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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in Pennsylvania

Oghenemairo Omueda - February 13, 2022


Attending a community college can help to qualify graduates for high-growth occupations in insurance, legal services, human services, liberal arts, health services, automotive services, business services, and a host of other fields. Attending one of the best community colleges in Pennsylvania can help you get in-demand jobs that match the distinct needs of the workforce in the state.

Community colleges are two-year schools that offer associate degrees and certificates and are an affordable alternative to four-year universities. In this article, you will learn about the best community colleges in Pennsylvania, along with some of the top programs offered by each school.

How We Defined Our Pennsylvania College Rankings

The best community colleges in Pennsylvania have been ranked based on concentrated influence. Concentrated influence means taking the combined influence of the school’s scores and prominent academic influencers, such as alums and faculties, and dividing it by the total number of registered students in the educational facility.

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Using this method of ranking gives smaller colleges a chance to shine as it reduces the size advantage of larger schools. A smaller-sized school that proportionally has a better influential faculty will be rated higher than a larger school with a larger absolute influence. This approach focuses on excellence for ranking schools instead of size.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Pennsylvania

  1. Delaware County Community College
  2. Community College of Beaver County
  3. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  4. Bucks County Community College
  5. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
  6. Lehigh Carbon Community College
  7. Westmoreland County Community College
  8. Community College of Philadelphia
  9. Community College of Allegheny County
  10. Luzerne County Community College

The Best Community Colleges in Pennsylvania: Explained

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S pecialized programs at affordable colleges are a great way of saving thousands of dollars while making big steps towards achieving your dreams.

1. Delaware County Community College

This public community college is located in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania, serving Chester and Delaware. The institution offers 80 certificates and 80 two-year associate degrees with 30 transfer Pennsylvania partners. Check out some of their specialized programs below.

Best Delaware County Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Creative Writing
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate Degree in Communication Arts
  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies

2. Community College of Beaver County

This college is located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The school includes around 3,600 credit students and more than 3,200 non-credit students from around Beaver Country. CCBC has credit and non-credit programs as well as degree and certificate opportunities.

Best Community College of Beaver County Programs

  • Associate Degree in Computer Science
  • Associate Degree in Communication
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Engineering
  • Associate Degree in Biological Sciences

3. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Founded in 1905, and located in Lancaster, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is a public technical college that offers 22 academic programs for around 1,200 students. The college was named after a 19th-century statesman, Thaddeus Stevens.

Best Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Programs

  • Associate Degree in Automotive Technology
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Architectural Technology
  • Associate Degree in Computer Integrated Machining
  • Associate Degree in Electrical Technology

4. Bucks County Community College

Bucks County Community College was founded in 1964 and is situated in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This college has three campus locations and other satellite facilities in different parts of the county. The school offers face-to-face classroom instruction, online programs, and hybrid modes that combine both online and onsite classes.

Best Bucks County Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Accounting and Analytics
  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
  • Associate Degree in Technical Entrepreneurship
  • Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate Degree in Hospitality Management

5. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Located in Johnstown with additional locations in other nearby towns, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is a public college. Students with a high school diploma or the equivalent of a GED can be admitted. Alternatively, students can apply for concurrent enrollment. This college accepts year-round admissions.

Best Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate Degree in Computer Science
  • Associate Degree in Business Management
  • Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship
  • Associate Degree in Marketing Managing

6. Lehigh Carbon Community College

Located in Schnecksville, Lehigh Carbon Community College, which is often called “L-tri-C,” is a public community college. In the Allentown area, this institution is the main source for granting associate degrees.

Best Lehigh Carbon Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Music/Sound Production
  • Associate Degree in Pennsylvaniaralegal Studies
  • Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate Degree in Aviation Science
  • Associate Degree in Engineering

7. Westmoreland County Community College

This is a public community college in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It was established in 1970. It was built on the suburban fringes to attract students from Monongahela Valley and the suburbs of Westmoreland in Pittsburgh. Students from the school districts of Indiana and Fayette can also attend this college.

Best Westmoreland County Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Communication Design
  • Associate Degree in Computer Technology
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Cyber Security
  • Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene

8. Community College of Philadelphia

The Community College of Philadelphia grants associate degrees, proficiency certificates, and academic certificates. In addition to holding campus classes, this institution offers a variety of learning options to suit your time and schedule. Some of these options include evening, traditional, online, and weekend courses.

Best Community College of Philadelphia Programs

  • Associate Degree in Biology
  • Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
  • Associate Degree in Digital Forensics
  • Associate Degree in Psychology

9. Community College of Allegheny County

As per its name, this college is located in Allegheny County. The college operates four campuses and four centers. Community College of Allegheny County offers diplomas, career certificates, and associate degree programs.

Best Community College of Allegheny County Programs

  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
  • Associate Degree in Language and Communications
  • Associate Degree in Psychology
  • Associate Degree in Music

10. Luzerne County Community College

This college is situated in Luzerne County Community College and has seven satellite centers in different parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It has more than 100 courses and associate programs on offer for students and has had over 35,000 graduates since its establishment.

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Best Luzerne County Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Healthcare Management
  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Digital Marketing
  • Associate Degree in Automotive Technology
  • Associate Degree in Culinary Arts

Other Pennsylvania Community College Rankings

A judge’s gavel.
Paralegal studies remains one of the best subjects for community college students in Pennsylvania.

Online education offers flexibility and is popular among students who work alongside school. With an online community college , students can learn at their own pace. Here are some top community colleges that offer online certificates, as well as a list of schools offering paralegal studies, which is one of the most popular subjects for community college students in Pennsylvania.

Best Online Community Colleges in Pennsylvania

  1. Bucks County Community College. Bucks County Community College offers 21 associate degree and six certificate programs. Associate degrees cover a wide range of interests, from sciences and education to social sciences and business.
  2. Montgomery County Community College. Montgomery County Community College offers programs for students who benefit from flexibility in their quest to obtain a degree.
  3. Community College of Allegheny County. This college offers distance learners many online learning solutions for associate degree courses and certificate options. Some programs include Associate Degrees in Psychology, Teacher Education, and Business.
  4. Northampton County Area Community College. Northampton Community College helps students earn an associate degree via a fully online format. Classes are live, giving online students the chance to connect with the instructor and students who are on campus and participate in online discussions.
  5. Lehigh Carbon Community College. Students who want a flexible class schedule will find this college a good option as it offers prospective students a chance to obtain online degrees in a wide range of academic programs.

Best Community Colleges for Paralegal Studies in Pennsylvania

  1. Bucks County Community College. Bucks County Community College is approved by the American Bar Association, it has a 27 percent transfer rate and 20 percent graduation rate.
  2. Community College of Allegheny County. Community College of Allegheny County has a 25 percent transfer rate and a graduation rate of 15 percent. While it is not ABA-approved, ABA approval is not a requirement to work as a paralegal in Pennsylvania.
  3. Delaware County Community College. This institution has an 18 percent transfer rate and a 23 percent graduation rate and is approved by the ABA.
  4. Harrisburg Area Community College. Harrisburg Area Community College is approved by the ABA and has a 25 percent transfer rate. The graduation rate is 12 percent.
  5. Northampton County Area Community College. This college has ABA approval and has its transfer-out rate at 26 percent. The graduation rate is 21 percent.

Should You Attend Community College in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Attending a community college in Pennsylvania is a great alternative to a four-year college, as it’s much more affordable. Both online and campus-based students benefit from career-technical, specialized programs. Students learn at their own pace and take advantage of partner programs and small class sizes.

Best Pennsylvania Community Colleges FAQ

Can you get a bachelor’s degree at a community college in Pennsylvania?

No. However, some community colleges now have an option for students to earn a four-year degree at a lesser cost. With an agreement signed by Southern New Hampshire University, community college students can transfer up to 90 credits, so they can complete a bachelor’s degree program online with affordable tuition rates.

Is it embarrassing to go to a community college?

No, nothing is wrong with attending a community college. In fact, community college is a great stepping stone for your career goals. It’s also a financially sustainable solution that can offer many career advantages.

How many community colleges are there in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania currently has 15 public community colleges and a number of private institutions in different parts of the state.

Do employers care if you went to a community college?

No. Most employers are more focused on your qualifications than where you got your education from. With a wealth of career training certificates and associate degree programs, community colleges can adequately prepare you to perform your job excellently.

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Oghenemairo Omueda

About the author: Oghenemairo is an expert content writer who has been published on Opera News and Medium. He holds a degree in microbiology from the University of Abuja. He also has a Facebook Certificate in Digital Journalism and a Google Digital Marketing Skills Certificate.

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