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Bellingham Technical College | Field Guide 2024

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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
  • Electrician
  • Business Management
  • Welding Technology


  • Headcount (all sources): 3,844
  • FTES (all sources): 1,650
  • Headcount (state-funded): 2,402
  • FTES (state-funded): 1,405

Students in Selected Programs

  • Apprentices: 72
  • Bachelor's: 21
  • I-BEST: 63
  • International: 3
  • Running Start: 109
  • Worker Retraining: 139

Student Profile

Type of Student

  • Academic/transfer: 3%
  • Basic skills: 16%
  • Workforce education: 55%
  • Other: 26%


Students of color: 34%

  • American Indian/Alaska Native: 6%
  • Asian: 9%
  • Black/African American: 4%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 17%
  • Pacific Islander: 2%
  • White: 80%


  • Full-time: 42%
  • Part-time: 58%

Family and Finances

  • Students receiving need-based financial aid: 46%
  • Students with dependents: 32%


  • Female: 56%
  • Male: 44%

Median age


Points of Interest

Training Washington’s workforce

The heart of BTC’s mission is educating students for today’s jobs and tomorrow’s opportunities. Our programs work closely with advisory boards to ensure we train students to meet the evolving needs of industry and our economy. BTC provides opportunities for current workers to upskill and advance their careers, including part-time nursing options, online bachelor of applied science degrees in Operations Management and Engineering Technology, a suite of customized corporate training options, and we’re pursuing more flexibility in assessing students’ lived experiences.

Removing barriers

BTC found that many students were leaving college when they got to placement testing — before classes even started. Driven by research that high-stakes testing is not always an effective predictor of success, BTC began offering Guided Self-Placement when registration opened for fall quarter 2023. Guided Self-Placement has been found to be more comprehensive than traditional testing, encouraging students to evaluate their past coursework, success rates and self-determination. Since launching, BTC has seen its biggest fall enrollment increase since before the pandemic, up over 7% from the previous fall.

Collaborating to increase student access

BTC and Walla Walla Community College have been awarded a grant to undertake work to increase access to professional-technical programs at both colleges and help students successfully earn degrees. The colleges will work together to identify issues within college entry pipelines and better support students as they go through the process to enroll, register for classes, and get ready to start on their first day. The colleges will design and implement improved communications systems to inform students about important steps as they navigate the entry process. Both colleges will pilot flexible learning models in professional-technical programs to increase access and allow students to complete a degree or certificate on a schedule that meets their needs.

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. James Lemerond


  • Richard Kaiser, chair
  • Ann McQuade, vice chair
  • Dr. Bradley Smith
  • Robert DeCoteau
  • Jim Groves

Year Founded


Service Area

Whatcom County

Legislative Districts

40, 42

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Last Modified: 1/31/24, 7:36 AM

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