Updated at: 28-03-2023 - By: Eden Wise


The number of Americans attending university has increased recently. Between 2017 and 2028, the estimated number of undergraduates is expected to rise from 16.8 million to 17.2 million, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. Getting some education after high school opens doors to better jobs and higher pay. The BLS reports that the average annual salary for someone with an associate degree is $7,000. This is a significant increase over the $43,000 average salary for someone with just a high school diploma. They also enjoy much lower unemployment rates than the rest of the country.

While there is no shortage of academic opportunities at universities, the sheer number of schools from which to choose can be a bit overwhelming. This resource will help you narrow down your options by providing a ranking of the top Arizona community colleges. Insight into admissions criteria, financial aid, and student resources can be found in the profiles of the best schools listed below. You will also find out about other educational options, such as online courses, certification programs, and degree programs.

Best Community Colleges In Arizona

Best community colleges in arizona

Eastern Arizona College

Eastern Arizona College is the Smart Choice because it provides numerous associate degree and certificate programs, a fully online bachelor of applied science, on-campus housing, and an active student body. Students can complete their associate’s degree in two years and enter the workforce or continue their education at a four-year institution. Physics, theater, sociology, music, mathematics, and geology are just some of the Associate degree programs available. Welding, paramedicine, nursing, HVAC-R, commercial driver’s license, and cosmetology are just some of the fields that award professional certifications. Student groups and sports teams compete regularly in volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball, tennis, golf, and cheerleading. EAC offers a lot of flexibility.

Paradise Valley Community College

Paradise Valley Community College

The College of Paradise Valley is home to a competitive gaming squad. In addition to the organized league, there is also a less serious eSports club where members play for fun and to improve their skills. PVCC has an eSports team, and they also offer an associate degree in video game production with tracks in programming, writing, art, and sound. Many people who complete game design degrees find work in the field while continuing their education. The duration of the program is flexible between 62 and 79 credit hours over the course of two years. Degrees are affordable at PVCC, with tuition for residents of Maricopa County set at $85 per credit hour.

South Mountain Community College

South Mountain Community College has a thriving geology program and awards an A.S. in Science with a geology concentration. There are in-person, on-line, and hybrid course options, with lab prerequisites for some courses. With a geoscience degree under your belt, you’ll be ready to enter the workforce or continue your education at a four-year institution. The two-year Associate of Arts degree program at SMCC is designed to accommodate students with busy schedules. The average cost of an Associate of Arts degree is around $5,000, and in-state students pay $85 per credit hour. SMCC also offers a trades institute where students can learn skills like electrical work, plumbing, and carpentry if traditional classroom learning isn’t your thing.

Scottsdale Community College

Scottsdale Community College has a thriving art program, both in the visual and performing arts. Dance performance and technology, interior design, film, television, new media production, and visual communication degrees are available in addition to the standard A.A. in the fine arts with concentrations in art, dance, music, musical theater, and theater. Students who complete their program at SCC are assured of transfer to one of the college’s 40 partner institutions, where they can work toward a bachelor’s degree. Editing, interior design, film production, interior merchandising and home staging, creative branding, and design are just some of the fields that offer certificate programs in the arts. Studying the arts through one of these programs is a brisk and fruitful way to acquire marketable skills. Most certifications can be completed in as little as two or three semesters.

Tohono O’Odham Community College

Tohono O’Odham Community College was established in 1998 to meet the educational needs of the Tohono O’Odham people. However, enrollment in any of the college’s 47 degree programs is open to any interested student. To enroll at TOCC, prospective students need only present valid government-issued photo identification, fill out an online application, and (if necessary) pass a placement exam. TOCC not only offers low tuition rates, but also helps students access federal funding and private scholarships like the Gewkdag Scholarship from the Tohono O’Odham Nation.

Associate degree programs that lead to bachelor’s degree completion options are available to interested students. Studio art, business, health, social work, and elementary education are all viable options. TOCC is unique among Arizona’s community colleges because it provides a pathway to a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies focused on the state’s indigenous borderlands. Learners also have the option of enrolling in vocational schools that offer direct-entry trades such as carpentry, heavy-equipment operation, plumbing, masonry, and construction painting. Apprenticeships are a common feature of these employment programs, giving participants the chance to earn an income while they earn their degrees.

Yavapai College

Yavapai College

In 1968, Prescott became home to Yavapai College’s first location. More than 11,600 students are currently enrolled at six campuses across the state. Citizenship in the United States and proof of state residency (which typically takes at least 12 months of physical presence and a dedicated domicile) are prerequisites for admission to YC. Prospective students must also show they can support themselves financially. Compared to other Arizona community colleges, YC has 29% cheaper tuition. Scholarships are available both for academic achievement and for membership in a specific tribe.

Across its six campuses, YC offers more than a hundred different programs in the areas of trade, academic transfer, and continuing education. You can choose from a variety of associate degree programs in fields like radiology, paralegal studies, the visual arts, and hospitality management. To acquire the fundamental technical abilities required to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering, students can enroll in an applied pre-engineering program. Training in high-demand fields such as aviation, commercial driving, welding, machining, culinary arts, and fire science are offered by YC to students who are eager to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world employment.

Glendale Community College

Over half a million people have received education at Glendale Community College since it first opened in 1965. GCC is one of Arizona’s top community colleges, and it offers 60 different majors and concentrations. The school awards departmental scholarships to students majoring in counseling, performing arts, nursing, and English and bases its low tuition rates on residency status. Transfer students from GCC can take advantage of scholarship opportunities at any of our partner institutions.

Associate of Applied Science programs offer a wide variety of specializations, such as accounting paraprofessional, automotive service, marketing and sales, and information security, for interested students to choose from. Students can also choose to study sound design or audio production in audio production technology degree programs. The university transfer programs at GCC focus on elementary education, general studies, the arts, and the sciences. GCC provides occupational certificate training in fields such as law enforcement, automotive service, and insurance studies for students interested in entering these fields upon graduation. Skills in iOS app development and Adobe basics can also be honed by students.

Mesa Community College

Mesa Community College

Online associate degree and certificate programs are available at Mesa Community College (MCC), a public institution in Arizona. Courses taken through MCC Online count for full college credit and are easily transferable to other institutions. In addition, MCC Online provides students with the convenience and low cost they need to complete their degrees on time and within their budget.

Students at MCC Online use the learning management system Canvas to complete their assignments both independently and in real time. Associate in Arts programs with concentrations in Social Work, Anthropology, Communication, and Counseling are just some of the options available through MCC Online. You can earn an Associate of Applied Science, an Associate of Business, or an Associate of General Studies from MCC Online. Academic advising, tutoring, career services, disability resources, an electronic library, and more are all available to MCC Online’s distance learners.

Scottsdale Community College

Students at the publicly funded Scottsdale Community College (SCC) can earn an online associate degree in a variety of disciplines. Students can add online certificates to their resumes after they have completed their associate degree. Students can pursue their education at their own pace with SCC’s online options.

Canvas is a digital platform where online students at SCC complete assignments both asynchronously and synchronously. Anthroplogy, Economics, General Business, IT, Marketing, Politics, Retail Management, Sociology, and Visual Communication are just some of the Online Associate Programs offered by SCC. Student advising, exams, tutoring, and a digital library are all available to SCC students online.

Cochise College

Cochise College (Cochise) is a public college in Arizona that allows students to earn their associate’s degree, certificate, and even take some electives online. Cochise College also offers a variety of free online courses for professional development and personal enrichment through its Center for Lifelong Learning.

Cochise’s online students use the learning management system Moodle to take both asynchronous and synchronous classes. The Associate of Arts in Business Administration, Elementary Education, Exercise Science, Health, and Physical Education, General Studies, General Requirements, and Intelligence Operations Studies are all available to students at Cochise College online. Tutoring, counseling, advising, and a digital library are all resources available to distance learners.

Diné College

The precedent for tribal college accreditation and control in the United States was established by Diné College. The original goal of establishing this college in 1968 was to improve students’ academic performance if they happened to be Navajo. There are 11 bachelor’s degrees and 19 associate’s degrees available. The majority of students at Diné College identify as Diné, and the college gives preference to applicants from the Navajo Nation.

Carrington College

Carrington College

Carrington College is a California-based, professionally-minded institution with campuses in other states (including Arizona). The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has granted institutional accreditation to this university.

To earn academic certificates for a professional health career or occupational certificates in another field of study, Carrington may be the best private community college for you. There are student clubs and support services available to the students at this vocational school.

Rio Salado College

Over 135 courses, both in-person and online, are available at Rio Salado College, all taught by qualified professors. This university offers sufficient online libraries and study guides to support distance learners.

The Rio Salado online lounge community and the virtual workshops allow you to set your own study hours and interact with other students from around the world. As part of your certificate or online degree program, you will have access to university-level career and counseling services.


Does Arizona have good community colleges?

Community colleges in Arizona are excellent and accept a wide variety of financial aid packages. The article’s main focus was to provide a list of available educational options at local community colleges. The programs at these universities are delivered in stimulating and secure settings, by qualified faculty members, with access to a full range of student support services.

Are community colleges free?

The answer is no. Students who need financial aid can find it at most community colleges in the form of scholarships and low-interest loan programs. Tuition per semester is usually quite low, and some of the programs mentioned in this article offer multiple scholarship and grant opportunities to those who qualify.

How much do community colleges cost in Arizona?

In-state tuition at Arizona’s community colleges is roughly $1,844 per year, while out-of-state tuition is around $7,206. The average annual tuition and fees at a private community college is around $13,065.

How diverse are community college in Arizona?

About half of the students at Arizona’s community colleges are members of a minority group.


Air traffic controller is the best-paying job in Arizona for those with an associate degree. Other high-paying jobs for those with a two-year degree include radiation therapists, nuclear medicine technologists, and diagnostic medical sonographers.

You can choose an associate degree program in Arizona by researching the state’s expected number of job openings. Between 2021 and 2031, physical therapist assistants and radiologic technologists are predicted to have the highest demand, followed by preschool teachers and paralegals.

Knowing which types of associate-level jobs in Arizona are in decline can help you make an informed decision about which classes to take at your local community college. The job outlook for forest and conservation technicians is among the worst. The demand for embalmers and legal secretaries is also expected to fall rapidly.