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West Knox colleges gear up for spring term
First of a two-part series

Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Mom, dads and sundry other adults may decide it’s time to find a spiral-bound notebook and head back to school. They may want to boost their credentials at a current job, or even branch into new areas of expertise.

Half the battle is knowing where to turn. From interior design to an MBA, working adults, as well as those of traditional college-age, have several choices in West Knox County. Private colleges have opened satellite campuses here that provide four-year degrees. Community colleges usually offer two-year degrees, but may also provide a way to get that bachelor’s degree right on campus.

Pellissippi State Technical Community College (pictured at far right) had 7,686 students enrolled fall semester.

“We have nineteen career technical programs,” said Julia Wood, director of community relations.

“They’re designed to get you into the workforce when you graduate, not necessarily to transfer to a four-year program.

“Pellissippi State’s career technical path provides the education you need to enter an excellent career,” said Wood, noting that some programs have reported an average starting salary of as much as $30,000.

The programs offered are: civil engineering technology, computer accounting, computer integrated drafting & design technology, computer science & information technology, early childhood education, e-commerce/marketing, electrical engineering technology, general technology geographic information systems, high performance computing, hospitality, interior design technology, management, mechanical engineering technology and media technologies (with concentrations in communication graphics technology, photography, video production technology, web development technology ), networking and communications technology, office systems technology, paralegal studies and security engineering and administration technology.

“We have evening classes and a lot of on-line classes,” Wood said. “You can get an associate degree on line.” A lot of students get an associate degree and enter the workforce, she said, and others transfer to a four-year college.

In addition to associate degrees, Pellissippi offers four-year degrees right at the local campus through Tennessee Technological University and East Tennessee State University. Students can get a K-6 teaching degree through TTU or interior design and engineering technology degrees through ETSU.

Tuition for full-time in-state students (taking 12 hours or more) is $1,206, said Wood. Registration is Jan. 9-11.

Roane State Community College is training a lot of emergency medical technicians, paramedics and other nursing personnel in their Health Science Center at 132 Hayfield Road.

“Many of the region’s EMTs, paramedics, nurses and other health-care professionals are alumni of Roane State Community College’s Health Sciences Center in West Knoxville,” said Tammy Stanford, coordinator of news services for Roane State.

Anne Allen, director of the Knoxville Campus, said the eight-year-old location offers mainly associate degrees and certificates in health-related fields. Evening classes are an option for students. The Knoxville location also offers continuing education courses on the weekend for local health professionals who need to update their credentials.

The most popular course of study is the EMT (one-year certificate program) and paramedic training (two-year certificate or associate degree program).

“You have to be an E-M-T before you become a paramedic,” Allen said. “You can come in off the street and train to be an E-M-T.”

Students with a medical bent also can pick from health information technology, or medical records, which is a one-year certificate or two-year associate degree program; polysomnography (sleep disorders), a one-year certificate; respiratory therapy, a two-year associate degree; and nursing, a two-year degree.

Allen said the campus holds steady at 300-350 students, because enrollment in the programs is limited.

“Our student population is a little different in that most students are working adults,” Allen said. The majority of the students fall in the 25-34 age category.

Affordability and small classes are the biggest assets, Allen believes.

“I’m convinced that community colleges are the best kept secret there is,” she said. “For most students U-T is just overwhelming ... If somebody doesn’t come to class, our teachers know that and they’re going to find out why.”

Tuition, including all fees, for a full-time student with 12 credit hours is $1,200. Allen pointed out that students with a spouse or parent who works for the state may get a 25 percent reduction in tuition. Roane State’s main campus is in Harriman. Students can get information and register for classes at the West Knox site. The last day to register is Jan. 20. The Health Science Center can be reached at 865-539-6904.

South College is a private college located at the corner of Parkside Drive and Hayfield Road.

“We have associate degree programs and bachelor’s programs,” said Dr. Kim Hall, executive vice president.

She estimated that 36 percent of the students fall in the 18 to 25 age range.

South College is on a quarter system, and classes are held year-round. Students attend classes for 10 weeks, then have a week of finals.

Classes begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. Students can mix and match, Hall said, adding that many adult students take classes two to three nights a week.

The college offers four-year degree programs including nursing, elementary education, business administration and legal studies. Current associate degree programs include radiography, physical therapist assistant, paralegal studies, network administration, business administration, accounting, medical assisting, and office technology. Medical transcription, legal secretary, administrative assistant, and microcomputer operator are the certificate programs offered.

In addition to the Hayfield Road location, South College has another site at 1637 Downtown West Blvd. Construction is currently underway for a new campus on Lonas Road.

Hall said tuition at South College is slightly less in comparison to other private institutions such as Tusculum, Tennessee Wesleyan and Carson-Newman.

“I can tell you we do surveys with students when they come to South College,” Hall said. “Students choose our institution because of their impression of the staff and faculty. Our key is the staff and faculty and their commitment to education.”

Winter quarter starts Jan. 16. Students can register through Jan. 21.

Part two of Carolyn Evans’ Colleges series will appear

in the Jan. 19 issue of



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