Best Colleges in North Carolina for Associate, Bachelor’s & Master’s

North Carolina College Guide – What You Need to Know

North Carolina is home to several high-quality schools, both public and private. Names like Duke University and the University of North Carolina are probably the best-known schools in the state, but NC boasts a wide array of schools from small liberal arts colleges to NC State, the largest university in the Carolinas.

What are the most popular bachelor's degrees offered in North Carolina?

While the state’s private colleges are a significant investment for those who don’t have federal funding or scholarships, NC’s public universities promise a quality education for less than $10,000 per year.

The most popular bachelor’s degrees in North Carolina are similar to the most popular bachelor’s degrees across the country. Students top picks include majors such as biology, business administration, and psychology, as well as computer science. Here are the top five degrees:

How Much Can You Make by Having a Degree in North Carolina


In general, the higher the degree, the greater the earning potential. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Some fields, like marketing or computer programming, allow you to advance in your career without a master’s degree. Others, like psychology, require a master’s minimum, as your point of entry. Still, getting a bachelor’s degree, or even an associate can help you earn much more than you would with only a high school diploma.

According to data PayScale, bachelor’s degree holders have an average income of about $58,000 per year. Degree type makes a difference; the site reported that those with a Bachelor of Science earned $63,000 on average, compared to those with a Bachelor of Arts who earned about $53,000 on average.

Those figures are likely skewed a bit, as high-paying technical occupations like engineering and computer science majors earn BS degrees. BA graduates span a range of majors, including some sectors where it may be harder to find employment. Associate degree holders earn about $48,000 per year.

Those with a high school diploma, or GED only, are likely to earn considerably less. The BLS reports the median weekly income for those without any formal education credential can expect to make roughly $688 per week.

Education Level & National Average Median Compensation

NO FORMAL EDUCATION HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA ASSOCIATE DEGREE BACHELOR’S DEGREE MASTER’S DEGREE DOCTORAL DEGREE
$30,784* $38,792* $46,124* $64,896* $77,844* $96,772*

Best Associate Degrees in North Carolina


North Carolina has some of the best associate programs in the nation. Some provide a direct path to the best bachelor's degrees in the state, including UNC-Chapel Hill. Whether students are seeking a career in healthcare, social work, education, or engineering, they will find that North Carolina's community colleges offer quality learning, often at reasonable costs.

Montgomery Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
918
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$12,447
Grads Salary
$37,300
Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
1,396
Graduation Rate
57%
Net Price
$26,732
Grads Salary
$38,800
Wayne Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,701
Graduation Rate
48%
Net Price
$5,900
Grads Salary
$27,400
Blue Ridge Community College-Flat Rock
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,399
Graduation Rate
53%
Net Price
$7,924
Grads Salary
$25,800
Halifax Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
988
Graduation Rate
50%
Net Price
$3,514
Grads Salary
$24,100
Haywood Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,440
Graduation Rate
49%
Net Price
$6,300
Grads Salary
$25,400
Johnston Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
4,182
Graduation Rate
37%
Net Price
$5,735
Grads Salary
$29,800
McDowell Technical Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
1,048
Graduation Rate
41%
Net Price
$4,415
Grads Salary
$26,700
Stanly Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,432
Graduation Rate
39%
Net Price
$6,219
Grads Salary
$28,200
Southwestern Community College-Sylva
College Type
2-year, Public
Campus Housing
No
Student Population
2,259
Graduation Rate
45%
Net Price
$5,562
Grads Salary
$25,200
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Best Bachelor's Degrees in North Carolina


There are some great bachelor's degrees to be found in North Carolina's colleges and universities. The state has a first-rate public university system and private colleges that offer a variety of high-quality programs that would earn you entry to great jobs all across the nation. Whether students wish to pursue medicine, law, engineering, or any other career field, North Carolina has a top four-year degree program for them. Keep reading to learn about the best bachelor’s programs in North Carolina.

Duke University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
16,172
Graduation Rate
96%
Net Price
$26,932
Grads Salary
$88,100
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
30,092
Graduation Rate
91%
Net Price
$10,038
Grads Salary
$71,800
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
36,304
Graduation Rate
84%
Net Price
$14,600
Grads Salary
$75,000
Wake Forest University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
8,789
Graduation Rate
89%
Net Price
$26,324
Grads Salary
$75,500
Davidson College
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
55,175
Graduation Rate
93%
Net Price
$28,615
Grads Salary
$69,900
North Carolina A&T State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
12,753
Graduation Rate
52%
Net Price
$9,541
Grads Salary
$73,000
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
29,615
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$16,029
Grads Salary
$69,000
Appalachian State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
20,023
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$10,687
Grads Salary
$59,600
East Carolina University
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
28,798
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$15,403
Grads Salary
$63,100
University of North Carolina Wilmington
College Type
4-year, Public
Campus Housing
Yes
Student Population
17,499
Graduation Rate
74%
Net Price
$17,946
Grads Salary
$60,100
Full Ranking Report