2020 Best Online Community Colleges in North Carolina

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 5/7/2020
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in North Carolina Badge

These are the best community colleges in North Carolina that offer fully online associate degrees and certificate programs. All of the 32 community colleges ranked here have annual tuitions under $4,000, making them as affordable as they are convenient. At #1-ranked Richmond Community College, students can earn one of 11 online associate degrees, including an AAS in Business Administration, an AAS in Health Information Technology, and more. Southwestern Community College - NC, ranked #2, offers 11 different online associate degrees for just $2,607 per year.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 Richmond Community College $2,584 Hamlet
# 2 #2 Southwestern Community College - NC $2,607 Sylva
# 3 #3 College of the Albemarle $2,432 Elizabeth City
# 4 #4 Edgecombe Community College $2,280 Tarboro
# 5 #5 Montgomery Community College $2,508 Troy
# 6 #6 Lenoir Community College $2,508 Kinston
# 7 #7 Southeastern Community College - NC $2,280 Whiteville
# 8 #8 Central Carolina Community College $2,888 Sanford
# 9 #9 Gaston College $2,280 Dallas
# 10 #10 Forsyth Technical Community College $2,584 Winston Salem
# 11 #11 James Sprunt Community College $2,280 Kenansville
# 12 #12 Randolph Community College $2,280 Asheboro
# 13 #13 Wilkes Community College $2,432 Wilkesboro
# 14 #14 Cape Fear Community College $2,280 Wilmington (and 2 others)
# 15 #15 Fayetteville Technical Community College $2,736 Fayetteville (and 1 other)
# 16 #16 Blue Ridge Community College - NC $2,432 Flat Rock
# 17 #17 Sandhills Community College $2,446 Pinehurst
# 18 #18 Rowan-Cabarrus Community College $2,280 Salisbury
# 19 #19 Isothermal Community College $2,584 Spindale
# 20 #20 Craven Community College $2,280 New Bern
# 21 #21 Beaufort County Community College $2,432 Washington
# 22 #22 Wilson Community College $2,572 Wilson
# 23 #23 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College $1,976 Asheville (and 2 others)
# 24 #24 Stanly Community College $2,432 Albemarle
# 25 #25 Catawba Valley Community College $2,432 Hickory
# 26 #26 Pitt Community College $3,420 Winterville
# 27 #27 Central Piedmont Community College $2,432 Charlotte
# 28 #28 Nash Community College $2,280 Rocky Mount
# 29 #29 Bladen Community College $2,280 Dublin
# 30 #30 Guilford Technical Community College $2,432 Jamestown
# 31 #31 Western Piedmont Community College $2,432 Morganton
# 32 #32 Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute $2,280 Hudson

2020 Online Community Colleges in North Carolina - 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 Richmond Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,584
  • Locations: Hamlet
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located a few miles southeast of Charlotte in Hamlet, North Carolina, Richmond Community College offers an online Associate of Arts University Transfer as well as ten Associate of Applied Science degrees that can be completed online. Students can earn their degrees in business administration, criminal justice technology, early childhood education, health information technology, and nonprofit leadership and management. Online certificate programs are also available in business administration, criminal justice technology, and nonprofit leadership and management. Nearly 100 online classes in many different subjects are available through RCC, as well as hybrid courses – an option for those who would like to have at least some face-to-face learning.

#2 Southwestern Community College - NC

  • Annual Tuition: $2,607
  • Locations: Sylva
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Twelve associate degrees, 19 certificate programs, and two diploma programs are available online at Southwestern Community College in Sylva, North Carolina. An Associate of Arts College Transfer is offered, as well as Associate of Applied Science degrees in Business Administration (general and with three concentrations), Computer Information Technology, Cyber Crime Technology, Information Technology (three concentrations), Medical Office Administration, and Web Technologies. SCC uses the Blackboard learning system, and prospective students can take a sample online course through the college’s website. Online courses have weekly deadlines; interaction with other students is often necessary. Students should plan to spend at least 20 hours per week doing their coursework throughout the duration of the program.

#3 College of the Albemarle

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Elizabeth City
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

College of the Albemarle is a public community college offering distance education options, including thirteen fully online degree and certificate programs. Programs range from studies in criminal justice technology to early childhood education and include an Associate in Arts and Associate in Science, which are designed to transfer to four-year universities. Students can take a quiz on the College of the Albemarle website in order to decide if online education is right for them. Before enrolling, distance learners are required to take a class called Introduction to myCourses (Moodle) for Students. While students must pass this course with at least a 90% score, they are allowed to retake it until they receive the necessary score. The course introduces students to the platform that online classes are delivered through and gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with it prior to beginning their academic program.

#4 Edgecombe Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Tarboro
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Tarboro, Edgecombe Community College offers four online Associate of Applied Science degrees: accounting, business administration, geospatial technology, and health information technology. Also, Associate of Arts and Associate of Science college transfer programs are available. ECC offers ten online certificates and four online diploma programs as well. Some courses are available in a hybrid format. The college primarily uses the Moodle learning management system to deliver the online coursework, and much of it is asynchronous. A variety of online courses are available through the Ed2Go format; six-week courses feature lessons that are issued each week on Monday and Friday.

#5 Montgomery Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,508
  • Locations: Troy
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students interested in pursuing distance learning at Montgomery Community College can find an online learning readiness assessment on the college's website, which can help them determine whether distance learning is a good fit. Courses are delivered through a learning management system called Blackboard, which is also used for submitting homework assignments, and taking quizzes. Available courses include Introduction to Business to Criminology, and options in early childhood education and medical billing. Enrolled students can find a number of resources to assist them in their studies, such as financial aid, IT support, career and academic counseling, and online library services.

#6 Lenoir Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,508
  • Locations: Kinston
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lenoir Community College, located in Kingston, offers over a dozen online associate degrees. Students can earn an Associate in Applied Science in such subjects as Business Administration Marketing, Emergency Medical Science Bridging, and Supply Chain Management. More than 30 online certificate programs and five diplomas are also available. For students who wish to pursue further education in the field of aviation, LCC offers an Associate in Applied Science, certificate, and diploma in Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology. The programs are available 100 percent online. Coursework is delivered via the Moodle learning management system. Through WebAdvisor, LCC students can check their admission status, see financial information, access an unofficial transcript, check grades, search and register for courses, and print class schedules.

#7 Southeastern Community College - NC

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Whiteville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Southeastern Community College’s main campus is in Whiteville, North Carolina, which is about 50 miles from Wilmington. The college offers three online Associate in Applied Science degrees: Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, and Information Technology. SCC utilizes the Moodle online learning system to deliver coursework, with a mobile app available for both Apple and Android. This provides busy students with greater flexibility and control over their schedules. Much of the work can be done asynchronously. For every credit hour of coursework, students should plan to spend two to three hours per week on reading, study, homework, and research.

#8 Central Carolina Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,888
  • Locations: Sanford
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Sanford, Central Carolina Community College offers degrees, certificates, and diplomas in more than 30 college-level programs. Distance learners can earn an associate degree in such areas as accounting, business administration, early childhood education, and library and information technology. Over 20 certificates are offered; students can expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills in subjects such as electronics engineering technology, infant/toddler care, library management, and payroll accounting. Finally, four diplomas are available: accounting, business management, early childhood education, and office administration. A student who completes an Associate in Arts or Science degree can transfer to a four-year state college as a junior.

#9 Gaston College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Dallas
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Serving both Gaston and Lincoln Counties, Gaston College in Dallas, North Carolina offers four associate degrees online: Associate in Arts, Associate in General Education, Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming, and Associate of Applied Science in Web Technologies. Two diploma programs are available – one in arts and the other in medical billing and coding. Additionally, the college has 14 certificate programs in such subjects as business administration, computer accounting, dietary management, and logistics management export operations. While some courses are available entirely online, students may be required to go to the campus for exams or lab work.

#10 Forsyth Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,584
  • Locations: Winston Salem
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

One of the largest community colleges in North Carolina, Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem offers ten associate degrees in applied science along with an Associate in Arts College Transfer. Students can earn a degree in such areas as business administration, criminal justice technology, emergency management, entrepreneurship, financial services, healthcare management technology, and project management technology. Ten online certificate programs are also available, including one in interventional cardiac and vascular technology with specialties in cardiac and vascular. Additionally, online courses are offered in a number of subjects, including medical terminology, medical coding, national standards and ethical principles for interpreters, effective teacher training for substitute teachers, and various courses for translators and interpreters.

#11 James Sprunt Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Kenansville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

A number of degrees and certificates are available through James Sprunt Community College for students interested in pursuing their education online. Distance learning is best suited for students who are independently driven, have excellent time-management, and can adapt to new education styles. Popular online programs include an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and an Associate of General Education, as well as certificate programs in business administration, early childhood education and administration, and general occupational technology. Students can also select programs that require a combination of online and in-person coursework. Technical support is available, as well as online library resources, and financial aid opportunities.

#12 Randolph Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Asheboro
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Online opportunities available at Randolph Community College include associate degrees in human services technology, medical office administration, healthcare management, business management, early childhood education, and criminal justice. Students can also select to take individual online courses. Although distance learners may set their own schedules, it is recommended that they log on at least once every 48 hours in order to stay on top of coursework and lesson materials. Enrolled students can download the Randolph Community College app, through which they can access their school emails, register for courses, view campus maps, or make tuition payments. Other tools for student success include the writing center, career services, online tutoring, and counseling.

#13 Wilkes Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Wilkesboro
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Wilkes Community College offers several online degrees for students who are unable to travel to campus, or who require the flexibility of distance learning. Courses may be fully online, web-assisted, hybrid, or cyber, meaning that all of the coursework is delivered by video. Available online degrees include an Associate in Arts, an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration, an Associate in General Education, and certificates in accounting and business administration. Those pursuing degrees in business administration can take advantage of the "Work-Based Learning" academic program, wherein students can receive academic credit for professional work experience outside of the online classroom. When students enroll in online courses, they are automatically enrolled in a Student Online Readiness course, which prepares students for their online education. Support services for students include career development resources, counseling, and tutoring.

#14 Cape Fear Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Wilmington (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Cape Fear Community College offers learning opportunities to students seeking an associate degree or professional certificate, with the added flexibility of an online program. Students may select a general Associate in Art or Associate in Science designed to transfer to a four-year university, or they may opt for a diploma or certificate in subjects ranging from emergency management to criminal justice technology. The online programs through Cape Fear Community College primarily use Blackboard in order to present lessons and transmit learning materials, as well as for students to submit assignments and interact with their classmates. While a CFCC student, access to academic advising, counseling, an online library system, disability services, and technical support are all available resources.

#15 Fayetteville Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,736
  • Locations: Fayetteville (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

More than 80 online programs are available at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Sixteen associate degrees are offered in such subjects as business administration, criminal justice technology, early childhood education, fire protection technology, and hospitality management. Two diploma programs are available: funeral service education – North Carolina funeral director and school-age education. More than 60 certificate programs are offered in several categories: business, computer and information, criminal justice, emergency management, engineering and applied technology, fire protection, health programs, intelligence studies, and public service. Additionally, corporate and continuing education classes are offered in 20 categories, including healthcare, language, marketing, photography, and writing and publishing. All programs at FTCC are available 100 percent online. Asynchronous learning gives students greater control over their schedules.

#16 Blue Ridge Community College - NC

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Flat Rock
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Flat Rock, Blue Ridge Community College offers 12 fully online programs. These include five Associate in Applied Science degrees: Accounting, Business Administration/Marketing and Retailing, Criminal Justice Latent Evidence, Early Childhood Education, and Fire Protection Technology. Five certificate programs and two diploma programs are also available. Online students should expect a workload equal to or greater than what is typical in a normal classroom setting. BRCC uses the Moodle online learning system to deliver coursework; at least some of the work is asynchronous. A mobile app is available for both Apple and Android. Individual courses are also available through Ed2Go. These are delivered online in a six-week format, and the material can be accessed 24/7.

#17 Sandhills Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,446
  • Locations: Pinehurst
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, North Carolina, offers two associate degree programs: an Associate in Applied Science in Business Administration and an Associate in Arts. Both can be completed without any visits to the campus. The AAS provides students with the fundamentals of business operations and processes as well as a comprehensive understanding of business organizations in the 21st century. The AA prepares students to transfer to a university and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in many different fields of study. Distance learning courses are offered either 100 percent online or in a hybrid format. Additionally, SCC has partnered with Ed2Go, and many instructor-led, online courses are available.

#18 Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Salisbury
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers extensive distance learning opportunities, including twenty online degrees, thirty-five online certificates, ten online diplomas, and over 250 online courses. Courses run according to the school semester schedule, and students should expect to spend approximately two hours of work per credit hour studying and doing coursework each week. Unique degree tracks that are fully online through Rowan-Cabarrus Community College include an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Fire Protection Technology, an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education with Teacher Licensure, and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Emergency Medical Science that is exclusively for certified paramedics.

#19 Isothermal Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,584
  • Locations: Spindale
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Isothermal Community College offers a number of online degrees, certificates, and diplomas for students who would like to pursue their education online. Associate degrees are available in fields such as agribusiness technology, criminal justice, accounting, and web administration and design, and certificates are available in equine science, landscape technology, hospitality, and entrepreneurship. Students can access lesson materials for their courses at all times, and generally can complete coursework at a pace that fits their lifestyles and personal responsibilities; however, they should be prepared to work diligently to keep on track. If academic assistance is needed, distance learners can turn to online resources such as the advising and success center, or the writing center. At the same time, the Help Desk can provide technical support.

#20 Craven Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: New Bern
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Craven Community College in New Bern has more than 40 online programs, including associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. The coursework is delivered through the Moodle online learning management system. Nine associate degrees are offered in five categories: liberal arts, business technologies, criminal justice, early childhood education, and information technology. Students can earn certificates and diplomas in business, health, criminal justice, early childhood education, and information technologies. In addition, Craven Community College has over 200 online classes available. Students who enroll in an online or hybrid course must complete a distance learning orientation, delivered via Moodle. Both the New Bern Campus and the Havelock Campus have computers available for students to use.

#21 Beaufort County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Washington
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Independently driven students who are interested in pursuing their education online can find a number of fully online programs, as well as hybrid programs, through Beaufort County Community College. Hybrid programs blend distance learning with traditional classroom lessons and require campus visits and face-to-face meetings; however, fully online programs can be completed remotely, with the exception of on-campus testing, in some cases. Students can find degrees, certificates, and diplomas in fields such as business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, web development and design, and medical coding. The BCCC Learning Enhancement Center is accessible for online students in need of tutoring. Other tools for the success of distance learners include access to web-based library resources, financial aid, and attentive academic advisors.

#22 Wilson Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,572
  • Locations: Wilson
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Wilson Community College, located just a few miles from Raleigh in Wilson, North Carolina, offers six online associate degrees in accounting and finance, business administration, criminal justice technology, early childhood education, fire protection technology, and school-age education. Ten online certificate programs are also available; these cover subjects such as business administration, early childhood education, IT support foundations, network and security essentials, office administration, paralegal, and school-age education. The Moodle online learning system is used to deliver coursework, and a mobile app is available for both Apple and Android. Not all required courses may be available online. Proctored exams must be held at the college’s campus or an authorized facility. Students who are considering distance learning can take the Online Learner Self-Assessment on WCC’s website.

#23 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,976
  • Locations: Asheville (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers three degree programs that are 100 percent online: an Associate of Arts (General Pathway), an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration, and an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology. Both AAS degrees require 65 credit hours to complete. Additionally, five fully-online certificate programs are available through the college: Human Services and Substance Abuse Studies, Human Services and Youth Studies, Early Childhood, Special Education, and Fire Protection Technology. A-B Tech has partnered with Ed2Go so that many instructor-led, online courses can be taken in areas such as art, finance, language, music, photography, test preparation, and writing.

#24 Stanly Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Albemarle
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Albemarle with a satellite campus in Locust, Stanly Community College offers nearly 40 online programs. These include diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees. Students have access to a virtual classroom, and they can log on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The online learning program incorporates streaming and prerecorded videos, live chat rooms, forums, and real-time classroom sessions. Some programs are available in a hybrid format, blending traditional face-to-face learning with distance learning. Among the online programs offered at SCC are an Associate in Applied Science with seven different concentrations; certificates in business, accounting, criminal justice, and early childhood education; and diplomas in accounting, business administration, human service technology, and IT business support.

#25 Catawba Valley Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Hickory
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Hickory, North Carolina, Catawba Valley Community College has been educating students for more than 60 years. The college offers five Associate of Applied Science degrees online: office administration, fire protection technology, accounting, electroneurodiagnostic technology, and entrepreneurship. An Associate of Fine Arts is also available. Three online certificate programs are offered: accounting, entrepreneurship, and office administration. Also, diplomas can be earned in entrepreneurship and office administration. Distance learning at CVCC is presented in a variety of formats, including web-based, cablecast, telecourses, and the North Carolina Information Highway (NCIH).

#26 Pitt Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,420
  • Locations: Winterville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Winterville, Pitt Community College offers over 50 programs online, including associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. These programs and certificates are available in more than 20 subjects, including business administration, healthcare management, information technology, and medical office administration. Some programs can be completed 100 percent online, while others have components that require a face-to-face learning environment. PCC uses the Moodle online learning system. The college’s Online Readiness Assessment (accessible on its website) helps students determine if distance learning is a good fit for them. Other resources are available to help students benefit as fully as possible from their online learning experience.

#27 Central Piedmont Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Charlotte
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

One of the largest community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College is located in Charlotte. Both an Associate in Arts and Associate in Science are available online. Two Associate in Applied Science degrees are also offered online, one in fire protection technology and one in health information technology. In addition, CPCC offers 25 certificate programs in five different categories: business administration, computer technology integration, criminal justice, fire protection technology, and office administration. Other courses for college credit are available online, along with non-credit continuing education courses. CPCC uses the Blackboard online learning system to deliver coursework.

#28 Nash Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Rocky Mount
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Nash Community College offers distance learning opportunities through NashOnline. Associate degree programs are available in fields such as computer information technologies, early childhood education, business technologies, medical office administration, and public and safety services. Students can also pursue diplomas or certificates online. Certain individual courses are considered "transfer courses," and are designed to easily transfer to four-year universities in the state of North Carolina for credit toward a bachelor's degree. Offered to aid in their academic success, online tutoring, advising, third-party tech support, and library services are convenient and accessible for online students at Nash Community College.

#29 Bladen Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Dublin
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Six online Associate of Applied Science degrees are available at Bladen Community College, located in Dublin, North Carolina. These programs cover the following subjects: business administration, information technology, medical office administration, office administration, general education, and early childhood education. Both an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science college transfer program are available as well. In addition, 21 certificate programs and five diploma programs are offered. Some, but not all, are available 100 percent online. Coursework is delivered via the Moodle online learning management system. Online programs and courses are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. There are no extra fees applied to distance courses.

#30 Guilford Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Jamestown
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

More than 15 online associate degrees are available from Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina. Subjects include criminal justice technology, emergency management technology, human resources management, information technology (six concentrations), medical office administration (general or two concentrations), office administration, and simulation and game development. All courses are taught both on campus and online. Additionally, over 15 online certificate and diploma programs are offered. GTCC also makes many courses available online through Ed2Go; the six-week courses comprise 12 lessons that are available to students each week on Wednesday and Friday. Approximately 150 different courses are offered.

#31 Western Piedmont Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,432
  • Locations: Morganton
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

A small community college in Morgantown, Western Piedmont Community College offers three fully-online Associate of Applied Science degrees: Business Administration, Information Technology, and Paralegal Technology. Along with these, eight certificate and two diploma programs are available completely online. Seven associate degrees, three certificate programs, and one diploma program, each at least 75 percent online, are also available; some courses must be taken at the WPCC campus. Some internet courses have optional on-campus meetings, and some have mandatory online meetings.

#32 Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

  • Annual Tuition: $2,280
  • Locations: Hudson
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute is one of the schools in the North Carolina Community College system offering a selection of online degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Options include degrees in accounting and finance, business administration, and early childhood education, as well as certificates in emergency management, and office administration. Several degrees are available as transfer degrees and are designed to be easily transferred to four-year institutions. Students have access to their coursework 24/7, allowing them to complete coursework at times that work for their schedules. Lectures are delivered in the form of slideshows, videos, and/or audio, and students may be required to participate in class discussions using online forums and discussion boards. Students can find distance learning support, course navigation, and technical assistance through dedicated administrative faculty.

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