Best Online Community Colleges in Texas

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/18/2022
2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Texas Badge

Earning an associate degree can be a practical option for individuals who want to gain in-demand skills and quickly join the workforce. Our rankings highlight the best online community colleges in Texas, allowing students to find a program that suits their career goals, subject area interests, and budget. These institutions are part of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, an organization that works to promote associate-level education throughout the state. Continue reading to view our list and learn more about community colleges in Texas, including career prospects for graduates, information on costs, and answers to frequently asked questions.

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

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 South Texas College $2,310 McAllen (and 2 others)
# 2 #2 Tyler Junior College $2,670 Tyler
# 3 #3 Navarro College $1,350 Corsicana (and 2 others)
# 4 #4 McLennan Community College $3,348 Waco
# 5 #5 Blinn College $3,300 Brenham
# 6 #6 Del Mar College $3,260 Corpus Christi
# 7 #7 Central Texas College $3,390 Killeen
# 8 #8 San Antonio College $2,970 San Antonio
# 9 #9 Palo Alto College $5,100 San Antonio
# 10 #10 St Philip's College $2,970 San Antonio
# 11 #11 Dallas College Cedar Valley Campus $4,050 Lancaster
# 12 #12 Trinity Valley Community College $1,170 Athens
# 13 #13 North Central Texas College $1,710 Gainesville
# 14 #14 College of the Mainland $3,546 Texas City
# 15 #15 Lone Star College System $1,470 The Woodlands (and 6 others)
# 16 #16 Panola College $2,520 Carthage
# 17 #17 Wharton County Junior College $2,790 Wharton
# 18 #18 Northwest Vista College $2,970 San Antonio
# 19 #19 Laredo Community College $1,500 Laredo
# 20 #20 Tarrant County College District $1,920 Fort Worth
# 21 #21 Kilgore College $1,530 Kilgore
# 22 #22 Alvin Community College $1,380 Alvin
# 23 #23 Coastal Bend College $2,100 Beeville
# 24 #24 Austin Community College District $2,550 Austin (and 2 others)
# 25 #25 Brazosport College $2,715 Lake Jackson

2020 Online Community Colleges in Texas - 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 South Texas College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,310
  • Locations: McAllen (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students looking to pursue a community college degree or certificate can enroll in one of South Texas College’s online programs. The school offers 33 online programs with some of the lowest tuition rates in the state. Students won’t be required to attend any meetings, classes, or other activities on campus and can register for classes, discuss financial aid, and attend advising sessions all from home. Online degree programs include associate degrees in accounting, communication studies, computer science, criminal justice, English, education for various grades, human resources, math, and philosophy. Online baccalaureate degrees include computer and information technologies, medical and health services management, technology management and organizational leadership. Certificates are available in accounting, computer applications and marketing.

#2 Tyler Junior College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,670
  • Locations: Tyler
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Tyler Junior College in Texas offers online degree programs that will prepare students to transfer to a four-year college or university to continue their education. The school offers a variety of Associate of Arts degrees that can be completed entirely online, including business, criminal justice, economics, English, general studies, history, psychology, social work, sociology and teaching of different grade levels. Tyler Junior College also offers certificates in areas like business management, fire protection technology, public administration and criminal justice. Students will access course materials and activities through the Canvas Learning Management System.

#3 Navarro College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,350
  • Locations: Corsicana (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Navarro College is a community college in Texas that offers online degree and certificate programs for students who would benefit from an online learning environment. Students can enroll in a number of degree programs, including an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice; an Associate of Arts in English, General Studies, or Speech; and an Associate of Science in Business, General Studies, Psychology and Sociology. Students can also complete a Certificate in Administrative Professional Level I or a Supervisor’s Certificate Level I fully online. If Navarro College doesn’t offer a course online that a student is interested in, they can take advantage of online courses offered through the Virtual College of Texas and credits will satisfy their NC degree.

#4 McLennan Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,348
  • Locations: Waco
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

McLennan Community College delivers online classes, certificates, and degrees in both blended and fully online formats. Blended courses combine in-person coursework with online learning. Associate degrees can be completed entirely online in subjects such as corrections, law enforcement, general academics, and health information technology. It also features complete online certificate programs in several fields, including nursing facility administration, assisted living facility management, and coding specialist. The college uses Brightspace for its eLearning initiatives. Distance learners have access to the MCC Library and online academic and tutoring services.

#5 Blinn College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,300
  • Locations: Brenham
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Blinn College offers more than two dozen associate degrees that require no on-campus attendance. Online degrees are available in disciplines such as accounting, art and visual communication, child development, economics, and geography. Online certificate programs are also available online in real estate, certified nurse aide, paralegal, and pharmacy technician, among other concentrations. In addition to its 100% online courses, Blinn College offers hybrid (blended) courses, which combine online learning with on-campus instruction. Online students access course content and academic services via the myBlinn portal, making it possible to learn from anywhere that has a reliable internet connection.

#6 Del Mar College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,260
  • Locations: Corpus Christi
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Del Mar College in Texas is an option for students who are looking to complete a community college degree entirely online. Students who want to study fully online can enroll in Del Mar College’s Associate of Arts in Business Administration or Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice programs. The school also offers a number of online courses for students to complete hybrid degrees or a mix of online and in-person courses. Online students use the Canvas learning management system to access their class materials and interact with their teachers and peers. Most classes at Del Mar College are structured asynchronously and classes last between eight and 16 weeks.

#7 Central Texas College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,390
  • Locations: Killeen
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Distance Education program at Central Texas College offers a wide range of degree and certificate programs for students looking to kick off their college degree or extend their learning through online courses. More than 60 programs are offered online, including Associate of Applied Science degrees in At Risk Youth, Chemical Dependency, Child Development, Computer Science with a concentration in information security, Criminal Justice, Hospitality Management, Medical Coding and Billing, and Office Technology. Online certificates include administrator’s credentials, basic mental health professional, business management, child development, and computer help desk specialist.

#8 San Antonio College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,970
  • Locations: San Antonio
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students in need of a flexible way to jump-start their college career or enhance their current skill set can enroll in one of San Antonio College’s online degree or certificate programs. San Antonio College is part of the Alamo Colleges District in Texas. Available online degrees include Associate of Arts in Communications, Criminal Justice, Humanities, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Associate in Applied Sciences degrees are available in corrections, criminal justice, law enforcement and math. Many degree programs will prepare students for transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue additional degrees.

#9 Palo Alto College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,100
  • Locations: San Antonio
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Palo Alto Community College in Texas offers a number of online degree and certificate programs through its Distance Learning Program. Online degrees include Associate of Arts in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Economics, English, History, and Spanish; and Associate of Applied Science in Teaching, Business Management, Computer Support Specialist, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Information Security and Assurance, among others. Students who enroll in distance learning will have access to the same faculty and academics as traditional students, but will have a much more flexible learning schedule. Students use video conferencing, streaming software, and the Canvas learning management system to interact with peers and instructors.

#10 St Philip's College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,970
  • Locations: San Antonio
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

St. Philip’s College is part of the Alamo Colleges District in Texas. The school offers a number of online degree and certificate programs for students in need of a flexible learning environment. Students can choose to enroll in Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Arts in Teaching, and Associate of Applied Science degrees, as well as several different professional certificate programs. Degree topics include business management and technology, network administrator, early childhood and family studies, and health information technology.

#11 Dallas College Cedar Valley Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $4,050
  • Locations: Lancaster
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Cedar Valley College features online classes, certificates, and two-year associate degrees in a wide range of subject matter, including criminal justice, logistics distribution, business marketing, real estate, veterinary technology, and more. The associate degree and certificate programs are offered by the college 100% online. The college relies on an eCampus platform powered by Blackboard to provide its online instruction. Distance learners receive a host of support services, including advising, technical support, and access to the library and bookstore. Incoming students can find a comprehensive listing of Cedar Valley College's online course, degree, and professional certificate programs listed on its website.

#12 Trinity Valley Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,170
  • Locations: Athens
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Trinity Valley Community College features degree programs and certificates that can be completed entirely online. Associate of Arts degrees are available in a variety of subjects, including computer science, criminal justice, and accounting. The AA programs prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution. Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees and certificate programs are also offered to help prepare students for career opportunities or advancement. Certificates and AAS degrees are available in fields such as business, legal assistant, computer science, and office technology. The college uses Canvas to deliver its online learning courses. Students must also familiarize themselves with the Zoom platform in order to access instructors during their virtual office hours.

#13 North Central Texas College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,710
  • Locations: Gainesville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

North Central Texas College offers two options for students looking to attend community college online. The Associate of Applied Science in Business Office Technology is available as an entirely-online degree program. It is designed to take two years to complete and requires 60 credit hours spread out over four semesters. Those who do not want to pursue an associate degree can complete a Business Office Technology Certificate, which can also be completed fully online. The program typically takes two semesters, or 32 weeks, to complete and requires 32 credit hours.

#14 College of the Mainland

  • Annual Tuition: $3,546
  • Locations: Texas City
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Texas’s College of the Mainland offers a variety of degree and certificate programs that students can complete entirely online. The school’s Distance Education program offers an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and General Studies that do not require any face time from students. Certificate programs that can be completed online include administrative support, entrepreneurship, executive assistant, fire officer, management, marketing and professional bookkeeping. Students who enroll in online learning at the College of the Mainland will take an Online Learner Workshop to help them get accustomed to the way classes will be delivered online.

#15 Lone Star College System

  • Annual Tuition: $1,470
  • Locations: The Woodlands (and 6 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lone Star College System in Texas offers online degree programs for students who are looking to start a college career but aren’t able to set foot on campus. A number of programs from Lone Star College can be completed entirely online, including professional certificates of varying levels. Degree programs include Associate of Applied Science in Accounting, Administrative Services with a variety of concentrations, Business Administration and Computer Programming. Students can also enroll in an Associate of Science or an Associate of Arts degree in Business, Criminal Justice, International Studies, Speech Communication and Teaching. Certificate programs are available in areas like accounting, business operations and Microsoft Office specialist. Students can take an online assessment to ensure online learning is the right choice for them before signing up for courses.

#16 Panola College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,520
  • Locations: Carthage
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Online degree programs at Panola College in Texas allow students to take an active role in their learning. Online classes are asynchronous, so students are expected to maintain discipline in order to complete their online community college degrees or certificate programs. Online degree programs include Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Technology, General Business, Office Professional; Associate of Arts in Teaching in varying grade-level concentrations; Associate of Science in Computer Science; and certificates in areas like administrative assistant, general office, marketable skills, and computer science and information technology. Students should note that all online courses at Panola require at least two proctored exams at a nearby testing center.

#17 Wharton County Junior College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,790
  • Locations: Wharton
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students who want to pursue a career in the health field can consider enrolling in the Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology program at Wharton County Junior College. Offered entirely online, the 60-credit-hour degree program will prepare students to continue their degree at a four-year college or university. Students can also choose to enroll in the online 30 credit-hour Level II Certificate program or an 18-credit-hour Level I Certificate program.

#18 Northwest Vista College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,970
  • Locations: San Antonio
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Northwest Vista College’s online degree and certificate programs provide students with options for taking the next step in pursuing their career goals, without needing to step foot on campus. Northwest Vista College is part of the Alamo Colleges District in Texas. Students can enroll in online Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, or Associate of Science degrees. Students interested in distance learning can access online resources through the community college’s website to determine whether or not an online degree program is right for them.

#19 Laredo Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,500
  • Locations: Laredo
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Laredo Community College features online courses and degree programs to support distance learners. Associate degrees in business and kinesiology are among the online programs offered at Laredo. Online classes may require between zero to 15% face-to-face time with instructors. Hybrid courses are split 50/50 between online instruction and face-to-face learning experiences. Some eLearning coursework relies on video conferencing and special online testing modules. The college uses the Canvas platform and provides an eLearning and Instructional Innovation Center to support distance learners.

#20 Tarrant County College District

  • Annual Tuition: $1,920
  • Locations: Fort Worth
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Tarrant County College District in Texas offers a wide variety of online courses and degree programs for students who are looking for a flexible way to advance their studies. Online degree programs include an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting with a concentration in information management; an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration with concentrations in accounting assistant, business, and small business management; and an Associate of Applied Science in Technology Professional. TCC also offers certificates that can be completed entirely online, including accounting information management, business administration and office technology.

#21 Kilgore College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,530
  • Locations: Kilgore
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The eLearning program at Kilgore College in Texas minimizes students’ time on campus to allow for the flexibility of real-world responsibilities. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection degree entirely online. The eLearning program also offers continuing education classes and certificates that can be completed virtually. Kilgore College is part of the Virtual College of Texas (VCT), which is a collaboration between 50 community colleges throughout the state that allow students to enroll in online programs at partner schools.

#22 Alvin Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Locations: Alvin
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Alvin Community College in Texas offers a variety of online degree and certificate programs through its distance education program. While some courses may require students to be present for an orientation or field trips, there are degrees that can be completed 100-percent virtually. Fully-online degrees include an Associate of Arts in Psychology or Sociology, and an Associate of Applied Science in Management. Students can also pursue a certificate in management, which can be completed entirely online. All students who enroll in online learning at ACC will take a required introduction class to help set them up for success as an online learner.

#23 Coastal Bend College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,100
  • Locations: Beeville
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Coastal Bend College in Texas offers two options for students seeking to complete a community college degree online. Students can enroll in either an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science. Both degrees will provide a good foundation for students looking to transfer to a four-year college or university to continue their studies. Students have the option to take accelerated courses online which can be completed in as little as three weeks. Students who take part in the distance learning education program at Coastal Bend College will receive the same rigorous education as those who enroll in traditional classes.

#24 Austin Community College District

  • Annual Tuition: $2,550
  • Locations: Austin (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Austin Community College District offers more than 25 online degree and certificate programs in majors such as business, digital media, computer science and social services. ACC Distance Education also offers three types of online community college courses: 100% online, online instruction with on-campus testing, and hybrid courses that have a mix of online and on-campus components. Distance learners use the Blackboard learning management system to access course resources, and they also have access to library services, advising, tutoring, and other forms of support, combining the convenience of online learning with the academic services available in a traditional college environment.

#25 Brazosport College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,715
  • Locations: Lake Jackson
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Brazosport College offers a distance-learning program with two options for online learning. The first option is to enroll in the school's Associate of Arts degree program and complete it entirely online. Students also have the option of enrolling in individual courses to complete their general education requirements online before taking major-specific courses on campus. Students access learning materials via MyBC, which also provides access to a school email account, course catalog, and other services. Students in need of technical help can also use the Brazosport Virtual Campus to connect with tech support.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Community Colleges in Texas

What Is the Best Online Community College in Texas?

South Texas College offers 22 associate degree programs in various subjects and is ranked #1 on our list. OnlineU's ranking methodology for the best online colleges uses an internal formula, which calculates a school's score based on retention rates, online enrollment percentages, and the number of distance learning associate degrees it offers.

Are Online Community Colleges Free in Texas?

While there are no free community colleges in Texas, degree-seekers can apply for financial aid to fund part or all of their education costs. Additionally, some Texas programs — such as AlamoPROMISE and Dallas County Promise — work with high schools in specific parts of the state to cover 100% of tuition fees for eligible students.

What Is the Cheapest Online Community College in Texas?

With an annual tuition fee of $1,170, Trinity Valley Community College is the cheapest online two-year institution on our ranking list. Prospective students at this online school can choose from a list of 29 associate degrees in areas of study, such as computer science, business administration, and economics. Trinity Community College also offers certificate programs in a range of subjects.

Is Going to Community College Worth It?

In addition to increased earning potential, an associate degree can help individuals land careers in a wide range of sectors, such as business, technology, and law. Graduates may also be able to transfer into a bachelor's degree program after earning this credential, making an associate program an affordable option for students hoping to pursue a four-year degree in the future. For those unsure about enrolling in a degree program, community colleges typically offer a range of educational options — such as certificate and workforce training programs — that can increase employment opportunities.

Overview of Online Community Colleges in Texas

As the second most populous state in the country, Texas is home to 50 community college districts that collectively serve over 700,000 students every year. With an enrollment of 74,300, the Lone Star College System is the largest of these institutions. Some two-year colleges in the state also offer bachelor's degrees. Additionally, in 2019, lawmakers enacted legislation to make it easier for students to transfer community college credits into a four-year program as part of the 60X30TX initiative to increase access to higher education. Students interested in pursuing an associate degree can also take advantage of various state-sponsored programs that aim to help Texans receive a college education and gain employment after graduating.



Students interested in pursuing an associate degree can also take advantage of various state-sponsored programs that aim to help Texans receive a college education and gain employment after graduating.

Texas students can enroll in fully online programs for their associate degree and complete classes with either part- or full-time schedules. According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts — an agency that oversees the state's financial functions — the most popular degree and certificate subjects are in the "liberal arts and sciences" alongside "general studies and humanities." A large proportion of students also pursue associate degrees in healthcare-related fields. Additionally, while enrollment in bachelor's programs has been steadily declining in recent years, Texas residents are increasingly attending community college. In 2020, enrollment in two-year colleges surpassed that of four-year institutions for the first time since 2004.

It's important to verify an online college's accreditation to ensure it's a high-quality institution. To learn more, visit OnlineU's comprehensive accreditation hub.

Cost of Online Community Colleges in Texas

With students paying an annual in-state tuition rate of $2,270, Texas is one of the most affordable states to attend community college in the country. Even out-of-state learners pay roughly $2,000 below the national average to attend two-year institutions in Texas.

Attending community college through distance learning is typically less expensive than the in-person route because students can avoid certain costs, such as those related to relocation, daily transport, and on-campus housing. Texas students can further reduce the cost of higher education by completing college coursework while in high school through a dual enrollment program. Other options include federal and state work-study programs, which allow individuals to offset tuition costs by working part time and simultaneously earning their degree. Lastly, individuals with certain disabilities or those who face difficult life circumstances can apply for tuition exemptions and waivers.

Students can explore College for All Texans — a state-sponsored website — for more information on how to afford online community college.

Financial Aid for Community College Students in Texas

Like their on-campus peers, online students can apply for need- and merit-based federal, state, and private financial aid. Distance learners should consider these options before applying for student loans, as they don't have to repay gift aid. To apply for financial assistance, students need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), an online form that gathers an individual's personal information to determine whether they qualify for grants and scholarships. Undocumented, or non-citizen, students are ineligible to submit the FAFSA but can still apply for aid through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid. Below is a brief list of state-sponsored education grants for Texas residents.

Students attending or planning to enroll in a public two-year college can apply to the TEOG. Award amounts range from $1,711-$3,238 per semester, depending on the type of institution they attend. Students must meet various academic and coursework requirements to be eligible.

The TPEG grant provides funds to Texas students based on their financial need. Students need to register for Selective Service in order to be eligible.

Those pursuing their first associate degree can receive up to $3,497 per year through the TEG. Applicants must register for Selective Service, be enrolled at least "3/4 time," and demonstrate financial need to receive funds.

Employment Outlook in Texas

With one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, Texas continues to attract businesses and skilled workers from around the world. Recent growth has been driven by gains in the oil and gas industry, which accounts for 15% of the economy, as well as an influx of tech companies making Texas their homebase. Given this, the Texas Workforce Commission projects a 12.7% increase in jobs across all industries in the state through 2028. These openings are largely expected in healthcare and biosciences, IT, and professional services. 



The Texas Workforce projects a 12.7% increase in jobs across all industries in the state through 2028.

Careers for Texas Community College Graduates

An online associate degree or community college education can help someone gain an entry-level position in one of Texas' growing industries. With the state's largest employers including many well-known companies — such as American Airlines, Dell, BP, Toyota, and JP Morgan — graduates can pursue a wide range of careers depending on their education. According to BLS data, the highest paying jobs are in healthcare and IT. While some professions in these sectors require a bachelor's degree, associate degree holders may still qualify for certain entry-level positions that are expected to grow as fast, or even faster, than the U.S. average of 8%.

Below is a list of potential careers for Texas students with an associate degree, along with salary and job outlook data from the BLS.

Computer Support Specialists
Median Annual Salary: $55,510
Job Outlook: 9%

Computer support specialists carry out everyday IT tasks in a range of businesses and organizations. They test networks for connectivity, including running diagnostics, performing maintenance, and diagnosing problems. Specialists in some settings also work directly with network administrators.

Flight Attendants
Median Annual Salary: $59,050
Job Outlook: 30%

Flight attendants are crucial to air travel because they help ensure passenger safety. They provide essential information related to emergency procedures, answer questions, and assist customers with a variety of in-flight needs.

Medical Records and Health Information Specialists
Median Annual Salary: $45,240
Job Outlook: 9%

Medical records and health information specialists are primarily responsible for ensuring patient information remains updated and accurate. This role involves working with dedicated software to update databases, verifying sensitive data, and providing healthcare workers with relevant information.

Preschool Teachers
Median Annual Salary: $31,930
Job Outlook: 18%

Preschool teachers educate children under the age of 5, working with them to develop basic communication, reading, and writing skills. They typically design lesson plans around student needs and watch children for signs of emotional or developmental difficulties.

Respiratory Therapists
Median Annual Salary: $62,810
Job Outlook: 23%

Respiratory therapists help individuals cope with and address various breathing problems by providing short-term care as well as helping patients deal with chronic issues. These professionals make house calls in addition to providing care in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

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