2019 Best Online Community Colleges in California

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These 16 community colleges are the best places in California to earn an online associate degree or certificate. With an average tuition of just $1,413, many of these schools are also very affordable. While all of these community colleges offer at least one fully online associate degree, Cerro Coso Community College, ranked #4, offers 18, including an Associate of Arts in Art History and an Associate of Science in Management. West Los Angeles College, ranked #14, also has a wide variety of online degrees available, including an Associate of Arts in Anthropology, an Associate of Arts in Marketing, and more.

View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

Rank School Annual Tuition Campus Location
#1 #1 Foothill College $1,395 Los Altos Hills (CA)
#2 #2 West Hills College Coalinga $1,380 Coalinga (CA)
#3 #3 Allan Hancock College $1,380 Santa Maria (CA)
#4 #4 Cerro Coso Community College $1,380 Ridgecrest, Bishop (CA)
#5 #5 American River College $1,380 Sacramento (CA)
#6 #6 Chabot College $1,380 Hayward (CA)
#7 #7 Cosumnes River College $1,380 Sacramento (CA)
#8 #8 Santa Rosa Junior College $1,380 Santa Rosa, Petaluma (CA)
#9 #9 Palomar College $1,380 San Marcos (CA)
#10 #10 Citrus College $1,380 Glendora (CA)
#11 #11 Hartnell College $1,840 Salinas (CA)
#12 #12 San Bernardino Valley College $1,380 San Bernardino (CA)
#13 #13 Fresno City College $1,380 Fresno (CA)
#14 #14 West Los Angeles College $1,380 Culver City (CA)
#15 #15 Santa Barbara City College $1,380 Santa Barbara (CA)
#16 #16 Santa Ana College $1,426 Santa Ana (CA)

2019 Online Community Colleges in California - 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.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,395
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Los Altos Hills
  • Online Associate Degrees: 15
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Foothill College is located in Los Altos Hills, California, and offers 15 different online associate degrees. There are 14 different Associate of Arts degrees available in subjects such as Accounting, Art History, Humanities, Psychology, Sociology, and more. One Associate of Science degree is also offered in Geography. Additionally, Foothill College provides opportunities for students interested in earning an online certificate. There are 37 online certificates, including Career Certificates in Entrepreneurship, Financial Accounting, Marketing, Tax Accounting, and Financial Literacy. All online courses are offered through Canvas, and the school teaches all students how to use the system prior to the start of classes. Telecommuting students also have access to online library services, tutoring, and other free materials.

Online Associate Degrees (15)

Online Certificate Programs (37)

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  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Coalinga
  • Online Associate Degrees: 8
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West Hills College in Coalinga, California, is home to four online Associate of Arts degrees, including Administration of Justice, Liberal Arts, Psychology, and Social Science. The AA in Administration of Justice is available with two concentrations — correctional science and law enforcement, while the AA in Liberal Arts offers focuses on arts and humanities or math and science. There is also a Certificate of Achievement in Child Development available online. The community college provides online students with career services, including the Jobspeaker application, as well as access to free-of-charge digital textbooks. Tuition for in-state students is estimated at around $46 per unit, while out-of-state learners can expect to pay $371 per unit.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Santa Maria
  • Online Associate Degrees: 9
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Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California, offers four Associate of Arts and five Associate of Science online degree programs. This selection includes an AA in Social Science, an AS in Business Marketing, and an AS in Fire Technology. Additionally, the California community college offers an online Certificate in Business. Online students complete courses remotely using the Canvas system, and the school provides a variety of tutorials to assist distance learners with common challenges, like time management and communication skills. There are also a variety of digital services available by email, including counseling and assistance from the career center.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Ridgecrest, Bishop
  • Online Associate Degrees: 18
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Students attending Cerro Cosa Community College in Ridgecrest, California, will find multiple online associate degree and certificate programs. Some of the most notable options include an Associate of Arts in Anthropology, an Associate of Science in Cyber Security Technology, a Data Analyst Certificate, and a Paralegal Studies Certificate. All distance learners are provided with online academic resources, including tutoring, as well as career guidance and transfer assistance. For online courses, some classes require proctor testing at an approved location, while others utilize the Proctorio system.

Online Associate Degrees (18)

Online Certificate Programs (17)

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Sacramento
  • Online Associate Degrees: 5
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Located in Sacramento County, California, American River College offers a variety of online Associate of Arts degrees in five subject areas, including Accounting, General Business, History of Creative Arts, Management, and the Individual and Society. There is also a long list of online certificate programs, including Activity Coordinator, Tax Specialist, and Internet Marketing. Online students at the community college complete coursework through the Canvas system and have virtual access to tech support. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
 

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Hayward
  • Online Associate Degrees: 3
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Chabot College in Hayward, California, offers an Associate of Arts in Behavioral Science, an Associate of Science in Administrative Assistance, and an Associate of Science in Business, all entirely online. The institution is also home to five online certificate programs, which include Marketing, Management, and Office Technology study areas. Online courses are completed through Canvas, and students are given access to Google Apps through the Zonemail program to effectively prepare notes and assignments. Every online degree or certificate seeker also works one-on-one with an advisor through the Online Counseling program.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Sacramento
  • Online Associate Degrees: 4
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Based in Sacramento, California, Cosumnes River College provides online Associate of Science degrees in the following areas of study: Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Geography, Health Information Technology, and Nutrition and Foods. There are also online certificates available in five areas, including a Certificate of Achievement in Health Information Coding Specialist and a Certificate of Proficiency in Field Data Mapping and Geographic Information. The college offers various resources to assist distance learners, including readiness tutorials and an Online Student Success course.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Santa Rosa, Petaluma
  • Online Associate Degrees: 3
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Students seeking an online degree from Santa Rosa Junior College in California have several options. They can complete an Associate of Arts in History (for transfer), an Associate of Arts in Humanities, or an Associate of Science in Administration of Justice (for transfer). For online certificate seekers, there are multiple options available, including a Certificate in Computer Studies and a Certificate in Real Estate Sales. The community college's online-learning programs provide students with live one-on-one tutoring sessions, career and academic assessment services, digital transfer center workshops, and advising.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: San Marcos
  • Online Associate Degrees: 1
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Palomar College in San Marcos, California, offers a fully online Associate in Science in Business Administration (for transfer). Students may also pursue four online certificate options: American Indian Studies, Real Estate Appraisal License Preparation, Real Estate Broker License Preparation and Real Estate Salesperson License Preparation. The institution provides distance learners with live academic counseling sessions through Zoom, online tutoring services, and an ask-a-librarian chat function. Students also have online access to the campus bookstore and 24/7 tech support.
 

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Glendora
  • Online Associate Degrees: 7
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Based just outside of Los Angeles, Citrus College in Glendora, California, is home to various online degree and certificate options. Their online offerings include an Associate of Arts in Social and Behavioral Sciences, an Associate of Science in Business, and three Associate Degrees for Transfer in Administration — Justice, History and Sociology. Online students are provided with nearly all the same support services as on-campus students, including advising, tutoring, and career guidance. All required textbooks and supplies are available for purchase through the school bookstore's e-commerce site.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,840
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Salinas
  • Online Associate Degrees: 1
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Located in Salinas, California, Hartnell College offers a 100-percent-online Associate of Science in Administration of Justice. The program offers three specialized tracks so students can focus their studies to advance their career goals. The specializations are correctional science, paralegal/legal assistant, and criminal justice. They also offer a Fast Track program for the criminal justice specialization, where students can earn their degree a semester earlier than the standard program. Students complete online coursework in Canvas and required interactions with academic counselors take place over email, and through virtual meetings. Currently, out-of-state students pay $249 per credit, while California residents receive a rate of $46 per unit.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: San Bernardino
  • Online Associate Degrees: 7
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San Bernardino Valley College in California offers online Associate of Arts degrees in Administration of Justice, Anthropology, Business Administration, Liberal Arts, Philosophy and Sociology. Students can also pursue an online Associate of Science in Administration of Justice, along with a variety of online certificates, including a Water Treatment Certificate. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the community college provides online courses through Canvas, and all remote students have the opportunity to participate in free tutoring sessions through the Tutorial and Writing centers.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Fresno
  • Online Associate Degrees: 2
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At Fresno City College in California, online students have the opportunity to pursue an Associate of Science in Health Information Technology and an Associate of Science in Library Technology. The community college also offers an online Certificate in Retail Management and an online Library Technology Certificate of Achievement. Distance students at Fresno City College have access to free Hoonuit software, around-the-clock online tutoring, and the Peer Assisted Study Sessions program in a digital environment. They also offer academic and transfer counseling services by email, and click-to-chat.

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Culver City
  • Online Associate Degrees: 13
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West Los Angeles College in Culver City, California, offers an extensive range of online programs, including Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. Students also have the choice of multiple online Certificates of Achievement and Skill Certificates. The online resources provided by this Los Angeles-based community college are powered by the Canvas platform, and are of great benefit to their telecommuting students. Along with online tutoring, tech support, library services, and academic counseling, the school has a blog dedicated to providing tips and tricks for distance learners.

Online Associate Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (15)

  • Annual Tuition: $1,380
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Santa Barbara
  • Online Associate Degrees: 13
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Founded in 1909, Santa Barbara City College is one of the oldest community colleges in California. The institution offers six online Associate of Arts degrees, including an AA in Marketing and an AA in International Business, and three Associate of Science programs. The online AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences is available with three concentration areas: arts and humanities, science and mathematics, and social and behavioral sciences. There are also numerous certificates and skills competency awards available to online learners. The distance learning program provides online support services, including tutoring, library services and counseling.

Online Associate Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (19)

  • Annual Tuition: $1,426
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC
  • Locations: Santa Ana
  • Online Associate Degrees: 4
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Santa Ana College in California offers an online Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts with optional concentration areas in American studies and arts, humanities and communication. Students planning to transfer to a four-year institution also have the option of an online Associate of Science in Business Administration. All remote degree seekers have access to free course materials and textbooks through the school's Open Educational Resources program. Online students also have the opportunity to access academic counseling and library services, as well as tutoring through the campus Learning Center and NetTutor.

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