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Bates Technical College | Field Guide 2024

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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

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


  • Headcount (all sources): 6,721
  • FTES (all sources): 3,647
  • Headcount (state-funded): 5,400
  • FTES (state-funded): 2,746

Students in Selected Programs

  • Apprentices: 1,785
  • I-BEST: 295
  • International: 9
  • Technical High School: 684
  • Worker Retraining: 302

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 1%
  • Basic skills: 2%
  • Workforce education: 84%
  • Other: 13%


Students of color: 42%

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


  • Full-time: 50%
  • Part-time: 50%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 29%
  • Students with dependents: 40%


  • Female: 38%
  • Male: 62%

Median age


Points of Interest

New Cybersecurity Lab

To meet the surging interest in cybersecurity, Bates Tech will expand its program with an advanced Cybersecurity Lab. The innovative facility is designed to deliver a holistic learning experience for our students. Among its key features are student-installed, configured, and managed devices, including 20 Linux laptops, each equipped with penetration testing software, and an additional 20 desktop PCs running various operating systems to facilitate hands-on practice. For added security, the lab is completely isolated for internet purposes, providing a secure and controlled environment. As a multiprogram project, our Electrical Construction program students wired the lab's workbenches.

Bachelor of Applied Science in Public Safety Administration

In the fall of 2024, Bates Tech will open its first Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) program. The BAS in Public Safety Administration will accommodate a broad spectrum of individuals, including professionals in the public safety sector aiming for managerial roles, transitioning military and law enforcement personnel seeking civilian leadership roles in public safety, and associate degree graduates looking to advance their careers. The BAS program marks a significant academic milestone, offering a pathway for career growth and development in the essential field of Public Safety Administration. 

Opening of new Fire Service Training Center Facility

In response to Washington state‚Äôs 7% projected growth in demand for firefighters from 2020 to 2030, Bates Tech is taking steps to address this need and will initiate construction of a new Fire Service Training Center in 2023-2025. This state-of-the-art facility, spanning 54,000 square feet, features a 34,000 GSF building and a 20,000 GSF training tower in the northwest corner of the South Campus. The center will bolster diverse training pathways, foster valuable partnerships in fire training education, and offer well-equipped classrooms, collaborative spaces, a computer lab, and a fitness room. Additionally, it will provide facilities for vehicle maintenance, a fire station crew mock-up area, and a live fire training yard equipped with drill towers. The Fire Service Training Center represents our commitment to meeting the increasing demand for skilled firefighters, enriching our educational partnerships, and providing our students with a comprehensive and immersive training experience. 

Data is from the 2022-23 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.

Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.


Dr. Lin Zhou


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

Year Founded


Service Area

Pierce County

Legislative Districts

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

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Last Modified: 4/9/24, 8:33 AM

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