Trade Schools See Increase in Enrollment

April 19, 2023
While overall higher education has seen a decrease in enrollment, trade schools such as the Tennessee College of Applied Technology have seen an increase.

While overall higher education has seen a decrease in enrollment, trade schools have seen an increase, AP News reports.

Data from the National Student Clearinghouse has shown that enrollment for mechanic and repair trade programs rose 11.5% from spring 2021 to 2022. When looking at construction programs, enrollment rose by 19.3%; for culinary programs, it rose by 12.7%.

These increases are not reflected by higher education as a whole, however. Public two-year colleges saw an overall 7.8% decrease in enrollment. Public four-year colleges had a 3.4% decrease.

One school where trade programs are thriving is the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), which consists of 24 different campuses that offer programs on 70 occupations such as collision repair. TCAT Nashville has waiting lists for its programs and has added night classes to help fit more students in.

Students enrolled at TCAT said they chose the program because it offered them opportunities for good jobs, as well as having time outside a traditional classroom and doing something they enjoyed.

The school also offers a “co-op” program, where students can work in their desired field to earn credits, as well as wages. 

“You need to get your hands on the equipment,” stated the school’s president Nathan Garrett. “You need to start building stuff, breaking stuff and then learn how to fix that stuff.”

About the Author

FenderBender Staff Reporters

The FenderBender staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and collision repair experience.

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