2020 Best Online Community Colleges in Washington

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

These 13 community colleges in the state of Washington are all great options for students who want to earn an online associate degree or certificate from a school in their state. Bates Technical College, ranked #5, is the most affordable option on this list with an annual tuition rate of just $3,688. A greater variety of online programs can be found at #2-ranked Peninsula College, which offers 28 different online associate degrees, including an AAS in Criminal Justice and an AAS in Information Technology.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 $4,072 Shoreline
# 2 #2 $4,725 Port Angeles
# 3 #3 $5,722 Walla Walla
# 4 #4 $4,410 Aberdeen
# 5 #5 $3,688 Tacoma
# 6 #6 $4,126 Puyallup
# 7 #7 $4,181 Des Moines
# 8 #8 $4,116 Mount Vernon
# 9 #9 $5,400 Bellingham
# 10 #10 $4,432 Vancouver
# 11 #11 $4,235 Lynnwood
# 12 #12 $3,936 Tacoma
# 13 #13 $4,576 Seattle

2020 Online Community Colleges in Washington - 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 Shoreline Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,072
  • Locations: Shoreline
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Shoreline Community College allows students to further their knowledge and skills in a variety of disciplines with a mix of certificates and associate degrees that are available online. Examples include a Tax Preparer Certificate, a 15-credit program that prepares students for an entry-level accounting job, and an Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Criminal Justice, a 90-credit online degree program that prepares students for jobs in corrections and law enforcement. Another example is an Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Early Childhood Educator/Paraeducator, which prepares students for positions in various educational and social service agencies that serve children and their families.

#2 Peninsula College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,725
  • Locations: Port Angeles
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Peninsula College offers dozens of online Associate of Applied Science degrees in areas such as Administrative Office Systems, Business Administration, and Multimedia, with each one of these degrees offering various specializations. Students can also earn online AAS-T degrees, which are designed for students who plan to pursue bachelor’s degrees at certain four-year institutions, in the same fields as above. Peninsula College also offers online certificates in a variety of fields, including Certified Bookkeeper, Clinical Dental Assistant, Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics, and Sustainable Agriculture. A Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management is offered here as well.

#3 Walla Walla Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,722
  • Locations: Walla Walla
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Walla Walla Community College offers fully online degree options, including an Associate in Arts Transfer Degree, an Associate in Business Transfer Degree, an Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Turf Management, and an Associate in Applied Sciences in Human and Social Services Transfer Degree. Certificates in irrigation and patient care are also available online. Additionally, students enrolled in non-online programs may be able to take some courses online to fulfill their degree or certificate requirements. Online courses are delivered via the Canvas platform. Distance learners at WWCC receive academic advising, technical assistance, and tutoring.

#4 Grays Harbor College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,410
  • Locations: Aberdeen
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Grays Harbor College features a wide array of online classes that can be applied to its degree programs. An Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education (ECE) is available fully online. Graduates of this program earn ECE certification and entry into the school's Bachelor of Arts in Teacher Education program. A Native Pathways Bridge AA Degree Program is also offered in a mostly online format, with 12 Saturdays per year of in-person training at the Evergreen State College Longhouse in Olympia, WA. Each term, GHC offers at least 50 online courses via the Canvas platform. Distance learners have access to technical assistance, academic support, and career services. 

#5 Bates Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,688
  • Locations: Tacoma
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Bates Technical College offers online classes and an online Associate of Applied Science in Accounting to distance learners. Online course offerings include Business Management, Business Negotiation and Collaboration, and Introduction to Leadership Skills and Ethics. The AA in Accounting requires a total of 90 credits and spans four quarters. Courses in this program include Business Law, Payroll Accounting, Business Communication, and Federal Income Tax. The school uses Canvas to deliver its online coursework. Distance learners have access to an online librarian, as well as technical support, tutoring, and career services.

#6 Pierce College at Puyallup

  • Annual Tuition: $4,126
  • Locations: Puyallup
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Pierce College at Puyallup offers two-year and four-year degrees, professional and technical certificates, and general education coursework. Many of its programs are offered online, including an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Services Leadership Management, an Associate in Business, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, a Physical Therapist Assistant Program, and certificates in human resources, construction safety, and project management. Distance learners are able to work at their own pace, provided they meet specific deadlines outlined by the instructor. The college uses the Canvas platform to deliver its online coursework. Technical support, academic resources, and counseling are among the services provided to distance learners. 

#7 Highline Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,181
  • Locations: Des Moines
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Highline Community College offers a selection of online programs to distance learners. An Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security Emergency Management is offered entirely online. Students in this program learn how to prepare for emergencies and manage disaster response efforts. Certificates in human resources and retail management are also offered online, as are a selection of online and hybrid courses. Online coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system, but students and staff also rely on the Zoom platform for video conferencing. Academic support, technical assistance, and career advising are among the resources available to online learners.

#8 Skagit Valley College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,116
  • Locations: Mount Vernon
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Skagit Valley College offers a large number of online associate degrees and certificates in a variety of fields. Examples of associate degrees include the 90-credit Associate of Arts in General Studies and the Associate in Business Management. The certificates offered include a Certificate in CIS: Database/Programming, which requires courses such as Introduction to Programming and Database Design and SQL, and the Certificate in Multimedia – Adobe, which teaches mastery of Adobe programs, including InDesign, Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

#9 Whatcom Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,400
  • Locations: Bellingham
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Whatcom Community College offers an online Associate in Liberal Studies, which is meant for students who want to complete 90 credits of general college-level learning. Students can also pursue an online Associate in Arts and Sciences – Transfer, which was designed for those planning to transfer to a four-year educational institution to pursue a bachelor’s program in areas such as social sciences, business and arts/humanities. This program requires 15-18 credits of core requirements, which include Communication Skills and Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning, 45 credits of distribution courses, which include Humanities and Math/Science classes, and 27-30 credits of electives.

#10 Clark College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,432
  • Locations: Vancouver
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Clark College offers an online Associate in Arts General Transfer – DTA, which is a degree for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Some of the courses offered in this program include College Trigonometry, Calculus for Life Sciences and Interpersonal Communication. Students at Clark College can also pursue a 45-credit hour online Associate in Business Administration – DTA/MRP, which provides students with the skills to manage administrative operations for both large and small businesses.

#11 Edmonds College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,235
  • Locations: Lynnwood
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Edmonds Community College allows students to earn certificates online in several business-related fields, including Business Information Technology, Business Management, and Accounting. Students can also further their business careers by pursuing Associate of Arts degrees in Business, as well as Associate of Applied Science degrees in Business Management. The college also offers an Associate in Arts degree, a 90-credit program designed for students who plan to transfer to certain four-year in-state institutions to pursue a bachelor's degree.

#12 Tacoma Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,936
  • Locations: Tacoma
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Tacoma Community College offers a number of online programs, including a Medical Billing Specialist Certificate, which helps prepare students to become medical billers and medical claims reviewers, and a Medical Scribe Professional Certificate, which prepares students to work with medical practitioners in maintaining electronic health records. Students can also pursue an online Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Health Information Management, which provides students with a baccalaureate-level education in this exciting and in-demand specialized field.

#13 Seattle Community College-Central Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $4,576
  • Locations: Seattle
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The Central Campus of Seattle Community College offers an online Associate of Arts degree that allows students to specialize in areas such as Psychology, Communications, Art, and English. This 90-credit degree program requires 15 credit hours in each of the following categories: Basic Requirements, Visual Literary & Performing Arts, Natural World, Individuals, Cultures and Societies and Electives. Courses include Symbolic Logic, World Music, History of Photography, Human Nutrition, and Web Design & Development. The credits earned will transfer easily to a bachelor’s degree program.

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