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School Rankings

Best Community Colleges in Virginia

Medinah Aina - February 21, 2022


Getting accepted into a college of your choice is a complex process, and the ability to pay for college tuition is even more difficult. This is why the best community colleges in Virginia are so useful. These colleges are two-year institutions that offer an associate degree with class scheduling flexibility. They are relatively more affordable than four-year colleges and prospective students have a higher admission chance.

If you are in Virginia and want to attend a community college, or need an alternative to a university, this article is for you. It contains helpful information on some of the best community college programs in Virginia. We’ll even list some of the best community colleges for business administration in Virginia.

By the end of the article, you will be able to choose the most affordable path for yourself, making savings in tuition fees and getting one step closer to achieving your learning and career goals.

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How We Defined Our Virginia Community College Rankings

Community colleges are ranked based on their program range, including technical programs, tuition, financial aid, acceptance rate, transfer rates, and job placement rates. These factors determine the quality of the program and the school generally. We have also used these factors to pick 10 from the long list of colleges in Virginia.

These community colleges have a transfer agreement with several universities to accept students with the required transfer credits into bachelor’s programs. This is important, as many students join community colleges to work toward earning a baccalaureate at a four-year institution.

Other factors considered include access to credit courses and a wide range of programs, high graduation rates, and affordable tuition rates. Also considered are the community college’s academic services and human services, accessible admission criteria, and work placement rates.

The Top 10 Community Colleges in Virginia

  1. Piedmont Virginia Community College
  2. Rappahannock Community College
  3. Wytheville Community College
  4. Mountain Empire Community College
  5. Paul D. Camp Community College
  6. Columbia Community College
  7. Danville Community College
  8. Eastern Shore Community College
  9. John Tyler Community College
  10. Central Virginia Community College

The Best Community Colleges in Virginia: Explained

four school students working on a laptop in a cafe setting
An associate degree can be the first step towards earning a four-year college degree as it creates opportunities for students to meet university admission requirements.

1. Piedmont Virginia Community College

Piedmont Virginia Community College, commonly referred to as PVCC, is a community college in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was established in 1970 and started offering classes in 1973. It offers associate degree programs, certificate programs, continuing education, and workforce training programs. PVCC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Best Piedmont Virginia Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Applied of Applied Science in Information Technology

2. Rappahannock Community College

Rappahannock Community College is a public community college in eastern Virginia, founded in 1970, with two campuses in Glenns and Warsaw. It values integrity, diversity, and inclusion and offers associate degrees and certificate programs with transfer opportunities to other community colleges within specific programs. It is accredited by SACSCOC.

Best Rappahannock Community College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Engineering Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Health, STEM Specialization

3. Wytheville Community College

Wytheville Community College is a public institution founded in 1963 and is part of the Virginia Community College System. It offers various forms of academic study, like transfer programs, technical education programs, developmental courses, workforce development, advanced job training, and continuing education. Its admission requirements can be easily found and it is accredited by SACSCOC.

Best Wytheville Community College Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management and Leadership
  • Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts and Sciences in General Studies

4. Mountain Empire Community College

MECC is a public two-year institution in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. It was opened in 1972 and is also a part of the Virginia Community College System. It offers 69 fields of study and has a student-faculty ratio of 24 to one, making it ideal if you’re prioritizing small class sizes in your school search. It is accredited by SACSCOC and is an open-admissions school, meaning high school graduation or equivalent is the only requirement.

Best Mountain Empire Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Technology
  • Associate Degree in Computer Network Technology
  • Associate Degree in Science, Engineering Specialization
  • Associate Degree in Correctional Services
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration

5. Paul D. Camp Community College

Paul D. Camp Community College is a public community college in Franklin, Virginia. It was established in 1970 and is part of the Virginia Community College System. It prides itself on providing small classes, individual attention, high academic standards, various programs of study, and a commitment to success.

This college offers career services and academic services to its students, including career planning and work placement assistance. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  (SACSCOC).

Best Paul D. Camp Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in General Studies, Specialization in Computer Science
  • Associate Degree in Industrial Technology
  • Associate Degree in Administration Of Justice
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

6. Columbia College

Columbia College is a community college founded in Manassas in 1999. It offers associate degree programs, vocational English as a second language (VESL) programs, online VESL programs, certificate programs, career services, and career development programs with scheduling flexibility.

Columbia College only offers three associate degree programs to meet the demand of the people in the area. It is accredited by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

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Best Columbia College Programs

  • Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate of Science Degree in Dental Laboratory Technology
  • Associate of Science Degree in Cosmetology

7. Danville Community College

Danville Community College is a two-year institution in Danville and part of the Virginia Community College System. It started as a textile school in 1936 and now offers over 100 programs in general education, college transfer, and career training, as well as customized classes.

You can study various subjects at Danville, including social sciences, health science, childhood development, and different accounting fields. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Best Danville Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice
  • Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems
  • Associate Degree in Construction Management
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

8. Eastern Shore Community College

Eastern Shore Community College is a two-year school in Melfa, Virginia. It is a member of the Virginia Community College System. It offers multiple programs, including transfer programs, career and technical programs, certificate programs, and distance learning for additional flexibility. It also provides dual enrollment, developmental courses, adult education, and career pathway programs.

Best Eastern Shore Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Electronics Technology
  • Associate Degree in General Studies
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (RN)

9. John Tyler Community College

John Tyler Community College is a public community college in Chester, Virginia that will be known as Brightpoint Community College starting in July 2022. It was renamed after the Virginia State Board of Community Colleges changed the names of institutions named after enslavers or known racists. Brightpoint Community College offers over 75 programs in multiple industry fields and offers online, onsite, and hybrid courses with online resource guides and additional resources.

Best John Tyler Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in General Studies
  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Accounting
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate Degree in Liberal Arts

10. Central Virginia Community College

Central Virginia Community College is a state school in Lynchburg, Virginia, and part of the Virginia Community College System. Its educational facilities are state-supported beyond the high school level and offer various programs to meet the demand of the area’s diverse population. Prospective students need only to send their school transcripts to get started.

It offers transfer programs, associate degree programs, occupational and technical programs, and certificate programs. You can work towards numerous degrees at Central Virginia Community College. It offers degrees in business administration if you’re aiming for an accounting job, or criminal justice degrees if you’re interested in the administration of justice.

Best Central Virginia Community College Programs

  • Associate Degree in General Studies
  • Associate Degree in Information Systems Technology
  • Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
  • Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy Technology
  • Associate Degree in Business Administration

Other Virginia Community College Rankings

a student holding books and carrying a backpack with earphones in
Community colleges are affordable learning centers that offer education options that are a good step in your educational journey to help you attain your career goals.

While in-person programs are excellent, not everyone can afford them or commit to their schedules. This is why there are online schools to ensure that those who want a college degree can get it, regardless of their circumstances. Below is a list of colleges that we’ve ranked as the best online community colleges with the lowest tuition rates and best ecampus distance learning programs in Virginia.

Best Online Community Colleges in Virginia

  1. Southwest Virginia Community College. This is a public community college in Virginia that offers students online and in-person programs with big savings in tuition. It offers over 80 programs, including tuition-free college transfer programs for low-income students.
  2. Northern Virginia Community College. Composed of six campuses, Northern Virginia Community College is a public two-year school that offers on-site and online courses. Students can take an associate degree or certificate program entirely online and can also transfer to four-year institutions through two-year programs.
  3. Tidewater Community College. Tidewater Community College is a public two-year college located in South Hampton Roads, Virginia, with four other campuses. The school offers over 150 on-site and online programs with online certificates and a transfer agreement, meaning a guaranteed successful university transfer for interested students.
  4. Thomas Nelson Community College. TNCC is a public school with two campuses in Virginia. It offers in-person and online programs with a test to see if students qualify for distance learning. It provides several fully online academic programs, taught by the same faculty, and it offers resource guides and online learning support for those who need it.
  5. Reynolds Community College. Reynolds community college is a two-year institution with three campuses in Virginia. The school offers several online community college courses to make learning easier for its students.

Best Community Colleges for Business Administration in Virginia

  1. Virginia Western Community College. Virginia Western Community College is a public community college in Roanoke, Virginia. It is one of the state’s most highly ranked schools and offers online classes. It has transfer admission agreements with over 30 public and private colleges for students with the right academic credits, and it has high job placement rates thanks to its career-ready associate degrees.
  2. Thomas Nelson Community College. TNCC is a public community college in Virginia that offers several programs in various fields as well as online courses. It is a highly ranked school in Virginia and offers a well-recognized business administration (BA) program designed to prepare you for a BA bachelor’s degree program at a four-year institution. Studying business administration at TNCC will qualify you for entry-level jobs.
  3. John Tyler Community College. Soon to be known as Brightpoint Community College, this is a reputable institution in Virginia. It offers several programs, including an associate degree in business administration , with affordable annual tuition. The program is designed to prepare students with the business skills needed for a successful career. It can be taken online, onsite, and in a hybrid format.
  4. Bryant & Stratton College. This is a private for-profit community college with campuses in four states, including Virginia. It offers multiple programs in different fields and has online and hybrid formats. The school offers an Associate Degree in Business that takes students through business, administration, and management courses.
  5. Southwest Virginia Community College. As one of the public community colleges in Cedar Bluff with low college costs, SVCC offers online and in-person programs of study. The Associate Degree in Business Administration program prepares students to transfer to four-year universities. Two years of a community college education at SVCC are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree.

Should You Attend Community College in Virginia?

Yes, you should attend a community college in Virginia, if you want to join thousands of current students who are working towards an affordable degree after earning their high school diploma. Community colleges are a great learning option as they are cost-efficient and shorter compared to four-year schools.

Beyond these reasons, community colleges are also a good option for those who can’t get into college and want to experience campus student life while earning a degree. This is because community colleges have a higher acceptance rate, and sometimes a higher graduation rate than most four-year institutions.

Most two-year institutions provide transfer options, allowing students to transfer credits earned during their program to a public university to work toward any number of four-year bachelor’s degrees . To benefit from a transfer, you must apply to a school and program that offers transfer degrees and has admissions agreements with both private and public colleges.

Best Virginia Community Colleges FAQ

Why is community college looked down upon?

Community colleges are looked down upon because they are believed to provide inferior education when compared to four-year colleges. Also, they were previously called “junior colleges,” which created a stigma of community college students not having enough education from this short-term training to get hired for jobs that four-year school graduates were applying to.

What state has the cheapest community college?

California is the state with the cheapest community colleges, as it has the majority of the most affordable community colleges compared to the national average. California even has some tuition-free college options.

Is community college the best option?

Community college is the best option for you if you are having trouble getting accepted into a four-year school, cannot afford a university’s average tuition, are a new high school graduate, or do not want to spend four years in college. It is also great for you to learn a technical program in a school setting.

Do employers care if you went to a community college?

If you meet the job requirements, an employer typically will not care that you went to a community college. Community colleges can prepare you for a career just as well as a university does, and your qualifications and skills matter more to the employer than your specific academic path.

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Medinah Aina

About the author: Medinah is an expert copywriter and web designer, helping people learn more about education and careers in technology. She values in-depth research and providing accurate, helpful information. Medinah holds a BSc in Social Work from the University of Lagos and an Eduonix Certification in copywriting.

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