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2023 Best Online Community Colleges in Nevada

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/17/2023


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Online community colleges in Nevada offer a range of programs for students who are starting their online education. These institutions can provide a fairly low-cost way to earn a certificate or associate degree for enrollees hoping to enter the workforce quickly or continue on to a bachelor's degree. The benefits of online community college might include affordability, open admissions to help students start their college journey, a generally diverse student makeup, and a wide variety of programs. The Nevada System of Higher Education governs the state's four public community colleges, which charge the lowest tuition rates to students who live in their districts.

View our methodology for more details about our list or learn more about OnlineU.

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#1 College of Southern Nevada

  • Salary Score: 70
  • Online Enrollment: 6,420
  • Locations: Las Vegas
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) is a public community college with many online certificates and associate degrees to choose from. The programs with the highest enrollment include the interdisciplinary Associate of General Studies degree, the Nursing Assistant certificate, and the Associate of Business degree. The college has an 18% graduation rate.

CSN uses the Canvas learning management system (LMS) to deliver online courses. It holds two federal designations, one as a Hispanic-serving institution and the other as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. Thirty-seven percent of CSN enrollees identify as Latinx or Hispanic students, 10% identify as Asian students, and 1% identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students.

#2 Truckee Meadows Community College

  • Salary Score: 70
  • Online Enrollment: 2,185
  • Locations: Reno
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The public Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) offers a range of fully online programs. The school's Associate of General Studies degree is one of its most popular, and other common choices include a Certificate of Achievement in Health Sciences and an Associate of Applied Science in Business degree. In all, 34% of the college's students graduate with a degree.

TMCC uses the Canvas LMS to host its online courses. This is a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution, with 36% of students coming from Latinx or Hispanic backgrounds. Thirty percent of students take exclusively online courses, and 62% of enrollees study part time.

#3 Great Basin College

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 2,638
  • Locations: Elko
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Great Basin College (GBC), a public institution, features a variety of fully online associate degrees and certificates. Students can enroll in programs that include an Associate of Arts in Business, an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, and a Certificate of Achievement in Medical Coding and Billing. GBC programs have a 23% graduation rate.

Online learners sign in to Canvas to complete coursework and submit assignments. More than 61% of GBC enrollees are part-time students, and they're overwhelmingly distance learners: 91% of all students take exclusively online classes, and only 2% take all their classes on campus.

#4 Western Nevada College

  • Salary Score: N/A
  • Online Enrollment: 861
  • Locations: Carson City
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Western Nevada College (WNC) is a public school with several online options for earning a certificate or associate degree. The college's general studies Associate of Arts degree has the highest enrollment, and other options include business degrees such as the Associate of Business and Associate of Applied Science in General Business. WNC's graduation rate is 24%.

Online learners at WNC sign in to Canvas to view lectures, post to discussion forums, and complete all assignments. The federal government designates WNC as a Hispanic-serving institution because 25% of its students identify with this group. About one-third of students are exclusively online learners, and 64% of all students are enrolled in part-time programs.

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Overview of Online Community Colleges in Nevada

Nevada community colleges' online associate degree programs are designed to be completed in two years by full-time students, but it’s a longer process for part-time students. Overall, students must complete approximately 60 credit hours, including 40 general education credits. If students want to pursue additional education, they can transfer these credits to a four-year university — such as the University of Nevada-Reno or University of Nevada-Las Vegas — to save time and money.

The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) recorded that almost 47,500 students were enrolled throughout Nevada's community college system, with graduates earning 5,835 associate degrees in the fall of 2020. In fact, graduation rates have been steadily increasing since 2011. According to NSHE, the majority of graduates were female, attended part-time, and were between the ages of 17-29. The most popular degree paths were liberal arts, physical science, and engineering.

Many of these degrees awarded in 2020 were earned in Nevada through distance learning. Students choose to enroll in Nevada's online schools because of their convenience and the state's unique degree programs. For example, if students work in Nevada's thriving gaming or hospitality industry and seek career advancement, they can complete their education online to accommodate their schedule. The College of Southern Nevada offers associate degrees in casino management and hospitality management along with a certificate in hotel management. The curriculum and flexibility of online education can enable students to meet their career goals.

If students work in Nevada's gaming or hospitality industry, they can complete their education online to accommodate their schedule.

Accreditation for Online Colleges in Nevada

Accreditation ensures that a school — whether it's online or in-person — consistently meets high academic standards and students receive a quality education. In addition, accreditation is necessary for students to use federal financial aid and transfer credits from one accredited institution to another.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education recognize 19 national and seven regional accreditation boards. Most non-profit universities are regionally accredited. Regional accreditation is the preferred type of accreditation because it's prestigious and well-established. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accredits schools in Nevada. Students should visit to check an online school's accreditation status.

Tuition for Nevada Community Colleges

Community college tuition is more affordable in Nevada than other Western states — except California and New Mexico, which cost considerably less. Tuition rates and fees cost an average of $3,398 for Nevada residents in the 2019-2020 school year. Students can obtain residency by living in Nevada for 12 months prior to starting classes. The average tuition is $10,588 for non-residents of Nevada, but non-residents attending a Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) member school can save money. WUE schools charge non-residents the in-state costs for tuition and fees plus an additional 50%, potentially reducing student debt.

Expert Tip
To reduce tuition costs, students should use the WUE Savings Finder to look up their school's member status

Students may also qualify for fee waivers through NSHE. To be eligible, they must meet specific requirements, such as being one of the following: a former foster child, member of the National Guard, veteran, Purple Heart recipient, or member of a federally recognized Native American tribe or nation within Nevada's boundaries.

For college options in other locations, view OnlineU's best online college rankings by state or best online colleges by degree level.

Scholarships for Nevada Students

Completing the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines students’ eligibility for financial aid, including federal student loans, federal grants, and scholarships. Grants and scholarships are the best way to pay for higher education. When they receive these awards, students don't have to repay anyone or worry about loan interest rates because there are no strings attached.

Nevada offers several private scholarships for community college students, including those enrolling in distance education:

The Nevada Promise Scholarship awards high school or GED graduates up to three years of tuition and fees that other financial aid sources don’t cover. Students must plan on enrolling in a minimum of 12 credit hours while completing their associate degree at the College of Southern Nevada.

The Reno Rodeo Foundation’s Western Arts & Culture Scholarship is for Northern Nevada high school graduates. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be full-time students, and submit three art samples that support Western culture, tradition, and heritage. The recipient will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

The Joshua L. Anderson Memorial Foundation Scholarship is worth $3,500 and is awarded to first-year college students. JLA encourages students to apply from Northern Nevada who played high school baseball or softball and had a strong academic performance.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Pacific Southwest Chapter Scholarship is open to students in Las Vegas who demonstrate an interest in the television industry by enrolling in a related discipline. Awards range from $500-$5,000, and the Academy bases its decisions on academic achievement, creative ability, and financial need.

The Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship pays $40 per credit hour for lower-division classes in community college and $60 for upper-division courses. Recipients may receive up to $10,000 in tuition aid if they maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA while in school.

In addition to scholarships, check to see if you qualify for other aid, such as GI Bill benefits or employer-paid tuition programs. Your school's financial aid office can also direct you to resources that can help make higher education more affordable.

Careers After Community College in Nevada

Online learning is designed to prepare you for jobs anywhere, especially in Nevada if you plan to stay after graduation. You may make connections through school that can lead to job opportunities in the state. Nevada is home to several key industries — health, aerospace and defense, IT, manufacturing and logistics, mining, natural resource technologies, and tourism and gaming.

As of October 2021, Nevada's unemployment rate is 7.3% — still significantly higher than the national rate of 4.6% — has steadily fallen from 2020 highs. As the job market strengthens, the following is a sampling of occupations in Nevada projected for high growth that you can get with an associate’s degree:

  • Computer network support specialists
  • Mechanical engineering technicians
  • Paralegals and legal assistants
  • Physical therapist assistants
  • Veterinary technicians and assistants
  • Web developers

Nevada has an affordable cost of living which measures how far your income will go toward living expenses. Nevada Tomorrow indicates the cost of living index is 103 in the Las Vegas metro area — including Henderson and Paradise — compared to the U.S. average of 100. The Reno-Sparks area is a little higher at 113. So, it can be cheaper to live in Nevada than other places in the West, such as California or Washington, where a person’s salary doesn't stretch as far.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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