Best Community Colleges in Missouri

When it comes to higher education, Missouri students have plenty of options. The Missouri Department of Higher Education notes there are more than 150 propriety and career schools operating in the state. They are joined by 11 specialized and technical schools, 14 public two-year colleges and dozens of public and private four-year colleges and universities.

However, it is the community colleges that are often the first choice for many students. Not only do they typically have affordable tuition rates, but they also consolidate a number of educational programs in one place. For instance, there are transfer degrees for those who would like to eventually earn a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, students planning to enter the workforce immediately can enroll in a technical degree program or certificate program. Online courses are also available through many of the best Missouri community colleges.

Whether you're interested in online colleges or traditional campus programs, keep reading to discover the best colleges in Missouri and decide which is right for you.



Jefferson College (Hillsboro)

You'll find one of the top Missouri community colleges in Hillsboro. Jefferson College has a long history in the community, dating back to its approval by area voters in 1963. At that time, the college was only the second junior college district in the state to be created.

The school offers five types of associate degrees and a number of career and technical education certificates. Business, culinary arts, computer information systems and nursing are a few of the programs available. JCOnline lets students take online courses to complete some program requirements.

Affordable tuition is part of what makes JC one of the best colleges in Missouri. One innovative initiative at the school that can bring down student costs is the Credit for Prior Learning program. It lets students earn credit for work or life experience.


St. Charles Community College (Cottleville)

St. Charles Community College says your future awaits here. The school provides a variety of educational programs that are suitable for everyone from high school students to senior citizens.

These include transfer degrees, technical degrees and certificate programs. SCC prides itself on being student-centered, and it has specialized offerings for student-athletes, veterans, adult learners and those without a high school diploma. Once enrolled, students have access to dozens of clubs and organizations, study abroad opportunities and more.

Nearly 10,000 students take classes at SCC each year. As one of the best Missouri community colleges, the school says it enrolls nearly 20 percent of St. Charles County high school graduates. Its campus is in Cottleville, to the west of St. Louis.


Ozarks Technical Community College (Springfield)

Students with varied dreams come to pursue them at Ozarks Technical Community College. The school was founded in 1990, has served more than 160,000 students and has an alumni network of nearly 20,000 graduates.

OTC provides both technical and general education programs. These include associate degrees, certificate programs, adult education and customized training. All students have access to academic advising, career counseling and job placement services.

While the main campus of Ozarks Technical Community College is in Springfield, there are also campuses and learning centers in four other locations. Students interested in online colleges can enroll in OTC Online. It offers more than ten online degrees and certificates as well as hybrid programs that combine online courses with on-campus learning.


State Fair Community College (Sedalia)

State Fair Community College invites students to learn more and do more through its programs. The two-year college has dozens of degrees and certificates and has graduated approximately 17,000 students already.

SFCC makes the list of best community colleges in Missouri thanks to its flexible scheduling and affordable tuition. In addition to its main campus in Sedalia, students can study at six different locations, including the Air Force base at Knob Noster. Online courses and degrees are also an option for those who need a more flexible schedule.

As for tuition, State Fair Community College says it has one of the most affordable rates in Missouri. About 75 percent of students receive financial aid which can further reduce out-of-pocket costs for those enrolled.


Crowder College (Neosho)

Found in southwest portion of the state, Crowder College is another of the top community colleges in Missouri. The school has its main campus in Neosho but also offers classes on six other sites. Across all its locations, Crowder College offers dozens of degree and certificate programs.

Educational options cover diverse subjects including business, nursing, criminal justice and fire science. When not studying, students can participate in more than two dozen clubs and organizations offered on campus. There are study abroad options and athletic programs available as well.

Crowder is known for its affordable tuition rate, and more than 200 scholarships are offered to offset the cost. Upon graduation, the school's transfer and career services help students take the next step and put their education to good use.


Moberly Area Community College (Moberly)

As one of the best colleges in Missouri, Moberly Area Community College offers students multiple ways to complete their education. They can study at one of six campus or center locations, some of which provide the option to earn a four-year degree at MACC. There are also online courses, hybrid programs and virtual classes.

Overall, there are more than 40 degrees and certificates available through MACC. These range from technical certificates to transfer degrees. Academically gifted students can join the college's Honor Program while a semester abroad is available for those who are globally minded.

Moberly Area Community College also offers a number of services to help students succeed. These include financial aid, career placement and a New Traditions programs for students facing economic changes.


St. Louis Community College (St. Louis)

St. Louis Community College makes the list of top Missouri community colleges because of its affordable tuition and comprehensive degree catalog, among other factors. With six locations throughout St. Louis, it offers comprehensive education options to residents of Missouri's second largest city.

SLCC offers technical programs in fields such as health sciences and skilled trades as well as transfer degrees According to the school, it sends more transfer students to public four-year institutions in Missouri than any other community college in the state. SLCC says transfer students can save thousands on the price of a bachelor's degree by completing their first two years on one of its St. Louis campuses.

St. Louis Community College was founded in 1962 and has served 1.2 million students since that time.


Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City)

The state's largest city is home to another of the best community colleges in Missouri. Metropolitan Community College offers dozens of career programs that will lead students to the workforce or set them on the path to earning a bachelor's degree.

MCC has a long history, dating back to 1915. At that time, it was known as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute. Today, the school is the oldest and largest public institution of higher education in Kansas City. It has five locations within the metropolitan area.

Certificate and degree programs at Metropolitan Community College span six divisions. These include arts and communication, natural resources and agriculture and health services. All told, there are more than 120 program options that cover both academic education and career training.


Missouri State University-West Plains (West Plains)

Small class sizes and generous financial aid help make Missouri State University-West Plains another of the top community colleges in Missouri.

A part of the Missouri State University System, this two-year school enrolls approximately 2,000 students each year. They can choose from transfer and career programs that are offered in a number of formats. There are traditional classes, an evening college and online courses available. Students can also take advantage of Missouri State University-Springfield programs that are offered on the West Plains campus. These can result in a bachelor's or master's degree being earned at the community college.

Missouri State University-West Plains was founded in 1963 as the West Plains Residence Center. It gained the ability to offer its own one-year certificates and associate degrees in 1991.


East Central College (Union)

Based in Union, East Central College nabs another spot among the best Missouri community colleges. It seeks to create an environment that promotes values such as integrity, excellence and global citizenry.

There are dozens of programs available at ECC. These include certificates of achievement, certificates of specialization and associate degrees. Students can also enroll in adult education and online courses. Areas of study include the fine arts, humanities and nursing and allied health. To make these programs affordable, East Central College offers dozens of scholarships that can be combined with state and federal financial assistance.

ECC was founded as East Central Junior College in 1968. It took the name East Central College in 1980 to reflect the comprehensive nature of it available programs.

Transferring Credits in Missouri

Students enrolled in a certificate program or a technical degree program can expect to move directly into the workforce after graduating. However, those earning a transfer degree, such as an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science, may want to transfer credits to a four-year school where they can be applied toward a bachelor's degree.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education notes a number of two-year and four-year schools in the state have agreed to General Education and Credit Transfer Policy. These schools will allow a 42-hour block of general education credits to be transferred between institutions. Many of the top Missouri community colleges also have articulation agreements with specific colleges and universities regarding how and when credits will transfer.

Check the best four-year colleges in Missouri to see which one appeals to you. Then contact the admissions office for more details on that institution's specific credit transfer policies.


We ranked community colleges in Missouri on multiple factors related to educational opportunity, student performance and student services.

Each school was scored on a 10-point scale, using the following six data points:

  1. The percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  2. Cost of attendance, based on the average net price for students receiving scholarship and grant aid, and the total cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  3. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  4. The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  5. The transfer-out rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
  6. Flexibility, based on the following data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2016

a. Whether the school offers credit for life experiences
b. Whether the school offers programs of study that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
c. Whether the school offers on-campus day care for students' children
d. Whether the school offers any kind of alternative tuition plan. These may include, but aren't limited to, payment plans or guaranteed rates.

Article Sources
  • Missouri Higher Education Institutions, Missouri Department of Higher Education, Accessed August 2018, https://dhe.mo.gov/public-and-independent-colleges.php
  • Credit for Prior Learning, Jefferson College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.jeffco.edu/current-students/admissions-enrollment/credit-prior-learning#.W4QTP-hKiM9
  • Fast Facts, St. Charles Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.stchas.edu/about-scc/fast-facts
  • About Ozarks Technical Community College, Ozarks Technical Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://about.otc.edu/#
  • SFCC At a Glance, State Fair Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.sfccmo.edu/about/sfcc-at-a-glance/
  • Crowder at a Glance, Crowder College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.crowder.edu/
  • Nee Traditions, Moberly Area Community College, Accessed August 2018, http://www.macc.edu/services/new-traditions
  • About STLCC, St. Louis Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.stlcc.edu/about/index.aspx
  • MCC at a Glance, Metropolitan Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://mcckc.edu/what-drives-us/
  • University Profile, Missouri State University - West Plains, Accessed August 2018, https://wp.missouristate.edu/about/profile.htm
  • ECC History, East Central College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.eastcentral.edu/about-ecc/sample-page/
  • Credit Transfer, Missouri Department of Higher Education, Accessed August 2018, https://dhe.mo.gov/cota/credittransfermain.php
  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/