10 Best Trade Schools and Community Colleges in New York 2023

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on February 12, 2023 · Updated on April 15, 2023

10 Best Trade Schools and Community Colleges in New York 2023

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on February 12, 2023 · Updated on April 15, 2023

Are you looking for a great community college, trade school, or technical college in New York that meets your personal and financial needs? There are many two-year institutions offering great programs today, so how do you know where to look? This guide introduces you to the 10 best New York community colleges for 2022 to help you get started. We also include some financial aid advice to help you think through all of your cost savings possibilities.

Why should you check out two year colleges? For one thing, they’re often a lot cheaper than four-year colleges and universities, and that’s a big deal. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), you can save about $20,000 per school year by attending a community college instead of a four-year institution. Aside from that, trade schools and community colleges are a great way to explore your academic interests, acquire highly transferable college credits, and ease into college life after high school. If you’re curious about the best two year colleges in New York, you’ve come to the right place.

10 Best New York Trade Schools and Community Colleges 2022

There are many great schools in New York. To save you some trouble, we’ve examined hundreds of these institutions to come up with the top schools in the state. As far as community colleges in the Empire State go, here are the top ten.

1. American Academy of Dramatic Arts-New York

AADA is a performing arts and acting school established in 1884 and one of the best community colleges in New York. The school has campuses in Manhattan and Los Angeles and offers a two-year associate of occupational studies degree. Students can also move on to a third year of study for a certificate of advanced training. Learners looking to earn a bachelor’s degree can take advantage of AADA’s partnerships with four universities to easily transfer their earned credits. Notable alumni include actors Paul Rudd, Jessican Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and Danny Devito.

2. St. Joseph’s College of Nursing

Located in Syracuse, St. Joseph’s is a private nonprofit New York community college. The institution offers in-person, full-time nursing programs, including a weekday RN program and evening/weekend programs. Students who wish to pursue a BS in nursing can easily transfer their St. Joseph’s credits to one of several partner schools in the state. The NCLEX-RN exam pass rates for St. Joseph’s nursing graduates are consistently higher than the state and national averages.

3. Island Drafting and Technical Institute

Amityville, New York’s IDTI offers 15-24-month associate degrees in architectural drafting and electronics and computer service. There is also a 50-hour AutoCAD refresher course for learners with drafting experience and a 12-hour diploma in computer aided drafting. As one of the best community colleges, the school prides itself on offering its students extensive career services support, including personalized placement assistance, job application coaching, and interview preparation.

4. Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing

Albany’s Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing offers an associate of science in nursing program and a licensed practical nurse certificate. Associate degree-seekers can choose from full- or part-time tracks. Upon completion of the program, these students can transfer easily to one of several New York colleges to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing graduates from this New York community college have shown NCLEX-RN exam pass rates well above average the state and national averages.

5. Pomeroy College of Nursing at Crouse Hospital

Pomeroy College of Nursing offers an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing for on-campus students. Learners can choose from a four-semester daytime track or 16-month evening/weekend track. Required classes include human anatomy and physiology, basic microbiology, human lifespan development, and nutrition. For students interested in a BSN, Pomery has a special partnership with Le Moyne College that offers a three-year associate/bachelor’s program.

6. Elim Bible Institute and College

Established in 1924 in Lima, Elim is a Christian New York community college with certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree options. All of the programs focus on biblical, theological, and spiritual studies. Bachelor’s degree-seekers complete a three-week internship in New York City for hands-on ministry experience. Students at all levels pay $4,740/semester for 12-18 credits or $316/credit for part-time students.

7. New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

New York Conservatory’s associate degree programs include new media for actors, film and television performance, and musical theatre performance. Students can also enroll in a four-week summer intensive in acting or musical theatre. New York Conservatory maintains articulation agreements with The New School, Adelphi University, and the University of Northern Colorado for students who wish to transfer earned credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Standout alums include actors Jacob Batalon and Ashleigh Murray. 

8. Elyon College

Elyon is a private nonprofit institution and one of the top community colleges in New York. The college offers certificate and associate degree programs in Judaic studies and accounting and business technology. Judaic studies courses include child development, literacy and the bicultural community, modern Jewish history, and halachic codes. Depending on the program, students can expect to pay between $4,500-$6,250 per semester of study.

9. CUNY Stella and Charles Guttman Community College

Founded in 2021, the CUNY Stella and Charles Guttman Community College holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and serves about 1,000 students. The community college offers associate degrees in the following:

  • Business administration
  • Human services
  • Information technology
  • Liberal arts and sciences
  • Urban studies

Learners can complete these programs in two years or less. As of August 2021, the school can only accommodate degree-seekers who can enroll as full-time students. Many of the required courses are available in a synchronous online learning format, meaning there are still set class times and discussions that students must participate in. They just do it online instead of in-person.

10. Seminar L’moros Bais Yaakov

Seminar L’moros Bais Yaakov is a private Jewish studies institution in Brooklyn with only about 375 students. Learners can complete its 60-credit Jewish studies and classical torah studies degree or 24-credit Torah studies certificate. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED and basic knowledge of Jewish historical events and documents. Depending on the program, learners can expect to spend about $7,300-$9,550 for 24-36 credits.

If you’re looking for other trade schools and community colleges, check out the Find Your Perfect “U” tool. You can search over 6,000 colleges and universities with 11 different filters to find the perfect school for you!


To create a list of the top community colleges in New York, Universities.com focused on data sets, algorithms, and other types of metrics that give us a transparent view of admissions stats, graduation rates, and financial aid information for each school. Here is a closer look at our ranking methodology.

How Do I Pay For Community College?

Paying for a college degree can be a serious financial undertaking for just about any student. The good news is that there arte ways to offset the cost of your degree. Moreover, tuition costs at community colleges tend to be significantly less than four-year colleges and universities. The first step toward getting funding for your education at one of the top community colleges in New York is filling out the FAFSA.

Many students obtain funding for their academic programs through scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs. Scholarships and grants are the best ways to get money for school, mostly because they award you with money that doesn’t not need to be repaid. Loans, on the other hand, require you to pay back the money you borrow plus interest. Your school might participate in the federal work-study program, which pays you for working a part-time job on-campus or in an affiliated position in the local community. 

For more scholarships or the ability to search through $16 million in awards, check out Universities.com’s scholarship tool. In the meantime, let’s look at a few of the best scholarships for New York community college students out there.

Scholarships for Community College Students

  1. Excelsior Scholarship: This scholarship allows a student to attend a SUNY or CUNY school for free. Students whose families make less than $125,000 per year and live in New York can apply.
  2. New York State Part-Time Scholarship: This award is for part-time learners who attended a SUNY or CUNY community college. The award will cover the cost of six credits or $1,500 per term, whichever amount is less. Applicants must be a New York resident.
  3. Conklin Scholarship: Graduating high school seniors in the top 10% of their class who wish to attend Dutchess Community College may apply. The award is for two years of free tuition at this SUNY institution. 

Is Going to Community College Worth It?

There are many great academic and financial reasons for attending a community college in New York. Aside from many community colleges offering lower tuition rates than four-year institutions, community college course credits are highly transferable. In this way, should you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree after completing a certificate or associate degree, there’s a good chance some of your community college classes will transfer. But it’s always best to check with both the school you’re attending and the school you wish to transfer to!

There are some additional often overlooked perks. Community colleges typically offer flexible part-time or weekend learning opportunities, which are ideal if you are a parent or working professional. Additionally, students in these programs often enjoy smaller class sizes and more individualized teaching and guidance from professors

Whether you’re looking for a smooth transition from high school into college life, or want a program that’ll get you started toward a degree without breaking the bank, a community college may be a great choice for you. For more information on community colleges in other states, be sure to check out Universities.com’s other rankings pages.