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Best Online Community Colleges in Nevada

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 12/17/2021
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Nevada Badge

Enrolling in an online community college in Nevada can save time and money for students eager to develop their professional skills or ease their way into college. From information technology and cybersecurity to criminal justice and healthcare, Nevada's community colleges have online programs that aim to meet industry demands. General education courses and associate degrees prepare students for advanced online bachelor's or master's degree programs. Below, we rank the four community colleges in the state of Nevada that grant online associate degrees and certificates. Read on to learn more about online colleges in Nevada, including how much they cost and potential career opportunities after graduation.

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

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 Great Basin College $3,247 Elko
# 2 #2 Truckee Meadows Community College $3,082 Reno
# 3 #3 Western Nevada College $3,083 Carson City
# 4 #4 College of Southern Nevada $3,082 Las Vegas

2020 Online Community Colleges in Nevada - 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 Great Basin College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,247
  • Locations: Elko
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Established in 1967, Great Basin College is based in Elko, Nevada. This community college offers a long list of online associate degrees, including an Associate of Applied Science in Entrepreneurship and an Associate of Arts in Graphic Communication. Also offered are seven bachelor’s degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN). Remote students have access to virtual tutoring services through email and video conferencing, as well as digital success workshops. Online courses are available in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, with the former presented in either an entirely digital classroom or remotely streamed from an on-campus lecture. Synchronous courses require real-time participation from virtual students.

#2 Truckee Meadows Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,082
  • Locations: Reno
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Located in Reno, Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College is home to multiple online associate degree programs, including an Associate of Arts in Anthropology Emphasis and an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education. Students also have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security completely online. The community college offers distance learners live tech support and tutoring through their virtual chat function. Online classes are available asynchronously, with coursework being completed on a regularly scheduled basis through Canvas. While on-campus orientation is required, TMCC offers alternative solutions to students who live further than 50 miles away from campus.

#3 Western Nevada College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,083
  • Locations: Carson City
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Western Nevada College in Carson City offers eight online associate degree paths, including an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, and an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communication. Although all virtual classwork is completed through the Canvas learning management system, some courses require proctored exams at an approved location or on-campus testing center. Distance learners can access an online student orientation through WNC’s website to learn how to use Canvas. Helpful information about the internet, computers, or study skills is also provided on the college's website. Additionally, distance learners have access to online library and bookstore resources. Western Nevada College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#4 College of Southern Nevada

  • Annual Tuition: $3,082
  • Locations: Las Vegas
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Students at the College of Southern Nevada can choose from dozens of online programs, including several associate degrees. Some of the options available to distance learners are an Associate of Arts in Psychology, an Associate of Arts in World Languages, and an Associate of Arts in History. Also offered completely online is a Bachelor of Applied Science in Fire and Emergency Services Administration. Distance learners access and complete digital coursework through Canvas. The community college offers remote tutoring services through Smarthinking, and each student maintains regular communication with their academic advisor. Other online features include a live librarian chat service for research assistance and a digital orientation for new students.

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 Ed.gov 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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