Student Handbook

Admission Policies & Procedures

The Tennessee Board of Regents establishes the admissions requirements for age, status, counseling, and testing. The Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology maintain an open-door policy for admission into most occupational programs, however, educational requirements for program admission may vary from program to program. Most programs will admit students with a special education High School Diploma or a Certificate of Attendance. Students are informed by the instructor that job placement in some fields may not be obtained without a regular high school diploma. Due to licensing requirements, some programs require a regular high school diploma, GED or HiSET.

General Admission Policy

Persons seeking admission to the College must be at least 18 years of age or have a high school diploma or equivalent. Prospective students are encouraged to apply at any time. Steps to apply are as follows:

  • Discuss career objectives with Student Services and consult with instructor/tour program, if desired, and choose one program of study.
  • Complete an application for enrollment online.
  • Have a financial plan for attending the institution which may include financial aid, Veterans' educational benefits, scholarships, cash, check, money order, or some major credit cards.

Foreign Nationals/Non-Immigrants, may enroll as students, regardless of immigration status, if they otherwise meet TCAT program enrollment requirements. The College is not a participant in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) or SEVIS and does not process F and/or M student visas or issue I-20 documents. Non-immigrants who wish to enroll at the College should consider whether enrolling at the College will negatively impact their visa status prior to enrolling at the College.

To be eligible for state-funded financial aid or other assistance, prospective students must meet the requirements of the Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlements Act (EVEA, T.C.A. 4-58-101 et seq.), which requires proof of identity and U.S. Citizenship, Permanent Resident status,  or lawful presence in the U.S. Contact the Student Services office at the College for information about acceptable documentation for purposes of EVEA verification.

The completed application for enrollment will be added to the program interest list on the date the application is received by the College. The applicant will be notified about this action by letter. Periodic letters will thereafter be sent to those with applications on lengthy interest lists to confirm their continued interest. When an opening becomes available, notification will be sent to the next applicant on the interest list, along with a scheduled orientation date. If the applicant declines or does not respond to the notification of an opening in the desired program, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology may decide to delay the applicant's entry to the next available vacancy. If the applicant declines the opportunity for enrollment twice, their enrollment application will be retired, and the student removed from the Priority Wait List. After an enrollment application is retired, an applicant may still re-apply at any time.

Prior to, or upon, the first day of attendance at Tennessee College of Applied Technology, each new student will participate in a group orientation session, which acquaints him or her with institutional policies, functions, and personnel. The orientation process is an ongoing program which involves departmental orientation, safety policies, and the development of work attitudes, habits, and behaviors which help the student to use the resources available to him/her most effectively while at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Applicants who cannot attend their assigned orientation should reschedule with Student Services in advance. Those failing to attend their assigned orientation who still desire to attend may need to reapply.

In addition to the general admission criteria, specific educational and physical requirements must be met by applicants, either with or without an accommodation, in the following programs:

Certified Medical Assistant to Practical Nursing Bridge H.S. Diploma, GED or HiSET; CMA or CCMA certification; Information Session; Passing score on Achievement Test. Clinical sites will require a Satisfactory Physical with all required immunizations, Pass Drug Screen; and background check. Proof of medical insurance and costs for clinical site requirements are the responsibility of the student.
Patient Care Technology/Medical Assistant H.S. Diploma, GED or HiSET; Clinical sites will require a Satisfactory Physical with all required immunizations; Pass Drug Screen; and background check. Proof of medical insurance and costs for clinical site requirements are the responsibility of the student.
Practical Nursing H.S. Diploma, GED or HiSET; Information Session; Passing score on Achievement Test. Clinical sites will require a Satisfactory Physical with all required immunizations; Pass Drug Screen; and background check. Proof of medical insurance and costs for clinical site requirements are the responsibility of the student.
Surgical Technology

H.S. Diploma, GED or HiSET; Achievement Test. Clinical sites will require a Satisfactory Physical with all required immunizations; Pass Drug Screen, and a background check. Costs for clinical site requirements are the responsibility of the student.

Truck Driving

21 years of age; D.O.T. medical exam; negative drug screening test taken within 24 hours of payment. Current Moving Violation Record from Department of Safety (student can have no more than three speeding violations and/or accidents for the past three years and no alcohol or drug-related convictions in the last five years); TN resident; valid TN driver's license; commercial driver's license permit (DPA). 

State law (Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-2107) requires that prior to being hired as a school bus driver, a school board will need to conduct a criminal background check, and the school board will decide whether to issue a Certificate of Eligibility. ii. State law requires school bus drivers to be at least twenty-five (25) years of age to hold the (S) endorsement and drive a school bus in Tennessee;

The school board decides whether to issue a Certificate of Eligibility and whether to hire an individual. The TCAT does not make those decisions. iv. If you have been convicted of a crime, TCAT urges you to review state law and Tennessee Department of Safety eligibility criteria to determine whether you are eligible to be hired as a school bus driver. Do so prior to enrolling.

HESI Admission Assessment

The HESI Admission Assessment is a computerized entrance exam for the Practical Nursing and Dental Assisting programs. Minimum scores of 70 in both the reading and math sections are required for admission to these programs. HESI scores are considered valid for a maximum of two years. The test may be taken twice each trimester. A fee is required to take the HESI exam. Please contact the Nursing or Student Services Departments for the fee amount.

Student Insurance

Nursing and Allied Health Liability Insurance

All nursing and allied health students are required by clinical affiliates to purchase special liability insurance applicable to their program. More information may be found through the Nursing Handbook.

TBR Student Health Insurance Exchange

Other Tennessee College of Applied Technology students interested in obtaining health insurance coverage can access information about the TBR Student Health Insurance Exchange online at or by calling 1-800-647-4104.

Technology Foundations/Learning Support

Technical College Learning Support Policy (TBR Policy requires that students who do not present valid ACT, SAILS, or other approved valid assessment scores that demonstrate college readiness based upon established cut scores or other documentation will be placed into the appropriate learning support course for applied mathematics, graphic literacy, and reading for information as defined by the academic program requirements.

Students with transferable college-level coursework may be exempt from the Technology Foundations Learning Support course or completing assessments.

Institutions will provide, or may require, assessment(s) to allow students to challenge placement into Technology Foundation Learning Support if they have not met established criteria.

A first-time or transfer student entering without a valid assessment score or college-level coursework not meeting transferable requirements will be enrolled into the appropriate subject area Technology Foundation Learning Support course along with the paired technical college program coursework or may be given the option of challenge testing to place into the technical college program without learning support.

The purpose of learning support is to enhance academic success in technical college programs and increase the likelihood of program completion that will prepare students for career success in their chosen field of study.

Transfer Admission Policy

Transfer Among TCATs

Those students who wish to transfer to another Tennessee College of Applied Technology will need to consult with the Student Services Office concerning the date they expect to enroll in their new Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Students transferring from Tennessee College of Applied Technology must follow the records policy to have their records sent to other institutions. Financial aid records do not automatically follow students; please see Financial Aid personnel for assistance.

Transfer Among Programs

It is expected there will be very limited transfer between programs since every attempt is made to place the student into a suitable area at the time of initial enrollment. When a student who is currently enrolled needs to transfer to a new training program because of a change in career objectives, the Student Services Office will coordinate with the instructors and the student in making the transition to another program and in ensuring the change is appropriate to the student's interests and qualifications. Students must have a passing average in the program they desire to transfer from before the transfer will be considered. When the transfer choice is made, the President must approve the transfer. It is expected that generally this will occur during the first term of the student's training.

Transfer from another Nursing Program

Students who have completed nursing courses at another nursing program and seek to enter the program in the second term of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology nursing program may apply for enrollment. The application process for transfer students includes:

  • Submit completed application for enrollment.
  • Submit official copy of high school transcript or high school equivalency.
  • Submit official transcript from previous nursing education program.
  • Submit proof of at least a 850 score on each of the HESI end of course exams for the term(s) that are being granted credit. The costs of the HESI exams are the responsibility of the applicant. If an applicant has had the HESI end of course exams within the previous two years, an official copy of the test results can be provided in lieu of retesting.
  • The first term must not have been completed more than two years prior to admission. The application process, including passing the required HESI® exams, must be completed at least six weeks before the start date of the term for which the student is applying.

Applicants will be accepted to the program based on classroom space and clinical availability. If all application materials are received, acceptance is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority is given to previous Tennessee College of Applied Technology students seeking re-enrollment.

After notification of conditional acceptance to the program, the following items required by clinical sites must be completed and submitted prior to enrollment:

  • Satisfactory drug screen within the previous six months,
  • Satisfactory criminal background screening within the previous six months,
  • Proof of current CPR certification, and
  • Up-to-date physical/immunizations.

Transfer of Student Records from Other Institutions

All transfer applicants are considered on an ongoing basis. Transcripts documenting clock hours of attendance, grades, and skills mastered are reviewed for credit, time, and placement. Transfer students are admitted when space is available and admission requirements are met.


Prior Learning Assessment/Transfer Credit

After assessment of previous education, training and/or experience the student will be enrolled in training at the student's documented proficiency level. The time normally required for training will be shortened accordingly.

  1. Students may request an evaluation of credit for prior education/training or experiences to satisfy courses in a program of study offered by the college. Sources of prior credit include:
  2. Credit from other colleges (TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, and Proprietary Trade Schools)
  3. Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO) credit (Dual Credit, Dual Enrollment, Industry Certifications, AP, etc…)
  4. Credit for military training and experience
  5. Non-military work experience
  6. ACT transcript
  7. National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC)
  8. Completion of Learning Support Competencies through the Seamless Alignment and Integration of Learning Support (SAILS) program

Requests for prior credit evaluation are processed by Student Services and college faculty, who make recommendations for the number of hours that may be awarded to a student.

Overall Process

Student Notification

During orientation or initial meeting with Student Services personnel or a School Certifying Official (SCO), students are notified of the process to request consideration of prior credit applicable to their program of study. A student is required to submit another consideration of prior credit when switching academic programs.

Requesting Review of Prior Credit

A student completes the Prior Credit Evaluation (PCE) Request form. If the student is unable to initiate the request, Student Services may initiate the request form upon request from the student.  

  • Applicable documentation must be attached to the request form or submitted to the Student Services office. Documentation may include but is not limited to:
    • DD214
    • Joint Services Transcript (JST)
    • Any additional prior transcripts
    • Documentation of prior work experience may include:
    • Workplace training certificate
    • Employee training records
    • Letter on company letterhead signed by an appropriate official (containing contact information for verification)

Awarding Prior Credit

To verify a student’s proficiency level, a programmatic proctored assessment or skills demonstration exam may be administered by the college. Approved transfer credit hours will be applied to the student’s transcript when the Prior Credit Evaluation (PCE) Request has completed the review process and proctored assessments or skills demonstration exams have been scored with a passing result.


The Tennessee College of Applied Technology is committed to helping our students achieve more advanced degrees. Students who have documented classroom hours or experience in technical areas offered by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology may receive advanced placement at subsequently attended institutions of higher education based on a competency-based test or a review of Tennessee College of Applied Technology transcripts. To receive more information on current articulation agreements, please contact the Student Services Office.

General Readmission Policy

A student who previously attended Tennessee College of Applied Technology who either withdrew or whose attendance was otherwise terminated must re-apply for admission by completing a new enrollment application. Due to processing of financial aid, students desiring to enroll in a new program of study and use financial aid, or did use financial aid in a prior term, may experience a 60-day waiting period for re-admittance.

 Student Attendance

A. The nature of the programs at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology is such that it is necessary for every student to attend regularly. Excessive interruptions due to absences will have an adverse effect on student progress.

 1. A full-time student enrolled for a full term (432 hours) and that has been absent for more than 5.5% (24 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled, will receive written communication alerting the student to the number of hours remaining prior to suspension. Available community and institutional resources will be shared to assist students with attendance issues. The number of hours of absence triggering notification must be prorated for all part-time students and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.

2. When a full-time student enrolls for a full term (432 hours) and has absences exceeding 9.7% (42 hours) of the scheduled hours enrolled, that student will be suspended. A student suspended for attendance may appeal the suspension in writing to the president within three (3) days of receiving notification of the suspension. A student appealing suspension of attendance may remain in class until the suspension has been reviewed. The number of hours triggering suspension must be prorated for all part-time and full-time students enrolled for less than a full term.

3. A student is considered tardy if not in the classroom at the designated time for class to start. Multiple tardies will result in the following discipline:

a. Five (5) tardies: Student will be given a written warning by instructor.

b. Six (6) tardies: Student will be placed on probation by the president or the president's designee.

c. Seven (7) tardies: Student will be referred to the president and may be suspended.

 4. An attendance record for each student shall be maintained in the student information system.

B. When a student misses three (3) consecutive days without contacting the college, that student may be presumed to have withdrawn from the college.

Exceptions for Suspension Due to Student Attendance

In individual cases of extenuating circumstances, the president may make exceptions to the requirement of suspension or presumed withdrawal due to absences. The circumstances warranting such exceptions should be fully documented.

Student Progress

A. Evaluations of student achievement toward a program's identified occupational competencies are recorded for each student at the end of 432 hours of instruction that comprise a term. Those evaluations shall be based on the following scale of progress:

  1. A = 90 – 100
  2. B = 80 – 89
  3. C = 70 – 79
  4. D = 60 –69
  5. F = 0 – 59
  6. P = Pass
  7. CONT = Continuing/Incomplete
  8. W = Withdrew

B. Grades for courses will be determined as described in course syllabi. Students will be graded in the following categories:

  1. Skill Proficiency
  2. Theory/Related Information 

Readmission from Suspension for Grades or Attendance (All programs except Allied Health)

A. The president or designee may consider for readmission the applicant who has been suspended.

B. Criteria that the president or designee will consider in assessing candidacy for readmission are as follows:

1.  Assessment of the candidate's willingness to address those deficiencies that contributed to the prior suspension, and

2.  Assessment of the likelihood that the readmitted student may succeed in pursuing their training objective.

Readmission for Nursing Students

Any Tennessee College of Applied Technology nursing program student who was previously suspended for failing to meet academic standards in the nursing program must reapply for admission to return to the program. If the student is seeking readmission to the first term, the regular application process will apply. The applicant will be required to attend an orientation session and submit the necessary applications. References, transcripts, and HESI scores are considered valid for two years from the time of their initial receipt.

If an individual seeks to reapply to the second or third trimester of the nursing program, the applicant must complete the Tennessee College of Applied Technology application for the term they plan to enroll. The student must also submit a letter requesting readmission to the specific term to the Director of Practical Nursing & Allied Health Programs.

The Director of Practical Nursing & Allied Health Programs will review each case and may recommend readmission to the college President. Criteria that the Nursing Coordinator will consider in determining readmission include a demonstration of the student's willingness to address the deficiencies that contributed to the prior suspension and an assessment of the likelihood that the readmitted student may succeed.

Any student suspended for poor attendance must sit out one full term before being readmitted to the program. Any student suspended for academic failure may request readmission to the next available class. Readmission is dependent upon clinical availability and is not guaranteed. Re-enrollment is determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Any student who has been suspended twice from the nursing program due to violation of attendance, academic, and/or clinical performance may be denied readmission. After a period of five years from the date of the second termination, an individual may apply to the nursing program and be given consideration for readmission. Transfer credit for this admission will not be considered.

Ability to Benefit

Ability to Benefit is the U.S. Department of Education established criteria, through a provision of the Higher Education Act, that must be met by a person who does not have either a regular high school diploma, General Education Diploma (GED), or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) Exam to receive federal financial aid. All students must meet the admission requirement(s) for their programs of study; students without a high school diploma who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance and wish to apply for federal student aid may be admitted under Ability to Benefit provisions set forth by the Department of Education.