12 Best Community Colleges in Massachusetts

Massachusetts, the hub of innovation and academic excellence, offers an array of top-notch community colleges. 

In this guide, we delve into community colleges in the state, exploring admission requirements, and highlighting the best institutions, cost of living, and the employment outlook for those pursuing higher education. 

Whether you are starting your career, transferring to a university, or exploring new skills, these affordable institutions provide high-quality education and supportive environments. 

Let’s explore the best community colleges in Massachusetts, ensuring you have the information needed to make informed decisions about your academic future.

The Admission Requirements for Community Colleges in Massachusetts

Massachusetts community colleges boast an open admissions policy, making them accessible to a diverse range of learners. 

Translating to no minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements for most programs. 

However, ensuring success in your chosen field still requires meeting certain criteria:

1. High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Typically, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED

This foundational requirement ensures a baseline level of education for individuals entering the community college system.

2. Application Process:

Community colleges in Massachusetts require prospective students to complete an application. 

This process often involves submitting personal information, educational history, and sometimes a statement of intent.

3. Placement Tests:

Some community colleges may require placement tests in subjects like Math and English to gauge incoming students’ proficiency levels. 

These tests help determine appropriate course placements, ensuring students start at a level that aligns with their skills.

4. Academic Transcripts:

Submission of high school transcripts is a standard requirement. 

Allowing colleges to review academic performance and ensure that students meet the minimum educational standards for admission.

5. English Language Proficiency:

For non-native English speakers, demonstrating proficiency in the English language is crucial. 

Often assessed through standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS.

6. Advising or Orientation Sessions:

Some community colleges may require participation in advising or orientation sessions. 

These sessions provide valuable information about college resources, academic expectations, and support services available to students.

7. Application Fee:

While community colleges generally have lower tuition fees, there might be a nominal application fee. 

However, many institutions offer fee waivers for eligible students, ensuring financial constraints don’t hinder access to education.

Prospective students must meet the admission criteria for Massachusetts community colleges, encompassing a high school diploma, application completion, and possible placement tests. 

Fulfilling these requirements sets the stage for a transformative educational journey. 

Now, let’s delve into the standout community colleges in Massachusetts.

Best Community Colleges in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts boasts impressive community colleges, each offering its unique combination of academic excellence, vibrant campus life, and career-focused programs. 

This list highlights 12 top-tier community colleges, showcasing their strengths and helping you find the perfect fit for your aspirations.

1. Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC):

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) serves over 13,000 students in greater Boston. 

As one of the largest community colleges in Massachusetts, BHCC offers multiple associate degrees and certificates, providing a spectrum of academic opportunities. 

Renowned environmental scientist and advocate, Dr. D’Alessandro leads the college’s sustainability initiatives. 

Modern classrooms, well-equipped laboratories, and extensive library resources contribute to a dynamic educational environment. 

BHCC’s partnership with Lesley University allows students to earn bachelor’s degrees in business management, psychology, and early childhood studies without leaving the BHCC campus.

BHCC offers two distinct pathways for students seeking a bachelor’s degree: pre-designed associate degrees aligned with specific four-year programs and the MassTransfer Block, a 34-credit flexible option fulfilling general course requirements at most Massachusetts colleges.

2. Quinsigamond Community College (QCC):

Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) annually serves approximately 13,000 students across its main campus in Worcester and a dozen satellite locations. 

Offering over 100 fully online and offline degree and certificate programs, QCC provides a diverse array of educational opportunities, catering to its student body’s varied interests and career goals. 

The college’s articulation agreements with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Worcester State University guarantee acceptance for QCC transfer students who meet specific credit and GPA requirements. 

The college’s tuition rates are among the lowest in Massachusetts, making it a cost-effective pathway to a brighter future. 

Generous scholarships and financial aid options further ease the financial burden, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to pursue their academic goals.

3. Holyoke Community College (HCC):

Founded in 1946, Holyoke Community College (HCC) is the oldest community college in Massachusetts. 

HCC’s campus infrastructure is equipped with modern classrooms, laboratories, and specialized spaces tailored to the diverse needs of its programs.

The college offers a plethora of associate and certificate programs across five main departments, covering arts and humanities, business and digital learning, health and natural sciences, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and social sciences and integrative learning.

HCC offers internship opportunities for students to gain real-world experience and develop essential professional skills by partnering with organizations like Southwick Schools, Shriner Hospitals for Children, Cloud 9 Marketing Group, Springfield Museums, etc.

The college’s fully online degrees and certificate programs cover areas including banking, entrepreneurship, human resources, and marketing, catering to students seeking flexible learning options.

4. Middlesex Community College (MCC):

Middlesex Community College (MCC) ranks among the largest community colleges in Massachusetts. 

With campuses in Bedford and Lowell, MCC offers a variety of associate and certificate programs.

MCC provides a network of support services to ensure every student thrives. 

Dedicated academic advisors guide students through course selection and program planning, while career services specialists help translate your skills into real-world job opportunities. 

MCC has modern classrooms, specialized laboratories, and facilities supporting high-quality education across disciplines. 

For online students, MCC provides virtual tutoring services in crucial areas such as math, English, biology, accounting, and nursing.

The Academic Centers for Enrichment, in particular, offer individual and group tutoring sessions covering a wide range of academic subjects, including specialized instruction in STEM, English, and composition.

5. Massasoit Community College:

Massasoit Community College annually enrolls approximately 7,000 students through campus-based and distance programs.

Massasoit offers various fully online and offline, professional and academic programs.

Massasoit’s infrastructure is designed to accommodate both campus-based and distance programs, and its fully online degrees and certificates, cover business administration, Java programming, and law enforcement. 

Students engage in intellectual discussions through academic clubs and organizations, unleash their creative spirit at cultural events, or hone their athletic skills through intramural sports. 

Diverse activities catering to every interest provide opportunities to forge lifelong friendships.

Academic advisors work with new and continuing students to map out degree pathways and guide effective course selections. 

Transfer advisors ensure students are well-informed about academic requirements and transfer options to four-year institutions. 

6. Greenfield Community College (GCC):

Greenfield Community College (GCC), is one of the top community colleges in the state, with a main campus in Greenfield, GCC offers over 50 degree and certificate programs, spanning digital media, math and science education, adventure education, and addiction studies.

GCC’s faculty comprises dedicated professionals bringing a wealth of expertise and passion to their teaching roles. 

Academic advising, counseling, peer tutoring, career services, and transfer counseling contribute to a holistic educational experience. 

The college’s emphasis on providing an engaging learning environment is evident in its commitment to offering a variety of programs entirely online, including general liberal arts, English, business administration, and management

Students at GCC also have the opportunity to engage in internships, thanks to partnerships with agencies like the Double Edge Theater, Franklin County CDC, New England Public Radio, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

7. Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC):

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC), with an enrollment exceeding 11,000 students, is positioned as a leader among community colleges in Massachusetts, MWCC programs cover fields like communication, public and social sciences, technology, and fine arts.

MWCC’s fully online degrees and certificates cover business, legal studies, and liberal arts. 

MWCC recognizes the importance of blending campus-based and distance courses to provide students with increased flexibility in their educational journey.

MWCC boasts a study abroad program, a rare feature among two-year institutions, allowing students to earn credits while experiencing international travel and cultural immersion. 

The program is open to all students, regardless of enrollment status or class standing. 

To make international study more accessible, the college offers a variety of scholarships and financial aid options. 

This commitment to inclusivity ensures that students have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and gain a global perspective.

8. Northern Essex Community College (NECC):

Northern Essex Community College (NECC), is a public institution in Boston catering to a diverse student body by offering a variety of programs. 

As a small institution, NECC supports the education of its 1,337 undergraduate students.

NECC’s faculty, dedicated professionals in their fields, contribute to the college’s mission of academic excellence. 

With a student-faculty ratio of 21-to-1, NECC ensures that students receive personalized attention and guidance, fostering a supportive learning environment.

The college follows a semester-based academic year, providing students with a structured and comprehensive educational experience. 

NECC’s highest degree offered is an associate degree, aligning with its commitment to providing foundational education.

NECC has an open admissions policy, providing educational opportunities to a broad spectrum of individuals. 

With in-state tuition and fees of $5,544 and no application fee, NECC strives to make education accessible and affordable.

9. Roxbury Community College (RCC):

Roxbury Community College (RCC), is a public institution with a campus located in a vibrant city, RCC fosters a supportive learning environment with a total enrollment of 1,200. 

RCC’s 15-to-1 student-faculty ratio ensures that students receive personalized attention and guidance. 

Committed professionals contribute to the college’s mission of providing a comprehensive and supportive educational experience.

The college offers degrees and certificates in 26 different fields, allowing students to pursue their interests and career aspirations. 

Popular programs include Health Professions and Related Programs, Business Administration and Management, General, and more.

RCC graduates’ success is reflected in the starting salary of $26,300, showcasing the practical outcomes of an education from the institution. 

With a graduation rate of 28%, RCC provides students with the foundation they need to start successful career paths.

10. North Shore Community College (NSCC):

North Shore Community College (NSCC), provides accessible opportunities for academic and personal growth. 

With a suburban campus and a total enrollment of 4,783, NSCC has a close-knit community committed to excellence. 

The college offers degrees and certificates in 52 fields, allowing students to pursue their interests and career aspirations. 

Popular programs include Business, Environmental Science, and Information Technology.

The college boasts a Zero Net Energy building, showing NSCC’s commitment to environmental sustainability. 

The Lynn campus’ vibrant greenhouse is equipped with aquaponics and solar energy systems. 

The college’s Career Services team equips students with the tools and resources to translate their skills into real-world opportunities. 

From resume writing and interview preparation to internship placements and job fairs, NSCC ensures students do their best at all times.

11. Cape Cod Community College (4Cs):

Established in 1961, Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) is one of the oldest community colleges in Massachusetts. 

With an annual enrollment of over 6,000 students, CCCC boasts a variety of programs, unique partnerships, and a supportive community.

CCCC boasts a faculty committed to student success. Many instructors are local professionals with deep industry knowledge, bringing real-world expertise to the classroom. 

The average student-faculty ratio of 11:1 allows for personalized attention and mentorship opportunities.

The college’s offering of over 50 degrees and certificates caters to multiple interests and career options. 

CCCC’s partnerships with universities like Boston University, and UMass Dartmouth open doors to a universe of bachelor’s and master’s programs right on Cape Cod. 

The college’s in-state tuition and fees for 2020-2021 were $5,352 and $10,296 for out-of-state tuition and fees making it among the most competitive in the state. 

With no application fee, the college ensures that education is within reach for all who seek it.

12. Springfield Technical Community College (STCC):

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) boasts a variety of programs, a supportive community, and a firm commitment to affordability, ensuring the academic journey thrives beyond financial limitations.

STCC boasts a faculty with deep ties to the professional world. 

Many instructors are former practitioners bringing real-world experience and industry knowledge to the classroom, ensuring the curriculum remains relevant and up-to-date.

STCC offers opportunities in 69 different fields, popular programs include Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies, Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, and Business/Commerce, General. 

STCC collaborates with local businesses, organizations, and four-year institutions to create seamless pathways for students. 

This opens doors for specialized internships, joint degree programs, and guaranteed transfer options, ensuring a smooth transition to your desired career or bachelor’s degree.

These community colleges represent various academic programs, campus cultures, and support services, catering to the unique needs and aspirations of students across Massachusetts.

Cost of Living in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts, with its rich history, vibrant cities, and prestigious educational institutions, is an attractive destination for many. 

However, along with its cultural offerings and economic opportunities, the state comes with a cost of living that varies across regions. 

Understanding the key components of the cost of living in Massachusetts is crucial for residents, students, and those considering a move to the Bay State.

1. Housing Costs:

Housing represents a significant portion of the cost of living in Massachusetts. 

Whether renting or owning, housing prices can vary widely based on the city or town. 

Urban centers like Boston tend to have higher housing costs compared to suburban or rural areas. 

Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $2,000 to $3,000, while suburban areas may offer more affordable options.

Homeownership, while providing stability, also comes with its expenses. 

The median home price in Massachusetts is above the national average, and property taxes vary by location. 

2. Utilities and Transportation:

Utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, and internet, contribute to the overall cost of living. 

The average monthly utility bill can range from $150 to $200, depending on the size of the residence and usage.

Transportation costs are influenced by factors such as fuel prices, public transportation fees, and vehicle maintenance. 

Massachusetts has a public transportation system, particularly in the Greater Boston area, providing alternatives to owning a car. 

3. Groceries and Healthcare:

Food expenses in Massachusetts run about 30% higher than the national average.

 Massachusetts residents can expect to spend roughly $500 per month for groceries, with fresh produce and other organic options pushing the figure even higher. 

Restaurant dining adds another layer, with a typical meal in Boston costing around $20, compared to the national average of $15. 

Healthcare expenses can vary based on factors such as insurance coverage, prescription medications, and individual health needs. 

Insurance costs are also higher than the national average, with basic health insurance premiums exceeding $500 per month.

4. Entertainment and Lifestyle:

Massachusetts offers a rich cultural scene with theaters, museums, and outdoor activities. 

While these opportunities contribute to a fulfilling lifestyle, they can also impact the budget. 

Movie tickets average $15, a haircut can set you back $30, and gym memberships fall around $50 per month

While some areas may be more expensive, Massachusetts provides diverse opportunities and experiences that contribute to its unique appeal.

Employment Outlook in Massachusetts

Massachusetts boasts a thriving economy and promising job outlook, offering potential financial relief amidst higher living costs. 

Let’s delve into the current realities and future projections, providing context for your budget calculations.

1. Current Conditions:

Unemployment Rate: 

As of November 2023, Massachusetts boasts a remarkably low unemployment rate of 2.9%, significantly lower than the national average of 3.7%. 

This translates to a tight labor market with employers actively seeking qualified candidates.

Top Industries: 

Life sciences, healthcare, education, and professional services reign supreme, driving economic growth and generating numerous job opportunities. 

Technology, tourism, and manufacturing also play a significant role, further diversifying the job market.

Salary Expectations: 

Massachusetts workers earn an average annual salary of $79,250, exceeding the national average of $60,230. 

This higher earning potential helps offset the higher cost of living, though salary variations exist across industries and experience levels.

2. Future Projections:

Long-Term Outlook: 

Massachusetts is projected to experience steady job growth, with an expected increase of 4.6% in employment opportunities between 2020 and 2030. 

This bodes well for job seekers in diverse fields.

High-Demand Fields: 

Specific areas are anticipated to witness exponential growth. 

Life sciences, healthcare, STEM fields, and skilled trades are projected to see a surge in demand, offering promising career paths for qualified individuals.

Upskilling and Adaptability: 

As technology evolves and industries reshape, continuous learning and adaptability will be key to thriving in the Massachusetts job market. 

Consider staying updated on industry trends and investing in relevant skills to remain competitive.

3. Impact of Education and Skills:

As Massachusetts positions itself as a leader in innovation and technology, the importance of education and skills cannot be overstated. 

The state’s educational institutions play a pivotal role in supplying a skilled workforce, and individuals with advanced degrees and specialized skills are often well-positioned in the job market.

Continued education and upskilling in emerging technologies, project management, and other relevant areas can enhance an individual’s employability. 

Certifications and credentials aligned with industry demands are valuable assets in the competitive job market.

4. Considerations for Job Seekers:

While the employment outlook in Massachusetts is generally positive, job seekers should consider factors such as geographic preferences, industry alignment, and cost of living. 

The Greater Boston area offers a concentration of job opportunities, but other regions may have specific advantages, such as a lower cost of living or industry specialization.

Networking and utilizing resources like job fairs, industry events, and professional associations can be instrumental in securing employment. 

By considering both the cost of living and the promising employment outlook, you can confidently determine whether Massachusetts aligns with your financial goals and career aspirations. 


Massachusetts blends academic excellence with diverse opportunities. 

From prestigious universities to accessible community colleges, the state caters to varied academic pursuits. 

The dynamic employment outlook, driven by key industries like technology and healthcare, aligns with a vibrant lifestyle. 

As individuals navigate their journeys, Massachusetts stands as a beacon of opportunity, blending innovation, culture, and inclusivity for those who choose to call it home.


What is the number one community college in Massachusetts?

Determining the “number one” community college can be subjective, as each institution offers unique strengths.
Noteworthy community colleges in Massachusetts include Bunker Hill Community College, known for its diverse programs and Lesley University partnership, and Quinsigamond Community College, recognized for strong transfer agreements with prestigious universities.

What is the largest community college in Massachusetts?

Among the largest community colleges in Massachusetts is Middlesex Community College (MCC), enrolling over 13,000 students annually.
MCC’s extensive support services, diverse programs, and robust online offerings contribute to its status as one of the largest in the state.

What is the average cost for a community college in Massachusetts?

The average cost for a community college in Massachusetts varies, influenced by factors like location and program choice.
On average, in-state tuition and fees range from $5,352 to $5,784, while out-of-state costs can be around $10,296 to $11,328.
However, specific costs depend on the individual college, program, and residency status.