Best Community Colleges in Wyoming
Wyoming's community colleges cover a lot of ground. The seven two-year schools that belong to the Wyoming Community College Commission maintain more than 40 campuses and outreach locations that serve roughly 30,000 students each year. Whether you're looking to get started on the requirements for transfer to Wyoming universities or gain some valuable career skills, the programs at these schools can set you on the right path.
We calculated scores for the best community colleges in Wyoming by gathering data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that reflected the affordability of tuition and fees, flexibility of scheduling and record of student success for each institution. Read on for our list of the top Wyoming community colleges and find out how they can help you achieve your academic and career goals.
Laramie County Community College (Cheyenne)
Founded in 1968, Laramie County Community College welcomes approximately 4,100 students through its doors each semester. The institution soon expanded beyond its main location in Cheyenne and added three more educational facilities: a full campus in the city of Laramie and outreach centers in Pine Bluffs and on F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
Over 100 degree and certificate programs are available to LCCC students, with the broadest selection of subjects offered at the Cheyenne campus. LCCC is also one of the more prolific online community colleges in the region, offering more than a dozen degrees that can be earned through only online courses.
Cheyenne is the largest city in Wyoming, so students who like the hustle and bustle of an urban area should give LCCC extra consideration. The student-faculty ratio here is a comfortable 15:1.
Central Wyoming College (Riverton)
Central Wyoming College maintains four locations around the state -- a full-service campus in Riverton and learning centers in Lander, Jackson and Dubois. Students who want the full college experience may be able to get it on the Riverton campus, thanks to a 48-student residence hall complete with common areas and laundry facilities.
Around 2,000 learners attend courses at CWC each term, and the numbers suggest that the college is realizing its vision of providing lifelong learning opportunities that break down boundaries. More than 50 percent of those enrolled in the 2017-18 academic year were first-generation college students.
Academic degrees and career programs available here include some uncommon and exciting subjects. For example, students who love nature can earn Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in outdoor recreation and expedition science.
Casper College (Casper)
Established in 1945 as Wyoming's original two-year institution, Casper College has grown into one of the most comprehensive community colleges in the state. The academic catalog contains more than 140 degree and certificate programs designed both for university transfer and for direct entry into the workforce.
Not only can you earn associate degrees and certificates at CC, but partnerships with the University of Wyoming, Boise State University and other four-year schools in the region make a range of advanced degrees available right on campus. Bachelor's programs are available in management, music, health care, art, physical science and more.
Online courses and degrees are common here as well, with more than 10 degree plans available entirely online. Another 50+ hybrid programs require some on-campus time but consist of more than 70 percent online courses.
Northwest College (Powell)
Northwest College first opened its doors in 1946, accommodating its first class of 100 students in classrooms borrowed from the local public school district. In the decades since its founding, NC has grown into a comprehensive institution complete with on-campus residence halls and more than 40 active student clubs.
Its total enrollment of around 1,650 students makes NC one of the smaller community colleges in Wyoming, so students who prefer an intimate learning environment should feel right at home here. The student-faculty ratio at the Powell-based school is 13:1, not only the best ratio on our list but also nearly 20 percent better than the national public university average.
More than 60 associate degree and certificate plans are available at NC, including around 40 Associate of Arts (A.A.) and A.S. plans designed for university transfer.
Eastern Wyoming College (Torrington)
Eastern Wyoming College is the smallest community college in Wyoming by enrollment, although not by much. The total per-semester enrollment of 1,600 students is split between its main location in Torrington and a second site in Douglas.
Close to 40 two-year degree plans -- including A.A., A.S. and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs -- and nearly 20 certificates are available at this southeastern Wyoming institution. The hottest subjects of study here are welding, agriculture, criminal justice and education, and EWC's programs in cosmetology, veterinary technology and gunsmithing that can't be found at any other two-year school in the state.
EWC also features affordable enrollment costs, especially for students hoping to take a heavy courseload. In-state tuition was capped at $1,128 per term in 2018-19, so any credits beyond a semester total of 12 come at a discount.
Western Wyoming Community College (Rock Springs)
Since originally welcoming its first class of 40 students in 1959, Western Wyoming Community College has grown to possess one of the more substantial student bodies among two-year schools in the state. More than 3,300 students attend classes here each semester, either on the main campus in Rock Springs, at one of the 11 outreach centers spread across southern and western Wyoming or in the virtual classroom.
WWCC's entries into the world of online colleges include around a dozen associate degrees and certificates. The A.A. plans emphasize social science and criminal justice, while the A.S. and A.A.S. plans lean more toward business disciplines.
On-campus students at WWCC attend their classes on the same site as some truly larger-than-life attractions. The Rock Springs location is home to five full-sized dinosaur displays and several replicas of the famous Easter Island moai statues.
Sheridan College (Sheridan)
Sheridan College consists of a central campus in Sheridan, a second full-service campus in Gillette and an outreach center located in Johnson County. It's another of the state's larger community colleges by enrollment, welcoming more than 4,100 students each term to the mountainous terrain of northern Wyoming.
Close to 60 academic programs are available across the Sheridan campuses. The catalog consists of a balanced mix of academic and career-focused study plans, featuring education and pre-professional health care programs alongside traditional college majors in the arts, humanities and sciences.
The city of Sheridan has been awarded numerous accolades by outdoor and adventure publications, including National Geographic Adventure Online. About an hour up the road from town sits a small mountain cabin where Ernest Hemingway wrote the first draft of "A Farewell to Arms", one of his most famous works, in 1928.
Resources for Transfer Students in Wyoming
Students hoping to transfer their credits into programs at the top four-year schools in Wyoming are in luck -- the University of Wyoming, the state's one major public university, provides a broad range of articulation agreements and 2 + 2 degree plans that are designed to facilitate smooth and seamless transfer into a bachelor's degree program once you graduate with your associate degree.
The specific subjects of study covered under these agreements tends to vary from one two-year school to the next, but there are a few university majors that are available to direct transfer students from every one of our best Wyoming community colleges:
- Family and consumer science - professional child development
- American studies
- American Indian studies
- Elementary education - creative arts
- Organizational leadership
Your community college may also maintain articulation agreements with four-year schools in other states. Central Wyoming College, for example, has agreements in place with universities in Colorado, Arizona, Texas and Florida.
For more information about your specific transfer opportunities, check in with your community college adviser or browse the transfer section of your school's website.
We ranked community colleges in Wyoming 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:
- 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
- The transfer-out 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.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed November 24, 2018, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=WY&ct=1+2&ic=2
- Wyoming Community College Commission, accessed November 24, 2018, https://communitycolleges.wy.edu/
- School pages, accessed November 24, 2018: About Us, Laramie County Community College, http://www.lccc.wy.edu/about/index.aspx; Academics, Laramie County Community College, http://www.lccc.wy.edu/academics/index.aspx; About CWC, Central Wyoming College, https://www.cwc.edu/about/; Live on Campus, Central Wyoming College, https://www.cwc.edu/housing/; Programs, Central Wyoming College, https://www.cwc.edu/programs/; About, Casper College, https://www.caspercollege.edu/about; Online Degrees and Certificates, Casper College, https://www.caspercollege.edu/online/programs; Degree/Certificate Programs (A-Z), Casper College, https://www.caspercollege.edu/programs-courses/a-z; Transfer Degree Plans, Casper College, https://www.caspercollege.edu/programs-courses/transfer-agreements; A History of Northwest College, Northwest College, https://www.nwc.edu/about/history/; Clubs & Organizations, Northwest College, https://www.nwc.edu/life/clubs/; Costs, Housing & Dining, https://www.nwc.edu/life/housing/costs.html; Academic Programs, Northwest College, https://www.nwc.edu/academics/programs/; About, Eastern Wyoming College, https://ewc.wy.edu/about-eastern-wyoming-college/; College Profile, Eastern Wyoming College, https://ewc.wy.edu/about-eastern-wyoming-college/college-profile/; 2018-2019 Tuition & Fees, Eastern Wyoming College, https://ewc.wy.edu/admissions/2018-2019-tuition-fees/; Majors, Eastern Wyoming College, https://ewc.wy.edu/academic-services/majors/; Outreach Sites & Staff, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/distance/outreach.html; Distance Learning Course & Program Information, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/distance/academics.html; Dinosaurs, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/about/visit/dinosaurs.html; Moai Statues, Western Wyoming Community College, https://www.westernwyoming.edu/about/visit/moai_statues.html; About Sheridan College, Northern Wyoming Community College District, http://www.sheridan.edu/about/sheridan/; Facilities, Northern Wyoming Community College District, http://www.sheridan.edu/about/facilities/; Programs A-Z, Northern Wyoming Community College District, http://www.sheridan.edu/academics/programs-a-z/; History @ Spear-O, Spear-O Mountain Campus, Northern Wyoming Community College District, http://www.spearowigwam.com/history/; Transfer 2 + 2 Degree Plans by Major, University of Wyoming, http://www.uwyo.edu/acadaffairs/degree-plans/wy-2-plus-2/by-major.html; Transfer Agreements, Central Wyoming College, https://www.cwc.edu/transfer/