Best Community Colleges in North Carolina
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Consisting of 58 colleges that offer flexible and accessible educational options, the North Carolina Community College System enrolls approximately 700,000 students each year. Furthermore, the Longleaf Commitment Grant allows qualifying North Carolina high school graduates from low- and middle-income families to become eligible for financial assistance at each of these colleges.
With opportunities for free tuition, financial aid, and quality education, North Carolina houses some of the best online community colleges and trade schools.
Why Study in North Carolina?
Community colleges in North Carolina offer specialized educational options and customized job training programs, including one-year and two-year certificates and degrees, transfer opportunities, and dual enrollment. North Carolina's community colleges offer more than 275 programs and make up one of the largest community college systems in the country.
The state's community colleges also provide learners with the opportunity to sign up for short-term workforce training programs or earn an associate degree in nursing that qualifies them to work as registered nurses.
Forbes ranked North Carolina as the best state for business from 2017 to 2019. With a package of low taxes for businesses and residents, along with top-tier job development programs, North Carolina's economy is on the rise.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in North Carolina falls well below the national average, including in terms of housing, healthcare, groceries, transportation, and utilities. WalletHub also ranks North Carolina 34th in average tax burden among all states in the country. This means that the average North Carolinian pays less in taxes when compared to the national average.
Cultural and Community Offerings
North Carolina is the ninth-largest state in the United States in terms of population, boasting a diverse population of more than 10 million. Despite the large population, North Carolina is not a crowded state. Instead, the Tar Heel State is known for its beautiful coastal plains, scenic barrier islands, and hiking trails.
North Carolina houses more than 40 state parks, 10 national parks, and four national forests, along with various art and history museums. There are also various community celebrations throughout the year, helping North Carolinians come together and build an inclusive community.
There are rarely extreme winters or summers in North Carolina. The climate is mild throughout the year, characterized by its humid and sub-tropical climate.
As winters are extremely mild, North Carolinians and tourists from all over the world can enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. Visitors and residents can take a trip to the iconic Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains or plan a beach getaway at Emerald Isle, Bald Head Island, or Cape Hatteras.
Top Degree Programs in North Carolina
Featured Online Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
North Carolina Employment Outlook
North Carolina's employment ecosystem is supported by job-providing programs like ApprenticeshipNC and BioNetwork, along with customized training schemes and small business center networks that serve many local workers.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that North Carolina will experience 6.3% job growth from 2018-2028. This would translate to the creation of more than 300,000 new jobs.
4 North Carolina Jobs in Demand for 2022
Healthcare and social assistance is one of the biggest employment industries in North Carolina. These professionals, who help maintain patient records and administer many types of medication, are consistently in demand. Nurses must hold a license to practice.
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
These professionals help veterinarians diagnose and treat animals. Daily tasks may include collecting blood and tissue samples and performing lab tests. An associate degree is the most common academic requirement for these positions.
Skilled trades careers, like electrician, generally don't require four-year degrees. This allows individuals to enter the workforce quickly. Students aiming for a career as an electrician can look forward to entering an in-demand industry.
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Students who want to work as occupational therapy assistants often earn an associate degree from a community college or technical school. Occupational therapy assistants support a patient's recovery and progress in developing skills that they need in daily living and working.
Best Accredited Community Colleges in North Carolina
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Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in North Carolina
Are community colleges worth it?
Community colleges usually offer relatively affordable tuition rates and a flexible path toward in-demand jobs and emerging professional fields. Many community colleges also offer flexibility through affordable online programs.
Another advantage of enrolling at community colleges is that the credits you earn are transferable to most four-year universities in the country, providing an alternative path in your pursuit of a bachelor's degree.
Does North Carolina have free community college?
Some community colleges in North Carolina offer free tuition and financial assistance. In 2021, the Governor's Emergency Education Relief fund granted North Carolina an estimated $138 million in financial aid, which helped the state's community college system to create the Longleaf Commitment Grant.
How many community colleges are in North Carolina?
There are 58 community colleges spread across North Carolina. The North Carolina Community College System offers 275 programs of study and serves about 700,000 students.
Some community colleges in North Carolina offer fully online programs. Students can receive specialized training in skilled labor educational programs, which typically takes 1-2 years. Central Piedmont Community College and Wake Technical Community College are the two largest community colleges in the state in terms of student enrollment.
What is the number one community college in North Carolina?
Located in Grantsboro, Pamlico Community College is considered among the best community colleges in North Carolina. According to its website, PCC boasts an excellent 9-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, along with a graduation and transfer rate that is well above the national average.
Since starting as a small industrial education provider in 1962, PCC has become a fully accredited two-year community college. In addition to on-campus offerings, the school now offers online programs for working adults.
How much does it cost to go to a community college in North Carolina?
The average tuition at community colleges in North Carolina typically costs about $2,500 per year for in-state students and $8,250 for out-of-state students.
Almost every community college in North Carolina offers some online learning programs, so students can avoid paying transportation and on-campus dormitory fees. Eligible students can also apply to the Longleaf Commitment Grant, which would award them free tuition for up to two years.
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