In today’s world of technology, area community and technical colleges bear taking another look as a value-loaded substitute for more traditional college settings. In North Georgia, these community colleges are giving students real-world experience and skills.
These schools are part of a state umbrella program called TSTG, which stands for The Technical College System of Georgia. Much information can be found by visiting the programs website at www.tcsg.edu and the opportunities in the program.
Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia (www.daltonstate.edu) has been providing quality technical education for years. The college now even provides certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees in some areas. Located in the hills of Northwest Georgia, Dalton State works interchangeably from the industrial area in which it resides. Natural beauty in the area and an active carpeting industry coexist in educating students with a technical bent.
Enrollment at Dalton State is now up to around 4,500 students. Programs range from Automation Technology to degrees in almost every medical field. The school does own and administer an apartment complex which is adjacent to the school. Most programs average around $100 per credit hour, and there is extensive financial aid to help defray student costs. The quality of education is a bargain in today’s ever-rising college costs.
Each technical program at Dalton State has a complementary hands-on, real world component. Those training for medical fields are placed in area health facilities for daily clinical. The large carpet manufacturing industry provides ‘labs’ where students pursuing industry and technology can put real-world time into their skills set.
Another growing technical college in the area is Northwestern Technical College www.northwesterntech.edu, which is located in beautiful Rock Spring, Georgia. This rapidly-growing institute of technology lies closely situated between the city of Dalton, Georgia and the metro area of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The price is a steal for the training received: the estimated costs are only about $36 per credit hour, with books and low fees on top this rate.
Programs at Northwestern include an intensive program in automotive technology to supply car manufacturer facilities in the Tennessee Valley area, which is a tri-state student base from the neighboring corner counties of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Enrollment is booming: From 2006 reports, Northwestern has seen its largest enrollment in its forty-year history. The curriculum of a technical school such as Northwestern has been one of the main reasons that companies such as Volkswagen decided to locate a car manufacturing plant in neighboring Chattanooga, TN.
A little further south in the North Georgia Mountains lays Coosa Valley Tech (www.coosavalleyech.edu) of Rome, Georgia. This technical college will be merging by the end of the summer in 2009 with the previously mentioned Northwestern Tech. It will retain its campus in Rome; however both schools will be administered under one umbrella, with the same per credit hour fees of $36. One of the most wonderful aspects of the Coosa Valley Tech is its actual location in a small city that sports wonderful academic pursuits in other colleges, including Berry College (www.berry.edu), Shorter College (www.shorter.edu) and Georgia Highlands College (www.highlands.edu). Thus, there are plenty of opportunities for interaction and a ready availability for the technical student to further pursue educational opportunities right in the student’s hometown.
Heading west into the foothills of the Chattahoochee National Forest lays Appalachian Technical College (www.appalachiantech.edu) in Jasper, Georgia. The school also maintains a second campus in Woodstock, Georgia. Some interesting certificate and degree programs here include Home technology Integration, and a host of health and medical programs, along with a well-known Criminal Justice programs for those in or seeking careers in law enforcement. Computer certificates and various programs in business administration are available. Costs range from $40 to $80 per credit hour, in addition to required textbooks and miscellaneous costs, such as labs.
Lastly, North Georgia Tech (www.northgatech.edu), located in Clarkesville, Georgia is another one of Georgia’s finest community technical colleges. Course fees begin at around $40 per credit hour and go up depending upon the program, but are capped at $600 per semester, not including books and other activity and lab fees. There are programs in business, medical, and computer fields, amongst others.
One interesting program at North Georgia Tech is the Business Incubator. In this program, students develop their own business with support of the college and community at large. Students are given office and work space, and help with mentors to encourage the growth of their own small business. North Georgia Tech also offers satellite campuses in Blairsville and Curahee, Georgia.
All the technical schools in this article have endowments and are eligible for the Georgia HOPE scholarship. Students who meet the criteria for the scholarship could easily attend these great community technical colleges at no cost, with tuition being provided for them. Traditional financing may be available, as well, in the form of grants and work-study. Others also have extensive endowments for student funds. Dalton State College alone has awarded over ten million in various forms in recent years.
For more information, contact each college directly or log into the TSTG website at www.tstg.edu. A solid technical, usable college program waits!
Dalton State College (www.daltonstate.edu)
Technical College System of Georgia (www.tcsg.edu)
Appalachian Technical College (www.appalachiantech.edu)
Northwestern Technical College (www.northwesterntech.edu)
North Georgia Tech (www.northgatech.edu)
Coosa Valley Technical College (www.coosavalleytech.edu)