Best Community Colleges in Oklahoma
Within the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges, there are 13 institutions offering degree programs, career certificates and other programs in 31 locations. There are also 29 technology center districts within the Oklahoma CareerTech System, offering two-year degree programs and vocational training as well. At these colleges, students can expect to find traditional schedules, online courses and weekend classes to meet the needs of both recent high school graduates and adult learners.
Two-year schools may be commonly associated with career and technical education, but the top community colleges in Oklahoma can also be an excellent starting point for students who want to earn a bachelor's degree. The catalogs of programs at the best Oklahoma community colleges include transfer options that can be an affordable way for students to complete the general education requirements of bachelor's programs at many four-year colleges and universities.
Below are ten of the best community colleges in Oklahoma, where you can find diverse academic and career study programs as well as student support services. Which one might you attend?
Tulsa Community College (Tulsa)
The Tulsa Achieves program is just one reason that Tulsa Community College ranks among the best Oklahoma community colleges. Through the program, graduating seniors from Tulsa County high schools may be able to receive financial assistance of up to 100 percent of the cost of their tuition and mandatory fees.
Degree plans available at TCC include traditional academic majors such as biology, art, history, political science and more, as well as a wide selection of vocational programs. Career-focused students can study dental hygiene, manufacturing engineering technology, business marketing and paralegal studies, among other subjects.
The college was founded in 1970 and is Oklahoma's largest, multi-campus community college with a student body of more than 16,000 people. More than a dozen degree and certificate programs are available fully online.
Northern Oklahoma College (Tonkawa)
Originally founded in 1901, Northern Oklahoma College is one of the oldest institutions among the top community colleges in Oklahoma. From an initial enrollment of 217 students, NOC has grown into a comprehensive institution that educates close to 4,200 students each semester.
This Tonkawa institution operates three campus locations in its service area, maintaining satellite campuses in Stillwater and Enid. A partnership and transfer agreement with Oklahoma State University makes it easy for students to start their education at NOC and then complete it at OSU.
Students in many disciplines have the option to choose specialization options for their degree programs. Mathematics and physical science students can specialize in astronomy or chemistry and physics, for example, and agricultural sciences students can specialize in agricultural business and pre-veterinary science.
Oklahoma City Community College (Oklahoma City)
Serving more than 12,000 students each term, Oklahoma City Community College has a larger student body than all but one other public two-year school in the state and features a simplified admissions application. The institution offers night, weekend and online courses to fit the needs of students' different schedules.
Recognized as a leader in technology education, OCCC offers degree programs in computer programming, computer networking support, information security, software development and more. Close to 20 certificate programs are available as well, in subjects such as unmanned aerial systems, emergency medical sciences and graphic design.
Adult learners and traditional college-age students are equally welcome at Oklahoma City Community College. In addition to the main campus in Oklahoma City, the school maintains three other learning centers in the area.
Connors State College (Warner)
If you're looking to take advantage of the flexibility of online community colleges in Oklahoma, then Connors State College should probably be on your radar. This eastern Oklahoma school reported the state's largest percentage of online enrollment and offers distance education courses via instructional television (ITV) as well as on the web.
Students hoping to land a career working with horses can learn the ropes of training, breeding and management in the CSC equine agriculture program. Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) plans are both available.
CSC also offers education programs for two of the fastest-growing careers in the country. Students can learn the essentials of physical therapy assisting and occupational therapy assisting through programs offered in partnership with Indian Capital Technology Center.
Carl Albert State College (Poteau)
Carl Albert State College was founded in 1933 and offers some of the most affordable tuition and fees costs in the state. It also posted the best graduation rate among the best community colleges in Oklahoma, placing in the 90th percentile nationally for its proportion of enrolled students who successfully complete their degree programs.
CASC offers more than 10 online degree and certificate programs through its virtual campus. Students can earn Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees in business administration, enterprise development, social science and more without having to come to campus and attend a course in person.
Campus-based degree programs include nursing, occupational health and safety and computer technology, as well as certificate programs in child development, religious study and organizational leadership.
Rose State College (Midwest City)
Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university tend to do well when they start at Rose State College. Its percentage of transfer students who go on to successfully complete their bachelor's degree programs was one of the highest in the state in 2018.
Rose State is also one of the top online community colleges in Oklahoma, enrolling nearly 3,200 online students each semester and offering several associate degree programs that can be earned entirely through distance education courses. Subjects with online availability include business, emergency management, English, cybersecurity and more.
The list of programs available on campus includes opportunities to earn A.A.S. degrees in respiratory therapy, environmental technology and multimedia digital design. Students pursuing an A.A. in fine arts can choose to specialize in one of five different creative fields.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (Miami)
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College can trace its roots back to 1919, when it was founded as the Miami School of Mines. The northeastern Oklahoma institution has expanded its scope far beyond mining technology in the 100 years since it opened its doors, and today it offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs in academic and career-focused disciplines.
The range of programs in the catalog includes an A.S. in agriculture that offers a list of six concentration options alongside the general study plan, as well as several A.A. degree programs that can prepare you to transfer to a university after graduation. An A.A.S. in construction management can teach you the nuts and bolts of carpentry, masonry and electrical work and includes a summer internship with a local construction company.
Murray State College (Tishomingo)
Murray State College is located in Tishomingo, one of the oldest towns in the state and the capital of the Chickasaw Nation. The historic town remains small but culturally rich. It's located near Lake Texoma, one of the largest manmade lakes in the world.
Students enrolled at MSC can choose from dozens of degree programs. Those interested in firearms engineering have two study plans to choose from — gunsmithing technology and custom gunmaking — both of which lead to specialized A.A.S. degrees. An associate degree program in nursing can prepare you to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for registered nurses.
Those looking for online college study in Oklahoma can find a number of distance education options at Murray State College. Several study abroad opportunities are available as well.
Eastern Oklahoma State College (Wilburton)
Students hoping to get some financial aid help with their college bills are very likely to find what they're looking for at Eastern Oklahoma State College. The Wilburton school reported that every single one of the more than 1,500 students enrolled in 2018 was awarded some form of financial aid package.
Flexibility was a high-performing category here, as well. More than 41 percent of students take at least some of their credits online, and select campus-based courses are available for evening and weekend attendance.
Child development students at Eastern can choose among two degree plans, an A.A. or an A.A.S., and an 18-credit certificate. Students hoping to study music can concentrate on either instrumental or vocal study, with a specialized study track for pianists.
Seminole State College (Seminole)
The mission of Seminole State College is to empower students for lifelong learning, academic success and personal development. To that end, it offers a range of educational programs ranging from remedial classes to transfer degrees.
SSC was established in 1931, originally serving as an extension of the local high school. It transitioned to a fully state-sponsored college in the 1970s and took its current name in 1996. The central Oklahoma school educates around 1,600 students each semester and provides technical occupational programs as well as academic degrees for university transfer.
The long list of transfer degree programs at SSC includes subjects like computer science, pre-engineering, biology, psychology and several options for aspiring classroom teachers. Career-focused programs are available in medical laboratory technology, nursing, phlebotomy and more.
CTE in Oklahoma
The type of education that teaches marketable skills alongside general academic subjects is called CTE, or career technical education. CTE studies in Oklahoma are held at both the high school and college levels, and students are seeing great results. Approximately 94 percent of high school students who focused on CTE subjects went on to college, got jobs or joined the military within six months of graduation.
The statewide job market numbers show how valuable CTE can be in Oklahoma. No less than 56 percent of the "good jobs" available in the state in 2019 — that is, jobs with median annual earnings of around $55,000 for adults under 45 — were held by workers without a bachelor's degree.
If you're interested in learning more about CTE programs in Oklahoma, take a look at this quick list of resources:
- CareerTech, the career and technical education page put together by the State of Oklahoma, can give you information about news in the world of CTE, locations where training is available and more.
- Learn how CTE works in Oklahoma secondary schools at the career and technical education page of the Oklahoma City Public Schools site.
- The pages of vocational programs at Oklahoma City Community College and Moore-Norman Technology Center can provide some examples of the type of career technical education programs available at the college level.
The Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (AOCC) oversees 13 public two-year schools in Oklahoma where students can find career technical education courses. Some independent, private or tribal institutions may offer CTE training as well. Check with an advisor at the schools you're considering to find out more about your options.
Transferring Credits in Oklahoma
A key benefit of community college is the ability to complete the general education requirements needed for a bachelor's degree at a tuition rate lower than the cost of a typical university education. To make this strategy work, however, you'll need to understand how you can expect your credits to transfer between institutions.
Many of the best community colleges in Oklahoma have transfer agreements with four-year schools that outline a clear pathway for moving credits from one school to another. Other schools may accept or decline credits for transfer on a case-by-case basis. Check with your college for more information, or search for single-course transfer agreements between schools at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education site.
To know how your credits may transfer, you need to know both the community college and the four-year school you plan to attend. Take a look at our list of the best four-year colleges in Oklahoma to find out more about your potential destinations once you're finished with your community college work, and don't forget to check out our college transfer guide to learn about how to prepare for transfer and help make transfer agreements work for you.
Resources for Community College Students in Oklahoma
- Visit the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (OACC) page for more information on the two-year schools in the state.
- The homepage of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) can direct you to a range of resources about community colleges and universities in Oklahoma, including college preparation assistance.
- Find out about state-based student aid for Oklahoma residents at the financial aid page published by the OSRHE.
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:
- The published in-district tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The published in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The in-district per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The in-state per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- Percentage of students receiving financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
- Percent of students that transferred to a 4-year institution and completed within 8 years, College Scorecard, 2017
- The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
- Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
- Percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
- 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.
- Association for Career and Technical Education, accessed December 23, 2019: Why CTE?, https://www.acteonline.org/why-cte/; State Profiles, https://www.acteonline.org/why-cte/state-profiles/
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Oklahoma Community College Association, accessed December 23, 2019, http://www.occa17.com/
- Oklahoma, College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed December 23, 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=OK&ct=1&ic=2
- Fastest Growing Occupations, Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed December 26, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm
- Seminole State College, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, accessed December 26, 2019, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=SE015
- Oklahoma, Advance CTE, accessed December 23, 2019, https://careertech.org/Oklahoma
School pages, accessed December 23-26, 2019
- Tulsa Community College
- Tulsa Achieves, https://www.tulsacc.edu/admissions-aid/admissions/tulsa-achieves
- Degree & Certificate Programs, https://www.tulsacc.edu/programs-and-courses/academic-programs/programs-a-z
- Online Degrees and Certificates, https://www.tulsacc.edu/programs-courses/academic-schools/online-learning/online-degrees-and-certificates
- Northern Oklahoma College
- History of NOC, http://www.noc.edu/history-of-noc
- Transferring to OSU, http://www.noc.edu/Websites/northok/images/Shila_Stillwater_/TRANSFER%20TO%20OSU%20PRINTOUT6292016.pdf
- Academic Degree Programs, http://www.noc.edu/degreeprograms
- Oklahoma City Community College
- About Us, http://occc.edu/aboutus/index.html
- Academics Index Page, http://occc.edu/academics/programs/index.html#
- MyWay, http://www.occc.edu/myway/
- Connors State College with Indian Capital Technology Center
- Equine Program, https://connorsstate.edu/equine/
- Occupational Therapy Assistant, http://www.ictctech.com/full-time/adult_health_careers/occupational_therapy_assistant___o_t_a_
- Physical Therapist Assistant, Indian Capital Technology Center, http://www.ictctech.com/full-time/adult_health_careers/physical_therapist_assistant
- Welcome to CSC Distance Education Site, https://connorsstate.edu/home-11/
- Carl Albert State College
- CASC Online Programs, Degrees, and Courses, https://www.carlalbert.edu/casc-online-programs-degrees-and-courses/
- Academics, https://www.carlalbert.edu/academics/
- Rose State College
- About Us, https://www.rose.edu/content/about-us/
- Distance Learning, https://www.rose.edu/content/academics/programs-certifications/distance-learning/
- Associate in Applied Arts (AAS), https://www.rose.edu/content/academics/degree-programs/associate-in-applied-science-aas/
- Associate in Arts (AA) & Associate in Science (AS), https://www.rose.edu/content/academics/degree-programs/associate-in-arts-aa-associate-in-science-as/
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
- About NEO, http://www.neo.edu/about-neo/
- Academic Programs, http://www.neo.edu/academics/academic-programs/
- Construction Management, http://www.neo.edu/academics/departments/math-and-science/degree-programs/construction-management/
- Agriculture, http://www.neo.edu/academics/departments/agriculture/agriculture-programs/agriculture/
- Murray State College,
- About Us, https://www.mscok.edu/about-us
- All MSC Degree Programs, https://www.mscok.edu/future-students/degrees-programs/all-msc-degree-programs
- Study Abroad, https://www.murraystate.edu/academics/CollegesDepartments/CollegeOfHumanitiesAndFineArts/GlobalLanguagesAndTheatreArts/globalLanguages/StudyAbroad.aspx
- MSC Online, https://www.online.mscok.edu/degrees-and-programs
- Eastern Oklahoma State College
- Degree Programs, http://www.eosc.edu/academics/degree_programs.aspx
- Seminole State College
- About, http://www.sscok.edu/About_SSC_Pg.html
- Degree Programs, http://www.sscok.edu/schedule/Academics/AcadPgDegee.html