Best Community Colleges in Delaware

Earning a community college degree can give you a leg up on a bachelor's program from one of the top four-year schools in Delaware. It can also put you on an accelerated path toward the career you've always wanted. We created this quick guide for aspiring students who want to stay on top of how Delaware community colleges might make higher education work for them.

There are both public and private two-year schools in the state. Depending on the institution, students may be able to choose a transfer degree, technical degree, diploma or certificate. Transfer degree programs can be an affordable way to complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree while technical degree, diploma and certificate programs are designed to have students ready for a career immediately after graduation.

The best community colleges in Delaware offer affordable tuition and flexible scheduling options, including online courses or degree programs. Read on to find out more about how Delaware community colleges work to help their students get ahead.



Delaware Technical Community College

Delaware Technical Community College is the state's public two-year school. Its affordable price tag — less than $5,000 for a 30-credit year of full-time study — makes it an attractive destination for students hoping to knock out a few semesters of college coursework before transferring into universities in Delaware or elsewhere. The average for one year of public university study in the state is more than double Delaware Tech's cost — $13,290 for 2019-20. Plus, the school has plenty of certificate programs that can have students career-ready upon graduation.

While Delaware Tech offers more than 100 programs of study in both transfer and technical fields, other two-year schools in the state have a narrower focus. For instance, the Dawn Career Institute specializes in technical training for healthcare and skilled trade occupations. Meanwhile, Paul Mitchell The School-Delaware focuses on cosmetology and related fields of study. Both institutions are private schools.

CTE in Delaware

Career technical education is a major component of a community college's mission. This type of education — known informally as CTE — aims to prepare students for a specific career path. Typically, students enrolled in CTE in Delaware only take classes related to their field of study and don't have to worry about fulfilling general education requirements.

Students don't have to wait until college to pursue CTE either. Many high schools offer career-readiness programs that can teach skills or even grant college credit early. These programs generally fall into 16 career clusters, with each cluster representing a different area of interest, such as agriscience or human services. Within each career cluster, there are pathways to specific occupations, and students can use these pathways as a guide for their education.

The following are a few of the ways CTE in Delaware is supported and encouraged:

  • Delaware Pathways is a public-private initiative working to help students and their families understand the various options to launch a successful career.
  • In 2017, JPMorgan Chase & Co awarded Delaware a $1.95 million grant to expand and strengthen the state's career pathways.
  • Eligible high school juniors and seniors can earn college credit early from Delaware Tech through the college's dual enrollment program.

Information about CTE options can be found on Delaware Tech's Programs of Study page. Plus, you can read more about career education at the links below:

  • Delaware PathwaysThis website highlights all 16 CTE career clusters so you can explore their related career pathways. The site also provides you with access to other career preparation tools.
  • Delaware Department of EducationThe Career and Technical Education page on the Department of Education website includes links to Career and Technical Student Organizations that support CTE students.

Transferring Credits in Delaware

If you're looking to continue your education at a four-year institution, transfer agreements can make it easy to do so. For instance, more than 200 established program-to-program articulation agreements help connect Delaware Tech programs to their counterparts at universities around the country.

Be sure to check with an advisor and see if your degree program fits into Delaware Tech's Connected Degrees initiative. Provided you meet the qualifications, Connected Degrees programs can allow you to seamlessly enter your junior year at your destination university.

Delaware College of Art and Design also holds articulation agreements between itself and other art schools around the U.S. — such as its parent school Pratt Institute and Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville, Tennessee — which can help students ensure that their transfer goes as smoothly as possible.

You can find general information transfer agreements and the transfer process in our guide on how to transfer schools. Plus, explore the top universities in Delaware for more insight into education in the state.

Resources for Community College Students in Delaware

Delaware Higher Education OfficeThis government office maintains a list of all colleges and universities in Delaware as well as information on the state's financial aid programs.

Delaware Department of LaborThe Department of Labor has a section of its website devoted to employment and training information.

CareerOneStopOffered by the U.S. Department of Labor, this site has a variety of tools available to help you explore your interests, compare occupations and find apprenticeships or other training opportunities.


Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "At least 2 but less than 4 years" or "Less than 2 years (below associate)"
  • Data is reported for all 14 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section

We ranked the resulting community colleges member schools on multiple factors related to educational opportunity, student performance and student services. Each school was scored on a 10-point scale, using the following data points:

  1. The published in-district tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
  2. The published in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
  3. The in-district per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
  4. The in-state per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
  5. Percentage of students receiving financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  6. Percent of students that transferred to a 4-year institution and completed within 8 years, College Scorecard, 2017
  7. The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
  8. Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
  9. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
  10. Percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
  11. Flexibility, based on the following data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
  • Whether the school offers credit for life experiences
  • Whether the school offers programs of study that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
  • Whether the school offers on-campus day care for students' children
  • Whether the school offers any kind of alternative tuition plan. These may include, but aren't limited to, payment plans or guaranteed rates.

Featured Online Colleges in Delaware Methodology

Some state pages have a list of featured schools instead of rankings. This happens when not enough schools meet the criteria described in the best schools Delaware methodology above — the number of schools is too small for us to do a credible and statistically significant ranking. Because there are still some schools that do meet the criteria, we’ve chosen to highlight them in a featured schools list.

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