Best Community Colleges in Utah
Earning an associate degree, certificate or other award from one of the best community colleges in Utah can set you up for success, whether your goal is to join the workforce after graduation or transfer to one of the hundreds of bachelor's degree programs at Utah universities.
There are around 20 two-year institutions in Utah. The public colleges belong to either the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) or the Utah System of Technical Colleges, depending on the range of programs they offer. Private schools in the state are largely independent.
We gathered data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to calculate scores for the best Utah community colleges and rank the top finishers in order. Check out the list below and see how those top schools can help you reach your academic and career goals.
Bridgerland Technical College (Logan)
Formally known as Bridgerland Applied Technology College and called BTECH for short, Bridgerland Technical College focuses its efforts on career-ready degree and certificate programs. Close to 1,100 students attend courses on the Logan campus each semester, and the student-faculty ratio is 16:1.
More than 30 degree and certificate programs are available through BTECH's eight major subject areas. The construction and transportation area, with subjects like cabinetmaking and automotive service, is the school's largest, but the health care and tech fields aren't far behind.
The city of Logan has a population of roughly 50,000 residents, which is a great size for a college town. It sits nestled in the foothills of the Bear River Range, offering scenic views year-round, and the presence of a large four-year college -- Utah State University -- suggests an ample portfolio of resources for students.
Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City)
Salt Lake Community College is the largest two-year school in Utah, boasting a total headcount of approximately 23,000 learners each semester. It's also got the most diverse student body in the state, with more than 26 percent of enrolled students coming from non-European backgrounds.
The academic catalog here contains close to 120 degree and certificate programs, with Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Arts (A.A.) degrees typically requiring 61 credits. The more technical associate degrees may take as many as 79 credit hours to complete, while most certificates can be earned in 33 credit hours or less.
SLCC is also one of the top online community colleges in Utah, featuring over 200 online courses and a handful of associate degrees that can be completed entirely in the virtual classroom.
Latter-Day Saints Business College (Salt Lake City)
As the name suggests, Latter-Day Saints Business College is a faith-based institution with roots in the LDS church. As a member of the Church Educational System (CES), which also includes Brigham Young University and other LDS-focused schools, LDSBC requires that students participate in worship activities and adhere to a strict honor code.
More than 2,000 students each semester take classes at LDSBC. Tuition costs here come in at $300-$400 below the statewide average for two-year public schools, regardless of resident status, provided the student is a member of the LDS church.
Most associate degrees available at LDSBC can be pursued on two different tracks. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) track is designed for workforce-bound students, and the A.A. and A.S. tracks are the right choice for students planning to transfer to a university after graduation.
Fortis College - Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City)
Fortis College is a private, for-profit vocational and career school that maintains nearly 40 campuses in 15 different states. The Salt Lake City location is one of the smallest schools among the top Utah community colleges, reporting a total enrollment of fewer than 500 students in Fall 2017.
The catalog of career training programs available at Fortis leans heavily toward health care occupations. Just shy of 40 total degree plans are available here, and more than 60 percent of them focus on fields like nursing, dental assisting, medical technology and other vital segments of the health care industry.
Fortis makes online courses available for its students, as well. Around half a dozen hybrid and online associate degrees can be earned here, in subjects like business management, accounting technology and internet marketing.
Resources for Transfer Students in Utah
If you work with the right people throughout your community college journey, transferring to one of the top four-year schools in Utah after graduation should be a fairly simple proposition.
The most important step is to ensure that the community college you attend is accredited, preferably by a regional accrediting organization like the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU). Without accreditation, the chances that your credits will transfer at all can be pretty slim.
Once you've got the accreditation question answered, contact your destination university to find out if there are any articulation agreements between it and your community college. These agreements are more likely to be available at in-state schools, but some four-year institutions in other states may also have arrangements with Utah community colleges. Some articulation agreements accept your entire degree as transfer material, while others assess your credits on a course-by-course basis.
Remember, you can always check the USHE's TransferUtah website or reach out to an adviser at your community college or your destination school to learn more about your options.
We ranked community colleges in Utah 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 percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
- 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
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
- The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
- 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.
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed November 25, 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=UT&ct=1&ic=2
- Colleges & Universities, State of Utah, accessed November 26, 2018, https://www.utah.gov/education/colleges.html
- About the Board, Utah System of Technical Colleges, accessed November 26, 2018, http://www.utech.edu/about-the-board
- School pages, accessed October 26, 2018: About Our College, Bridgerland Technical College, https://btech.edu/about-us/; Programs, Bridgerland Technical College, https://btech.edu/programs/; About, Salt Lake Community College, https://www.slcc.edu/about/index.aspx; Student Demographics, Salt Lake Community College, http://performance.slcc.edu/Factbook/2017-18/B_student_demographics/index.html; Degrees, Salt Lake Community College, https://www.slcc.edu/academics/degrees/index.aspx; Future Student, Salt Lake Community College, https://www.slcc.edu/future/index.aspx; SLCC Online, Salt Lake Community College, https://www.slcc.edu/online/; Accreditation, Salt Lake Community College, https://www.slcc.edu/accreditation/index.aspx; About, Latter-day Saints Business College, https://www.ldsbc.edu/about; Application & Cost, Latter-day Saints Business College, https://www.ldsbc.edu/apply; Programs & Degrees, Latter-day Saints Business College, https://www.ldsbc.edu/programs-degrees; Fortis Campuses, Fortis College, https://www.fortis.edu/campuses; Fortis Programs, Fortis College, https://www.fortis.edu/programs; Online Associate Degree Training Programs, Fortis College, https://www.fortis.edu/associate-degree-online/online;
- Course by Course Articulation, Utah State University, https://www.usu.edu/registrar/transfer/course-by-course;
- About Logan, Logan City, accessed November 26, 2018, https://www.loganutah.org/visitors/about_logan/index.php
- Logan city, Utah, QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed November 26, 2018, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/logancityutah/PST045217
- 2017-18 In-District Tuition and Fees at Public Two-Year Institutions by State and Five-Year Percentage Change, The College Board, accessed November 25, 2018, https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/2017-18-district-tuition-and-fees-public-two-year-institutions-state-and-five-year
- Common Questions, TransferUtah, accessed November 26, 2018, https://www.transferutah.org/CommonQuestions/tabid/4431/Default.aspx
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/