Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences

Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences - AAS-T - WWU-NWIC Articulation

The Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences Program prepares students for employment in a variety of fisheries occupations with emphasis on the transfer articulation of credits to Western Washington University (WWU) & Northwest Indian College (NWIC) from Bellingham Technical College (BTC).

The program offers an Associate of Applied Science Transfer degree to the WWU BA in Environmental Studies and BA in Geography. The Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program gives students experience in biological studies with state and private agencies.

Students work with smolt traps, spawner surveys, data collection, scale and otolith samples, and water quality. This field experience provides practical work for the instructional “laboratory.” These valuable experiences compliment the classroom theory and related instruction components.

The program operates in partnership with regional, tribal and statewide industries as well as Regional Enhancement Associations.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

66%1 / 77%3 BTC graduate placement rate

$43,852 starting annual wage2
$52,020 average annual wage2
$64,445 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (Washington State wage) and reflect 2015-2018 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

    3Additional employment rates are provided for programs with faculty who maintain their own employment records of students who graduated between 2015-16 and 2017-18 and who were employed in their field of study within 9 months of graduation. These additional, faculty-provided rates are particularly important for programs that tend to have graduates employed outside of WA and OR. Note that due to lack of available data, rates may represent fewer than 3 years of graduates.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program typically starts in Fall Quarter on a space available basis.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 90

Total Program Credits: 90

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • AQUA 100Intro to Fisheries and Aquaculture2 CR
  • AQUA 110Water Quality3 CR
  • AQUA 120Aquatic Biodiversity3 CR
  • AQUA 130Reproduction2 CR
  • AQUA 135Hatchery Practicum I4 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • OR Higher
  • AQUA 140Growth and Nutrition3 CR
  • AQUA 150Fundamentals of Aquaculture3 CR
  • AQUA 165Aquaculture Practicum3 CR
  • AQUA 190Toxicology and Diseases3 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • AQUA 160Fundamentals of Fisheries Biology3 CR
  • AQUA 170Freshwater Ecology3 CR
  • AQUA 180Oceanography3 CR
  • AQUA 195Fisheries Practicum4 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications (recommended)5 CR
  • OR
  • CMST& 220Public Speaking5 CR
  • OR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • OR
  • SOC& 101Introduction to Sociology5 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • OR
  • ENGL& 102English Composition II5 CR
  • AQUA 200Genetics in Fisheries and Aquaculture3 CR
  • AQUA 210Hatchery Practicum II3 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • AQUA 250Advanced Sampling Techniques4 CR
  • AQUA 260Natural Resource Management4 CR
  • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • CHEM& 121Introduction to Chemistry5 CR
  • AQUA 270Introduction to GIS for Fisheries & Aquaculture4 CR
  • AQUA 290Advanced Hatchery Techniques2 CR
  • Five Credits from the AAS-T Acceptable Transferable Courses list.5 CR

Program Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the AAS-T degree in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences, will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in biological studies and apply appropriate techniques to conduct studies and sample data.
  • Demonstrate competency in Habitat Restoration evaluation methods and apply techniques to improve and restore habitat.
  • Demonstrate competency in field research, stream surveys, tag studies, spawning assessments, and smolt trap projects.
  • Sample scales, otoliths, water quality, migrating smolts, and spawning adults in the field.

Employment Outlook

You can put your education to work. Skilled fisheries workers with AAS-T and AAS degrees are needed by employers such as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as private hatcheries, shellfish farms, enhancement organizations, salmon operations, and federal and private scientific companies. The employment outlook for program graduates is very strong, and students can expect to earn excellent wages.

The average annual wage in this field is $45,521, with an earning potential of about $57,231 per year.*

Program graduates work as fish hatchery specialists, fish culturists, fisheries technicians, shellfish hatchery workers, and scientific aides.


Faculty & Support