Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College?

Yes, it is possible to get a bachelor’s degree at some community colleges. Not all 2-year schools offer bachelor’s degrees, but the list is growing ever longer each year. It’s important to note though that these colleges can sometimes be limited in their offerings for bachelor’s and majors. So students need to decide whether or not community college is right for them for their long term goals.

Austin Community College

Flickr user Austin Community College

Can You Get a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College?

Traditionally, community colleges offered only associate’s degrees after completing a two year program. Students can enter the workforce with this degree or transfer to a 4-year institution to earn their bachelor’s.

However, this trend is changing. More community colleges are offering bachelor’s degrees, too, these days. Options for majors tend to be a bit more limited than at traditional 4-year schools, but the list of eligible programs is also increasing year-over-year.

Benefits Of Getting a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College

There are actually quite a few benefits of opting to get a bachelor’s degree at a community college over a traditional 4-year school, including:

1. It’s More Affordable

Affordability is the overriding benefit of completing a four-year program at community college.

You can get a bachelor’s degree through a community college at a fraction of what it would cost through a private university. You can save even more on food and accommodation if you choose an institution close to home. Imagine being able to graduate with little to no student loan debt!

2. They Offer More Flexible Schedules

A flexible schedule is another benefit of enrolling in a 4-year program at a community college. Many community college students have personal commitments such as family or work. In order to accommodate their students’ various needs, these schools often schedule more night and weekend classes. This allows students to pursue a bachelor’s degree while still being able to fulfill their other commitments.

3. Majors are More Career-Oriented

Another benefit lies in the way the courses are structured. In private universities, you have a lot of general education classes in the first year and narrow down to more advanced courses in your chosen major by the fourth year.

Community colleges are structured differently. They offer more career-oriented degrees that prepare you for a specific job. Some of the more popular majors are those that prepare students for careers in health care, bio-manufacturing, and business. Many colleges also partner up with local businesses, which increases internship opportunities and even job placements for students.

Downsides of Earning a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College

 While a community college bachelor’s degree brings a lot of benefits to the table, there are some downsides that should be considered as well.

  1. Options Can Be Severely Limited. Community colleges have the resources to offer only so many bachelor degree programs. Many offer only a single one, for example! If you are planning to enter a certain career field, community college might not offer the major you need to succeed.
  2. They Rarely Have Dorm Rooms. While some community colleges do have dorm rooms (usually reserved for their 4-year students or particular programs), most don’t. Students interested in attending these schools will either have to live at home or get an apartment nearby.
  3. Students Miss Out on Some College Experiences and Resources. Community colleges tend to be on the small size, and, as a result, they can be rather limited in offerings. They won’t have as many clubs, extracurriculars, or big sports teams like 4-year universities and colleges. Students may also find campus life lacking with few traditions or events. And libraries, labs, and other resources may be limited due to the size of the school and smaller budgets.

Getting a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College FAQ

How Does a Community College Bachelor’s Degree Compare with a Four-Year University?

A bachelor’s degree from a community college is as valuable as one obtained from a 4-year college. The true value lies in what you take away from your four years in college.

Community colleges are known to offer solid academic programs that are as good as any private university. The only reason they cost less is they do not offer the lavish facilities that private and state funded universities do. For the amount of money that you’ll save, it’s definitely worth enrolling in a community college that offers the program you’re interested in.

Does My State Allow Me to Get a Bachelor’s Degree at a Community College?

At the moment, only 24 states allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees including:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawai‘i
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

What 4-Year Programs Do Community Colleges Tend to Offer?

The programs offered at any one community college depend on the school, but common areas of study for bachelor’s degrees include majors in nursing, health, engineering, education, business, law enforcement, and information technology.

Does My Community College Offer Bachelor’s Degrees?

To find out if your community college offers bachelor’s degrees, you will need to head over to their website or use College Match on College Raptor to see their various programs. A few examples of community colleges and their 4-year programs are:

The number of community colleges offering bachelor degree programs is ever increasing, as are the number of majors available to students. Choosing to go to a 2-year school for a 4-year degree can result in little to no debt at graduation, but students will have to weigh the cons as well. But it’s definitely something to look into!

Is a community college with a 4 year bachelor degree program right for you? College Raptor can help you make the decision. With our College Match tool, see what local schools are best for your education and your goals.