Student Handbook

About the TCAT

Mission and Purpose

What is a Tennessee College of Applied Technology?

A Tennessee College of Applied Technology is an institution which serves people in a specific geographical area within the state of Tennessee consisting of two or more counties that offers technical/occupational education. Tennessee has 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. 23 of them (all except Chattanooga) are freestanding institutions. Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology are the state's premier providers of workforce development in the state of Tennessee. The 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and their employees provide state-of-the-art technical training for workers to obtain the technical skills and professional training necessary for advancement in today's competitive job market. Through their workforce development mission, the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology help businesses and industries satisfy their need for a well-trained, skilled workforce. Under the governance of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology offer certificate and diploma programs in more than 50 distinct occupational fields as well as customized training for business and industry.

Statewide Mission

The Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology serve as the premier suppliers of workforce development throughout the State of Tennessee. The Colleges fulfill their mission by:

  • Providing competency-based training through superior quality, traditional and distance learning instruction methods that qualify completers for employment and job advancement;
  • Contributing to the economic and community development of the communities served by training and retraining employed workers;
  • Ensuring that programs and services are economical and accessible to all residents of Tennessee; and
  • Building relationships of trust with community, business, and industry leaders to supply highly skilled workers in areas of need.

TCAT Purpose

The purpose of Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology curricula is to provide instruction whereby individuals may be trained or retrained for employment, and to upgrade skills and knowledge of employed workers. Each program offered will assist the student in acquiring the skills, knowledge, understanding, and attitudes which contribute to proficiency and competency in his or her chosen field.

The Colleges fulfill this purpose by providing training through:

  1. Full-Time Preparatory programs are designed to prepare persons for employment in specific or closely related occupations. The length of programs can vary depending upon the requirements of the occupation.
  2. Part-Time Preparatory programs are designed to prepare persons for employment in specific or closely related occupations. Length of training ranges depending upon the entrance requirements of the occupation. Part-time is classified as any hours less than 30 per week.
  3. Supplemental programs are designed to assist employed workers to improve or upgrade skills and increase technical knowledge necessary for present employment or to acquire new skills and knowledge for a higher level of employment. The content of the courses is determined by the specific needs of the members of the class. Time and frequency of meetings are arranged according to the convenience of the group for which the class is organized.
  4. Special Industry programs are offered to business and industry upon their request. These classes can be conducted in the College or place of employment of the class members. Specialized and intensified courses to meet specific requirements of industry may be offered when the need arises.

tcat-Northwest-Institutional Mission


The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system consists of 37 institutions. TBR's 13 Community Colleges and 24 Colleges of Applied Technology offer classes in almost all of Tennessee's 95 counties. The activities of the Tennessee Board of Regents System are coordinated with the Tennessee Higher Education System to achieve unity in the programs of higher education in Tennessee.

Tennessee Board of Regents
1 Bridgestone Park
Nashville, TN 37214
Tennessee Higher Education Commission
9th Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243

Tennessee Board of Regents Senior Staff & Board Members

Tennessee Board of Regents Senior Staff

Flora W. Tydings, Chancellor

Mike Batson, Chief Audit Executive

Russ Deaton, Executive Vice Chancellor for Policy and Strategy 

Alisha Fox, Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance

Brian Lapps, General Counsel

Heidi Leming, Vice Chancellor for Student Success

Rick Locker, Communications Director

Kimberly McCormick, Executive Vice Chancellor for External Affairs

Mariah Perry, Board Secretary

Jothany Reed, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Wendy Thompson, Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness

Tennessee Board of Regents Board Members

The Honorable Bill Lee Governor
Emily J. Reynolds Vice-Chair
Lizzette Reynolds Ex-Officio Regent, Commissioner of Education
Charles Hatcher Ex-Officio Regent, Commissioner of Agriculture
Bob Smith

Ex-Officio Regent, Interim Executive Director THEC

Thomas A. H. White At Large, East Tennessee
Mark Gill At-Large, Middle Tennessee
Mark George At-Large, West Tennessee
Miles A. Burdine 1st Congressional District
Danni B. Varlan

2nd Congressional District

Vacant 3rd Congressional District

Shane Hooper 

4th Congressional District
MaryLou Apple 6th Congressional District
Todd Kaestner 7th Congressional District
Kyle Spurgeon 8th Congressional District
Nisha Powers 9th Congressional District
Vanessa Pilkinton Faculty Regent
Ross Roberts Faculty Regent (non-voting)
Layah Garton Student Regent


The Tennessee College of Applied Technology is an accredited higher education institution. An annual report of the school's progress is made each year for continuing accreditation, and every six years, the accreditation must be substantiated by another self-study and team visit. Tennessee College of Applied Technology is accredited by:

Commission of the Council on Occupational Education
7840 Roswell Road, Building 300, Suite 325
Atlanta, GA 30350
Telephone (Toll-Free): 800-917-2081
Fax: 770-396-3790

Tennessee Boards Approval

Below are the programs that require additional programmatic accreditation or agency oversight.

Practical Nursing

Tennessee Board of Nursing
Department of Health
665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37423

Barbering & Cosmetology

Tennessee Board of Cosmetology
Department of Commerce and Insurance
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

For more information on the institution's governance, accreditation, or approvals, visit the Office of the President.


The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Northwest is one of 24 TCATs and 37 total institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system that are located across the state, serving the citizens of Tennessee. The TBR and the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee System are coordinated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). THEC was created by the General Assembly in 1967 to achieve coordination and unity in the programs of public higher education in Tennessee. The TBR system was created by legislation enacted by the 1963 General Assembly of Tennessee, Chapter 229 of House Bill 633. Chapter 181, Senate Bill 746-House Bill 697, of the Public Act of 1983 transferred the governance of the state technical institutes and area vocational-technical schools from the State Board of Education to the Tennessee Board of Regents. The transfer became effective on July 1, 1983. By action of the Tennessee Legislature in 1994, the school name changed from Newbern State Area Vocational Technical School to Tennessee Technology Center at Newbern. In 2013, the Legislature unanimously approved changing the name of the state’s technology centers to the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.

The Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing body for TCAT Northwest, underwent a major shift in 2017 because of the FOCUS Act of 2016 and the appointment of a new Chancellor, Dr. Flora Tydings. The FOCUS Act seeks to ensure the state’s Community Colleges and TCATs are organized, supported, and empowered in efforts to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential. Largely this involved the development of local governing boards for each of the six universities, thus allowing TBR a greater focus on the 13 community Colleges and 24 TCATs. Additional TBR efforts under the leadership of Dr. Tydings included the retitling of the chief administrative officers of the TCATs Director to the President; the movement towards all 37 campuses in the TBR system operating with shared services; and the restructuring of the TBR organization uniting the community and TCATs through common offices and services.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Northwest is a post-secondary and adult institution that provides programs (less than two years) to serve the training needs of a broad geographic area by providing technical instruction and skill training in trade, technical, and other occupations. The instructional programs are designed to prepare persons for employment and to upgrade the skills and knowledge of persons who have already entered the labor force.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Newbern became the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Northwest on May 3, 2022. The Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Ripley and Covington merged with TCAT Northwest effective September 1, 2023.

Directors and Presidents

Mr. Wallace Sexton (1966-2007)

Mr. Brian Collins (2011-2012) Interim (2007-2011)

Ms. Donna Hastings (2012-2017)

Dr. Youlanda Jones (2017-Present)


Purpose of Student Handbook

This student catalog/handbook has been prepared to provide information about the programs and training opportunities provided by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology for the 2023-2024 academic year. It is designed to serve as a guide for currently enrolled students, parents, educators, employers, and others who are interested in seeking information and/or technology training for gainful employment or to update current skills and related information.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology provides the opportunity for students to increase their knowledge by providing various programs of instruction by well-qualified faculty. However, the acquisition of knowledge by any student is contingent upon the student's desire to learn and his/her application of appropriate study techniques to any course or program. All students are expected to fulfill his/her commitment to utilize the facilities provided and to make satisfactory progress in his/her preparation for employment. Also, each student will abide by Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Academic Program policies necessary to ensure all training achieves its intended purpose in an efficient and safe manner. Efforts are made to update equipment and course content to provide educational experiences necessary for an era of rapid technological change. The administrative and instructional staff is comprised of skilled and knowledgeable individuals who are competent in their occupational field, as well as proficient instructors. They participate in special in-service training such as state-directed workshops, field trips, and community and university courses to maintain and update their skill sets. Graduates of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology should not be expected to compete with currently employed professionals who have developed skills and on-the-job experience. Usually, the graduates are considered for "entry-level" employment in their respective occupations.

The course offerings and requirements of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology are continually under examination and review. The College reserves the right to make changes as required in course offerings, curricula, academic policies, and other rules and regulations affecting students and will become effective whenever determined necessary as part of that continuous review by the institution. This Student Handbook/Catalog presents the offering and requirements in effect at the time of publication but provides no guarantee that offerings will not be changed or rescinded. Reasonable notice will be given to students regarding any changes in the Student Handbook/Catalog. All updates and/or corrections will be posted in the online version of the Student Handbook/Catalog, which will supersede previous written copies. Changes will govern current, former, and prospective students. This Student Handbook/Catalog is not intended to state contractual terms and does not constitute a contract between the student and the institution.

Policies on Non-Discrimination

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology is an AA/EEO institution/employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, and any other category protected by federal or state law or regulation or by Tennessee Board of Regents policy with respect to employment, educational programs and activities sponsored by the College. Procedures for filing complaints of discrimination of any type are found through the links provided below and in the Office of Student Services. Further information can be found at the following links:

Sexual Discrimination/Harassment/Misconduct 

Non-Discrimination Statement: 

TCAT Policies and Guidelines:

Title IX

TCAT Northwest complies with the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. ("Title IX"). Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities, including with respect to admission and employment. Prohibited forms of sex discrimination include sexual harassment; sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, stalking, dating or domestic violence; and discrimination against pregnant/parenting students. TCAT Northwest also prohibits retaliation because an individual filed a complaint of sex discrimination or participated in an investigation related to sex discrimination.

Information about the College's policies and procedures that prohibit sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, may be found in the links provided at the top of this sub-section, in the Student and Employee Handbooks, from the Student Services Office, on the TBR web site at and on the TCAT Northwest website at or complaints concerning Title IX and/or the Title IX regulations may be referred to the College's Title IX coordinator 24/7 in person, by phone, and/or email at:

JacQuene Rainey, Vice President
Title IX Coordinator
340 Washington St.
Newbern, TN 38059


Pregnant Students

TCAT Northwest complies with Title IX as the law applies to pregnant/parenting students and is committed to their success. Students may:

  • Continue to participate in classes and extracurricular activities even though pregnant and/or 
  • Request reasonable accommodations.

TCAT Northwest will work with pregnant students to provide options for continuing in a program of study through excused absences or medical leave. Absences due to pregnancy or childbirth are excused absences when medically necessary. For detailed information or assistance see the TCAT Northwest Title IX Coordinator, or Student Services Coordinator.

Title VI

TCAT Northwest complies with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq. ("Title VI"). Title VI is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. As a recipient of federal funding (e.g., Title IV financial aid for students), TCAT Northwest is required to comply with the non-discrimination provisions of Title VI in its educational and federal grant-funded programs. Title VI is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education. The Title VI regulations define the forms of discrimination covered by statute, including, but not limited to; racial harassment, school segregation, denial of language services to students of non-U.S. nationality who are limited in English language proficiency, and retaliation for filing an OCR complaint or for advocacy for a right protected by Title VI.

TCAT Northwest will respond promptly and effectively once informed about an allegation of race, color, or national origin-based discrimination or harassment and will take immediate action to eliminate any harassment or discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. Upon receipt of a complaint, TCAT Northwest will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation. TCAT Northwest's procedures for filing complaints of race, color, or national origin discrimination are available from the Title VI Coordinator, in the Student and Employee Handbooks, from the Student Services Office, on the TBR website at and on the TCAT Northwest website at Inquiries or complaints concerning Title VI may be reported to the College's Title VI coordinator:

JacQuene Rainey,
Vice President
Title VI Coordinator
340 Washington St.
Newbern, TN 38059

Or the Office for Civil Rights:

U.S. Department of Education,
Office for Civil Rights
(800) 421-3481 or

Disability Services

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology is committed to providing program access and accommodations for all academically qualified students with disabilities. This commitment is consistent with the College’s obligation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Qualified students are defined as individuals who, with or without reasonable modifications and accommodations, meet the essential eligibility requirements for the program services and activities offered by the College. A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. 

In order to obtain reasonable accommodations in relation to a qualifying disability, a student should contact Student Services prior to enrollment or as the need arises. The college will engage in an interactive process with the student to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodation(s) in relation to the disability and the program. The college will often require documentation of the disability. Documentation is defined as written information from a qualified healthcare professional. A request form for disability assistance is available by contacting Student Services. The form should be submitted to initiate the interactive process. 

Disability Services Contact

Amanda Heath
Vice President of Student Affairs