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18 Best Community Colleges for Computer Science (2023)

When it comes to finding the best community colleges for computer science, there are a few things you need to take into account.

The first is the quality of the program itself – after all, you don’t want to spend your time and money at a school that won’t give you the education you need.

The second factor is the cost of attendance – community colleges can be a more affordable option than four-year schools, but that doesn’t mean they all offer cheap tuition rates.

Finally, you’ll want to consider location and campus life. You may not want to go too far from home, or you may be looking for a school with plenty of student activities and events.

No matter what your priorities are, we’ve got you covered. We have analyzed various online sources and compiled a list of the best community colleges for computer science in the United States. Here are our picks in 2023.

Best Community Colleges for Computer Science in 2023

1. Park University

  • Location: Parkville, MO
  • Tuition: $12,280

Park University in Missouri is one of the best community colleges for computer science. The college offers an Associate of Arts in Computer Science that provides students with a strong foundation in software engineering concepts and principles. The curriculum covers topics like software design, database systems and advanced programming languages. Additionally, Park University Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science for those who are interested.

2. De Anza College

  • Location: Cupertino, CA
  • Tuition (in-state): $1,562
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $10,787

California’s De Anza College is one of the best community colleges for computer science in the US, offering an Associate Degree for Transfer in Computer Science. This degree is specifically dedicated for those who want to transfer to a Bachelor’s program after acquiring the Associate’s degree. Students here can get hands-on experience through internships and field placements, and they also have access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment. Plus, the college has an active community life, with a variety of clubs and organizations.

3. Manchester Community College

  • Location: Manchester, CT
  • Tuition (in-state): $4,516
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $13,468

Manchester Community College in Connecticut is another great community college for computer science, offering an Associate of Science in Computer Science. Students who earn their A.S. from Manchester Community College will receive guaranteed admission to Connecticut State Universities, although they can choose to transfer to another school as well. Students here can take advantage of multiple internship opportunities and field placements, as well as the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through the college’s technology club.

4. Moorpark College

  • Location: Moorpark, CA
  • Tuition (in-state): $1,398
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $8,146

Moorpark College in California offers an Associate of Science degree in Computer Science, as well as a Certificate of Achievement and proficiency. The college has plenty of student activities and community events to keep students engaged, and they also have access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment. Plus, the professors here are highly experienced, which means students get individualized attention from their instructors.

Community colleges for computer science
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5. Western Technical College

  • Location: La Crosse, WI
  • Tuition (in-state): $4,572
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $6,687

Western Technical College in Wisconsin is well known for its high-quality computer science program. The college’s Associate of IT-Web & Software Developer covers a wide range of topics, including software development and information technology, object-oriented programming, and app development. IT-Web & Software graduates will earn an associate degree and become employable in many regional employers. Opportunities for further study are also available for those who maintain good GPAs and serve internships. Some prior graduates have transferred to universities to seek degrees in Information Technology or Computer Science.

6. Moraine Park Technical College

  • Location: Fond du Lac, WI
  • Tuition (in-state): $4,568
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $6,683

Moraine Park Technical College in Wisconsin is a great community college for computer science. Students here can earn an Associate of Information Technology – Software Developer and prepare to work with technology in many different capacities. As a student in the Information Technology – Software Developer program, you’ll get first-hand experience using popular programming languages like HTML, C#, Java, PHP, ASP.NET and SQL. You’ll also focus on database development, technical documentation and software design. By the time you graduate, you’ll be ready to handle software testing and maintenance tasks professionally.

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7. South Texas College

  • Location: McAllen, TX
  • Tuition (in-state): $4,530
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $7,920

South Texas College is one of the best community colleges for computer science in Texas. Here you can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems and develop your skills in web development, programming and software engineering. The college focuses on providing hands-on experience to students so that they can gain valuable knowledge in the field of computing. Classes here are taught by experienced faculty members who have a wealth of experience in the field. Plus, South Texas College has an active community life with plenty of clubs and organizations to join.

8. CUNY Kingsborough Community College

  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Tuition (in-state): $5,252
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $8,132

CUNY Kingsborough Community College in New York City is another great community college for computer science. In recent years, the CUNY system has produced 70 Fulbright scholars and 7 Rhodes scholars. The college offers an Associate of Computer Science that focuses on the fundamentals of computer science and programming. Students enrolled in this program learn to develop applications, create databases, and understand the hardware side of computing.

Campus of Community colleges for computer science
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9. Northwest Iowa Community College

  • Location: Sheldon, IA
  • Tuition (in-state): $6,540
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $6,840

The Northwest Iowa Community College (NWICC) is the oldest community college in Iowa that offers an associate of science in computer science, and the program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in the field. The college has a low tuition rate and small class sizes, which helps ensure that each student gets individualized attention from their professors. Plus, there are plenty of community events and activities on campus.

10. Lake Michigan College

  • Location: Benton Harbor, MI
  • Tuition: $6,900

Lake Michigan College is a community college located in Michigan that offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Information Systems. Students enrolled in this program are exposed to the fundamentals of coding, programming and software engineering. They gain hands-on experience in application development, web development, database design and game development. Furthermore, the college also has transfer agreements with several universities that allow students to continue their studies at a four-year institution.

11. Wayne Community College

  • Location: Goldsboro, NC
  • Tuition (in-state): $1,216
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $4,288.00

Wayne Community College in North Carolina is another excellent community college for computer science. It offers an Associate of Science in Software Engineering that combines theoretical concepts with practical applications. The curriculum covers topics like data structures and algorithms, software engineering principles and web programming. Additionally, the college also offers internships to help students gain real-world experience in the field of computer science.

12. SUNY Adirondack

  • Location: Queensbury, NY
  • Tuition (in-state): $5,784
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $8,256

SUNY Adirondack is the perfect community college for computer science in New York. The Associate of Science in Computer Science provides students with an introduction to concepts such as computer architecture, theory of computation, software engineering, and artificial intelligence. The coursework for this degree also includes a strong foundation in algorithm development, programming languages, and hardware capabilities.

13. Seminole State College

  • Location: Sanford, FL
  • Tuition (in-state): $3,131
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $11,456

Seminole State College of Florida is another community college that offers programs ideal for aspiring computer science students. The college offers an Associate of Arts in Computer Science degree program focus on the fundamentals of programming, computer systems and software engineering. The degree program is designed specifically to transfer to a four-year institution in Florida. Students enrolled in this degree program gain the skills and knowledge required to develop applications, design databases and understand the hardware side of computing.

Woman In Yellow Jacket Holding Books
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14. George C. Wallace State Community College

  • Location: Hanceville, AL
  • Tuition (in-state): $4,560
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $8,250

George C. Wallace State Community College is an excellent community college for computer science in Alabama. The college offers an Associate of Science in Computer Science that covers topics such as programming languages, operating systems, data structures and algorithms. This program also includes a strong foundation in software development, web design, and database management. Additionally, the college has transfer agreements with several universities so students can continue their studies at a four-year institution after completing their degree.

15. Jamestown Community College

  • Location: Jamestown, NY
  • Tuition (in-state): $6,350
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $11,550

Jamestown Community College is a great community college for computer science in New York. The college offers an Associate of Science degree in Computer Information Technology that provides students with the necessary skills to pursue careers in programming and software development. Additionally, the college has transfer agreements with several universities so students can continue their studies at a four-year institution after completing their degree. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked JCC the “Top Performing Public Two-Year College in New York.”

16. Weber State University

  • Location: Ogden, UT
  • Tuition (in-state): $6,228
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $16,644

Weber State University is one of the best community colleges for computer science in Utah. The college offers an Associate of Applied Science of Science in Computer Science that covers topics such as data structures and algorithms, programming languages and software engineering principles. This program also includes a strong foundation in computer architecture and operating systems. Additionally, the college offers internships and research opportunities to help students gain real-world experience in the field of computer science.

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17. Saint Paul College

  • Location: Saint Paul, MN
  • Tuition: $6,041

Saint Paul College is a great community college for computer science in Minnesota. The college offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Software Development that focuses on topics such as software engineering and database management. The curriculum also includes hands-on experience in Computer Architecture, Algorithms, and Data Structures. The Computer Science program offers its coursework online, in a hybrid format, or through traditional classroom settings on the St. Paul, Minnesota campus. Students who choose to learn on-campus will have access to professional grade labs that meet industry standards.

18. Iowa Western Community College

  • Location: Council Bluffs, IA
  • Tuition (in-state): $6,330
  • Tuition (out-of-state): $6,480

Iowa Western Community College is an excellent community college for computer science. The college offers an Associate of Arts in Computer Science with concentrations including Application Programming, Computer Networking, Web Programming, and e-Commerce. The associate’s degree is designed for transfer into a four-year program, and the college offers extensive resources to facilitate transferring to another school.

community college for computer science auditorium
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Does It Matter Which Community College for Computer Science I Choose?

In all honesty, it doesn’t matter too much which community college you choose to attend. The curriculum of Associate degrees in computer science offered by community colleges is often quite similar and employers/transfer schools rarely give preference for one community college or the other.

The important thing to note is that the community college you choose has an actual computer science program or something closely related. Many community colleges do not offer such degrees and are thus of limited usefulness to someone who wants to pursue a career in computer science.

Another important remark is that whichever college you choose to attend, you should try to add as well as you can and get high grades in your classes. This will help you stand out for employers and potential transfer schools.

As such, you should focus on getting a two-year degree at a community college which suits your preferences with regards to costs, program, and location. It is often not reasonable to relocate far from home only to pursue an Associate’s degree at a community college.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science?

An Associate’s degree in Computer Science usually takes two years to complete, provided you take the full course load and don’t have any breaks in your studies. Of course, some people may be able to finish their degrees faster or slower depending on factors such as how many classes they take at a time and whether they have any credits from prior courses or other institutions.

For those who have other commitments such as a family or a full-time job, community colleges often offer part-time studies, which can be completed at a slower rate.

Some community colleges also have accelerated programs allowing students to complete their associate’s degree in a shorter period of time, such as one year or less. Note that you should always do research and make sure that the community college you choose has an accredited program before enrolling.

How Much Does Community College Cost?

Community colleges cost only a fraction of traditional four-year college degrees at universities, which is one of their most attractive features.

According to Smart Asset’s analysis of 801 community colleges across the US, a year of tuition and fees cost an average of $4,578 for the 2020-2021 school year.

There usually is a significant difference in tuition between in-state and out-of-state students, so choosing a college in your state is often preferable.

Financial aid is often available at community colleges, so you should always check and apply for scholarships when applying for admissions as well.

What Is the Salary for Community College for Computer Science Graduates?

The salary for community college computer science graduates varies depending on the job and employer. Generally speaking, community college computer science graduates typically earn between $50,000 and $70,000 per year; however, there are many jobs that can pay significantly more. With experience and further education, salaries for community college computer science graduates can exceed six figures.

It is important to note that community college computer science degrees are versatile and graduates can pursue a wide range of career paths in the IT field, including software engineering, web development, network administration, and database management. Thus, community college computer science graduates have access to a number of job opportunities and salary ranges.

It is important to note, however, that those who would like to open more doors and earn higher salaries from the get-go, should consider transferring to a four-year degree at the end of their community college education in order to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and expand their career choices. This is because there is a significant difference in job opportunities and salary between Associate’s degree and Bachelor’s degree holders in computer science.

woman in blue long sleeve shirt on campus of community college for computer science
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Is an Associate’s in Computer Science Worth It?

Associate’s degree is a solid option for those who would like to kickstart their career in computer science without spending a full four years in college. However, there is a number of disadvantages that come with getting an Associate’s degree also. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of attending a community college for computer science.

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Pros

  • Low cost: community college tuition is significantly lower than traditional universities.
  • Flexible schedule: community colleges often offer part-time and accelerated programs, allowing students to study at their own pace.

Cons

  • Limited job opportunities: community college computer science graduates may have limited opportunities for higher paying jobs.
  • Potential salary cap: community college computer science graduates may face a salary ceiling, as many employers prefer to hire applicants with Bachelor’s degrees.

As such, you can see that community colleges are a great option for those who would like to get their foot in the door of computer science without spending too much money or time. However, applicants should be aware that community colleges may have some limitations when it comes to job opportunities and salary ranges. Therefore, those who are looking for more career opportunities and higher salaries should consider transferring to a four-year degree program.

Did Any Billionaires Go to Community College?

You may be wondering, is it possible to become wealthy after attending a community college? And we decided to answer with a few examples of the names of some of the most famous and wealthy people on the planet.

1. Elizabeth Warren

Currently the Senior Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren was educated at University of Houston, a commuter college in Texas, where she completed a two-year degree. She then transferred to Rutgers University for her Bachelor’s and eventually went on to become a professor at Harvard Law School and the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

2. Ross Perot, Sr.

Founder of the famous business empire, Ross Perot was educated at Texarkana Junior College and then transferred to the United States Naval Academy. He eventually went on to become one of the wealthiest people in America and a two-time presidential candidate.

3. Steve Jobs

The co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs attended community college in California before transferring to the Reed College. He eventually dropped out but went on to become one of the most influential and successful people in technology.

4. Queen Latifah

The successful actress, singer and businesswoman attended community college in New Jersey before transferring to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She eventually went on to become an influential figure in entertainment and a successful businesswoman.

As you can see from these examples, community college is a great option for those who are looking to get their foot in the door without breaking the bank. With community college, you can obtain a two-year degree in computer science, transfer to a four-year school and eventually end up with a successful career in the tech industry.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Community Colleges?

The admission requirements vary from school to school, but typically community colleges require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Other admission requirements for community colleges for computer science include:

  • Completed community college application
  • Transcripts from high school or GED equivalent
  • Placement tests
  • Meeting other prerequisites, such as a minimum GPA or completing certain courses
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of residency

Be sure to check the community college’s website for their specific admission requirements, as entry requirements with each college.

person writing on a book
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What Are the Alternatives to Community College?

This review wouldn’t be complete without providing you food for thought in regards to the other options you have for breaking into computer science.

Besides attending a two-year Associate’s degree program at your local community college, you could also get the necessary education for becoming a computer science professional through:

When deciding which option best fits your needs, be sure to consider the cost and time associated with each choice. We have a review of “5 Proven Ways to Switch Careers to Computer Science” for all of the different ways of breaking into the tech industry.

Community College vs. Coding Bootcamp

Although community college has its benefits, it is not the only option for obtaining a computer science education. Depending on your learning style and budget, attending a coding bootcamp may be an attractive alternative.

Coding boot camps offer accelerated programs (typically about 12 weeks) that teach you the programming skills you need to land a job in the tech industry. However, these programs typically don’t offer the same level of flexibility as community college and they can be more expensive.

With regards to job prospects and salary, Associate’s degree and coding bootcamp certificate provide similar outcomes. Although community college may take longer than a bootcamp to complete, having the flexibility of attending community college makes it a great option for those who want to pursue a career in computer science.

Conclusion

Attending community college is a great option for those looking to break into the tech industry without spending a lot of money. With community college, you can obtain a two-year degree in computer science and transfer to a four-year school if desired.

Although community college may take longer than coding bootcamp, it offers more flexibility and a lower cost. It is important to consider the cost and time associated with each option before deciding which is best for you.

In this article, we have provided some of the best community colleges for computer science in the United States that can provide a valuable education without breaking the bank. With community college, you can obtain an Associate’s degree that will set you up for success in the tech industry.

Good luck on your journey to becoming a computer science professional!