Best Community Colleges in Pennsylvania

Community colleges in Pennsylvania strive to provide affordable career education for adults. Community colleges work closely with area employers in order to train community residents for the jobs in their area of Pennsylvania. Often the community colleges of Pennsylvania are leaders in technology and innovative teaching methods.

The following best community colleges in Pennsylvania are all accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. These community colleges also cover the majority area of the huge state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania consists of sixty-seven counties and 501 school districts. Not all of these counties have their own community college with sponsoring school districts. The following three community colleges have the lowest tuition for Pennsylvania residents who do not live within the county.

Community College of Allegheny County

The Community College of Allegheny County states on its website that it is the “largest provider of educational services in western Pennsylvania.” The college is also ranked 49th in the country by the Community College Week for number of Associate Degrees.

Tuition for Allegheny County residents for 2009 is $ 85.25/Credit. Pennsylvania Residents outside of Allegheny County who are without a community college pay only $128.00/Credit. Considering that Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a fairly low cost of living, Community College of Allegheny County is a viable option for out of county students hoping to afford a college education.

Bucks County Community College

Bucks County, Pennsylvania is to the north of Philadelphia. The college sits on land acquired from Temple University. The tuition for residents of other Pennsylvania counties not sponsored by a community college is the same as for residents of Bucks County, $99/credit in 2009.

Reading Area Community College

For residents of Berks County, Pennsylvania tuition is a very low $77/credit and only $154/credit for other Pennsylvania residents. Reading Area Community College is representative of all community colleges in Pennsylvania for its variety of college to work career programs.

Besides Middle States accreditation community college programs often have separate accreditation. For example, Reading Area Community College has programs accredited by the National League for Nursing, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science, and the Committee on the Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania is known for its excellent use of technology in education. According to the college website, it is number one in 2009 for technology support according to the Center for Digital Education and Converge magazine. This community college is also one of 23 in the country IT Apple Authorized Training Centers.

Eight-two community colleges throughout the country participate in the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count initiative sponsored by Lumina Foundation for Education, an effort to help students stick with college. Montgomery County Community College is one of several Pennsylvania community colleges involved with Achieving the Dream. Also involved in this initiative are Community College of Allegheny County, Community College of Beaver County, Delaware County Community College, Northampton Community College, Community College of Philadelphia, and Westmoreland County Community College.

Community College of Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia has 70 degree and certificate programs, a diverse student population, and accessiblity through various locations in the city of Philadelphia. At $122/credit for Philadelphia residents, it is a little pricier than other community colleges but a deal in Philadelphia. The U.S. Department of Education ranks Community College of Philadelphia number 7 nationally in the number of associate’s degrees awarded to African-American students.

Northampton County Area Community College

Almost all of Pennsylvania’s community colleges are commuter schools. Northampton County Area Community College is the exception. This college in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has residence halls. The college is also growing rapidly. Besides its main campus NCACC has added four other sites.

Other Community CollegesThe following counties have community colleges all of which provide a low cost quality education for local and Pennsylvania residents: Beaver County, Butler County, Delaware County, Luzerne County, and Westmoreland County.

Lehigh Carbon Community College services the counties of Carbon and Schuylkill in the Allentown, Pennsylvania vicinity. Harrisburg Area Community College in Central Pennsylvania has its main campus in Harrisburg (Dauphin County) and other locations in the Adams, York, and Lancaster Counties. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College with its main campus in Johnstown, Pennsylvania has low tuition for Cambria County residents and a regional rate for residents of Blair, Bedford and Somerset Counties.

Pennsylvania residents do not need to give up dreams of attending college. The community colleges in Pennsylvania are definitely affordable. The colleges also have extremely flexible class hours designed to accomodate working adults. Credits are transferable to four year colleges. Distance learning is a consistent option at Pennsylvania community colleges making college even more accessible to all residents.

Non-Pennsylvania and international students are also attending the community colleges in Pennsylvania. Visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org for links to the community college in Pennsylvania that matches your interest.


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