2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Iowa

By OnlineU Staff | Updated May 7, 2020
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Iowa Badge

These are the best community colleges in Iowa offering online associate degrees and certificates. Students at #8-ranked Iowa Western Community College have the greatest number of options; this school offers 6 different online associate degrees as well as seven fully-online certificates, and tuition is just $5,673 per year. Students looking for an even more affordable option might consider #4-ranked North Iowa Area Community College, which has the lowest tuition of any school on our list at just $4,792 per year.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 $5,696 Marshalltown
# 2 #2 $5,797 Waterloo
# 3 #3 $6,048 Sheldon
# 4 #4 $4,792 Mason City
# 5 #5 $5,916 Calmar
# 6 #6 $5,456 Cedar Rapids
# 7 #7 $6,237 Sioux City
# 8 #8 $5,673 Council Bluffs
# 9 #9 $5,888 West Burlington
# 10 #10 $6,048 Creston
# 11 #11 $5,120 Ankeny (and 6 others)
# 12 #12 $5,696 Iowa Falls
# 13 #13 $5,742 Fort Dodge
# 14 #14 $5,760 Ottumwa
# 15 #15 $5,124 Estherville

2020 Online Community Colleges in Iowa - Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Marshalltown Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,696
  • Locations: Marshalltown
  • Accreditation: HLC

Just a few miles northeast of Des Moines, Marshalltown Community College offers an Associate of Arts Liberal Arts transfer degree. Additionally, MCC offers a general Associate of Arts degree with 11 different electives: accounting, communications/public relations/journalism, computer applications in business, secondary education, history, human services, psychology, social work, and sociology. An Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal is also available. The fully-online courses are taught using the Blackboard online learning system, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. Students never need to travel to the campus. Tuition for online classes is the same as for on-campus classes plus an additional distance learning fee of $13 per credit hour.

#2 Hawkeye Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,797
  • Locations: Waterloo
  • Accreditation: HLC

With its main campus in Waterloo, Iowa, Hawkeye Community College offers two online degrees: an Associate of Arts in Business Administration and an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. The business administration degree enables students to increase their knowledge of statistics, accounting, information systems, and economics. Both are transfer degrees, designed so that students can complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree and be admitted as a junior to a four-year college or university. HCC has articulation agreements with multiple four-year public and private colleges in Iowa.

#3 Northwest Iowa Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,048
  • Locations: Sheldon
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Sheldon, Iowa, Northwest Iowa Community College offers six online Associate of Applied Science degrees: agriculture, business management, health information technology, and power line technology. An online Associate of Science in Computer Science and an online Associate of Arts in Business are also available. Online diploma programs are offered in business, medical coding, and web and graphic design. Additionally, NICC has partnered with Gatlin Education Services and Ed2Go to offer hundreds of classes and courses online. Ed2Go’s instructor-guided courses run for six to eight weeks, and each consists of 12 lessons. Prospective students can take an online quiz on NICC’s website to see if distance learning is a good fit for them.

#4 North Iowa Area Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,792
  • Locations: Mason City
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Mason City, Iowa, North Iowa Area Community College offers five online Associate of Applied Science degrees: accounting, administrative office specialist, business administration, insurance and financial management, and sport management. An Associate in Arts degree is also available. Additionally, NIACC’s online programs include certificates in accounting, administrative office associate, foundations of business, and software applications specialist. All programs can be completed entirely online. NIACC uses the Canvas online learning management system to deliver coursework. The college’s website has an online class survey to help students determine whether distance learning is right for them.

#5 Northeast Iowa Community College-Calmar

  • Annual Tuition: $5,916
  • Locations: Calmar
  • Accreditation: HLC

Six associate degrees are offered online at Northeast Iowa Community College: agriculture business, agriculture finance, applied management, business specialist, finance, and health information technology. In addition, Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees are offered for transfer to a four-year school. Three online certificate programs are also available: agricultural finance, certified product technician, and crop advisor. A diploma program for accounting clerk is offered as well. NICC also offers a Z-Degree online, which is an additional way to earn an Associate of Arts degree. The program comprises eight-week courses. Textbooks are free, and classes are available during five sessions throughout the year. NICC's programs can be completed fully online with asynchronous coursework, or in a hybrid format.

#6 Kirkwood Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,456
  • Locations: Cedar Rapids
  • Accreditation: HLC

<!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}--> Kirkwood Community College, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts which prepares students to enter a four-year university as a junior. The college has articulation agreements with Regents’ universities in Iowa. KCC also offers three Associate of Applied Science degrees: business and information technology, paralegal, and water environmental technology. All are two-year, online programs. Iowa residents may be eligible to have up to half of their tuition paid through the Kibbie Grant. Also offered are six online certificate programs in the business and information technology category: global perspectives in business, entrepreneurship, human resources, medical coding, project management, and technical accounting. More than 150 online courses are available through a program called Talon, which allows instructors to create interactive activities, discussion boards, exams, and quizzes.

#7 Western Iowa Tech Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,237
  • Locations: Sioux City
  • Accreditation: HLC

The main campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College is located in Sioux City. The college offers 20 online degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Six Associate of Applied Science degrees are available: accounting specialist, agribusiness technology, agricultural management, financial services, human resources management, and technical business management. Online certificate programs include child development (with infant/toddler and preschool specializations), coaching, cost accounting, entrepreneurship concepts, health information technology, office assistant, payroll clerk, and tax preparer. Diploma programs are offered in accounting, agriculture and human resources. Students can also choose from hundreds of online and hybrid courses.

#8 Iowa Western Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,673
  • Locations: Council Bluffs
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Iowa Western Community College offers 18 associate programs that have online components. Subjects of study include accounting technician, computer science, criminal justice, literature, marketing management, pre-law, psychology, sociology, Spanish, and others. It is recommended that students use a standard computer instead of a tablet or smartphone for online coursework. IWCC has partnered with online course providers Ed2Go and CareerStep to offer a wide variety of interactive, non-credit courses and career training programs.

#9 Southeastern Community College - IA

  • Annual Tuition: $5,888
  • Locations: West Burlington
  • Accreditation: HLC

With two campuses – one in Burlington, the other in Keokuk – Southeastern Community College offers four online Associate of Applied Science degrees: accounting, business administration, chemical dependency counselor, and criminal justice. Additionally, online diploma programs are available in accounting and chemical dependency counselor. SCC works with three online course providers – Ed2Go, UGotClass, and ProTrain – to provide many additional courses online. And through the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, students can select a partner college that offers a particular online course or program. Accelerated courses of 12, eight, or four weeks cover the same course material that is usually covered in a standard 16-week course.

#10 Southwestern Community College - IA

  • Annual Tuition: $6,048
  • Locations: Creston
  • Accreditation: HLC

The main campus of Southwestern Community College is located in Creston, Iowa. In addition to an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science for transfer, the college offers degrees in business administration, accounting, and agriculture business. Classes in the online programs range from four to 16 weeks. SCC works with two online course providers – Ed2Go and CareerStep – to offer a wide range of online classes in such categories as accounting and finance, computer applications, design and composition, health care and medical, language and arts, and writing and publishing.

#11 Des Moines Area Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,120
  • Locations: Ankeny(and 6 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Serving students for more than 50 years, Des Moines Area Community College offers a variety of degrees that can be completed online: Associate in Applied Science degrees in accounting and business; a liberal arts Associate in Arts; and business transfer degrees with specializations in accounting, business, management, management information systems, and marketing. Online certificate programs are also available in accounting, entrepreneurship, management, and supervision. A partnership with online course provider Ed2Go allows the college to offer many courses in a six-week format. A new session begins each week, and lessons are delivered each Wednesday and Friday.

#12 Ellsworth Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,696
  • Locations: Iowa Falls
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ellsworth Community College, located in Iowa Falls, has been serving students for over 125 years. The college offers ten Associate of Arts degrees online: accounting, communications/public relations/journalism, secondary education, finance and banking, history, human services, liberal arts/transfer, psychology, social work, and sociology. Additionally, an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Applications in Business is available as a general degree or with one of four emphases: accounting, graphic design/web, legal, and medical. ECC uses the Blackboard online learning management system, and most of the coursework is completed asynchronously. Online courses are taught by the same instructors who teach on the college’s campus.

#13 Iowa Central Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Locations: Fort Dodge
  • Accreditation: HLC

Iowa Central Community College, located in Fort Dodge, offers seven online associate degrees: an Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science degrees in Computer Networking Technology and Criminal Justice, and Associate of Professional Studies degrees in Business, Health Care Administration, and Human Services. Depending on the degree, classes start every four or eight weeks. A wide variety of asynchronous online courses are also available. Students can work at their own pace, but there are weekly deadlines for forums and assignments to ensure that they stay on schedule. Through these courses, students can study subjects such as criminology, computers, marketing, coaching, nutrition, anthropology, psychology, literature, music, public speaking, and many more.

#14 Indian Hills Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,760
  • Locations: Ottumwa
  • Accreditation: HLC

With two campuses – one in Ottumwa and one in Centerville – Indian Hills Community College offers three online associate degrees: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology. Online diploma programs include health unit coordinator, healthcare document specialist, and medical/insurance coding. Additionally, students may complete some Aviation Ground School courses online if they wish to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Pilot Training. However, on-campus courses, as well as advanced flight training, are necessary to complete the degree. IHCC also offers more than 250 individual courses online. The college uses the MyHills program to deliver course content and enable students to interact with instructors and their peers.

#15 Iowa Lakes Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,124
  • Locations: Estherville
  • Accreditation: HLC

The main campus of Iowa Lakes Community College is in Estherville, Iowa. Several programs are available fully online. Associate of Applied Science degrees are offered in four areas: accounting specialist, business administration and management, human services/disability services, and paralegal/legal studies. All but the last two are completely online. The accounting specialist program is also available for a diploma or certificate. ILCC is part of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium comprising seven Iowa community colleges, through which more than 300 different online college credit courses are available.

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