Degrees

Community colleges have been expanding course and degree offerings. This section provides information on your options, from GED to a bachelor’s degree. Learn how you can benefit from a professional certification, find out which community colleges are offering bachelor’s degrees, and identify the top degree-producing colleges.
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Community colleges have traditionally been considered the go-to place for two-year vocational degrees or general college coursework for students that have plans to transfer to a four-year college or university. However, these institutions of higher education are increasing their program offerings to include a smattering of four-year degree options as well. Although not without their share of opposition, the four-year degree is slowly but surely becoming more common at the community college level. Check out these states and schools delving into the frontier of the four-year degree program.
 
Chattanooga State Considers Addition of Five Four-Year Programs
 
A community college in Tennessee is looking at adding five new programs to their current catalog selections. The Chattanoogan reports that Chattanooga State Community College is considering the addition of four-year degree programs in a variety of high-tech fields. The president of the college, Dr. Jim Cantanzaro, applied for approval of the programs last summer, and is still waiting for a response from Tennessee Board of Regents.
 
The community college would like to add four-year degree programs in chemical process engineering, radiological sciences, nuclear engineering, technology management, and mechatronics engineering. The programs were specifically chosen based on the local employment needs of the current workforce. Dr. Cantanzaro made it clear the goal of the program addition was to fulfill those professional needs and not to transform Chattanooga State in a full-fledged four-year school.
 
Dr. Cantanzaro also explained that 60 percent of the material in the new degree programs would be “applied,” meaning the . . . read more

Community colleges have become a main focus of higher education in recent years, as the United States strives to fill the workforce needs of the 21st century. Completion rates for community colleges are more important than ever before, as students must complete their training programs to become productive members of the global marketplace. To help prospective students locate the community colleges with the greatest odds of success, Community College Week releases annual analyses of the community colleges that produce the most associate degrees each academic year.
 
About the Analysis
 
The data for the annual Top 100 Analysis is collected by the National Center for Education Statistics. The list includes associate degrees earned during the 2010-2011 school year, with total degrees earned and breakdowns according to race. The breakdowns were handled by a two-question format students were asked to answer, according to the website for Community College Week. Students were first asked if they were of Hispanic or Latino heritage, and then they were asked to check off various races that applied to them, including African American, Native American and Asian American.
 
This year’s analysis found record increases in the number of associate degrees earned over the past three years. As associate degrees appear to be on the rise, certificate programs, which can usually be earned in less than two years, seem to be on the decline. It is also interesting to note that the number of associate degrees earned at public community colleges was just 61 percent. Proprietary institutions . . . read more

While many college students today are opting for a two-year degree over four years in school, there is an even shorter option to consider. Community college students are finding that certificate programs can be completed in much less time, yet reap the same employment benefits as a full degree program. Check out these benefits of professional certification from your local community college.

Consider the Statistics
 
While many are still out of work in the United States, millions of jobs remain unfilled. Why? There are no skilled workers to fill the slots, according to a report at CNN Money. Employers need workers who can come right into a position with the necessary training and experience. However, much of that training is not available through four-year universities. Instead, students must turn to schools that are providing the specific training employers in the community require. This is the important void that community colleges are learning to fill – and often through certification and licensing programs.
 
Fast Turnaround
 
Community college degree programs typically take around two years to complete, but certification programs can take significantly less time. AOL Jobs estimates that most certificate programs range in length from six months to one year. In addition, coursework for these types of programs is often offered in the evenings or on weekends for students who are trying to juggle current family and professional responsibilities. In some cases, classes can even be taken online, prior to the certification examination.
 
Income Potential
 
Workers with certification typically earn more . . . read more

In a constant effort to improve the quality of academics for every student that enrolls on their campus, community colleges from coast to coast are on the lookout for new programs to add to their course catalogue. This year, there are a number of new offerings at schools around the country, from those that celebrate the inner artist to practical programs designed to give graduates an upper hand in the workplace. Check out these new degree programs coming soon to a community college near you.

Kentucky Community College Offering Vet Tech Degree
 
In response to a community that is highly agricultural, Owensboro Community and Technical College will be adding a new veterinary technician degree program to its roster. This program will be the first degree in veterinary technology offered by a community college in Kentucky. The program, which will be funded by a $475,000 grant to Daviess and Hancock Counties, will fill a vital need in the state. According to the Lane Report, veterinary technicians are considered the fastest growing occupation in Kentucky currently. With only two four-year schools offering degrees in this field, there is a definite need to train up more professionals to handle the increasing employment need in the state.
 
“This veterinary program will be an outstanding addition to the curriculum offered at the Owensboro Community and Technical College,” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear told the Lane Report. “With a strong economic foundation in agriculture, western Kentucky needs qualified veterinary professionals, and I’m pleased the college is . . . read more

Much has been published recently about the value of a college degree over the long term.  While the cost of higher education has continued to rise, the benefits associated with that education continue to grow as well. An associate degree can offer a particularly good return on investment (ROI), since the cost of obtaining the degree is significantly less than a bachelor's degree, and the job opportunities can be plentiful.  While we've compared whether state universities or community college graduates earn higher salaries, consider these statistics concerning the ROI on various associate degrees to determine whether community college might be the next logical step in your career plans.

The Cost of an Associate Degree
 
Degree Central cites 2010 statistics from College Board that show the average annual tuition cost for a community college is $2,544. Most can be earned in two years or less, although some students might take longer if they are juggling professional and family responsibilities along with their studies. For most students, a degree from a community college can be earned for less than $9,000.
 
By the same token, the 2009 annual average tuition cost at a public four-year school for residents was just over $7,000, while the rate for non-residents was more than $18,500. Private schools ran approximately $26,000 per year.  These rates translate to a significant amount of debt for most students once they graduate, while community college students often graduate with little or no debt. 
 
Projected Earnings for Associate Degree Earners
 
The projected earnings with . . . read more
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Why Community College

DEGREES