Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis)
At Southwest Tennessee Community College, students from all walks of life can find educational programs to meet their needs. The Memphis school offers associate degrees, continuing education, corporate training, career readiness, music programs and more.
The catalog at Southwest contains both on-campus and online degrees. Students looking for online coursework can choose among four Tennessee Transfer Pathway degrees and vocational programs in management, computer software and logistics and transportation. Campus-based programs include a phlebotomy certificate and a degree plan in electrical engineering technology.
Beyond academics, Southwest Tennessee Community College has a vibrant campus life with a number of student organizations and clubs. The school's athletic program fields teams in five sports and includes a top-ranked men's basketball team.
Roane State Community College (Harriman)
Roane State Community College aims to be a place where students can grow, succeed and see results, and the numbers show some encouraging signs. The student-faculty ratio at this Harriman school was tied for the top spot in the state among public community colleges, and nearly 20 of its programs boasts a job placement rate of 100 percent.
The school is one of the top online colleges in Tennessee, reporting the state's second-highest rate of distance education enrollment and offering several fully online programs. The list of distance learning programs here includes options in geographic information systems, computer information technology and health information management. Even if their degree is not offered fully online, students may be able to take online courses to help meet their program's requirements.
Columbia State Community College (Columbia)
Columbia State Community College isn't just one of the best community colleges in Tennessee. It's also been named one of the best two-year schools in the country by The Aspen Institute, a nonprofit leadership organization.
More than 6,200 students are enrolled in credit classes at Columbia State. Traditional academic programs in geography, history, the humanities and more prepare them for future study at the bachelor's level, and technical certificate programs in computer networking, Web design and hospitality and tourism management can train them for the workforce.
On the main Columbia campus of Columbia State, students can join clubs, academic organizations and intramural sports teams. A Peer Leaders program allows second-year students to help new first-year learners make a successful transition to college life.
Jackson State Community College (Jackson)
Students at Jackson State Community College have a range of flexibility options to choose from. Distance education is a popular option here, with more than 42 percent of students enrolled in at least one online class in 2018, and certain campus-based degrees and courses may be available in the evenings or on weekends.
Several programs in the health sciences are available at JSCC, including four certificates in emergency medical technology and an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in respiratory care. Business administration and computer information technology degrees offer several study concentrations as well.
This Jackson school may also be a good choice for cost-conscious students. Although all of our best Tennessee community colleges feature relatively affordable costs, JSCC charged the lowest average in-state tuition on our list.
Motlow State Community College (Tullahoma)
Student success was one category of our analysis where Motlow State Community College stood out above the rest. No other school that made our top ten reported a higher percentage of first-year students returning to enroll in the second year of their programs, and its graduation rate was the highest of any public two-year school in the state.
Adult students who have been out of school for a while have an extra benefit at Motlow. Adult College Express (ACE), an initiative geared toward non-traditional students, offers degree completion in 24 months or less, access to peer-based study groups and more.
Nearly 30 Tennessee Transfer Program degrees are available here, in subjects such as civil engineering, mass communications, physics and computer science. Two certificates in early childhood education are available as well.
Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin)
Found in central Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College welcomes roughly 9,100 students through its doors each semester. There are five main academic divisions here: business and technology, mathematics and science, humanities, health sciences and social science and education.
Those five departments combine to offer more than 100 degree and certificate programs for students to choose from. Online A.A.S. degrees are available in computer disciplines like programming, networking and systems administration. Certificates in criminal justice, veterinary assisting, fire science and more are offered on campus.
At the school's flagship Gallatin campus, students can join one of numerous organizations, cheer on one of Vol State's four athletic teams or get academic help at the campus Learning Commons. Outside of Gallatin, Vol State maintains learning centers in Livingston, Springfield and Cookeville.
Pellissippi State Community College (Knoxville)
Students hoping to transfer to a four-year college or university after finishing their associate degree might find themselves among like-minded peers at Pellissippi State Community College. This Knoxville institution posted the state's highest percentage of former students who successfully completed their bachelor's degree after transferring out.
If you're hoping for some help with your tuition bills, also, Pellissippi State can help. Nearly 95 percent of enrolled students in 2018 were awarded some form of financial aid package.
Campus-based students hoping for some schedule flexibility can find several degrees available exclusively through evening or weekend classes, such as A.A.S. plans in medical office technology and paralegal studies. Close to 30 certificates, including subjects like videography and sustainability, can be earned in a year or less.
Nashville State Community College (Nashville)
Nashville State Community College has been educating area students at its main campus in the state's capital since 1970. Initially enrolling fewer than 400 students and offering five associate degrees, the school now features more than 80 degree and certificate programs at six campus locations.
NSCC has six academic divisions that house programs for business, nursing, computer technology and more. Nashville State also offers professional development, online courses and an honors college to meet its students' varying educational needs.
Technical certificates available at NSCC include computer-aided drafting (CAD), logistics, medical coding, surgical technology and law enforcement. A.A.S. programs are offered in high-demand subjects like nursing, occupational therapy assisting and business administration, as well as valuable industrial career fields like architectural design technology and industrial process control technology.
Dyersburg State Community College (Dyersburg)
Founded in 1969, Dyersburg State Community College is proud of its affordability. DSCC estimates that completing your first two years of college coursework on its campus could amount to a 50 percent discount on the tuition you would pay at a public, four-year institution.
Students who plan to transfer to a four-year school after graduating from DSCC have more than 30 Tennessee Transfer Pathway plans available to them. Transfer subjects include early childhood education, plant and soil science, political science, mathematics and world languages.
For those who aren't interested in a bachelor's degree, several career-focused programs are available as well. A fast-track LPN to RN program is available for working licensed practical nurses, and a 50-hour pharmacy technology program can be completed for a flat fee of less than $1,000.
Walters State Community College (Morristown)
Named for former U.S. Senator Herbert S. Walters, Walters State Community College first opened its doors in 1970. The Morristown school educates more than 6,100 students through its Morristown, Sevierville, Greenville and Tazewell campuses.
WSCC offers more than 150 associate degrees and technical certificates through its eight academic divisions. More than 50 Tennessee Transfer Pathway plans are offered here, including social work, music, special education and philosophy. An Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) in musical theatre combines study in dance, voice and acting.
If you're looking to gain some core skills of the economy of the future, WSCC offers four certificate plans in clean energy technology. Students can also participate in more than 40 clubs or attend more than 60 events each year in the college's Expo Center.