Best Community Colleges in Iowa

Community Colleges in Iowa train students for entry-level positions while giving them the option to transfer to a four-year program. If you are a resident of Iowa and you are wondering which community college is the best one for you; keep reading this article. This article contains a list of the best community colleges in Iowa. The list is complete with details about the program offerings of each of the community colleges mentioned.

Community Colleges offer an easy path into bachelor’s programs at four-year universities and colleges. A lot of prospective students are partial to community colleges for their first two years of postsecondary education because it offers maximum affordability and flexibility.

Community Colleges in Iowa offer quite a number of vocational and technical courses that equip students with the knowledge to pursue employment in the agricultural and manufacturing sector. Basic education programs, professional training and skill development are also offered at these colleges.

Below is a list of the best community colleges in Iowa.

Best Community Colleges in Iowa

1. Eastern Iowa Community College District

Eastern Iowa Community College operates three schools located in Clinton, Muscatine, and Bettendorf. These colleges put together serve over 8,000 students in transferable associate and career credit programs.

EICC maintains formal articulation agreements with about 22 universities around Iowa. Students can earn associate degrees in fields like agriculture, language interpretation, and business management. They may also enroll in an RN-to-BSN track. In addition to the on-campus mode of learning, students can pursue remote education facilitated by the Canvas platform.

These colleges support working professionals by offering flexible degree plans that feature a combination of evening classes and online coursework. Through this hybrid program, students can earn an associate of arts or an associate of applied science.

Eastern Iowa Community College offers 33 career training programs, with options in information technology, human services, and construction. Students can also earn certificates for culinary arts and hospitality management.

EICC facilitates career advancement through developmental training for working professionals, in topics such as business writing, Six Sigma Green Belt, and workplace conflict resolution.

2. North Iowa Area Community College

North Iowa Area Community College based in Mason City, was founded in 1918. It is the oldest community college in Iowa. The school holds a national ranking for its accessible and career-relevant certificates and associate degrees.

NIACC offers more than 40 programs in six broad areas of study. Students can pursue agricultural education training, earning a generalist diploma or an associate degree in agriculture marketing and finance. The school also offers business programs, including sports management, visual communication, and associate credentials for information assurance and security.

For students who want to pursue healthcare careers, this college offers programs in areas like nursing, physical fitness and wellness, and radiologic technology.

Applicants are required to submit a free online application and furnish official academic transcripts. NIACC does not maintain SAT/ACT standards for enrollment, however, students are required to meet minimums to access the President’s Scholarship.

Students benefit from low tuition prices and a generous transfer policy that allows them to earn credit for military training, career achievements, volunteer positions, and even relevant personal experience.

3. Southeastern Community College

Southeastern Community College is located in West Burlington and serves over 2,500 students. This college offers academic transfer options and technical career training and also offers dual enrollment to high school juniors and seniors through its Jumpstart initiative.

This program allows students to complete general education classes. High school students can also pursue specialized training in welding, construction technology, automotive technology, and industrial maintenance.

Students who are interested in associate-level academics can benefit from the transferable credentials in business administration, criminal justice, and physical science. The college also operates two nursing programs: a diploma track that prepares candidates to work as licensed practical nurses and an associate track for registered nursing.

SCC sets itself apart from other community colleges in Iowa by offering training in agronomy and row crop operations. This program operates a combination of traditional classes with hands-on field experience.

Additional certificate options include entrepreneurship, medical scribe, and animal science. SCC charges students affordable tuition prices based on residency status and program type.

4. Northwest Iowa Community College

Northwest Iowa Community College serves four counties in and around the state. The school has a student enrollment of over 1,700 students who benefit from over 40 academic and career training programs.

NCC offers transfer majors and pre-professional programs for students who intend to advance their academics. Transfer majors available include criminal justice and psychology, while pre-professional programs cover fields like early childhood development, environmental science, and accounting.

Students can also enroll in a pre-professional program for mortuary science. Additional programs offered in this program include computer network security, engineering design, and heavy equipment operations and maintenance. NCC also delivers online and hybrid programs in nursing and business management.

Northwest Iowa Community College is one of the best community colleges in Iowa and boasts a high success rate. The school offers students affordable tuition rates, with a slight difference based on where a student resides. Financial aid opportunities are also available through federal funding, state grants, and institutional scholarships.

5. Southwestern Community College

Southwestern Community College operates a headquarter in Creton and supports over 1,500 students through its academic transfer, technical certificate, and continuing education programs. Southwestern Community College provides accessible academics, offering 400 online and hybrid classes powered by Canvas.

Students can also earn associate degrees remotely with options in business administration, agricultural management, and accounting. Additionally, the college offers flexible evening classes at three locations, enabling students to obtain an associate of arts by taking classes one or two nights per week.

Southwestern Community College program offerings include one-year diploma options in areas like auto collision repair and industrial technology. Students who are to pursue trade careers can also train in carpentry and building technology, preparing to work as contractors and business owners.

Southwestern Community College offers advanced welding, office management, and nursing education as additional programming options. Similar to other community colleges in Iowa, SWCC provides possibilities for dual enrollment and continuing education. All students have access to institutional subsidies and reasonable tuition.

6. Northeast Iowa Community College
Over 4,500 students attend Northeast Iowa Community College in its eight-county service region. Students can pursue distance education by taking individual online classes or registering for distance certificate and diploma programs at the school’s main campus in Calmar, which provides a variety of academic and technical programming.
Additionally, NICC offers associate degree programs in business, criminal justice, finance, and health information technology that are entirely online.
Students who want to take classes on-campus can sign up for certificate pathways in industrial sewing and building construction. They can also prepare for jobs in the health sciences such as pharmacy technician, health support specialist, and certified nursing aide.
NICC is one of the few community colleges in Iowa that provide a construction management diploma, with a focus on lumber products and wholesale supply distribution.
Additional diploma programs prepare students for employment as commercial-residential or dental assistants. In addition to offering inexpensive education, NICC helps students by offering career assistance and tutoring. Through its child development center, the school also provides daycare services.
7. Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College, which received its charter in 1966 offers about 40 associate’s, certificate, and diploma programs studied by about 2,000 students. The institution provides adult education and literacy programs in addition to flexible evening classes and distance learning opportunities.
Iowa Lakes offers dual-enrollment courses for high school students from public and private schools through its Career Connect initiative. These courses emphasize technical knowledge and practical abilities in the fields of HVAC, aviation management, and wind energy.
Iowa Lakes Community College provides transfer possibilities for students who want to finish their studies at a partner university in fields like Arts Management, biology, and computer science. The school also offers a pre-law track as an additional option for candidates.

Iowa Lake offers bachelor’s completion tracks that enable students to complete upper-level baccalaureate classes, this program sets this college itself apart from other community colleges.

The school charges low tuition prices based on residency status. Iowa Lakes provides private scholarships to over 80% of its students, with additional opportunities for government assistance.

8. Marshalltown Community College

Marshalltown Community College is part of the Iowa Valley Community College District, and cushions the economic activities of surrounding areas by providing over 80 affordable academic transfer and career training opportunities.

MCC offers programs in six areas, including health occupations, social sciences, and humanities. Students who are interested in training in the skilled trades can choose from options like gunsmith technology, welding, and culinary arts.

These students can also earn a diploma or associate degree in automotive repair technology; these graduates are qualified to earn a professional certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.

Students who are interested in working in business may enroll in administrative, accounting, and marketing programs. MCC also delivers an interdisciplinary track for e-commerce and web page development. Students who are uncertain of a major can opt for the liberal arts associate program, which offers a direct path to baccalaureate transfer.

MCC serves approximately 2,000 students and charges low tuition prices and offers hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual scholarships. The college also facilitates veterans’ benefits and grants transfer credit through prior learning assessments. MCC like many other community colleges in Iowa provides distance education through Blackboard.

9. Indian Hills Community College

Indian Hills Community College is located in Ottumwa and serves about 4,000 students each semester. This college is committed to the cultural and economic prosperity of the local community, IHCC offers campus-based and distance education programming.

The school features more than 250 online classes in health information technology, medical/insurance coding, and general education topics. Students can also complete classes at IHCC’s Aviation Ground School entirely online before undergoing practical training.

IHCC offers its associate programs in three broad areas: arts and sciences, health sciences, and advanced technologies. Health sciences options include degree tracks for respiratory care, nutrition, and occupational therapy.

Students can enroll in an associate program in health information technology that offers a 100% graduation rate and an 89% job placement rate.

Additional associate programs include geospatial technology, public relations, and athletic coaching. Indian Hills Community College also offers a two-year track in cybersecurity administration, which allows candidates to access some of the fastest-growing jobs in the United States.

10. Des Moines Area Community College

Des Moines Area Community College of the largest community colleges in Iowa. The college is located at Des Moines Area Community College and serves over 23,000 students every year. Prospective students enjoy an easy application process, they are required to submit a free online application and complete an academic assessment.

Des Moines Area Community College maintains partnerships with universities to facilitate transfer programs. DMACC also facilitates reverse crediting; which allows students who earned community college credits before attending a four-year institution to transfer back to DMACC to complete their associate credentials at little cost.

Students can choose from over 200 diplomas, certificates, and associate programs in 12 areas of specialization. Tracks include civil engineering, watershed technology, hospitality business, and crime scene investigation.

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