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Bellingham Technical College | Field Guide 2021

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Bellingham Technical College (BTC) has trained students for in-demand, high-paying careers for more than 65 years. We provide hands-on, rigorous instruction in programs such as advanced manufacturing, engineering, nursing, and accounting. For example, BTC’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences program offers students the unique opportunity to run two fully operational fish hatcheries. In fact, BTC administrators and Fisheries faculty were invited by the Association of Community College Trustees to present about the program’s work with tribal partners and state agencies to raise and release Chinook salmon at its hatchery in order to provide a larger food supply for the region’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population.

Each year, more than 3,800 students of all ages and backgrounds turn to BTC for education and training. Whether students are 16 or 60, just out of high school or working adults, our college prepares them to forge their own path toward a better future. As a technical college that serves a large number of lower-income students and students who are the first in their families to attend college, BTC is key to creating social and economic mobility for people throughout our region.

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Key Facts

Highest Enrolled Programs

  • Nursing
  • Welding & Fabricating Technology
  • Computer Networking
  • Business Management
  • Accounting


  • Headcount (all sources): 4,474
  • FTES (all sources): 1,946
  • Headcount (state-funded): 3,186
  • FTES (state-funded): 1,711

Students in Selected Programs

  • Applied bachelor's: 36
  • Apprentices: 15
  • I-BEST: 117
  • International: 4
  • Running Start: 116
  • Worker Retraining: 128

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 12%
  • Basic skills: 5%
  • Other: 8%
  • Workforce education: 75%


  • Black/African American: 3%
  • Asian: 7%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 14%
  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 5%
  • Pacific Islander: 1%
  • Other race: 2%
  • White: 81%


  • Full-time: 58%
  • Part-time: 42%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 48%
  • Students who work: 43%
  • Students with children: 31%


  • Female: 55%
  • Male: 45%

Median age


Points of Interest

From manufacturing to health and everything in between

Bellingham Technical College (BTC) offers a variety of advanced manufacturing programs that train students for high-wage, high-demand jobs to support our state’s manufacturing industries. These programs include Machining; Process Technology; Welding and Fabricating Technology; and Industrial Maintenance and Mechatronics. BTC’s Registered Nursing program graduates had a 96% pass rate on the NCLEX licensing exam last year, and programs such as Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Technology and Surgery Technology provide additional entry opportunities into allied health occupations. Other popular programs such as Culinary Arts, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, Accounting, Diesel Technology and many more help students transition to living-wage careers.

Training our workforce

At BTC, our goals for students go beyond graduation. Our primary mission is to prepare students to go into the workforce, trained and ready to start jobs that fill industry needs while supporting themselves and their families. Industry representatives advise our programs and talented faculty with experience in their fields teach our students what they need to know to succeed. We’re proud of our overall job placement rate of 81%.

Building a roadmap for success

BTC employees are redesigning the college’s high-wage, high-demand workforce training programs to increase access, including for those who have family and work responsibilities outside of school. BTC provides intensive student support services — including personalized student advising, tracking and relationship-building — beginning with enrollment and persisting through graduation. This ongoing work and strong support systems will benefit all BTC students.

Data is from the 2019-20 academic year. Reflects headcount unless otherwise noted.

*May not add up to 100% because students may be counted in more than one race. Percentages calculated on reported value.

Interim President

Walter Hudsick


  • Bradley Smith, chair
  • Debbie Ahl
  • Jeff Callender
  • Richard Kaiser
  • William Mirand

Year Founded


Service Area

Whatcom County

Legislative Districts

40, 42

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Last Modified: 12/8/23, 11:54 AM

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