Tennessee is a state that understands the value that education has for its workforces. As such, residents of McMinn County have a number of options to not only achieve the education to develop their skills, but to do so in a cost effective method. 

McMinn County offers an extensive range of learning programs, including Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Athens, Cleveland State Community College-Athens Center and Tennessee Wesleyan University. The recent opening of the McMinn Higher Education Center is an excellent resource for students in the Athens area.

Students have options to complete programs at these institutions without amassing extreme levels of debt. One example is Tennessee Reconnect, a program that assists those returning to school, going to college for the first time or are veteran services members. That assistance makes it easier for adults to develop their skills that will allow them to advance in the workplace.

Community & Tech Colleges

McMinn Higher Education Center (MHEC)

MHEC is a facility of the Cleveland State Community College (CSCC) that opened in Athens in 2021. This center will be a location for students to complete degrees without traveling to the Cleveland campus. The center is a collaborative space for higher education, housing programs from CSCC, Tennessee College of Applied Technology and the McMinn County UT Extension Institute of Agriculture and includes space for local industry training to upgrade the existing workforce.

Cleveland State Community College

Cleveland StateCleveland State Community College is an accredited public community college in Cleveland. Serving over 3500 credit students and 1500 non-credit students, Cleveland State is guided by a staff where 94 percent hold a master’s degree or higher. The college offers a variety of academic degrees, such as Humanities and Social Science, Math and Science, Business and Technology, and Health, Wellness and Nursing.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Athens

TCATThe Tennessee College of Applied Technology Athens (TCAT) is McMinn County’s choice for skills education training.  The vision at TCAT is to provide convenient access to lifelong education and training, both occupational and technical, for all private adult and corporate citizens. The college works hand-in-hand with business and industry to develop personalized training programs to meet the needs of their employers. With a vision of contributing to the economic and community development, students have the opportunity to acquire or upgrade marketable skills for the labor market at an individualized level. Full-time certificate programs include:  Administrative Office Technology, Automotive Technology, Collision Repair Technology, Computer Electronics, Industrial Electricity, Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool Technology, Pharmacy Technology, Practical Nursing, Special Industry Training and Welding. 

community and tech colleges

Colleges & Universities

Tennessee Wesleyan University

TWULocated two blocks from the center of Athens lies the esteemed institute, Tennessee Wesleyan University. The university is committed to preparing students for in-demand careers in business, health professions, science and education. With more than 30 undergraduate and graduate programs offered, TWU provides learning experiences to help students grow personally and professionally. Numerous programs allow students the opportunity to earn a minor in Entrepreneurship, inviting critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. A variety of internships and summer employment opportunities are offered for students interested in gaining relevant experience.

Tennessee Wesleyan University provides opportunities for students who choose to further their education and advance their career. Extensive graduate programs include Masters Programs in teaching, occupational therapy, business administration and science in nursing.

The University of Tennessee (Knoxville)

What began in 1794 as a small college in the Southwest Territory has grown into Tennessee’s flagship university and premier public research institution. For more than 225 years, Volunteers have been lighting the way for others, across Tennessee and throughout the world.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a national model for metropolitan universities. In collaboration with our many regional partners, we offer an experiential learning environment with outstanding teaching scholars in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs.

UTC's vision, mission, and values are centered on engaging students, inspiring change and enriching our community.

community and tech colleges