Stories @ TCAT

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Dickson will begin offering a 20-month Building Construction Technology (BCT) program at the Dickson campus beginning May 3, 2021. 

This program offers students formal instruction and hands-on training in carpentry, block and brick laying, as well as residential electrical wiring and plumbing.  Students who successfully complete the 12-month program will earn a carpentry diploma, with the option to continue another eight months to earn an additional general construction diploma. 

TCAT Dickson has spent months renovating the roughly 3,900 square foot space that houses the classroom, work shop and forklift bay area.  In addition, the college has spent more than $75,000 purchasing new equipment for student use. 

Dickson resident and fourth-generation contractor Mark Nichols is the instructor for the new program.  Over the course of his career, from his first roofing business to his efforts in converting the 27,000 square-foot Fontanel mansion into a museum and attraction center, he has completed too many remodeling and building projects to number.

“If I could pass on a skill set so that students could become contractors and go on to build something that would last, it would be my greatest career accomplishment,” Nichols said, adding that he would especially like to be an instrument to help female students succeed in the field.

The college has only offered this program previously at the Clarksville campus, where the program launched in September 2019. 

The Clarksville campus has 22 students currently enrolled in the program, with seven expected to graduate in April, and local businesses are already actively recruiting them, according to Clarksville program instructor Tom Bleyle.

Chris Travis, owner of Travis Electrical Service in Clarksville, said he counts it an honor to serve on the Building Construction and Industrial Maintenance program advisory committees at TCAT. 

“Owning a business in the trades, I have seen firsthand the tremendous skills gap and shortage of qualified tradespeople in our country,” Travis said.  “It is past time that we encourage more students to seek out quality training in the trades. I applaud the great work that TCAT is doing to prepare quality workers for a rewarding career.”

Anyone interested in the program should complete an online application at  To request more information and/or a tour of the college facilities, applicants can contact Cary Oliver at 615-441-6221 (Dickson campus) or Lisa Sullivan at 934-572-1694 (Clarksville campus).




TCAT Dickson is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution and complies with non-discrimination laws: Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, and ADA. Located on Highway 46 in Dickson, the technical college has additional campuses in Clarksville and Franklin. For information about national and programmatic accreditations, contact the institution. Please visit for more information.