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Ohio ranks fourth among all states for business climate for 2021, according to the annual rankings in Site Selection magazine. Community colleges in Ohio can help prepare students to work in the state's fast-growing industries, such as healthcare and healthcare support, education, and business services.
Ohio has a low unemployment rate and a relatively low cost of living, even in some of its more populated cities like Cleveland and Columbus.
A college education can help graduates pursue a career in Ohio. Community college can be a more affordable way to do that.
Students can complete a certificate program to learn specialized skills in a high-demand field or get further training, and potentially a raise, for a current job. Some get an associate degree at a community college in Ohio before going on to pursue a bachelor's degree. Others choose to enter the workforce right away.
Why Study in Ohio?
Centrally located in the Midwest, Ohio offers plenty of recreational and professional opportunities for students interested in attending community college.
Ohio offers many choices for those pursuing a higher education in the state. Options include: 23 two-year community and technical colleges, 14 four-year public universities with 24 branch campuses, and 50 four-year private universities. Also, attending an in-state community college can make it easier to transfer credits toward a four-year degree for those who want to further their education.
Despite some of the economic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio is experiencing economic growth. In 2019, Ohio launched the Office of Workforce Transformation to connect businesses and education. The goal is to prepare students with the right skills for the jobs in demand today, and in the future.
The state has many initiatives to encourage healthcare innovation, support minority-owned businesses, and help entrepreneurs thrive with startups. Ohio also has a large manufacturing sector. In 2020, the Department of Defense designated the state as a Defense Manufacturing Community to strengthen national security innovation.
Cost of Living
Ohio's cost of living ranks below the national average and below nearby states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Along with healthcare and transportation costs, housing costs also rank below the national average. This makes Ohio an affordable place for a college student to live and study.
Cultural and Community Offerings
The cultural opportunities in Ohio are as diverse as the communities that make up the state. It's home to the world-famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The state has many renowned museums and cultural sites, as well as more than 174,000 acres of state and national parks filled with Ohio history. Ohio also hosts dozens of annual festivals, and it has a winemaking history that dates back more than 170 years.
The state has four distinct seasons — rainy and mild spring, warm and humid summer, crisp autumn weather with beautiful fall foliage, and cold winters. Ohio's proximity to Lake Erie usually means plenty of rain and lake-effect snow in the winter months for the northernmost parts of the state. Temperatures in the winter can dip below freezing when colder air comes down from Canada. So for those who like to experience the different seasons, Ohio offers wide-ranging weather.
Top Degree Programs in Ohio
Ohio Employment Outlook
One benefit of getting an education at a community college in Ohio is the strong economic outlook for the state. As of October 2021, the unemployment rate was 5.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ranking Ohio 30th among U.S. states. The real gross domestic product, a measure of economic strength, grew by 6.4% in the first part of 2021, matching the U.S. average. Median household income in 2019 (the most recent year that data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau) was over $56,600.
Ohio's workforce of more than 5.6 million people is larger than the entire population of 30 other U.S. states. These workers primarily work in:
- Trade, transportation, and utilities (18%)
- Education and healthcare (17%)
- Government (14%)
- Professional and business services (13%)
- Manufacturing (12%)
The fastest-growing sector in the Ohio economy is healthcare. Four of the state's top 10 employers are healthcare companies.
5 Ohio Jobs in Demand
U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $86,850
U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 9%
Radiation therapists help oncologists provide care for patients undergoing radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. They can work in hospitals, outpatient centers, or physician offices. Radiation therapy jobs require an associate degree and state licensing in Ohio. Most radiation therapy jobs in the state are located near the major metropolitan areas of Cleveland and Columbus.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist
U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $79,590
U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 8%
Nuclear medicine technologists work with radioactive materials to prepare them for use by radiologists. Most people work in a hospital, but there are also openings available in imaging clinics and diagnostic labs. Ohio requires nuclear medicine technologists to have an associate degree and a valid radiologic license to work in this field.
U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $77,200
U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 13%
Web developers help companies design and implement websites, apps, and database interfaces. These jobs are available in a wide variety of industries, including marketing and advertising, management consulting, business, and finance. Some entry-level web designer positions are available with an associate degree, while others require a bachelor's-level education.
U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $77,090
U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 11%
Dental hygienists play an important role in providing dental care to patients. They work with dentists to offer preventive care, improve oral hygiene, and look for signs of disease. A dental hygiene program takes two years to complete. Ohio requires dental hygiene graduates to take a state test to get a license.
Computer and Information Technology (IT) Network Support Specialist
U.S. Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $55,510
U.S. Job Growth Projection (2020-2030): 9%
Computer and IT network support specialists provide support to maintain computer networks. The job includes troubleshooting issues in IT, maintaining local area and cloud networks, and keeping computer servers up and running. Like many IT jobs, this is an area of significant growth for people with the right skills.
Popular Career Paths in Ohio
Best Accredited Community Colleges in Ohio
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 Ohio
Lorain County Community College
LCCC offers 10 program and career pathways in fields such as computer and information technologies, culinary arts and hospitality, and liberal and creative arts. Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, LCCC offers associate degrees and certificates, and students can earn an AA for transfer entirely online.
Besides traditional programs, LCCC boasts continuing education opportunities for learners of all ages. The college offers a GED-preparation course for degree-seekers and allows high school students to earn an associate degree and a high school diploma simultaneously. Students ages 50 and older can take one of many personal enrichment courses.
All incoming degree-seekers at LCCC complete a new student orientation and take placement assessments. The college exempts learners from these assessments if they possess a minimum 18 ACT or 970 SAT score. Financial aid opportunities include on-campus work-study programs and dozens of college and departmental scholarships.
Northwest State Community College
NSCC attracts both traditional and accelerated students by offering courses in eight- and 16-week formats, as well as more than 70 certificates and degrees. This Ohio community college also delivers a specialized track that helps undecided degree-seekers -- approximately one-third of the student body -- select a major.
Outside of class, learners can access more than a dozen valuable student services. When degree-seekers first enroll, they meet with an educational planning advisor to select courses and access resources to help them succeed academically. The Career Services Office works with students one-on-one to explore internships, polish resumes, and search for jobs.
Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, NSCC accepts GED certificates. All incoming learners complete student orientation, advising, and registration (SOAR). Degree-seekers can complete SOAR entirely online or in person by making an appointment. NSCC awards both foundation and institutional scholarships; learners can apply for financial aid in the spring, summer, or fall semester.
The only private school on this ranking, Valor Christian College affiliates with the World Harvest Church. The college's 12 associate degrees and five certificates prepare graduates to become ordained and lay ministers. Distance education students can complete one of six degrees entirely online, including programs in Christian ministries, organizational leadership, and youth ministries. This Ohio community college also offers courses in the evenings, an excellent option for degree-seekers who work full time.
At the Valor Learning Center (VLC), degree- and certificate-seekers can receive one-on-one tutoring services; online students can also access tutors at no additional cost. Students can also turn to the VLC to improve their writing skills. Professors provide detailed feedback that learners can apply to current and future writing assignments.
Valor Christian College requires prospective students to submit scores from the ACT or SAT. Applicants also submit a pastor's recommendation and an essay on a Christian service topic. Transfer credit must reflect a minimum C grade. The college offers four scholarship opportunities, one of which awards full tuition.
Saint Clairsville, OH
From its three Ohio campuses, as well as online, Belmont College educates over 1,200 students earning a degree or certificate. The college offers both AA and AS degrees that transfer to in-state, four-year colleges. Students in this track do not select a major but complete general education credits to satisfy bachelor's degree requirements. Certificate programs cover areas such as building preservation, public safety, and information technology.
Student resources at this Ohio community college include academic advisors who help learners create a degree-completion plan. Students can also take a career-interest assessment and have a highly trained career advisor review their resume. Outside of class, degree-seekers can join the Student Government Association or one of many program-specific organizations.
Applicants must complete a new-student enrollment checklist that involves submitting either high school transcripts or GED scores. All students complete a first-year experience orientation either on campus or online. Belmont College provides over a dozen scholarship opportunities that award up to $2,250 each semester. Some scholarships require a separate application.
James A Rhodes State College
Rhodes offers academic programs in four divisions: allied health, arts and sciences, business technology and public service, and nursing. Each division awards degrees and certificates; however, only degrees in the arts and sciences division qualify learners to transfer to a four-year school. These AA and AS degrees feature concentrations (rather than majors) in English, history, psychology, and sociology.
Degree- and certificate-seekers at Rhodes can access counseling or academic advising services by making an appointment. This Ohio community college's career development program features highly trained advisors who help students and alumni search for job opportunities and curate a professional portfolio. Additionally, employers throughout Ohio and the U.S. post job opportunities to Rhodes' website and actively recruit alumni.
Rhodes accepts applications online or through the mail, and incoming learners also submit FAFSA results. New students without ACT or SAT scores take the COMPASS test to determine initial math and English course placement. Scholarship application requirements include a resume, personal statement, and two references.
Sinclair Community College
Sinclair holds transfer agreements with over 100 colleges and universities, making it an excellent choice for students planning to enter a bachelor's-completion program. The college's four academic divisions -- liberal arts, health sciences, business and public services, and STEM -- award both degrees and certificates. Distance learners can select from more than 20 entirely online programs.
Like many excellent Ohio community colleges, Sinclair features an honors division through which students can select from the Honors Initiate Program or Honors Scholars Program. The former provides greater flexibility; students can take as many honors courses as they want, while those in the Honors Scholars Program can specialize in global studies. Candidates to either program must have a minimum 3.25 GPA and submit recommendation letters.
Sinclair uses eight application pathways for different types of learners. Prospective students without prior college experience take placement tests, complete an orientation, and meet with an advisor. Scholarship opportunities require a separate application.
Columbus State Community College
In addition to traditional AS, AA, AAS, and certificate programs, CSCC boasts a fifth option for prospective learners: an associate of technical studies (ATS). Degree-seekers earning an ATS work one-on-one with an advisor to create a custom major that can either transfer to a four-year school or prepare students for a new career. Other students at this Ohio community college can select a career-focused major through one of more than 36 academic departments.
To help students in middle school and high school prepare for college and careers, CSCC features the College Credit Plus Program. The college partners with school districts near the Columbus and Delaware campuses to offer college-level courses that satisfy general education requirements at four-year schools.
CSCC does not charge an application fee, and all incoming students submit FAFSA results. The college's honors program has additional application requirements. New, undecided, and transfer students can access specialized enrollment counseling resources. Degree-seekers interested in financial aid can apply for scholarships in the spring, summer, or fall semester.
Washington State Community College
WSCC delivers more than 45 degrees and certificates in six academic areas that include health, engineering, and public service. This Ohio community college features an engineering technology major with an optional concentration in robotics and mechatronics. This degree helps students develop in-demand skills and transfers to bachelor's-completion programs. Like many other schools on this ranking, WSCC participates in the College Credit Plus Program.
The WSCC Honors Program attracts high-achieving students who want smaller class sizes and networking opportunities. Application requirements include a minimum 3.0 high school or undergraduate GPA and excellent ACT scores. Degree-seekers take 2-4 honors courses, complete a special project, and participate in service-learning. Honors students stay in good academic standing by maintaining a minimum 3.0 GPA.
All incoming learners apply for financial aid by submitting FAFSA results. WSCC offers new scholarship opportunities in the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Students with financial need may qualify for an Ohio College Opportunity Grant.
Cuyahoga Community College District
Tri-C offers nearly 200 courses in technical and career program areas, making it the perfect choice for prospective learners researching certificate programs. Students can also select a degree in areas such as applied industrial technology, information technology, or manufacturing. Like all Ohio community colleges on this ranking, Tri-C also delivers transfer degrees. Additionally, the college features both online and fast-track options.
Tri-C works with employers to host on-campus job fairs and place students in summer internships. Degree-seekers can visit the Career Center to attend a workshop, explore careers, or apply for an internship. Other valuable student services at Tri-C include academic counseling and tutoring.
Tri-C accepts ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores. All incoming learners submit FAFSA results. Students submit only one application to apply to all college-funded scholarship and grant opportunities. Degree-seekers enrolled in the college's honors program may qualify for additional financial aid.
North Central State College
From its Mansfield campus, NC State delivers more than 60 degrees and certificates, nine of which students can complete entirely online. Degree-seekers planning to transfer can major in one of 13 areas, including administration, criminal justice, education, and social work. This Ohio community college also tailors certificate programs to the busy schedules of working professionals.
Academic advising at NC State features success coaches who meet with students immediately after enrollment. After the first semester, the college assigns learners an academic advisor. The Career Development Services Department hosts training workshops, critiques cover letters, and provides job search resources.
NC State encourages prospective students to meet with an admissions counselor before enrolling. These counselors help applicants complete steps such as submitting transcripts and taking placement tests. Full-time College Credit Plus or Career Tech students with a minimum 2.75 GPA may qualify for free tuition.
Edison State Community College
Edison State provides two transfer degrees and five career pathways in areas such as business, information technology, and health sciences. Transfer degrees include both full- and part-time tracks. Also, students seeking to eventually transfer to a four-year school can select from dozens of majors. Career pathways offer the same flexibility and feature degree and certificate options. Additionally, this Ohio community college has over 20 online degrees and 10 short-term technical certificates.
Unique student services at Edison State include a Transfer Assurance Guide, a valuable tool that informs degree-seekers which courses automatically transfer to in-state public colleges and universities. Outside of class, students can join a career-orientated club or participate in intramural sports. Edison State also hosts Phi Theta Kappa, the nation's top honors society for students attending a two-year college.
Incoming degree-seekers with qualifying ACT or SAT scores do not take the ACCUPLACER assessment. Numbering more than two dozen, the college's scholarship opportunities require only one application.
Terra State Community College
With an average class size of only 15 students, Terra State appeals to prospective learners who want individualized instruction. This Ohio community college offers over 60 degrees and certificates in areas such as accounting, health information technology, and robotics. Online programs feature both transfer degrees and specialized programs in mortuary science and healthcare administration.
Terra State sponsors men's and women's basketball teams as well as a women's volleyball team. The Student Activities Center provides additional opportunities for learners to participate in sports, socialize, and network with peers. Valuable student services include career advising, student employment opportunities, and internship placement.
Prospective students do not pay an application fee. Terra State uses 12 application pathways that accept learners from all backgrounds. This Ohio community college charges 40% less in tuition than comparable four-year, in-state schools. Finally, the Terra College Foundation Scholarships award $500-$1,000 to eligible students.
More than 3,300 students choose Hocking College every year for the school's more than 60 degree and certificate programs. Learners can select a program from five academic fields, including allied health and nursing, workforce development, and public safety. This Ohio community college features popular certificates in nursing and film and video production. Additionally, active-duty military personnel and veterans can earn a transfer degree entirely online.
Hocking College's WebAdvisor program provides faculty, students, and community members with valuable information on a variety of topics. Degree-seekers can receive academic and career-planning advice. WebAdvisor also provides clear instructions on how to apply for financial aid, register for courses, and apply for graduation.
Hocking College recommends that prospective on-campus students take a tour before applying. All new learners complete a Quickstart orientation that involves meeting with an advisor. The college's affordable tuition saves transfer students an average of $28,000 on a bachelor's degree.
Southern State Community College
Along with transferable AA and AS degrees, SSCC delivers academic programs in 11 areas, including education, social services, and health science. The college also hosts training academies for aspiring truck drivers and police officers. Online options at this Ohio community college include both transferable degrees and a certificate program in real estate.
Degree-seekers can join one of SSCC's many academic clubs, including Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), which hosts networking events for academically gifted students. PTK members receive an invitation to the organization's annual conference. As learners near graduation, they can access a private job board featuring career opportunities throughout Ohio.
This community college in Ohio requires high school transcripts, college transcripts, or GED scores. Incoming learners take the ACCUPLACER exam; the college waives the placement testing requirement for degree-seekers who possess excellent ACT or SAT scores. Students interested in college-funded scholarships should apply by the March 31 deadline.
Clark State Community College
With over 125 degrees and certificates, Clark State attracts a diverse student body. Degree-seekers can select from five types of associate degrees, one of which transfers to four-year schools. This Ohio community college features nine campuses throughout the state. Additionally, the arts and humanities, business, computer and information technology, and math and sciences departments all feature programs for online learners.
New and current degree-seekers can apply to Clark State's honors program. Applicants must possess a 3.5 high school or 3.3 undergraduate GPA. Honors students take specialized coursework in history, English, and biology, among other topics. The college awards a scholarship to honors program learners who stay in good academic standing.
Prospective degree-seekers complete a new student checklist, which includes an in-depth orientation. Incoming students at Clark State benefit from two semesters of one-on-one academic advising. Learners submit only one form to apply to more than 50 college-funded scholarship opportunities.
Lakeland Community College
From its Kirtland campus, Lakeland serves Lake County and the surrounding areas. Over 8,000 students pursue degrees or certificates across more than 50 departments and offices. Departments unique to this Ohio community college include fire science technology, nuclear engineering, and respiratory therapy.
Lakeland's 24 student support departments feature a men's resource center that offers both academic support and counseling services to address men's unique needs. Another valuable service helps veterans make the most of their federal student aid benefits. Additionally, the Campus Kids program provides an affordable childcare option for learners.
Prospective students without previous college experience submit transcripts or GED scores. Lakeland does not set a specific GPA or grade requirement for transfer credit. Learners can apply for scholarship opportunities throughout the year. However, Lakeland awards all funding during the fall semester. Degree-seekers who do not receive a scholarship can still participate in a work-study program.
Eastern Gateway Community College
EGCC's four transfer programs allow students to either earn a general AA degree or specialize in a science topic. Transfer students can also create a personalized degree -- an associate of independent studies. Nontransfer degree options include accounting, teacher education, and information technology. Additionally, EGCC offers over two dozen certificates in in-demand fields such as medical coding.
Like many Ohio community colleges on this ranking, EGCC participates in the Federal TRIO Program to provide free academic services to students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Degree-seekers who learn on campus can join Phi Theta Kappa or a career-orientated club or organization such as the IT Club or Student Dental Assisting Organization.
All incoming students meet with an enrollment specialist and complete a new-student orientation. EGCC scholarships award up to $1,200. Degree-seekers submit a scholarship application by the March 8 priority deadline. EGCC also awards college-funded grants to learners with financial need.
Stark State College
North Canton, OH
SSC offers 230 academic programs that include degrees, certificates, and professional development opportunities. Students can learn on the college's Jackson Township campus, at the Akron campus, or online. Many programs allow students to learn in a hybrid format. Transfer candidates can choose from 2+2 or 3+1 programs; learners in the latter save considerably on tuition by attending nearby Franklin University for only one year.
Academically motivated students can apply to SSC's honors program. Applicants must have a high school diploma with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Each semester, degree-seekers can select from dozens of honors courses, including astronomy, major modern writers, and juvenile delinquency. Finally, honors students complete a symposium that involves independent research and a presentation.
Like many Ohio community colleges on this ranking, SSC uses the ACCUPLACER exam. New degree-seekers can complete either an on-campus or online orientation. All students with a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and an ACT score of 22 or above receive a Presidential Scholarship. Learners interested in other scholarship opportunities should apply by the April 1 deadline.
At Owens, learners can earn a degree or certificate in one of 12 areas. Students planning to transfer to a four-year school complete a concentration. Popular concentrations include biology, community and family services, and education. Aspiring auto body technicians, bookkeepers, and EMTs can earn a certificate. E-learning at this Ohio community college features two transferable degrees and three certificates.
Advisors at Owens help degree-seekers select a major, prepare for transfer, and explore other campus resources. Career services include networking events, mock interviews, and experiential learning opportunities such as service-learning and internships. Finally, student organizations allow students to network outside of class.
Prospective students apply online before submitting high school transcripts or GED scores. Some healthcare programs have additional application requirements. New degree-seekers can complete orientation on campus or online. Full-time students with a minimum 2.75 high school or undergraduate GPA qualify for the Start Here Scholarship. Other scholarships require a separate application.
University of Akron Wayne College
The University of Akron Wayne College delivers certificates in addition to associate and bachelor's degrees. Students can earn an associate and immediately start a bachelor's-completion program at the University of Akron. Career-orientated associate degrees include computer information systems, construction engineering technology, and land surveying.
Degree-seekers who possess a minimum 3.0 GPA can apply to the Student Scholars Program. Learners enter the program as part of a cohort and complete an independent research project. In the final semester, students participate in a colloquium that includes a presentation to faculty and peers. The program confers a scholarship that helps students cover costs associated with research.
Applicants ages 21 and younger submit ACT or SAT scores. Other application requirements vary by student type. Full-time students at this Ohio community college pay a flat tuition rate. Financial aid opportunities include grants, scholarships, and on-campus student employment. College-funded scholarships award up to $2,500. Degree-seekers submit FAFSA results each year to stay eligible for financial aid.
Frequently Asked Questions About Community Colleges in Ohio
Are community colleges worth it?
Attending a community college costs less than a four-year university. So this can make community colleges a great choice to get a degree or certificate to start a career while saving money. At a community college, students can pursue many different associate degrees or certificates — in high-demand fields. Community colleges also offer financial aid to help students pay for a degree. Many offer flexible options. These include online classes and outreach education in communities throughout the state so students can attend classes near where they live.
Does Ohio have good community colleges?
There are 23 community colleges in Ohio, with campus locations throughout the state. Students can find convenient options to attend class in person. Many also offer online classes to help students get an education that is convenient for work and family schedules. The schools are often in areas with a lower cost of living than many large states and cities. Students can afford to live and go to school as they prepare for an exciting new career or to continue their education. The best community colleges in Ohio also have strong workforce training and adult education partnerships to help nontraditional students get an education.
How much does it cost to go to community college in Ohio?
The average annual tuition for in-state students to attend community college in Ohio is $3,780, as of 2021. For out-of-state students, the cost is $7,680. The Ohio Department of Higher Education also has links to each of the state's community colleges. Prospective students can find detailed information on the price to attend and calculators to help determine the total costs and student loan repayment.
What is the cheapest community college in Ohio?
A number of factors can determine your tuition costs. Are you a full-time or part-time student? Are you an in-state or out-of-state student? On-campus or distance learner? Any of Ohio's community colleges can offer a path to a certificate or degree, at a more affordable cost. However, the cost of college includes more than just the tuition. You'll need to also calculate costs for housing or rent, food, books and supplies, transportation, and any other fees. Some colleges offer net price calculators to help you calculate your estimated cost to attend school.
Is Ohio a good place to live and study?
Ohio is a great place to live. It offers both urban and rural communities and has a lower-than-average cost of living compared to many other places in the U.S. Students who live in Ohio and qualify for in-state tuition can get a high-quality education at a lower cost. This can prepare them for jobs in high-demand industries like healthcare and computer science. Ohio also has a strong support network for entrepreneurs and small businesses for students interested in starting their own venture after graduation.