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Bellingham Technical College | Field Guide 2023

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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.

Key Facts

Highest Enrolled Programs

  • Nursing
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Electrician
  • Computer Networking


  • Headcount (all sources): 3,784
  • FTES (all sources): 1,723
  • Headcount (state-funded): 2,753
  • FTES (state-funded): 1,507

Students in Selected Programs

  • Apprentices: 99
  • Bachelor's: 44
  • I-BEST: 73
  • International: 4
  • Running Start: 89
  • Worker Retraining: 172

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 6%
  • Basic skills: 13%
  • Workforce education: 61%
  • Other: 20%


Students of color: 33%

  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 6%
  • Asian: 8%
  • Black/African American: 4%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 17%
  • Pacific Islander: 1%
  • White: 80%


  • Full-time: 46%
  • Part-time: 54%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 18%
  • Students with dependents: 40%


  • Female: 54%
  • Male: 46%

Median age


Points of Interest

Workforce connections

Bellingham Technical College's partnerships with labor, industry and economic development partners have allowed BTC to build strong program advisory committees, develop programs to train students to fill regional workforce demands, and support economic development. BTC programs partner with industry to provide industry field trips and work-based learning experiences for students, including internships, job shadows, tours and clinical placements. Online career exploration and preparation tools (available to all current and prospective students) provide students with labor-market information, career exploration and resume-building services, and a portal for employers to post internship or job opportunities suitable for students.

Pathways to achievement

BTC is implementing a Guided Pathways model, which is helping the college provide clear and structured pathways for students. As a result of this work, BTC has begun major improvement activities, including requiring all new students to participate in a one-on-one “GET Started” session to develop their academic plans prior to registering for classes. BTC has also developed common exploratory core coursework across related programs so that students can explore career choices and change their programs without losing time and money. In addition, BTC has created a new faculty professional development and peer mentoring program to help faculty better support and advise their students.

Innovation and excellence

In 2017, BTC faculty created the Students Helping Build an Inclusive Future for the Trades (SHIFT) program to help increase access, visibility, and success for women, men, LGBTQ+, and non-binary students enrolled in training programs for industries where these groups have been historically under-represented, with a focus on male-dominated fields. BTC’s SHIFT committee has worked to create student networking groups; host events designed to raise awareness; develop video and other outreach materials; and assist with special event and outreach planning, highlighting the experiences of non-traditional students and workers.

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. James Lemerond


  • Richard Kaiser, chair
  • Bradley Smith, vice chair
  • Debbie Ahl
  • Jim Groves
  • Amy McQuade

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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