Best Community Colleges in North Carolina 2022

The best community colleges provide an effective springboard into higher education, offering students high-quality two-year degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. The top-rated community colleges in North Carolina offer a broad selection of associate’s degrees, affordable tuition rates, and strong partnerships with public four-year schools so that students can easily transfer their credits into accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Best Community Colleges in North Carolina 2022

Colleges and Universities in North Carolina

Among these schools are over 60 public colleges and universities, including the state’s largest school, North Carolina State University, which serves almost 30,000 students. Tuition costs average about $9,000, just below the national average, and students also have the option to enroll in over 1,000 online courses. Another notable public school is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is one of the country’s oldest universities.

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The 25,000 students who attend UNC will walk the same halls as Francis Collins, Thomas Wolfe, and former president James K. Polk. North Carolina’s private schools have also made a name for themselves, including the well-known Duke University located in Durham. Here, students can earn degrees in some of the top programs, like nursing, political science, and business. Additionally, students can attend one of the many small schools which serve less than 5,000 students, like Campbell University in Buies Creek, or a religiously affiliated school, like Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City.

From its coastal beaches to its lush forests, it’s no wonder the Wright Brothers dreamed of taking flight over North Carolina. This state is rich with history, scenic views, and famous people who once called it home, like John Coltrane and Nicholas Sparks. Students hoping to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree also have the option of choosing from over 100 schools in the Tar Heel State.

Whether you prefer ocean views or wooded forests, North Carolina has something for everyone. Discover more about the state’s higher learning options.


What are North Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

North Carolina’s Best Overall

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How do we determine North Carolina's best community colleges?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence in their fields of study.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is freer from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

We’ve identified 48 community colleges in North Carolina. The following list shows the best community colleges and primarily associate degree granting colleges in North Carolina.

Best Community Colleges in North Carolina

  1. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    14K

    What is Central Piedmont Community College known for?

    Central Piedmont Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Gaston College

    Dallas , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Gaston College known for?

    Gaston College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
  3. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    15K

    What is Wake Technical Community College known for?

    Wake Technical Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Sandhills Community College

    Pinehurst , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Sandhills Community College known for?

    Sandhills Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Medical
  5. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    8K

    What is Guilford Technical Community College known for?

    Guilford Technical Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Medical
  6. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Catawba Valley Community College known for?

    Catawba Valley Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
  7. #7

    Wayne Community College

    Goldsboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wayne Community College known for?

    Wayne Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Wilkes Community College

    Wilkesboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Wilkes Community College known for?

    Wilkes Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering
  9. #9

    Cape Fear Community College

    Wilmington , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Cape Fear Community College known for?

    Cape Fear Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
  10. #10

    Pitt Community College

    Winterville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    7K

    What is Pitt Community College known for?

    Pitt Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
  11. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Durham Technical Community College known for?

    Durham Technical Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Louisburg College

    Louisburg , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    892/15

    What is Louisburg College known for?

    Louisburg College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Johnston Community College

    Smithfield , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Johnston Community College known for?

    Johnston Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Engineering
  14. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Fayetteville Technical Community College known for?

    Fayetteville Technical Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Forsyth Technical Community College

    Winston-Salem , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    6K

    What is Forsyth Technical Community College known for?

    Forsyth Technical Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Education
  16. #16

    Lenoir Community College

    Kinston , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Lenoir Community College known for?

    Lenoir Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Engineering
  17. #17

    Piedmont Community College

    Roxboro , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Piedmont Community College known for?

    Piedmont Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
  18. #18

    Mitchell Community College

    Statesville , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    28%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Mitchell Community College known for?

    Mitchell Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Business
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute known for?

    Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
  20. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    22%

    Student body

    2K

    What is South Piedmont Community College known for?

    South Piedmont Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
  21. #21

    Isothermal Community College

    Spindale , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Isothermal Community College known for?

    Isothermal Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical
  22. #22

    Alamance Community College

    Graham , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Alamance Community College known for?

    Alamance Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Medical
  23. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Central Carolina Community College known for?

    Central Carolina Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
  24. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Southwestern Community College known for?

    Southwestern Community College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Education
  25. #25

    Surry Community College

    Dobson , NC

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Surry Community College known for?

    Surry Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. Mitchell Community College
  2. Western Piedmont Community College
  3. Southwestern Community College
  4. Central Carolina Community College
  5. Nash Community College
  6. Durham Technical Community College
  7. Central Piedmont Community College
  8. Lenoir Community College
  9. Louisburg College
  10. Guilford Technical Community College
  11. Sandhills Community College
  12. Wilkes Community College
  13. Gaston College
  14. Catawba Valley Community College
  15. Wayne Community College
  16. Piedmont Community College
  17. Isothermal Community College
  18. Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College
  19. Johnston Community College
  20. Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
  21. Forsyth Technical Community College
  22. Vance–Granville Community College
  23. Pitt Community College
  24. South Piedmont Community College
  25. Southeastern Community College

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