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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in Colorado

Chizi Amadi Amaewhule - February 20, 2022


With the cost of pursuing a college education at a four-year institution increasing rapidly, community colleges in Colorado are becoming a better option. According to the Education Data Initiative, four-year college tuition rates have increased by 179.2 percent over the last 20 years. However, the best community colleges in Colorado have affordable tuition fees and even financial aid programs.

The Colorado community college system is a booming business, with an estimated 125,000 students in the 2020 academic year , showing that community colleges in Colorado are an attractive option. This article will highlight some of the state’s top community colleges for associate programs and technical education programs. Plus, you’ll discover the best community colleges for nursing in Colorado, alongside some great colleges for online courses.

How We Defined Colorado Our Community College Rankings

Our list of the best community colleges in Colorado is based on the various factors students will think through before choosing a Colorado community college. Without a doubt, the first consideration on the mind of college students is the cost of a college education.

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The average tuition for community colleges is estimated at $7,460 annually , according to the Education Data Initiative. However, Colorado community college students pay less to attend academic programs and earn academic credits, with an average credit hour charge of $153.35 in this state, averaging at $4,600 annually.

Other factors that define our choice of state community colleges include their selection of campus courses and online courses, their school graduation rate, their acceptance rate, and class sizes. Also, the student-faculty ratio, tuition payment plan, career advising services, and college facilities were considered.

Although community colleges are public schools, some have the same standards as their private counterparts. Based on these factors, we developed a list of top on-campus and online community colleges in Colorado that are notorious for producing successful individuals with excellent career prospects.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Colorado

  1. Lamar Community College
  2. Community College of Aurora
  3. Colorado Northwestern Community College
  4. Trinidad State College
  5. Morgan Community College
  6. Arapahoe Community College
  7. Pikes Peak Community College
  8. Otero Junior College
  9. Aims Community College
  10. Emily Griffith Technical college

The Best Community Colleges in Colorado: Explained

1. Lamar Community College

Lamar is a public college with accreditation from the High Learning Commission. Some of the popular majors at Lamar Community College are liberal arts, nursing, and general construction trades. Also, Lamar College has a distance learning program. The small student population at Lamar College allows for effective learning, thanks to a high teacher ratio.

Best Lamar Community College Programs

  • Associate of Science in Animal Science
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science in Agricultural Business
  • Associate of Arts in Elementary Teacher Education
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

2. Community College of Aurora

The Community College of Aurora has an enrollment of about 1,563 undergraduate students, annually. Community College of Aurora’s popular majors are computer science, theater, and political science. Its college tuition fees are affordable, letting you achieve your degree plans without taking out large loans.

Best Community College of Aurora Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Theatre
  • Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security
  • Associate of Arts in Political Science
  • Associate of Science in Chemistry

3. Colorado Northwestern Community College

The Colorado Northwestern Community College was founded in 1979 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Some of the majors with the highest entries are nursing, aviation, and dental hygiene. The academic opportunities and associate degree catalog at Colorado Northwestern are enormous.

Best Colorado Northwestern Community College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity
  • Associate of Arts in Agriculture Business
  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Health
  • Associate of Arts in Psychology

4. Trinidad State College

Like most top community colleges in Colorado, Trinidad State College has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and its school graduation rate is the highest among Colorado community colleges. Trinidad State College’s popular majors are nursing, massage therapy, barbering, and cosmetology programs, and it’s also known for its well-supported athletic teams.

Best Trinidad State College Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Cosmetology
  • Associate of Science in Dental Assistant
  • Associate of Arts in English Literature
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

5. Morgan Community College

Morgan Community College is located in Fort Morgan, Colorado. The institution currently offers more than 50 programs and occupies an 11,500 square mile area. Morgan College is known for its nursing and business programs.

Best Morgan Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Economics
  • Associate of Science in Physics
  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice

6. Arapahoe Community College

Arapahoe Community College offers more than 70 degree programs that guarantee transfer to a four-year school in Colorado. Arapahoe College also offers 100 percent online degrees, with more than 200 online courses available. The Arapahoe Community College administrators offer prospective students an amazing reception.

Best Arapahoe Community College Programs

  • Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Advanced Paramedic Practitioner
  • Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Associate of Arts in English

7. Pikes Peak Community College

Currently, Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) offers more than 150 plus degrees and certificate programs, with its main campus in Colorado Springs. PPCC has more than 20,000 students in its student population, but the average number of students in a class at PPCC is only 16, offering intimate class sizes for more effective learning.

Best Pikes Peak Community College Programs

  • Associate of Arts in Anthropology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Collision Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting
  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

8. Otero Junior College

Otero Junior College is one of the oldest institutions in Colorado and its academic session dates back to 1941. Otero College occupies 40 acres on the south side of La Junta, Colorado. Popular majors at Otero College are agriculture, nursing, and biology. Additionally, Otero College is a community college accredited by the Hispanic Serving Institution.

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Best Otero Junior College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agriculture Production
  • Associate of Arts Degree in Spanish
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Science Degree in Mathematics
  • Associate of Science Degree Biology

9. Aims Community College

Aims Community College is a perfect public school to start your higher education. Popular Aims Community College programs include nursing, accounting, and liberal arts. Aims College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and they offer professional licensure programs and degrees.

Best Aims Community College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Professional Piloting

10. Colorado Mountain College

At Colorado Mountain College, the impressive teacher-to-student ratio of 13 to one makes it the best fit for any student who needs personalized attention. Also, this Colorado college has affordable tuition rates for its associate and career certificates program.

Best Colorado Mountain College Programs

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Studio Arts
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Education
  • Associate of Arts in History
  • Associate of Applied Science in Physics

Other Colorado Community College Rankings

An excited community college graduate
Community colleges’ affordable tuition fees encourage more prospective students to enroll in higher education.

With education diversifying, we decided to rank community colleges in Colorado according to their strength and capacity. For instance, studying online is becoming a norm, but very few community colleges have full-time online academic programs. Check out the best online community colleges in Colorado to study online, and also find popular nursing associate degrees to study below.

Best Online Community Colleges in Colorado

  1. Arapahoe Community College. Arapahoe College offers more than 200 online programs. You will get the same support as traditional on-campus students.
  2. Pikes Peak Community College Programs. You can opt for the various online courses at Pikes Peak Community College Programs. Pikes Peak offers full-time online learning or a combination of the traditional campus learning, or a mix of both.
  3. Lamar Community College. Students have access to direct online programs at Lamar Community College. At the end of the online courses at Lamar College, online learners will be issued degrees and certificates like a traditional campus student.
  4. Community College of Aurora. Online learning is available at the Community College of Aurora. Degrees and certificates are awarded at the end of each online program.
  5. Trinidad State College. At Trinidad State College, you have a wide range of online courses to choose from without leaving your home until the end of the program. Online school students at Trinidad also get the same support as their campus-based counterparts.

Best Community Colleges for Nursing in Colorado

  1. Trinidad State College. This college’s nursing program has a traditional schedule and an evening or weekend schedule to choose from. The nursing program is available at the Trinidad and Alamosa campuses.
  2. Lamar Community College. Lamar Community College’s nursing program is certified by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. Also, Lamar College hires the best professionals to manage its nursing program.
  3. Otero College. The nursing program at Otero College prepares you to excel. It has highly-trained professionals and registered nurses.
  4. Arapahoe Community College. The Arapahoe Community College offers both bachelor’s and associate nursing degrees. You will also get active learning in the classroom and clinical experiences, providing you with a pathway to become a registered nurse .
  5. Morgan Community College. The nursing program at Morgan Community College has maintained a continued accreditation since 1991. No doubt, Morgan College’s nursing program is one of the best in Colorado.

Should You Attend Community College in Colorado?

Yes, you should attend community college in Colorado if you’re looking for affordable education that will land you employment in high-demand industries like nursing, accounting, and programming. The tuition costs of community college in Colorado is cheaper compared to regular universities. Plus, some states are adopting tuition-free community programs.

Additionally, if you struggled with studies at high school, community colleges have programs that will ease you into the world of higher education. You can also take advantage of the financial aid programs provided by community colleges in Colorado. If you want to transfer to a four-year university, search for new career opportunities, or upgrade skills, the education you receive at community colleges in Colorado will be helpful.

However, if you’re considering an online alternative to college, you may also benefit from attending a top online bootcamp to learn in-demand technical skills, such as coding, graphic design, and digital marketing.

Best Colorado Community Colleges FAQ

Do Colorado community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees?

Yes, you can find a handful of community colleges in Colorado that provide bachelor’s degrees. A few of the community colleges with bachelor’s degree programs are Colorado Mountain College, Arapahoe Community College, and Trinidad State Junior College. Before you opt for a bachelor’s degree in any of the colleges, you can learn about what a bachelor’s degree entails and the advantages.

Is it worth it to enroll in a community college in Colorado?

Yes, community colleges are a good way to save on higher education. Community colleges have upgraded and are a great alternative to colleges with four-year programs. Nowadays, almost every community college in Colorado offers 100 percent online classes. These public institutions have amazing teachers, offer business certificates and career-centered certificate programs, and provide impressive tuition payment plans.

What are the cons of enrolling in a community college in Colorado?

The major disadvantage is that a community college education is not the best option for attaining a four-year degree. Community colleges are mainly two-year schools and their programs are mostly centered around applied sciences and practical skills. Nevertheless, most community colleges have partner programs that provide options to transfer to a four-year institution.

Is it easier to get admitted into a community college in Colorado?

It’s easier to get admitted into community colleges because many community colleges have an open admissions policy. This means that you only need the required high school diploma or other certification to enter a course, and you’re not competing with other students for course placement. However, community colleges have to meet the same requirement as other regional institutions, and the level of instruction at community colleges is not different from universities.

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Chizi Amadi Amaewhule

About the author: Chizi is an expert writer who reports on higher education and careers. His professional interests include law, graphic design, and technology. Chizi holds a Bachelor of Law from Rivers State University.

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