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Bates Technical College | Field Guide 2023

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Each year, about 6,700 students of every age and background turn to Bates Technical College to train for well-paying careers. Founded in 1940, Bates delivers hands-on education at three Tacoma campuses. Our college offers two-year degrees, short-term certificates, academic courses, a technical high school and life-long learning opportunities. Whether students are 16 or 60, just out of high school or working adults, our college prepares them for the next step up in life.

As a technical college that serves a large number of lower-income students, students of color and students who are the first in their families to attend college, Bates is key to creating a stronger and more inclusive economy.

Key Facts

Highest Enrolled Programs

  • Practical Nurse
  • Welding
  • Fire Service
  • Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology
  • Electrical Construction
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology
  • Automotive Technology
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Digital Media
  • Auto Body Rebuilding and Refinishing


  • Headcount (all sources): 6,837
  • FTES (all sources): 3,507
  • Headcount (state-funded): 5,786
  • FTES (state-funded): 2,824

Students in Selected Programs

  • Apprentices: 1,740
  • I-BEST: 294
  • International: 7
  • Running Start: 9
  • Technical High School: 623
  • Worker Retraining: 427

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 2%
  • Basic skills: 4%
  • Workforce education: 79%
  • Other: 15%


Students of color: 40%

  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 4%
  • Asian: 8%
  • Black/African American: 13%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 15%
  • Pacific Islander: 3%
  • White: 71%


  • Full-time: 48%
  • Part-time: 52%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 29%
  • Students with dependents: 45%


  • Female: 40%
  • Male: 60%

Median age


Points of Interest

First lady Jill Biden highlights Bates Technical College’s high school programs

First lady Dr. Jill Biden and Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education Amy Loyd visited Bates to tour two programs that connect youth to workforce education while earning high school diplomas: the youth apprenticeship program and Bates Technical High School. Biden and Loyd visited the college’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program and Welding program, and spoke at a Bates Technical High School event.

Health care partnership fuels industry with much-needed employees

To address the shortage of medical workers, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health has partnered with Bates’ Nursing Assistant Certified program. Through the partnership, VMFH will pay student tuition and fees, an hourly salary as a nursing assistant trainee at St. Joseph Medical Center, a sign-on bonus and a 12-month, full-time position once students complete their certification. A similar partnership with MultiCare Health System is in place with the college’s Phlebotomy program. These partnerships increase access and reduce financial barriers to those considering a health care career.

Demand rises for qualified workers in fire service, broadcasting and digital media fields

In Washington state, demand for firefighters is rising, with a projected growth of 7% from 2020-30*. Likewise in media and communications fields, the state has seen the industry grow faster than average at 29% for broadcasting/video production technicians*, and 47%** for digital media careers like special effects artists and animators. In response, Bates has seen enrollment boosts in related career education programs. With a dedication to hands-on and experiential learning, Digital Media program student Chris says Bates gets students career-ready so they can step into their chosen career prepared to work. Fire Service program graduate Chase notes that area fire departments recognize that hardworking students graduate from Bates. The data and testimonials show the college is fulfilling its workforce-focused mission to inspire, challenge and educate.

*Data from O*Net Online.
**Data from Career OneStop.

Data is from the 2021-22 academic year. Reflects headcount unless otherwise noted.

*Students of color percent based on unduplicated headcount. Students may be counted in more than one race, so race/ethnicity percentages may not total 100%. Percentages calculated on reported value.


Dr. Lin Zhou


  • Layne Bladow, chair
  • Christina Blocker, vice chair
  • Tom George
  • Heather Moss
  • Florence Chang

Year Founded


Service Area

Pierce County

Legislative Districts

2, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31

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Last Modified: 11/9/23, 3:23 PM

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