Start a Mechatronics Career with Vol State in Cookeville

Vol State professor Tim Dean works on a robotic arm with students Tallen Gooch and Samuel Griffin in the Cookeville Mechatronics lab.

Manufacturing is increasingly powered by Mechatronics and employers are looking for trained professionals to repair, maintain, and design state-of-the-art robotics and computer-aided equipment in today’s fastest growing industries. Volunteer State Community College offers a Mechatronics degree program at the Cookeville Higher Education Center (CHEC). People can apply now for the fall semester.

Mechatronics is the blending of engineering fields including mechanical, controls, electronic and computer engineering, to automate manufacturing, distribution, and complex services through multiple industries. Vol State students can have interest from employers before they even graduate. That can lead to jobs, paid internships, and paid Work-Based Learning experiences.

“I’m about to go on a tour of ATC Automation in Cookeville,” said Tallen Gooch of Sparta. “They build machinery. Right now they’re making machines that will manufacture needles for nurses. With an internship I’ll be able to learn while on the job. I love the hands-on aspect of learning. When I graduate I want to go into a factory where I could start on mechanical maintenance and then advance into engineering.”

The Vol State program is designed for people with a high school degree or those with another college degree who want in-demand job skills. “Students with a natural curiosity and who enjoy working with their hands will do well in Mechatronics,” said Tim Dean, department chair of Mechatronics. “Folks with mechanical aptitude do well, but it’s not a requirement. As we go through the process of training, students can acquire the mechanical aptitude.”

Samuel Griffin just graduated from the Vol State Mechatronics program. He already has industry experience with Tutco Incorporated in Cookeville. “It started as a paid internship and turned into a part-time position. I’m part of the team now,” Griffin said. “It’s like learning a new language- surrounding myself in the engineering culture. I can see how they go about solving problems.” Griffin is set to continue his education in Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee Tech in the fall.

Mechatronics jobs have a national median salary of $57,790 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Vol State offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in Mechatronics. Each step of the degree program also prepares students to test for Siemens Certifications. Siemens Certifications are internationally-recognized Mechatronics industry designations. They are important to employers. Being Siemens certified gives Vol State graduates a real advantage in the field.

Classes are held in the extensive Mechatronics labs in Cookeville, with a wide variety of assembly line, robotics, hydraulics, and machine tooling equipment. Students with prior experience in the field of Mechatronics through Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) certificate or diploma programs or on the job training, may be eligible for advanced credit in the Vol State Mechatronics degree program. For more information about a career in Mechatronics visit the web page at People interested in learning more can also call 931-520-4646 or email Vol State classes are held at the CHEC campus at 1000 Neal Street in Cookeville. Vol State also has a full Mechatronics lab and program on the Gallatin campus.

Pictured: Vol State professor Tim Dean works on a robotic arm with students Tallen Gooch and Samuel Griffin in the Cookeville Mechatronics lab.

This video shows Vol State students working in a Mechatronics lab.