Frederick Community College (Frederick)
A total of around 85 degree, certificate and continuing education programs are available at Frederick Community College, where the student body consists of nearly 30 percent first-generation college students. Programs in STEM and cybersecurity are among the top five areas of study at this central Maryland school.
FCC began its existence in 1957 with a total student body of just 77 people, but it's grown into one of the largest institutions among the best community colleges in Maryland. Total enrollment here is just short of 16,000 students, with a for-credit headcount of nearly 9,000.
Frederick County, where FCC is located, features indoor and outdoor recreation galore for students to enjoy in their downtime. The county is full of scenic drives, museums, trail cycling, wineries, festivals, Civil War History sites and more.
Howard Community College (Columbia)
More than 30,000 students take classes at Howard Community College each year. The school points to its affordable tuition, quality programs and record of student success as reasons why many Maryland residents choose HCC.
The degrees and certificates at HCC are spread across eight academic divisions. Flexible learning options allow students to take classes on-campus, online or at an accelerated pace. The college's popular nursing program, for example, includes the opportunity to earn an associate degree in as little as 14 months.
HCC offers a number of unique learning communities as well. These include the Silas Craft Collegians and STEM Learning Community and bring together students of similar backgrounds and interests. Those who prefer hands-on learning may find HCC's apprenticeship programs and service learning options enhance their education.
Montgomery College (Rockville)
Montgomery College began its life offering evening classes at a local high school to fewer than 200 students, but much has changed since those humble beginnings. Today, the institution operates two satellite locations in Germantown and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, along with its main campus in Rockville, and it serves approximately 54,000 students each year through credit and non-credit programs.
Students can pursue any of around 100 areas of study at MC. The academic catalog contains more than 20 each of Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees, close to 40 Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) plans and more than 60 certificate programs.
MC has also entered the world of online colleges in Maryland, offering one A.A.S. and three A.A. plans fully online. Distance education students can study business, computer science, criminal justice or general studies.
Prince George's Community College (Largo)
Founded in 1958, Prince George's Community College has a long history of providing affordable and accessible education to area residents. Over the years, it has evolved to meet student needs and now offers programs for high school students, senior citizens, adult learners and traditional students.
The Culinary Arts Center is one of the newest facilities on the PGCC campus. It has three specialized kitchen labs and hosts classes for community members as well as culinary arts majors. The Center for Performing Arts is another state-of-the-art facility on campus. It houses the college's performing arts programs as well as offers public performances and events year-round.
Distance learners will find more than a dozen online degrees and certificates at Prince George's Community College. These cover fields such as business, criminal justice and accounting.
Hagerstown Community College (Hagerstown)
Hagerstown Community College was the first community college of any kind to be established in Maryland, first opening its doors in 1946 to a student body of mostly military veterans supported by the G.I. Bill. The school relocated to its current campus in 1966 and has expanded its academic efforts to include more than 100 degree and certificate programs.
More than 15,000 students attend classes at HCC, with around 40 percent of that total seeking accredited degrees and certificates. The institution operates satellite centers in North Hagerstown and at the Valley Mall to serve students at a distance from the main campus.
HCC is also one of the top online community colleges in Maryland. The academic catalog here features more than 240 online or hybrid courses and around 30 programs of study that can be completed entirely online, including an associate degree in education and a management certificate.
Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold)
Anne Arundel Community College has one of the most comprehensive academic catalogs in the state, offering more than 225 programs of study and a total of 3,500+ individual courses. Standard college majors like math, engineering, music, psychology and more are available, as well as over 30 professional credentials for career-minded learners.
The institution's main Arnold campus measures 230 acres in area, making it what the school's website claims is the largest single-campus community college in Maryland. The Arnold campus features 10 academic buildings, an astronomy lab, two art galleries and a 389-seat performing arts center.
AACC may also hold special significance for Maryland residents hoping to study dance at the collegiate level. The dance program here has been ranked among the top in the nation and boasts a faculty that features a Tony-nominated choreographer.
Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore)
Baltimore City Community College reports nearly 14,000 students in its for-credit and non-credit courses each year. Degree plans are offered in five areas of study, and around a dozen programs can be completed mostly or entirely online, including a legal assistant degree and a coding specialist certificate.
Students taking between 12 and 18 credit hours at BCCC all pay the same total amount of tuition and fees for the semester, regardless of the number of credits on their schedules. That flattening of costs for full-time students can make it possible for you to take six extra credit hours each semester, or roughly two courses, for essentially no cost.
BCCC is an affordable choice for many students. What's more, the Mayor's Scholars Program allows new high school graduates who are residents of Baltimore City to attend BCCC tuition-free.
Harford Community College (Bel Air)
It's important that schools present prospective students with a clear path to an education they can afford, and the numbers show that Harford Community College may have made that approach a priority. Residents of Harford County pay an average of around $3,800 in tuition and fees for a 24-credit year, which is significantly less than that charged by other colleges and universities.
This Bel Air institution was founded in 1957 and occupies more than 350 acres of campus real estate. The total number of students here was more than 8,000 in 2018. The median age was just 21 and approximately 2,500 students were enrolled in college for the first time.
The degree catalog here contains more than 80 degree and certificate programs. General studies, nursing, business administration and psychology make up the lion's share of declared majors.
Carroll Community College (Westminster)
Carroll Community College might be one of the best Maryland community colleges for high school students and recent graduates looking to knock out a few college credits before enrolling in a bachelor's degree program at a four-year institution. Of the roughly 3,000 students enrolled for credit at this Westminster school, more than 1,400 — around 45 percent — are under the age of 20.
The close-knit learning environment at Carroll can help students find the help they need when they need it. The average class here contains fewer than 20 students, and the ratio of students to faculty members was 14:1 in 2018. Popular majors include business administration, nursing and teacher education.
Students hoping to travel abroad have opportunities to do so at Carroll, as well. Trips to such destinations as London, Paris, Athens and Rome are offered each year during spring break.
Cecil College (North East)
More than 7,000 students take classes at Cecil College, with 3,000 taking courses for credit. Students who don't need or want a degree can take non-credit courses to improve their job skills or explore a personal interest.
Cecil College offers more than 75 associate degrees and certificates across eight broad categories such as teacher education, health professions and computer science and cybersecurity. Online degrees include an Associate of Arts in general studies, an Associate of Applied Science in transportation logistics and management and a certificate in accounting. Accelerated learning options are available for some programs.
The school says it's committed to academic excellence and maintains an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Founded in 1968, Cecil College has its main campus in North East.