Process Technology - AAS

At Bellingham Technical College, the Process Technology Program will prepare you for a position as a process technician or operator for employers in power generation, refining, manufacturing, and many other industries. Process technicians work to ensure the safety standards of production and assembly lines, and oversee quality for an employer’s processes. Currently, our primary employers in Washington State are the four refineries in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Graduates have also gone to work in other water treatment, power generation, and manufacturing facilities in our region, across Washington State, and beyond.

Manufacturing is the most diverse sector of the U.S. economy, from the immense variety of goods produced to the technology used to create them. Turning ideas and materials into valuable products requires highly skilled employees who are trained in advanced manufacturing. BTC’s programs in advanced manufacturing are ideal for students with mechanical aptitude or a strong foundation in math, science, and technology. You’ll learn skills needed for a career in high demand, dynamic industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, and energy.

Employment Information

86% BTC graduate placement rate

$38,750 starting annual wage
$51,958 average annual wage
$64,147 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

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 admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

  • Quarter 1

  • AMATH 111Applied Technical Math5 CR
  • PTEC 101Introduction to Process Technology5 CR
  • PTEC 102Process Technology I (Equipment)5 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 Instrumentation I5 CR
  • Program Elective (PTEC 190 series)3 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • PHYS& 110Physics for Non-Science Majors w/Lab5 CR
  • PTEC 203Safety, Health & Environment II5 CR
  • PTEC 211Troubleshooting5 CR
  • Program Elective (PTEC 190 series)3 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • PTEC 205Dynamic Process Control (Simulators)5 CR
  • PTEC 212Industrial Processes & Equipment5 CR
  • PTEC 270Project I (or PTEC 290 Internship I in summer)5 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • PTEC 207Process Quality Control5 CR
  • PTEC 215Process Technology III (Operations)5 CR
  • PTEC 272Project II (or PTEC 291 Internship II in summer)5 CR
  • Electives

  • PTEC 190Food Processing3 CR
  • PTEC 191Non-Refining Processes3 CR
  • PTEC 192Pulp & Paper Processing3 CR
  • PTEC 193Upstream Process3 CR
  • PTEC 194Wastewater Treatment3 CR
  • PTEC 195Biodiesel Fundamentals3 CR
  • PTEC 196Green Energy3 CR
  • PTEC 197Cooperative Education3 CR
  • PTEC 198Basic Mechanical Skills3 CR
  • PTEC 199Power Generation3 CR
  • PTEC 290Process Technology Practicum/Internship I5 CR
  • PTEC 291Process Technology Practicum/Internship II5 CR

Program Outcomes

In BTC’s Process Technology Program, you will learn how to monitor and control processing equipment, troubleshoot and solve equipment problems, test product quality, and implement safety standards and procedures. Your career training in this program also prepares you 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, DOT, 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.
  • Recognize typical organizational structures, economics, and quality control systems of the process technology industry.
  • Appraise fundamentals of refining and power generation processes; know 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.
  • Integrate the principles of process automatic control and data control systems (DSC) to manage simulated DCS scenarios.

Employment Outlook

Over the next 10 years, according to future retirement data, there will be a great need for trained process operators in the industry, both locally and nationally. Process Technology Program students can expect to earn excellent wages and continue to have job opportunities. Employers across a range of industries want to hire people with strong problem-solving and hands-on skills, who are trained and ready to go.

About 86% of BTC Process Technology Program graduates are employed within nine months of graduation. The average annual wage in this field is $51,958, with an earning potential of about $64,147 per year.*

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

Our processing technology graduates are readily employable and actively recruited by local, regional, national, and international industries. BTC collaborates with local industry, employers, and our state and local governments to determine the skills our workforce requires to keep the economy strong.

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
Process Technology