TCAT High-Demand Programs

June 6, 2017 | Betty Proctor | Internal Press Release

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Chattanooga State’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) offers 26 high-demand programs for discerning students. Five of these high-demand programs include Machine Tool Technology, Industrial Maintenance, Computer Support, Landscape and Turf Management, and Medical Assisting. Each of these diploma programs can be completed in one year’s time (three continuous semesters). Once completed, the graduate can look forward to bright job opportunities. Funds are currently available to help students become career-ready in one-year.

The 2017 Tennessee high school graduates who applied for the TN Promise Scholarship by November 1, 2016 and completed the required community service component are eligible for this last-dollar scholarship that will cover mandatory tuition and fees not covered by the Pell Grant, the HOPE scholarship, TSAA, SEOG, or other outside scholarship funds.

In addition, adults of any age and recent high school grads can qualify for the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant that pays $2,000 per year toward any TCAT program.

The TN Reconnect Grant for TCAT programs is also a last dollar funding opportunity for adult students 24 years of age and older who have been TN residents for at least one year prior to enrolling, have completed a FAFSA, and have not already earned a TCAT certificate or diploma.

With the TN Promise, TN Reconnect, the Wilder-Naifeh, and other funding opportunities, financial barriers to enrollment in a TCAT for Tennesseans have been removed. There is no better time to enroll in a TCAT and receive the technical skills in demand by local employers.

The Machine Tool program is offering $1,000 scholarships to new students that enroll in the fall 2017 semester to assist with required books and tool purchases. Students in the Machine Tool program will learn to read a blue print and identity the materials needed to make a part from the blue print. In addition to learning shop safety, students operate saws, drill presses, grinders, manual lathes and manual milling machines, and computer controlled machines (CNC’s). They also receive training on a Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) system. According to senior instructor Wade Silvey, “Graduates of the Machine Tool program start out making $15-17 per hour with good benefits. This is a skill that is in high demand in the Chattanooga area.” Machine tool graduates see an 88 percent job placement. Full-time classes are available during the day and evening.

Industrial Maintenance students develop the ability to keep equipment and machinery operating at peak performance. Students learn specific skills for installation, troubleshooting, and repair of equipment, and machinery in various types of manufacturing operations. The Industrial Maintenance program currently enjoys a 100 percent job placement rate and instructor David Burgess says, “The Industrial Maintenance diploma prepares students for careers within large and small manufacturing businesses and industries seeking highly-trained entry-level maintenance employees. They are in critical demand.” The median yearly salary is $44,765. Both day and evening classes are available on the main campus, as well as a full-time day program at the Kimball site.

As computer usage continues to skyrocket, so does the need for technicians to keep them running smoothly. The Computer Support program provides the technical training to operate, build, install, troubleshoot, repair, network and service computer systems. Following the introduction to computer concepts and applications, instruction continues with training for computer hardware and software service and repair in preparation for the CompTIA A+ Certification (Computer Technology Industry Association), which represents entry-level competency as a computer technician. They also train to take the Network+ and Security+ certifications. The median salary is $46,620. Both full-time day and night classes are offered on the main campus.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Medical Assistants is projected to grow 23 percent through 2024. Job placement ranks above 90 percent with entry-level earnings of almost $30,000 per year. Day and evening classes are available on the main campus. The program emphasizes clinical, administrative, and general physician office practices while preparing students to assume the role of health professionals by providing technical instruction and skill development in preparation to take their national certification through the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants). Graduates from this program can complete an associate degree in Health Sciences or they may choose to go to work immediately following graduation. A local employer of TCAT’s medical assistant graduates states, “I cannot express enough how advanced and superior the Chattanooga State Medical Assisting Program is to any other school in the Chattanooga area.”

Students enrolled in the Landscape and Turf Management program study landscape construction, installation and maintenance; irrigation design, installation, troubleshooting, and repair; turf grass management for sports fields, golf courses, and residences; planting design and plant identification; arboriculture and pruning; as well as greenhouse operation and management. Hands-on experience in the program allows students an opportunity to practice skills needed to be successful in the landscape industry. Day classes are available on the main campus and skilled graduates are prepared to step in as entry-level supervisors earning up to $38,000 per year. Graduate placement is 100 percent.

For more information on these high-demand and other TCAT programs call 423-697-4433, or visit