The job market for aerospace is soaring. With 1,350 aerospace and related companies in our region, chances are high that if you have the right skills, certifications and degrees, you’ll land a career.

So what exactly comprises aerospace in the Pacific Northwest? The Department of Commerce identifies six areas: commercial/military airplanes and rotorcraft; unmanned aerial vehicle/systems; space exploration; maintenance, repair and overhaul; aviation biofuel; and air travel and cargo.

For those who wish to enter this field, Bates Technical College in Tacoma has long-offered comprehensive programs that supply the aerospace industry with qualified, well-skilled employees.

In 1940, the Tacoma School District opened the Tacoma Vocational School with $38,000 in Public Works Administration monies. In an effort to support the defense effort for World War II, a cluster of programs named industrial education were offered. This included auto body repair, auto mechanic, diesel and heavy equipment mechanic, electrical construction, machinist, sheet metal, and welding.

Within 18 months of opening, more than 3,000 people received training that led to jobs in the shipyards, mills and Boeing’s airplane plant. Even after separating from the school district in 1991 and changing the name ultimately to Bates Technical College, these programs still remain strong and relevant, and they help fuel the region’s important aerospace industry.


Aerospace companies make up the 130,000-strong aerospace workforce in our state, employing everyone from engineers to machinists to welders, and paying wages totaling $13.2 billion. In the next five years, Boeing plans to expand its aerospace workforce by up to 30,000 employees. Additionally, SpaceX recently announced plans to open a new office in Redmond, where it will develop satellites with the potential to employ as many as a thousand people.

Areas of Study

Did you know there are several areas of study and career paths within the aerospace umbrella? With demand high for qualified employees, starting your education early will help you prepare for what’s ahead. Graduates with degrees or certificates in the following areas are well-prepared for flexible and rewarding careers in the aerospace industry.

Two-year degrees and specialized education will give job seekers a competitive edge in landing the best-paying positions. Bates Technical College offers degrees, certifications, apprenticeships and training in all of the fields above, and more. The easy application process and attentive, knowledgeable faculty help Bates students transition quickly from classroom to career with the education and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

For more information, go to, or call 253.680.7000.

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Machinist Open House

Fall quarter begins Monday, Sept. 28! You’re invited to the college’s Machinist Open House. Explore and tour this exciting program. You’ll learn about admissions, financial aid, workforce services, funding, career placement and more. Plus, you’ll hear from an employer partner, who will talk about industry hiring needs.

If you can’t make it, please contact Joanne Lee, Aerospace Program Navigator, 253.680.7203,, to arrange an introduction to the program and tour the shop.

>>Thursday, Sept. 3, 2-4 p.m. at the Machinist classroom, Downtown Campus, Room E101<<

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