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.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

75%1 BTC graduate placement rate (Employment Security Department- WA and OR only)
94%3 BTC graduate placement rate (faculty-tracked, national)
91%3 BTC in-field graduate placement rate (faculty-tracked, national)

$83,9402 / $68,132starting annual wage
$100,6262 / $76,265average annual wage
$125,0602 / $111,488potential annual wage

Tuition Fees and Rates

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled atBTC 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.

    Whatcom 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 (see footnote 4 below) 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.

    3 Additional 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.

    4 Due to the nature of the employment data received from the Washington SBCTC, it is often difficult to collect wage data about graduates who are working in-field. However, for the Process Technology program, it is reasonable to assume that a graduate is working in-field if the graduate is working within the petroleum industry. In these cases, program wage data are published 9 months after a student graduates, and do not represent long-term career wages (i.e., wages are more likely to represent starting wages than to reflect median or potential wages). These graduates left the program between 2016-17 and 2019-20. Note that these wages often reflect shift work, meaning that graduates are working more than 40 or 50 hours a week. Wages from both the Washington State ESD and the Washington SBCTC 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: 50

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

  • Quarter 1

  • Advanced Manufacturing Pathways3 CR
  • Applied Technical Math5 CR
  • Introduction to Process Technology4 CR
  • Process Technology I (Equipment)5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • Interpersonal Communication5 CR
  • Job Skills1 CR
  • Safety, Health & Environment I5 CR
  • Process Drawings2 CR
  • Process Technology II (Systems)5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • Chemical Concepts W/Lab5 CR
  • Applied English5 CR
  • Process Instrumentation5 CR

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing the Process Technology certificate, students will be able to:
  • Appraise the typical hazards found in process plants, basic PPE, and know the requirements of regulating bodies regarding safety, health, and environmental issues (OSHA, DPT, EPA).
  • Combine mathematics, chemistry, and physics theory to apply to process applications such as fluid flow, the nature of heat, chemical reaction, boiling points, vapor pressure, and electrical currents.
  • Appraise fundamentals of refining and power generation processes; identify core functions and principles of operation of typical process equipment such as pumps, compressors, filters and dryers, lubrication systems, valves, piping systems, and draw from memory process flow diagrams.

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

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    BS, Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis

  • Degrees and Credentials

    AAS, Process Technology, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State