Career Training in Rutherford County: Train to Be a Welder, Cosmetologist, Truck Driver, Dental Assistant, Accountant, or for a Host of Other Jobs


by Laura Lindsay

To avoid student loan debt and get through post-secondary school quicker, many students may decide to attend a technical school, community college or other local career training option. With the huge presence a large university like MTSU has in the community, many are unaware of the various other career and technical education options for students in the area.

State schools, private schools and companies offer a wide variety of career training. State community and technical colleges may be free for students in Tennessee, and there is sometimes financial assistance available for education in the private sector.

The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce focuses on the state programs that can use TN Promise dollars and scholarships.

“These are what we are most familiar with,” said Essence Brisco, who works with local high schools and students and is director of the Chamber of Commerce’s Rutherford Works program, promoting education and workforce development in the area.

Some students know what they want to do, and they may go to a two-year or four-year college, and then you have a whole group of students who have no idea what they want to do, said Beth Duffield, senior vice president of education and workforce development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce/Rutherford Works.

“Tennessee Promise is two free years of college, and it is a great way to start for students who don’t know what their career aspirations are because they are going to have to get their basics out of the way, paid for by the state,” Duffield said.

One option using TN Promise is Tennessee College of Applied Technology. The College of Applied Technology has 12- and 18-month programs, and they are certificate-based. There are no general education courses required with this—it’s all specific career-based education, versus going to a community college, where you get a mixed bag of diverse courses.

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