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Walters State Offers Concrete Technology Degree
March 23, 2016

Walters State Community College is partnering with Middle Tennessee State University to help fill a rising demand for Concrete Management professionals among large-scale construction projects nationwide. Students can enroll this fall to begin earning the associate’s degree portion of a Concrete Industry Management program at Walters State, and then transfer to MTSU to complete a bachelor’s degree. 

Walters State is the only community college in Tennessee offering an associate of science degree in Concrete Technology. The two-year portion of the Concrete Technology program at Walters State uses MTSU’s curriculum, syllabus, books and other materials, said Tom Sewell, dean of Walters State’s Division of Technical Education. “They can complete the associate’s degree with us, then go to Murfreesboro and put in another two years,” he said.

Students who want to enter the job market with the associate’s degree will find employment opportunities plentiful, according to Sewell. “There are a lot of jobs out there,” he said. “Buildings, stadiums, bridges, roads … Concrete is pretty much a staple for larger-scale construction projects.”

Students earning the associate’s degree can expect to work on the production side of the business, Sewell said, with most jobs requiring concrete workers to relocate as projects are completed. “These jobs are mostly centered in larger cities,” he said. “But even Knoxville has a lot of large construction projects with improvements at the University of Tennessee to the stadium, dorms and other structures.”

The program at Walters State should attract between 10 and 20 students initially, according to Sewell. “But if we get 50 students, we will have the space and the instructors we need,” he said.

Bachelor’s degrees in the Concrete Industry Management program have concentrations in either concrete contracting or production, sales and service. Graduates can pursue careers in an array of construction and building fields as well as manufacturing, marketing, planning, production management, purchasing management, quality control and technical sales. Jobs also are available with concrete ready mix producers and companies that make concrete products. Sewell said the industry is constantly expanding and adding innovative building techniques using concrete. 

The Concrete Technology program at Walters State provides a two-year technical education in concrete that allows students to continue on with additional concrete, business and communication courses at MTSU to gain a bachelor of science. Since MTSU pioneered the four-year program in 1996, it has been added at New Jersey Institute of Technology, California State University — Chico, and Texas State University. Because the program’s availability is limited, qualifying out-of-state students can enroll at MTSU on an in-state tuition basis. 

“The concrete industry has supported the CIM program at MTSU for 20 years with time, talent and treasure,” said Dr. Heather Brown, MTSU Concrete Industry Management chair. “They recognize the need to have community college partnerships to continue to attract passionate people to enter their business.

“The industry continues to fund transfer majors with a one-year scholarship of $2,000 to help make the transition to MTSU a little easier,” Brown added. “We then help to make the career connection with graduates and employers all over the Southeast.”

MTSU also offers a master of business administration degree in Concrete Industry Management for students with five years of work experience.

In addition to the Concrete Management program partnership, a dual enrollment agreement between Walters State and MTSU was announced in October. The agreement allows Walters State students to interact with MTSU advisors and access faculty and programs within their areas of study. Those completing an associate’s degree at Walters State can register early for classes at MTSU. And students completing MTSU courses can transfer those credits back to Walters State to help meet requirements for an associate’s degree.

Concrete Technology classes at Walters State begin in the fall and will meet on Mondays. For more information, contact Sewell at, or 423-585-2650.