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Bellingham Technical College | Field Guide 2022

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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 and Fabricating Technology
  • Computer Networking
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Business Management


  • Headcount (all sources): 4,109
  • FTES (all sources): 1,805
  • Headcount (state-funded): 2,951
  • FTES (state-funded): 1,581

Students in Selected Programs

  • Bachelor's: 48
  • Apprentices: 49
  • I-BEST: 39
  • International: 1
  • Running Start: 112
  • Worker Retraining: 175

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 14%
  • Basic skills: 10%
  • Other: 10%
  • Workforce education: 67%


  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 5%
  • Asian: 7%
  • Black/African American: 3%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 16%
  • Pacific Islander: 1%
  • White: 80%


  • Full-time: 44%
  • Part-time: 56%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 47%
  • Students with dependents: 57%


  • Female: 58%
  • Male: 42%

Median age


Points of Interest

Workforce connections

To prepare students for today’s employment needs and tomorrow’s workforce opportunities, Bellingham Technical College (BTC) relies on active advisory committees to form invaluable employer and community partnerships. Over the past year, BTC launched an advisory committee member recruitment campaign which focused on replacing vacant positions and increasing membership. BTC welcomed over 40 new committee members as a result of the campaign, revitalizing the program with new energy. BTC employees connect with our industry partners to explore employment opportunities.

Pathways to achievement

With support from a multi-million-dollar, 5-year federal Title III Strengthening Institutional Programs grant, BTC employees are clustering the college’s high-wage, high-demand workforce training programs into areas of study — or meta-majors — to increase student access and success. Exploratory courses and common introductory sequences within industry groups will help students choose the right path for them and intensive student support services paired to each area of study, including personalized student advising, progress tracking, and relationship building will keep students on track.

Innovation and excellence

One of BTC’s premiere programs, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, has national prominence and attracts students from all over the country. Students have moved to Bellingham from Hawaii, California, Arizona, New York, Alaska and Oregon to join the program; 48% of current students are from outside Whatcom County. Second year students are working with instructors on a National Science Foundation (NSF) pilot project with the Ocean Observatories Initiative for oceanographic research. Over 83% of students from last year’s graduating cohort are already working in fisheries or aquaculture related fields, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reached out to the program to recruit BTC graduates for shellfish jobs on the East Coast.

Data is from the 2020-21 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

Kim Perry


  • Bradley Smith, chair
  • Debbie Ahl
  • Richard Kaiser

Year Founded


Service Area

Whatcom County

Legislative Districts

40, 42

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Last Modified: 11/20/23, 10:47 AM

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