community college in New Hampshire. GBCC enrolls more than 2,000 students each year and offers learners opportunities to participate in student government, civic engagement clubs, and Heron athletics.

    GBCC's academic offerings include 28 two-year associate degrees and 25 certificates. Certificates available through the ATAC campus provide students with advanced training that prepares them for employment in a variety of manufacturing and technology careers. At the Portsmouth campus, students can pursue a range of associate programs in fields like criminal justice, early childhood education, fine arts, hospitality management, and veterinary technology.

    GBCC features an open admissions policy. Prospective students need only fill out an application, provide proof of high school graduation, and schedule a placement exam (unless exempt).

  5. Lakes Region Community College

    Laconia, NH



    Lakes Region Community College has served the city of Laconia and the surrounding communities for more than 50 years. LRCC enrolls more than 1,000 students each year and is one of the only community colleges in New Hampshire to offer on-campus housing, including fully furnished apartments less than a mile from campus.

    LRCC offers students the choice of 28 associate degrees and 37 certificates. Dozens of disciplines are represented, with the most popular areas including fire science, general studies, liberal arts, and business management. Nearly a dozen local fire departments offer LRCC fire science students the opportunity to participate in a live-in program, providing an unmatched opportunity for on-site experience and training.

    Prospective students must provide official high school transcripts, apply for federal financial aid, and arrange to take a placement exam (unless exempt via GPA, test scores, or prior college experience).

Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in New Hampshire

Are community colleges worth it?

Chevron Down

Community college is worth it for many students. Community colleges in New Hampshire can reduce the cost of a degree significantly, while preparing graduates for in-demand jobs throughout the state.

Is community college free in New Hampshire?

Chevron Down

Not usually. Community colleges charge students fees, although they do offer financial aid programs that can help students reduce out-of-pocket costs significantly. Qualified low-income students may pay little to nothing thanks to federal grants and state programs.

How many community colleges are in New Hampshire

Chevron Down

Seven community colleges and five academic centersmake up the New Hampshire Community College infrastructure. These 12 locations serve the major population centers in the state.

Is the University of New Hampshire a community college?

Chevron Down

No. The University of New Hampshire is a four-year liberal arts college with three campuses located throughout the state: a main campus in Durham, a satellite campus in Manchester, and a law school campus in Concord.

What is the acceptance rate for the University of New Hampshire?

Chevron Down

Most students gain acceptance at the University of New Hampshire, which boasted an acceptance rate of 84% in 2020. 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.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.