In a world that is increasingly dependent upon efficient and reliable electronic and communications systems, it isn’t surprising that students who earn degrees in this field are hired soon after graduation.

At Bates Technical College, graduates from the Electronic and Communications Systems Technology program are in high demand. As the title suggests, it’s a highly specialized program prepares students for work in the electronic and communications industry, where they install, repair, test and maintain a wide range of technical equipment, like radio and mobile communication, avionics, marine electronics, cellular and satellite systems, and other electronic equipment systems.

Aaron Oestmann earned his Associate in Applied Science in summer 2017, now works for King County as an electronic communications technician.

Aaron Oestmann, who earned his Associate in Applied Science in summer 2017, spent 10 years in the construction field, and then his life changed when he was hurt on the job. As someone who was always drawn to electronics, Aaron knew his next career was going to be in that field.

As he researched potential colleges, Bates stood out because of the strong wage earnings of its graduates, and because of its long history in the community.

Says Aaron, “Electronics interests me, and the communication side of the field was fascinating, so when I found this program, I immediately enrolled.”

The teachers were the best part about attending Bates, recalls Aaron. “Instructors Dave [Skeen] and Laura [Robertson] are two of the best people I have ever met. Their expertise in their field was amazing, and they were willing to help any student with any topic. I was treated well, and with respect. My experience couldn’t have been better,” smiles Aaron.

Aaron was part of the first class to learn in the multiple award-winning Advanced Technology Building at Central/Mohler Campus, which opened to students winter quarter 2016.

“The updated technology at the building was impressive. We had our own private student network, which we built and maintained. We used smartboards to examine images and diagrams, saved it like a file and were able to return to it for more learning opportunities. The technology made everything easier,” says Aaron, who also served as president of the student-run small micro platform computing club.

Shortly after he graduated, Aaron landed a job at King County as an electronic communications technician earning as high as $25 to start. “I got the job because my supervisor, a Bates graduate, emailed my instructor to recruit, and Laura recommended that they interview me, and now I have a career in a field I love,” he smiles.

Graduate Jose Najera began working at Pacific Office Automation just before he graduated in 2017.

His story is similar to Jose Najera, who also graduated from the program summer 2017. Jose worked as a radio operator in the Marine Corps. When he completed his service in 2015, his goal was to study electronic communications at a college in Tacoma.

“Bates Technical College was at the top of the list when I began researching education options,” says Jose. “It was the perfect fit for my life plan, which was to serve in the military, earn a degree, then enter the workforce.”

Jose says his time at Bates was exceptional. “Instructors Laura, Dave and Emmett [Peterson] were great! They eagerly shared their incredible amount of knowledge and experiences in the field. I loved the campus; it was nice to have state-of-the-art equipment to learn on,” he notes.

The hands-on environment helped reinforce the concepts he learned in class, especially the troubleshooting skills, which Jose says helps him in his current position as field service technician at Pacific Office Automation.

“Learning troubleshooting skills, like how to narrow down a problem, was one of the most important things I learned because I use what I learned and practiced on in class right now in my job,” he notes.

“As a hands-on learner, I appreciated that Laura always made sure we had an abundance of hands on experiences. We worked on fiber optic cables, spliced our own test cables, cut and attached wires, tested and made sure they worked correctly—it was so much better than just being shown an image on a PowerPoint presentation or book work,” says Jose.

He recalls when Pacific Office Automation visited the campus when he was close to graduating.

“I asked the recruiter if I could shadow a technician to see what it was like to work there,” Jose says. “And that opportunity helped get my foot in the door.” During his last quarter, Jose started working two days a week at $15 an hour.

“When I graduated, I received a raise and started work full time. Having experience in the field made the transition to full time much easier, and now I am earning more and I’ve already moved up in the company quite a bit,” says Jose, who works at the Seattle branch.

Do you want a rewarding career in an in-demand field? Check out Electronic and Communications Systems Technology at or call 253.680.7002.

Attend an Info Session for this program!

Central/Mohler Campus, 2320 S 19th Street

1st Wednesday at 6 p.m.

3rd Wednesday at 1 p.m.