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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in Maryland

Shalom Kamau - February 20, 2022


Maryland is known for its blue crabs, the city of Baltimore, and its rich American history. You will also find world-class educational institutions including universities, coding bootcamps , and the best community colleges in Maryland. In fact, a survey by WalletHub ranked Maryland as having the fourth-best community college system of any state in the US.

You can attend one of these two-year schools to prepare to enter the workforce, or as a pathway to a four-year school. In this article, we’ll look at the top 10 community colleges in Maryland, some of the best online community colleges in Maryland, and the best community colleges for nursing in Maryland.

How We Defined Maryland Community College Rankings

The best community colleges in Maryland offer a comfortable college experience influenced by affordability, academic resources, and career outcomes. Maryland is home to 16 community colleges , each offering an open admission policy and affordable tuition.

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To define which are the best in Maryland, we looked at acceptance rates, the variety of each school’s academic catalog, the quality of programs, transfer protocols, and student reviews and success rates. Together, these factors make these junior colleges unique. Each one is an attractive option for post-secondary education with a high admission rate and a strong academic influence.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Maryland

  1. Montgomery College
  2. Howard Community College
  3. Carroll Community College
  4. Anne Arundel Community College
  5. Harford Community College
  6. Frederick Community College
  7. Wor-Wic Community College
  8. Chesapeake College
  9. Baltimore City Community College
  10. Hagerstown Community College

The Best Community Colleges in Maryland: Explained

Three students laughing and studying together at a college campus.
The best public colleges offer both a good education and a place for students to unwind and engage in leisure activities when they aren’t in class.

1. Montgomery College

Montgomery College (MC) is a public community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring. MC also has several continuing education centers in the state. The college is known for its computer science and nursing programs, and its online courses are also popular.

MC offers over 130 certificate and associate degree programs, along with impressive transfer programs. The college enrolls over 60,000 students annually and maintains a 17:1 student-teacher ratio, so students get plenty of personal attention. MC also encourages student growth and development through its clubs, sports, and cultural groups.

Best Montgomery College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Computer Science and Technologies
  • Associate Degree in International Studies
  • Associate Degree in Management
  • Associate Degree in General Studies
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

2. Howard Community College

Howard Community College (HCC) was founded in 1966 in Howard County and enrolls over 20,000 students annually. Students pay $142 per credit, and approximately 43 percent of HCC students benefit from financial aid. HCC’s strengths include its teacher education and allied health programs. It was named among the top 20 best colleges for adult learners by Washington Monthly magazine for four years in a row.

Best Howard Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development
  • Associate Degree in Computer Engineering
  • Associate Degree in General Studies – Health Sciences
  • Associate Degree in World Languages and Cultures
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

3. Carroll Community College

Located in Westminster, Carroll Community College is a two-year school offering affordable education, academic support, and impressive transfer programs. High school students who enroll in classes at Carroll receive a 33 percent tuition discount, while regular associate degree students have access to financial aid and scholarships.

Additionally, the college’s faculty is highly qualified, with 91 percent of professors holding at least a master’s degree. The school prides itself on producing qualified community college graduates, with over 4,000 credit students per year transferring to renowned public four-year schools like Towson University, University of Baltimore, and the University of Maryland.

Best Carroll Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Entertainment Technology
  • Associate Degree in Public Health
  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

4. Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) is a public two-year institution founded in 1961. Its main campus is in Arnold, with off-site campuses in Hanover and Glen Burnie, and a cyber and professional training center in Hanover.

AACC enrolls over 40,000 students in 225 programs and over 3,500 courses. The college is ranked as a leader in cyber security education and provides excellent workforce training for students in dozens of fields.

Best Anne Arundel Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Law and Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Education
  • Associate Degree in Computer Science
  • Associate Degree in Practical Nursing

5. Harford Community College

Founded in 1957, Harford Community College is a leading open-access college in Bel Air. It consists of 23 buildings on over 350 landscaped acres, accommodating over 11,000 students annually. Harford prioritizes student success through its programs and transfer partnerships with leading four-year institutions in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

Additionally, Harford features a state-of-the-art cyber security center for students planning to enter that field. In fact, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security have designated Harford as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security .

Best Harford Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Data Science
  • Associate Degree in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Arts Management
  • Associate Degree in Health Information Technology

6. Frederick Community College

Frederick Community College (FCC) in Frederick is home to over 85 certificate and associate degree programs. The school serves 15,000 students every year, a large percentage of whom are Frederick County residents. Moreover, FCC offers flexible learning options, such as online classes and evening, weekend, and hybrid courses.

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To attend this college, you need to be a high school graduate or have a GED. You must also pass a placement test and meet other admission requirements to enter a degree program at this school.

Best Frederick Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Design
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development and Child Care
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Hospitality Management

7. Wor-Wic Community College

Wor-Wic Community College is based in Salisbury and serves approximately 3,024 students per year. The two-year college has no admission requirements and offers a wide selection of academic programs for students across Maryland.

The education institution has university transfer programs and options for high school students seeking dual college enrollment. Wor-Wic prioritizes affordability and student outcomes by offering various scholarship programs, including the Promise Scholarship.

Best Wor-Wic Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in General Studies, Transfer
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Associate Degree in Emergency Medical Services
  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education, Transfer

8. Chesapeake College

Chesapeake is a public post-secondary education institution in Wye Mills. It is a small, two-year institution enrolling over 2,000 students annually. Students can select from various academic programs including associate degrees, certificates, and transfer programs. Chesapeake has courses in the arts, STEM, skilled trades, environmental studies, accounting, law, and more.

Best Chesapeake College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Management
  • Associate Degree in General Studies and Humanities
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
  • Associate Degree in Health Information Technology

9. Baltimore City Community College

Baltimore City Community College’s (BCCC) primary focus is making sure all of its students see academic and career success. The college offers extensive associate degree and certificate programs in business, engineering, technology, teacher education, and health care.

In addition, BCCC allows high school seniors to study tuition-free at the school through the Mayor’s Scholar Program. The school also offers workforce training support.

Best Baltimore City Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Education
  • Associate Degree in Computer Science and Technologies
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Associate Degree in Management

10. Hagerstown Community College

Founded in 1946, Hagerstown was Maryland’s first community college. Since then, more than 150,000 students have enrolled at the school over the years. Its curriculum consists of more than 90 programs including career preparation, personal development, and university transfer degrees. The college is known for its technology, education, and health care programs.

Best Hagerstown Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Biotechnology
  • Associate Degree in Information Technology
  • Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene
  • Associate Degree in Alternative Energy

Other Maryland Community College Rankings

Three women and one man looking at a laptop screen and smiling while sitting at a cafe table.
Besides offering affordable options, academic resources, and a variety of clubs, Maryland community colleges also promote diversity and inclusivity.

Apart from on-campus community college programs, many Maryland community colleges also have online programs for distance learners or prospective students with busy schedules. Most online community colleges have the same academic offerings and tuition costs as in-person colleges, with a few adjustments.

Since Maryland is also a nursing school hub, we’ve also selected a few of the best health profession programs for you to browse below.

Best Online Community Colleges in Maryland

  1. Montgomery College . Guide to Online Schools ranked Montgomery College as the best online community college in Maryland. The school’s online degree program caters to over 20,000 students with a wide range of academic programs.
  2. College of Southern Maryland . The College of Southern Maryland offers flexible online learning options through real-time courses designed for a virtual campus. School work at this college involves live lectures, class activities, and meetings.
  3. Allegany College of Maryland . Online learning at Allegany includes career training and courses in web design, photography, and information technology. The college partners with ed2go to provide instructor-led online programs.
  4. Community College of Baltimore County . The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) online program offers over 60 online programs and education courses. CCBC’s online program features rolling start dates and flexible schedules.
  5. Frederick Community College . FCC offers over 100 courses online. Students spend nine to 12 hours every week completing coursework and engaging in classroom activities. They can access additional resources, such as the FCC library, on the school’s website.

Best Community Colleges for Nursing in Maryland

  1. Anne Arundel Community College . Anne Arundel’s nursing department offers several licensed practical nurse (LPN) and registered nurse (RN) programs validated by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
  2. Hagerstown Community College . The nursing division at Hagerstown offers high-level nursing programs that are also ACEN-accredited. The RN and LPN curricula meet Maryland state education requirements and are in line with global healthcare standards.
  3. Frederick Community College . FCC is the best nursing college for prospective students seeking flexible learning options and lucrative jobs post-graduation. Nursing students can complete transfer programs to move on to a four-year college such as Frostburg State University, Towson University, American Public University, and the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing.
  4. Harford Community College . Harford offers competitive nursing programs. The healthcare faculty takes time to equip students with technical and fundamental skills they will need in their nursing careers.
  5. Allegany College of Maryland. The nursing program at Allegany is approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing and the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. Students can choose whether to get certified as a geriatric nurse or a certified nursing assistant. They can also choose to finish a degree to become a registered nurse .

Should You Attend Community College in Maryland?

Yes, you should attend a community college in Maryland if you’re looking for an affordable education opportunity that will lead to many career options. Every year, students save thousands of dollars by attending two year programs at these schools. Plus, prospective students who want to move on to a four-year school can choose to first complete a cheaper, two-year transfer program at a Maryland institution.

The colleges listed above are just some of Maryland’s academic offerings. Other community colleges in the state include Cecil College, Garrett College, and Prince George’s Community College.

Best Maryland Community Colleges FAQ

Is a community college education worth it?

Yes. Community colleges are affordable schools that offer a variety of renowned education programs, including credit and noncredit courses. They are also usually open admission. Furthermore, with an associate degree, you will be able to get a job or transfer to a four-year institution if you wish to continue your education.

What are the tuition costs for community colleges in Maryland?

US News & World Report statistics show that the average tuition ranges from $3,000 to $14,000. However, the annual tuition rate may also differ based on whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student.

Are Maryland community colleges free?

No, Maryland community colleges are not free. However, community college students have access to financial aid, scholarships, and reliable state-wide programs. One such program is Maryland’s Promise Program, which puts $15 million annually toward supporting college students.

Can you get a bachelor’s degree at Maryland community colleges?

No. The highest academic program available at Maryland community colleges is an associate degree.

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Shalom Kamau

About the author: Shalom is a career freelance writer whose work has appeared online at Ledmond and Watotolove. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and Film Technology from Kenyatta University. She also has a copywriting certificate from DigitalMarketer.

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