In decades past, “junior college” referred to schools that offered two years of higher education beyond high school. Such colleges were popular from the early 1900s to the sixties. But what are junior colleges?

What are junior colleges?

What Is a Junior College?

There are very few two-year private junior colleges anymore. Instead, two-year public junior colleges are usually called community colleges or technical colleges. But in this article, we’ll use the three terms interchangeably.

Community college programs usually offer vocational training for a specific career. But a community college can also serve as preparation for a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college. These schools aim to serve those who live in the surrounding areas. Thus the title “community” college.

What Is Junior College in Relation To Being a Junior in University or College?

The two terms sound alike, but they are two entirely different things. For example, when people ask, ” what’s a junior college”? They are referring to an actual school. But a junior in college refers to a student in their third year at a four-year university. 

What Is a jc College? What Is jr College?

These are just two other ways to ask, “what’s junior college?” the abbreviation JC stands for junior college. And when someone asks, “what is a jr college” you can tell them the JR is short for junior.  

What Are Junior Colleges and Should You Attend One?

What's A Junior College?

If you’re wondering if you should attend junior college, you’re in luck. This article will answer some of your most pressing questions about junior colleges. We’ve included the top ten online junior colleges to make your search easier.

The Junior College Concept

Junior colleges really took off in the 1950s. At the time, traditional four-year colleges were inaccessible to many students. Often, they were too expensive for families. In other cases, high school students weren’t academically prepared for higher education yet.

Most community colleges filled that gap. As a result, students who were not ready for a university environment could still remain at home.

Additionally, most community colleges gave families extra time to save money for a four-year college Plus, it gave them a chance to apply for scholarships or financial aid.

Early Junior Colleges and University Relationships

Many of the early junior colleges in the United States were affiliated with a four-year university. The university would accept graduating junior college students as freshmen. In turn, the junior college would prepare students with the academics they needed for admission to the college. But eventually, most junior colleges gradually broke away from their affiliated universities. 

What is a junior college?

The Evolution of Junior Colleges

At first, junior colleges were automatically accredited. That’s because they were associated with the affiliated university. This gave the awarded associate’s degrees their much-needed legitimacy. But eventually, junior colleges began to receive their own accreditation.

By the 1970s, junior colleges were becoming accepted as colleges in their own right. And it was the norm to consider junior colleges as the first two years of a college education. This was when private junior colleges began to change into the community colleges we know today.

From Junior College to Community College

Junior colleges have gradually transitioned to full-service institutions. Most offer associate degrees and certificates that prepare students for a particular role in the working world. Some also offer 4-year bachelor’s degrees. Most junior colleges now serve the whole community, which is why they are usually called community colleges.

The Best Online Junior College Programs

1. Northcentral Technical College

Northcentral Technical College

Wausau, Wisconsin

Tuition: $3,673 

Northcentral Technical College was established in 1907. It was founded in a two-story building at the Wausau Industrial School. This two-year technical college draws inspiration from its rich history. 

The college’s impressive online format serves students from all over the country. They offer 27 online Associates degree programs, including degrees in:

  • Business Management
  • IT – Computer Support Specialist
  • Manufacturing Engineering Technology
  • Law Enforcement in the 21st Century
  • Sports and Recreation Management

2. Great Basin College

Great Basin College

Elko, Nevada

Tuition: $3,248 

Great Basin College enriches the community through student-centered, post-secondary education in rural Nevada. GBC is nicknamed”The Gold Standard in the Silver State .”It was founded in 1967. And the school offers associate and bachelor’s degrees.

GBC also serves an online student population across the country. The online college offers 18 online associates degree programs and seven bachelors, including:

  • Digital Information Technology Emphasis (Bachelor’s Degree)
  • Nursing – RN to BS in Nursing Program (BSN)
  • Graphic Communication (AA)
  • Computer Technologies, Web Development Emphasis (AAS)
  • Graphic Communication (AA)

3. Florida Gateway College

Florida Gateway College

Lace City, Florida

Tuition: $3,100 

Florida Gateway University was founded as a school of forestry in 1947. But it has evolved into a comprehensive community college. It serves more than 5,000 students every year.

This two-year college offers quality educational opportunities to the North Central Florida community. But they also serve students around the country. They have 16 online programs, including three bachelor’s degrees. Some of these include:

  • Business Administration (AS)
  • Criminal Justice (AS)
  • Nursing – RN (BS)
  • Agribusiness Management (AS)
  • Associate in Arts (AA)

4. Central Texas College

Central Texas College

Killeen, Texas


Central Texas College has plenty of opportunities for the Killeen, Texas community. This educational institution offers associate degrees, career training, and adult continuing education.

The courses are offered in various formats that satisfy virtually every need. Founded in 1965, CTC offered its first online course in 1998. CTC’s college credits are easily transferable to four-year universities. The college offers over 30 online associates degree programs, including:

  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Mathematics
  • Chemical Dependency Specialization
  • Modern Language
  • At-Risk Youth Specialization

5. Lake Superior College

Lake Superior College

Duluth, Minnesota

Tuition: $5,334 

Lake Superior College is a premier college for affordable associate degrees in Minnesota. They also offer hands-on training for a wide range of careers. The school resulted from the merger of two community colleges in 1995.

There are nearly 200 online classes at LSC each semester. The school’s online students receive the same support and resources as on-campus students. There are 21 online programs offered by LSC, including the following associate’s degrees:

  • Cyber Defense
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Fire Science & Administration

6. Barton Community College

Barton Community College

Great Bend, Kansas

Tuition: $3,552 

Barton Community College is a comprehensive community college with many offerings. Students can pursue:

  • Numerous general education courses
  • Fine and performing arts programs
  • Various career and technical training options

The school was founded via a referendum by the people of Barton County, Kansas, on July 15, 1965. Barton Online offers quality online education courses through its virtual campus. The online program has six-week, eight-week, and 16-week courses. Plus, there is a summer session that lasts for 12 weeks. And a four-week intersession during the Fall and Spring terms. Among the associate’s degree programs online are:

  • Early Childhood
  • Network Specialist
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • English

7. Bucks County Community College

 Bucks County Community College

Newtown, Pennsylvania

Tuition: $4,898 

Bucks County Community College was founded in 1964. This secondary school provides college education to high school students in the region. Plus, it offers many resources to Buck’s County residents. 

Today, BCCC is one of the best public community colleges in the United States. And it serves students from all over the nation through its online format. The school offers 27 online programs, including the following associate’s degrees:

  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business Administration
  • Social Science
  • Psychology Interpersonal Emphasis

8. Snead State Community College

 Snead State Community College

Boaz, Alabama

Tuition: $5,344 

Snead State Community College offers many educational opportunities in Boaz, Alabama. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life in the community. This mission has carried the college through its 100-year history.

Snead State has one of Alabama’s most comprehensive distance education programs. But it’s not just for those living in the region. The college attracts students from everywhere. SSC offers highly flexible scheduling. This means students can pursue their education while maintaining a busy lifestyle. SSC offers 17 online programs, including associates degrees such as:

  • Child Development
  • Office Administration
  • Nursing
  • Applied Business
  • Elementary Education

9. Vance-Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College

Henderson, North Carolina

Tuition: $1,948 

VGCC is one of North Carolina’s 58 community colleges. It is the local provider of higher education and training in the area. Established in 1969, the school has more than 40 programs. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, and degrees.

Through Vance-Granville Online, students with busy schedules can still get an excellent education. The coursework is highly flexible. Associate’s degree programs and certificate programs offered online include:

  • Accounting
  • Early Childhood
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Safety Administration
  • Networking & Security

10. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

Valdosta, Georgia

Tuition: $3,152 

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College was founded in 1963. It is dedicated to equipping students with the training and skills needed for the workforce.

Wiregrass is part of the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection and the Technical College System of Georgia’s eCampus system. The school provides access to a network of other colleges and educational resources. Some of the online associate’s degree programs include:

  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • Business Technology
  • Criminal Justice Technology
  • Education

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