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Process Technology

Process Technology - Certificate

If you’d like a high-paying career upon graduating from BTC, then you should consider Process Technology. This program will prepare you for a position as a process technician or operator for local employers in power generation, refining, manufacturing, and many other industries. Currently, our primary employers are the four refineries in Whatcom and Skagit counties. You’ll learn how to monitor and control processing equipment, troubleshoot and solve equipment problems, test product quality, and implement safety standards and procedures. The Process Technology program provides the technical and academic knowledge you need, along with valuable communication and interpersonal skills that employers want.

To learn more about Bellingham Technical College programs you’re interested in, join us for a Virtual Program Info Session. Prior sign up is required. If you do not see an Info Session for the program you’re interested in, email for more information.

Employment Information

84% BTC graduate placement rate1

$67,6002 / $84,6563 starting annual wage
$79,5602 / $96,8113 median annual wage
$99,2162 / $109,3133 potential annual wage

Tuition Fees and Rates

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2014-15 and 2016-17. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential or with 45+ credits and a GPA of 2.0 or higher. 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 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2015-2018 employment. Wage data represent occupations that program faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for graduates. 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 Employment Security Department’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (see footnote 3 below) that involves shift work, these Employment Security Department 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.

    3Due to the nature of the employment data received from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, it is often difficult to collect wage data on graduates who are working in-field. However, for some programs it is reasonable to assume that a graduate is working in-field based on the industry in which they work. In these cases, program wage data are published 9 months after a student graduates, and do not represent long-term career wages (i.e., are more likely to represent starting than median/potential wages). Note that these programs often include shift work, in which graduates are working more than 40 or 50 hours a week. In these cases, wages from both the Washington State Employment Security Department and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges are multiplied by the average number of hours graduates work in a week.

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program has rolling admission.

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: 48

  • Quarter 1

  • AMATH 111Applied Technical Math5 CR
  • PTEC 101Introduction to Process Technology5 CR
  • PTEC 102Process Technology Equipment5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • CTE 108Job Skills1 CR
  • PTEC 103Safety, Health & Environment I5 CR
  • PTEC 104Process Drawings2 CR
  • PTEC 105Process Technology II (Systems)5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • CHEM& 110Chemical Concepts w/Lab5 CR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • PTEC 110Process Instrumentation5 CR

Program Outcomes

  • Graduates will demonstrate a knowledge of the typical hazards found in process plants, basic PPE, and requirements of regulating bodies regarding safety, health, and environmental issues (OSHA, DOT, EPA). Example: Worker-Right-to-Know, PSM, RMP, RCRA, and Clean Air Act).
  • Graduates will be able to apply mathematics, physics, and chemistry in the Process Technology field. Graduates will obtain the ability to link their knowledge to applications such as the nature of heat, chemical reactions, boiling points, vapor pressure, and electrical currents.
  • Graduates will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the typical organizational structures, economics and quality controls; fundamentals of refining and power generation processes.
  • Graduates will be able to perform core functions and principles of operation of typical process industry equipment such as pumps, compressors, filters and dryers, lubricating systems, valves and piping systems, and process plant instrumentation systems (from an operations viewpoint).
  • Graduates will know the principles and typical operation of electronic control systems (DCS).
  • Graduates will have the ability to operate simulated DCS process control systems Effectively.

Employment Outlook

Future retirement data indicates that over the next 10 years there will be a great need for trained process operators in the industry, both locally and nationally.

A total of 84% of BTC Process Technology graduates are employed within nine months of graduation. Of graduates employed in-field, their median wage nine months after graduating is $96,811. Please see “Employment Information” above for more details.

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Process technicians may find career opportunities in a variety of industries including: chemical, petrochemical, refining, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, power generation, utilities, food and beverage, and water treatment. In many instances, process operators will interface with other technical personnel, such as maintenance electricians, instrument technicians, chemical laboratory technicians, plant engineers, industrial trainers and managers.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Scott Cory
Scott Cory