In the years since its establishment, Columbus Technical College has gone through many transformations. So, too, has its home base, Columbus, Georgia, a former Creek Indian village site 90 miles southwest of Atlanta.
Urban development has led to Columbus expanding its corporate area eight times since the year it was founded, and in 1970, it consolidated with Muscogee County, making it the largest city in Georgia in land area, with 140,000 acres. Meanwhile, in 1961, Columbus Technical College was opening as the Columbus Area Vocational-Technical School, a unit of the Muscogee County School District. Since then, it has undergone several changes of its own.
In 1966, the school merged with the Muscogee Area Vocational-Technical School, and in 1972, it gained accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school continued to expand and receive recognition for its programs, and in 1985, it was made part of a statewide network of technical schools and renamed the Columbus Technical Institute. It officially received its current name in 2000 with the passing of the Education Reform Act. It remains a unit of the state of Georgia’s technical college system.
Today, the college boasts healthy enrollment figures and an excellent job placement rate. Its main campus encompasses 26 acres on the north side of the Manchester Expressway and 13.6 acres on the south side. The student body comprises mostly local residents who enjoy the college’s solid reputation in technical fields of study, as well as the educational, cultural and historical attractions that the city of Columbus has to offer.
After class, students can enjoy the music at the Springer Opera House or the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, or they can take in a show at the River Center for the Performing Arts. The Columbus Museum, the National Civil War Naval Museum, or the Coca-Cola Space Science Center are good choices for an educational outing, and sports fans can stop by the Columbus Civic Center to watch the American Indoor Football Association’s Columbus Lions or the South Professional Hockey League’s Columbus Cottonmouths square off with their opponents.
Students enroll in one of the following schools: The School of Business, the School of Health Sciences, or the School of Professional and Technical Services, School of General Studies, School of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, or the School of Sciences. Certificates, diplomas, and Associate degrees can all be earned here.
School of Business
Business students can achieve associate degrees in accounting, business, early childhood care, criminal justice, or computer-related fields, as well as diplomas and certificates in areas such as culinary nutrition, homeland security, and hospitality. Many of the school’s programs can be studied online.
School of General Studies
This is a unique program that awards degrees or certificates for general studies such as math, humanities, and basic level business courses. Students who earn these degrees do so in preparation for transfer to a four-year college.
School of Health Sciences
Students enrolled here can earn a degree in less than two years or sharpen up their current skills with a certificate that can be earned in as little as one semester. A wide variety of health programs are offered, such as respiratory care, dental hygiene, and surgical technology.
School of Nursing
The school currently awards the Practical Nursing degree, which is earned in five semesters. Students will receive traditional coursework in class in conjunction with hands-on experience in a clinical setting.
School of Professional and Technical Services
The School of Professional and Technical Services offers a wide variety of programs in everything from cosmetology to cabinet making, automotive technology, welding, and other industrial fields of study.
School of Sciences
The Associate of Science degree in Biology is offered here and this course is commonly taken by students who are preparing to study biology or other sciences in a four-year college or university.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students applying must be at least 16 years old; applicants to the Health Occupations and Cosmetology programs must be at least 17 years of age. All applicants must submit an application, either through the college itself or through the state of Georgia’s higher education website. Former students who have not attended for at least two quarters and plan to re-enroll should submit the re-admit application.
All applicants should also submit official high school or GED transcripts as well as official transcripts from any colleges attended. Applicants who received a diploma from an institution outside the United States must have their documentation evaluated to ensure that it meets equivalency requirements. All applicants must also pay an application fee as well as the Technology and Instructional Support Fee.
Acceptable COMPASS, ASSET, SAT, or ACT scores no more than five years old must also be submitted by all applicants.
Transfer students will be considered only if they have achieved at least a “C” in all courses at their previous institutions.
In addition to the standard application requirements, international students must also submit INS documents and a statement of financial support.
High school students seeking early admission or joint enrollment should submit a joint enrollment application, notify the admissions office of their status as a joint enrollment student, and receive permission from their parents, high school principal and school counselor. Potential Tech Prep students must also obtain these permissions and should notify the admissions office that they will be enrolling as a high school Tech Prep student.
Special Admit, or non-degree seeking students, are not required to submit transcripts or GED scores, but these students will not be eligible for financial aid.
All applicants should contact the school’s admissions office for information on application deadlines.
Qualified students may receive financial aid from a number of federal, state or local sources. The first step for any student seeking financial aid is to fill out the FAFSA form, which will determine whether the student is eligible for federal assistance through a PELL grant.
Several other federal grants may be available for students as well, and the state of Georgia offers such financial assistance resources as the HOPE grant or the HOPE scholarship. Nearly 80 percent of students here have received either the HOPE grant or the HOPE scholarship. Applications for these can be found online at the Georgia Student Finance Commission website.
Other sources of funding include programs aimed at specific categories of students, such as the Native American Scholarship Fund, veterans’ benefits, or U.S. Army Tuition Assistance. Most students are eligible for the Federal Work Study Program, and students or their parents can apply for any of numerous college loans.
Student Financial Aid Details
The school does not offer student housing. Approximately 71 percent of students reside in Columbus, and nearly all of the remainder are residents of neighboring counties. In addition, 90 percent of graduates obtain employment within a 50-mile radius of Columbus.
Campus housing may be lacking, but the school encourages student involvement and a sense of community by sponsoring several social and academic organizations. These include the American Welding Society, National Technical Honor Society, and the Student Nurses’ Association.
The school also features a number of services available to its students and members of the Columbus community. These services include the campus bookstore and the library, along with a student affairs office that assists new students in orienting themselves with the campus. The office also provides counseling services and offers specialized programs to specific student populations, such as the nontraditional student community. The Career Connections Center helps students in planning their careers and securing employment upon graduation.
Students with physical or other challenges can take advantage of Student Disability Services, which assists these students in obtaining accommodations that will better facilitate their learning, including interpreters for the hearing impaired and textbooks in alternative formats such as braille.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Sstudents can expect to receive their training from qualified faculty members who have both real-world experience and academic credentials. All instructors at the school hold certifications in the areas they teach. Faculty and staff members continue to learn and grow through programs such as the Academic Technology Committee’s Lunch ’n Learn workshops.
In addition, several faculty members have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements, taking extra courses to benefit their school and their community. For instance, in 2009, 13 Columbus Technical College instructors and staff members completed a Community Emergency Response Team program. The CERT program is offered by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department, and in the event of a natural disaster or large-scale catastrophe, graduates of the course will be among the first responders to help the Columbus community.
Additional School Information
The school already has 1,200 students waiting to be admitted into its various healthcare programs. The new Dr. Robert L. Wright Jr. Health Sciences Center, opened in October 2010 on the school’s 26-acre North Campus thanks to a public/private partnership agreement with the state of Georgia and the Columbus Technical College Foundation Inc. The new facility will allow the school to accept at least 50 percent more healthcare students.
Accreditation is provided by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.