Contrary to popular opinion, a four-year degree isn’t the only path to career success. William R. Moore College of Technology in the heart of Midtown Memphis is one of the country’s oldest vocational institutions, where it prepares students for a wide variety of trades. Moore Tech offers programs in automotive service technology; an associate degree of applied technology; plumbing; property maintenance; welding; machining technology; industrial electricity and plant maintenance; and air conditioning, refrigeration and heating.
Moore Tech Automotive students have the opportunity to earn a two-year associate’s degree while learning their craft in a new school for automotive technicians located in a former Dobbs Honda garage on Mendenhall Road. The school will help address a shortage of automotive technicians in the region. It’s just the latest way Moore Tech works to prepare more Memphians for careers in a variety of trade professions.
Moore Tech is a private, nonprofit school that was founded in 1909 as the result of a lifelong dream of William R. Moore, who died in 1909. The bulk of his estate was designated to establish a school, which ultimately opened at its current location at 1200 Poplar Ave. in Midtown Memphis in 1939. It started as a school for students to gain job readiness training.
Moore Tech’s student body ranges from recent high school graduates to older students in their 60s. Students take classes during the day or night; daytime students tend to be a few years out of high school while night students typically are older, in their 20s to 40s. Students are treated like employees. For example, full-time students are on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. It’s pretty much their full-time job for two years.
Lower tuition cost is one incentive for students to attend Moore Tech. Tuition is around $2,000 a trimester, or $6,000 per year. Moore Tech doesn’t accept federal loans. Students pay out of pocket or are given in-house scholarships that employers pay. Students don’t graduate with debt. Anyone who qualifies will see the majority of their tuition covered, meaning students graduate and are ready to begin a career in a valuable trade without debt that comes for so many college students these days.
Moore Tech’s job placement for graduates has been over 90 percent in recent years, including a 100 percent placement rate for welding and machine shop graduates. Moore Tech helps its students find career success beyond graduation. It provides career placement for students, which includes setting up interviews and assisting with resume writing and teaching soft skills.
About 65 percent of tuition costs are paid from the college trust fund, which is an important way the community can help the school continue to provide an affordable education for its students. Donations from individuals and companies go a long way in ensuring students graduate without debt, and some students work at companies that provide tuition reimbursement. For more information about Moore Tech, visit mooretech.org.
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