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Campus Center (CC) building remains closed through September 30, 2022.  Students, please check Canvas for class updates. Services normally located in CC are available in Morse Center second floor including library, tutoring, TRIO and Student Life. Campus Store has limited services in G building from 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Techniques

Fisheries and Aquaculture Techniques - Certificate

Expand your knowledge of wildlife inhabiting local creeks, rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound with the Fisheries program at BTC. Learn the basics of water quality, fish and shellfish biology, and spawning techniques, and prepare for an exciting career in the fish hatchery industry. Instruction takes place in the classroom as well as at the Whatcom Creek Hatchery at the Maritime Heritage Park in Bellingham, which is operated by BTC’s Fisheries and Aquaculture program.

Your skills will be ready to use with 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, and federal and private scientific companies.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

63%1 BTC graduate placement rate (Employment Security Department- WA and OR only)
96%3 BTC graduate placement rate (faculty-tracked, national)
78%3 BTC in-field graduate placement rate (faculty-tracked, national)

$46,473 starting annual wage2
$53,133 average annual wage2
$64,731 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources and Information

    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 2017-18 and 2019-20. 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.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 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 2017-18 and 2019-20 and who were employed within 9 months of graduation. Both overall and in field of study employment rates are included, respectively. For these programs, the format follows: ESD rate / faculty-tracked overall rate / faculty-tracked in-field rate. 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.

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: 39

  • 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

  • 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

Program Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the Fisheries & Aquaculture Techniques Certificate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate competency in hatchery methods and apply appropriate techniques to spawn, incubate, rear, and release fish.
  • Demonstrate competency in shellfish hatchery and aquaculture methods and apply appropriate techniques to raise diatoms, spawn shellfish, set seed, plant seed, culture and harvest shellfish.
  • Demonstrate competency in Habitat Restoration methods and apply techniques to improve and restore habitat, plant native vegetation, eliminate invasive species, and add woody debris and gravel to streams.
  • Demonstrate competency in field research, stream surveys, tag studies, spawning assessments, and smolt trap projects.

Employment Outlook

Your skills will be ready to use with 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, and federal and private scientific companies.

Employment opportunities for fish hatchery specialists should remain the same or increase due to the increased listings of endangered species.

Faculty & Support