Best 23 Community Colleges in Ohio in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Admin

Community Colleges in Ohio
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Home of seven former presidents and over two dozen astronauts, Ohio produces some of the brightest minds in the United States. Over 600,000 students attend Ohio’s public institutions for higher education. New associate’s degree graduates from Ohio community colleges earn an average of $37,978 in full-time salary per year. Community Colleges in Ohio are great options for newly high school graduates to start their new adventure as a college student.

Top 5 Community Colleges in Ohio

What Is A Community College?

Community colleges are public educational institutions that usually grant 2-year associate’s degrees and professional certificates. (Some also offer 4-year bachelor’s degree programs.) Many students use these schools as an affordable way to start their college experience and transfer to a four-year university after completing their general education degree. Others seek degrees for professional or personal development.

How Many Community Colleges Are In Ohio?

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) recognizes 23 community colleges in the state. These schools are assisted by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). While there are many more technical colleges and career centers in the state, we will only focus on the 23 colleges as listed by the ODHE.

Interested in finding the right community college for you? Use our website tools to tailor your search!

What Are The Best Community Colleges In Ohio?

When ranking a school, there are many data points to choose from. We assessed these 23 schools over four categories in order to rank them all on a 92-point scale. The four categories assessed were cost, enrollment, student-faculty ratio, and graduation rate. Take a look below for the results!

The Best 23 Community Colleges in Ohio


Sinclair Community College – 70 Points

  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 33%

Founded in 1887, Sinclair offers 246 associate’s degree programs, over 20 completely online degrees, and over 100 professional certificate programs. The Health Sciences department features a robust 700 clinical affiliations within the community. Popular majors at Sinclair include business, criminal science, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,025 per year
Enrollment: 4,547
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Graduation Rate: 33%
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Edison State Community College – 68 Points

  • Piqua, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 43%

Students at Edison State Community College can choose from five different degree types across 30 technical fields. Two of the offered degree types allow for transfer to a four-year university while the remaining three are designed for entry-level employment. Two associate degree programs are offered entirely online, though many classes are also available online. Edison State’s most popular majors include liberal arts, nursing, and business.

*Includes all books, fees, and cost for a 12hr full time student.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,898 per year*
Enrollment: 4,000 students enrolled
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduation Rate: 44%
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Cuyahoga Community College – 65 Points

  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Cuyahoga offers over 200 associate degree programs and workforce training courses, as well as hundreds of non-credit community enrichment and professional development classes. Students can choose to learn on-campus or remotely via TV or online for some courses. In addition to liberal arts and nursing as favored majors, the automotive engineering technician program is popular.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $2,748 per year
Enrollment: 6,980
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Graduation Rate: 25%
Visit School Website

Owens Community College – 60 Points

  • Perrysburg, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 29%

There are over 70 associate’s degree and certificate programs to choose from at Owens Community College. Discipline-specific accredited programs number 54 across the fields of business, engineering technology, health, and liberal arts. The top major at Owens is nursing, followed by business and welding.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,780 per year
Enrollment: 2,506
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 29%
Visit School Website

Lakeland Community College – 56 Points

  • Kirtland, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

Lakeland features over 135 associate’s degree and certificate programs with 23 programs offered online. Further educational opportunities are offered by the Holden University Center for Lakeland graduates seeking bachelor’s and postgrad degrees. Students can also participate in 7 varsity athletics teams. Popular majors at this community college include liberal arts, welding, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,306 per year
Enrollment: 2,011
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 20%
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Washington State Community College – 55 Points

  • Marietta, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 35%

A small college offering over 50 degree and certificate programs, Washington State Community College accommodates on-campus and blended (hybrid campus-online) classes during the day and evenings. Students and community members with young children may take advantage of the Evergreen Child Development Center. The most popular areas of study at WSCC include liberal arts, accounting and bookkeeping, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,960 per year
Enrollment: 740
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 35%
Visit School Website

Clark State Community College – 53 Points

  • Springfield, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

Clark State Community College offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs across 138 majors. Short-term training certificates are also available across the fields of healthcare, information systems, commercial truck driving, and more. Top majors at Clark State include health services, liberal arts, and fire science.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,960 per year
Enrollment: 1,242
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 27%
Visit School Website

Rio Grande Community College – 53 Points

  • Rio Grand, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 29%

Rio Grande Community College is a subset of the University of Rio Grande, providing associate degrees and technical programs with the option to transfer into the university’s bachelor and master programs after 2 years. The school partners with local industries across four counties to help students find jobs and stimulate economic growth. The most popular fields of study at Rio Grande include nursing, business, and social work.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,028 per year
Enrollment: 1,095
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduation Rate: 29%
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Lorain County Community College – 50 Points

  • Elyria, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 15%

Students at Lorain County Community College can earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, short-term certificates, and workforce training. Short-term training and 8-week fast track courses, and online degrees are available for those in need of accelerated learning opportunities, such as working professionals. Top areas of study at LCCC include liberal arts, business, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,456 per year
Enrollment: 2,737
Student-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Graduation Rate: 15%
Visit School Website

Cincinnati State Technical & Community College – 49 Points

  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

Cincinnati State offers over 100 associate degree options and certificate programs. The school’s co-op job placement program is partnered with over 600 businesses to help students find employment after graduation. Additionally, CSTCC works with 150 local businesses to provide workforce training and has transfer agreements with 20 universities for students seeking 4-year and postgrad degrees. Popular majors at Cincinnati State include liberal arts, business, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4.047 per year
Enrollment: 2,228
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 20%
Visit School Website

Marion Technical College – 49 Points

  • Marion, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Those interested in business, health care, IT, and the liberal arts will find over 60 related majors at Marion Technical College for associate’s degree and certificate programs. MTC is geared toward working professionals with 60% of students attending while currently employed. Outside of classes, students can participate in varsity e-sports and extracurricular clubs. Favored majors at MTC include business, liberal arts, and nursing.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,840 per year
Enrollment: 617
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Graduation Rate: 25%
Visit School Website

Belmont College – 48 Points

  • Saint Clairsville, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Belmont is a small rural college that offers mainly on-campus associate’s degree and trade school programs. Extracurricular activities available include flag football, student government, and a civil war discussion club, as well as program-specific organizations for nursing, building preservation, and IT professionals. The most popular majors and trade specializations at Belmont include nursing, welding, and phlebotomy.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,218 per year
Enrollment: 462
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Graduation Rate: 32%
Visit School Website

Rhodes State College – 48 Points

  • Lima, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 34%

Rhodes State College offers associate’s degree programs including transfer options into selected bachelor’s programs as well as workforce development certifications. Many of the full and part time students take classes on campus, but 20% of students participate in online classes or fully online degree programs. Top fields of study at Rhodes include nursing, business, and emergency medical technician (EMT) training.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,324 per year
Enrollment: 764
Student-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Graduation Rate: 34%
Visit School Website

Terra State Community College – 45 Points

  • Fremont, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 21%

Students at Terra State can choose from 60 degree and certificate programs across three divisions of study: Health Care, Liberal Arts & Business, and Technology & Skilled Trades. Two degrees are offered completely online (Health Care Administration and Mortuary Science), while other programs offer some courses online or hybrid. Popular programs and majors at Terra include medical assisting, liberal arts, and electrical engineering technician.

School Overview

In-State Tuition $3,798 per year
Enrollment: 533
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduation Rate: 21%
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Zane State College – Zanesville – 42 Points

  • Zanesville, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 48%

Zane State’s programs include 29 associate’s degree programs, one bachelor’s program, five single-year certificates and eight accelerated certificates. There are several university transfer degrees as well, and an evening business management program for working professionals seeking higher education. Favored majors at Zane State include liberal arts, information science, and business.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,296 per year
Enrollment: 699
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 48%
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Hocking College – Nelsonville – 41 Points

  • Nelsonville, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 41%

Associate’s degree and professional certification programs at Hocking College include fields of study in health care, arts, business, science, natural resources, public safety, and workforce development. Students from the culinary arts, baking, and restaurant management programs gain work experience by helping to run the Rhapsody restaurant in Nelsonville. Hocking’s other popular areas of study include equine studies, nursing, and natural resources conservation.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $5,180 per year (according to IPEDs data)
Enrollment: 1,829
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Graduation Rate: 41%
Visit School Website

Columbus State Community College – 40 Points

  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 28%

In addition to associate’s degrees in arts, science, and technical studies, Columbus State also offers 1-2 semester certificate programs that may combine into an associate degree if applicable. There are over 200 degree transfer opportunities for students who would like to earn a higher degree. Liberal arts, nursing, and business are three of CSCC’s top majors.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,888 per year
Enrollment: 6,825
Student-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Graduation Rate: 28%
Visit School Website

Eastern Gateway Community College – 39 Points

  • Steubenville, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 20%

Eastern Gateway offers associate’s degrees and certifications in health, public service, engineering, information technology, business, and education, as well as university transfer degrees. There are 14 workforce development programs including CDL training, welding, machining, and health services. Popular majors at EGCC include liberal arts, business, and criminal justice.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,144 per year
Enrollment: 1,765
Student-Faculty Ratio: 30:1
Graduation Rate: 20%
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Stark State College – 35 Points

  • North Canton, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 22%

Stark State College provides over 230 degrees and certificates spread across 10 “career communities” to help students tailor their education to their professional goals and interests. Students with a tighter schedule may take courses in an eight-week accelerated program on-campus or online. Liberal arts, automotive mechanics, and nursing are some of Stark State’s most popular programs.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,310 per year
Enrollment: 3,140
Student-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Graduation Rate: 22%
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Southern State Community College – 35 Points

  • Hillsboro, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Southern State is a career-focused institution with tools such as a Career Explorer and Interest Profiler to assist students in finding the right degree or certification program. Specialized training opportunities include truck driving and the basic peace officer training academy. Other favored areas of study include nursing, business, and substance abuse counseling.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,666 per year
Enrollment: 768
Student-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Graduation Rate: 32%
Visit School Website

North Central State College – 31 Points

  • Mansfield, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 23%

There are over 60 associate degree and certificate programs at North Central State College spanning subjects such as health services, business, public service, and engineering. According to the school’s website, NC State has a 95% graduate employment rate. A highly technical school, the most studied majors include: computer and information systems security, nursing, and network, database, and system administration.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,224 per year
Enrollment: 858
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduation Rate: 23%
Visit School Website

Northwest State College – 28 Points

  • Archbold, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 33%

In addition to two-year associate’s degree programs, Northwest State College also offers professional industry certificate programs that last between six weeks to one year. There is one fully online degree program: associate of business management. Some individual classes may be taken at home depending on demand. Nursing, heavy equipment maintenance, and liberal arts are a few of NSC’s popular programs.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,254 per year
Enrollment: 475
Student-Faculty Ratio: 31:1
Graduation Rate: 33%
Visit School Website

Central Ohio Technical College – 23 Points

  • Newark, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 19%

Central Ohio Technical College offers associate degrees and certificates across five major branches of study: healthcare, engineering, public safety, business & IT, and arts & sciences. Students receive hands-on career path training with the option to transfer into bachelor’s and postgrad programs at state universities. Popular areas of study at COTC include nursing, business, and police & criminal science.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,776 per year
Enrollment: 735
Student-Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Graduation Rate: 19%
Visit School Website

Still unsure which Ohio college is right for you? Our easy to use website tools can help!

Our Ranking Methodology

We took the list of 23 recognized community colleges from the Ohio Board of Higher Education’s website and gathered important data points about each school. The data gathered included tuition cost, full-time enrollment, student-faculty ratio, and graduation rate.

For yearly tuition rates, we took the most recent in-state tuition estimate directly from the school’s site. These estimates did not include variable factors such as housing or material costs. When a direct tuition estimate could not be obtained from the school, we used the estimates provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s IPEDS database.

Total full-time enrollment, student-faculty ratios, and graduation rates were gathered either through the school’s own stated statistics or via publicly accessible data through IPEDS. We sorted each category and assigned points to each school based on the following criteria: low tuition, low student-faculty ratio, high enrollment, and high graduation rate. The maximum possible sum of points was 92.

We strive to be as accurate as possible with our information. If you work for one of the schools listed and notice an error in our data, please reach out to us so that we can make a correction.

With just shy of 12 million residents, Ohio is one of the most populated states in the country. This high population is part of the reason why the state can host over 330 colleges and universities.

Ohio is also home to 25 unique community colleges, which can provide affordable and flexible education for over 172 thousand students per year. 

Given a large number of community colleges in the state of Ohio, it can be difficult for prospective students to choose the right school. This is why we have created this useful guide, which will explain why you should consider attending a community college in the first place, how you can apply to one, and which Ohio-based community colleges offer the best lifelong learning opportunities. 

What is a Community College?

Community colleges or junior colleges play an important role in preparing individuals for the working world. While it can be expensive and time-consuming to attend a traditional college or university, community colleges provide students with the opportunity to further their education in an affordable and streamlined way.

Given that there are nearly one thousand community colleges scattered across the United States, it is no wonder that countless Americans have benefited from the system.

Essentially, community colleges are designed to offer their students an opportunity to earn a wide variety of degrees and certificates that prepare them for a career. They also can provide an accessible entry point for students that plan on continuing their education at a traditional university or college in the future.

Length of Study:

One of the main differences between a community college and a traditional college or university is the fact that students only need two years to complete their program, rather than the four or more years it takes to earn a degree at a non-community college.

Typically, in a four-year university or college program, students spend the first two years of their program fulfilling general education requirements in a wide variety of academic disciplines, such as math, history, English, and science. This means that the first two years of a student’s studies are usually spent building a foundation of knowledge in topics that might not be relevant to the career they plan to pursue.

On the other hand, the learning that takes place at a community college is geared directly towards the knowledge required to enter a specific career. This more focused style of education is why community college programs are only two years.

Campus Size:

Community colleges or junior colleges play an important role in preparing individuals for the working world. While it can be expensive and time-consuming to attend a traditional college or university, community colleges provide students with the opportunity to further their education in an affordable and streamlined way.

The smaller student population means that community colleges will usually offer their students fewer on-campus activities. While this may seem like a bad thing, it does encourage community college students to focus on their studies without worrying about the typical distractions that come with post-secondary education.

The smaller campus sizes of community colleges also give the schools a more tight-knit feel. It is easier for students to navigate the campus and get to know their instructors personally.

Housing Options:

Since most students will move away from home to attend a traditional college or university, they often live in a residence hall or dormitory. In comparison, many community colleges will not offer their student housing, which means that most students commute to the campus from home and already live nearby. Even international students will usually find their off-campus housing solution. 

While you can attend any community college you would like, many students take advantage of the fact that schools are dotted throughout their state, so a local school is usually not too far away. Students can save plenty of money on housing by commuting to a local community college from their existing home.

Financing a Community College Education:

Since community college programs are much shorter than traditional college programs, they tend to be much less expensive. More often than not, community college students can avoid hefty student debt that afflicts many traditional college and university graduates.

Many community college students can cover the cost of their education by working part-time as they study, or with a combination of savings, small loans, scholarships, and grants.

Types of Degrees You Can Earn at an Ohio Community College

As mentioned above, students will usually study at a community college for no more than two years. During this time, they can work towards one of four types of associate degrees. Each type of degree helps students prepare for further education in a particular academic field or a career in a specific occupation.

While some community college degrees allow the student to transfer to a traditional, four-year college or university program, some are career-specific and help them prepare for an immediate start in a particular field of work. The four types of community college degrees are as follows:

  1. Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.)

Associate of Arts degrees focus on general education, often in the liberal arts. They typically cover fields of study like English, history, economics, music, and the social sciences. Most students will pursue an A.A. degree to transfer to a four-year program after they finish at community college. They allow the student to build a basic foundation in many of the subjects they will encounter once they enroll in a traditional college or university program.

  1. Associate of Applied Arts Degree (A.A.A.)

An Associate of Applied Arts degree has similar entry requirements to an A.A. degree, but the program focuses on starting a career in a particular industry. The electives taken in the pursuit of an A.A.A. degree are often career-specific and allow the student to learn about the occupation they hope to have.

  1. Associate of Science Degree (A.S.)

Like an Associate of Arts degree, an Associate of Science degree is usually obtained to transfer to a four-year program at a college or university. Students will study fields, such as medicine, engineering, computer science, and business, with the hopes of using that foundation of knowledge to continue their studies.

  1. Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

An Associate of Applied Science degree is a career-focused education that is intended to prepare students for a career in a technical industry. A.A.S. degrees are more commonly pursued at the technical community colleges, and they can prepare students for a career in a wide variety of fields.

Other Options at Community Colleges:

In addition to the four types of degrees described above, many community colleges will also offer students the opportunity to earn a professional certificate. Professional certificates offer students the opportunity to advance the skills required for a particular profession. They can be used to gain entry into a particular field or advance the career of someone already working in the field. Professional certification can be an excellent career move and usually requires even less than two years to obtain.

Each school will offer its list of professional certification opportunities, so it is worth checking if your local community college offers a certificate in a field that interests you. 

Just some of the professional certifications that you can take at community colleges in Ohio include:

  • Early childhood education
  • Real estate 
  • Photography
  • Software development
  • Hospitality management
  • Automotive repair
  • Fashion merchandising
  • Digital security

Community colleges are constantly introducing new professional certifications you can obtain. As new technologies alter various industries, professionals can help further their careers by obtaining certification at a community college near them.

What Are the Advantages of Studying at one of Ohio’s Community Colleges?

As mentioned above, there are numerous reasons why a person might choose to study at a community college, rather than a traditional college or university. Ohio offers some excellent community colleges and the following are just some of the benefits of choosing to apply to study at them:

1. Low Tuition and Other Fees:

No matter which of Ohio’s community colleges you choose to attend, your overall expenses will be significantly less than if you pursued an education at a traditional post-secondary institution.

Community colleges are affordable by design. They were introduced to provide local people with the opportunity to further their education without having to leave their community. 

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the average annual cost of tuition and other mandatory fees for college students in the United States is $9,139. Remember, this figure only represents a single year’s worth of study, and most programs are at least four years. Unless the student is fortunate enough to live within commuting distance of a college they can get accepted to, room and board will usually cost at least another $8,000 per year for the full four years.

On the other hand, the average yearly cost of tuition and fees for a student to attend an Ohio-based community college is just over $3,000 per year. Again, it is important to remember that community college programs are only two years, rather than four.

Even if a student can live at home while they pursue their education, a single year of study at a traditional college or university costs almost three times the price of a year of learning at a community college.  

It is also worth noting that most community colleges will offer discounted tuition for Ohio residents, so if you live in the state, you will often pay less than those that apply from outside of it.

2. It is Easier to Work as You Learn at a Community College

According to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, nearly 69% of American community college students work as they attend school. Community college programs will often encourage students to work as they are enrolled, and many will offer flexible classes.

Since community colleges will attract students from all walks of life and age groups, they understand that their students need more flexibility than those enrolled at traditional higher education institutions. Some community colleges will even help enrolled students find paid work placements related to the student’s program.

3. Community Colleges Offer a Practical and Relevant Education

The main focus of most community college programs is to help their students get started in a career or advance one that has already begun. On the other hand, traditional colleges and universities are less concerned with preparing students for the workplace. Instead, they focus on the general advancement of knowledge.

Traditional institutions of higher learning hire full-time, tenured professors that spend their careers teaching and researching various subjects, but community colleges look for professors that have experience in particular industries. They want teachers that can act as representatives for their industry and have the know-how to prepare students for what will be expected of them once they enter the workforce. Many community college professors will teach on a part-time basis because they are still actively working in the industry that they are teaching.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in attending an Ohio community college and would like to know more, the following resources can help you:

Student Financial Aid in Ohio:

If you have concerns about scholarships and grants, CollegeScholarships.org offers a helpful list of financial aid, like scholarship and grant options that are available to you as a resident of Ohio. The following link will connect you with both federal and state grant opportunities that could help you pay for your community college education.

Every College and University in Ohio:

The following link will connect you with an interactive map that displays the location of every college and university in the state of Ohio. The map is color-coded to help you identify community colleges near you, as well as traditional colleges in case you are interested in pursuing further education after you complete your studies at a community college.

OhioHigherEd.org Campus Map

Remember, you should also visit the website for any community colleges that interest you. This will allow you to browse their programs, admission requirements, and other relevant details. All community colleges have their website and they can be found easily with a simple Google search.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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