Chattanooga State’s Simmons Finds Dream Career

March 2, 2021 | Betty A. Proctor | Internal Press Release

timmesia simmons in her graduation robe with her daughter

Kids often have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up, but those dreams are sometimes interrupted by life circumstances, and the dream may seem unattainable.

As a youngster, Timmesia Simmons dreamed of being a doctor or surgeon but lacked the support or resources to make her dream happen. When she became an adult and mother, thanks to the financial resources provided by Chattanooga State’s CCAMPIS Grant, her dream of entering the healthcare field became a reality and she enrolled in the Medical Assisting program at Chattanooga State’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT). “I wanted to get a taste of healthcare field to make sure that this is really what I wanted to do and learn all about the aspects of it … I got everything I wanted and more!” exclaimed Timmesia.

The Childcare Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based childcare services. “Having affordable childcare available through this grant made a great difference,” explained Ms. Simmons, who urges students to check out Chattanooga State’s many resources to help complete their educational goals.

Prior to receiving her diploma in December 2020, Timmesia participated in a required unpaid 8-week practicum in a physician’s office where students gain hands-on experience observing and performing skills developed in the Medical Assisting program. “Timmesia was a dedicated student,” stated Nancy Draper, Medical Assisting program director. “We are very proud of Timmesia. She worked very hard to be the best, and now she is the perfect role model for her little girl,” added Ms. Draper.

Timmesia’s strength and determination resulted in being hired as a medical assistant at University Surgical Associates, immediately upon completing her externship with them and receiving her Medical Assisting diploma. “I’m very excited about this opportunity, USA is a great place and I love it there,” said Ms. Simmons.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average median pay for medical assistants starts at $34.8K and the field is expected to grow by 19% over the next ten years.

Chattanooga State is currently accepting applications for the Medical Assisting program for fall 2021. Day classes will be available at both the main campus and the Kimball Site. For more information about TCAT’s one-year Medical Assisting program  call (423) 697-4433, visit, or email To access Chattanooga State Resources, visit