Educational excellence is one of the many factors why families move to Whatcom County. With seven school districts, the Bellingham School District is the largest serving approximately 11,000 students and about 1,300 staff members. Quality education is provided by fifteen elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. Additionally, the Bellingham School District offers an alternative high school, a pre-school program, and post-high school classes for students with disabilities.
Whatcom County’s learning institutions boast 89.8 % graduation rates, low dropout rates and excellent test scores. The academic community exists to promote the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of its students, which in turn, will allow the youth of Whatcom County to be lifelong learners capable of successfully navigating a diverse and changing world. The Bellingham Promise is the Bellingham School District’s new strategic plan. it is designed to represent Bellingham’s collective aspiration for the community’s youth through a “One School House Approach”, “Innovation and Flexibility”, “Early Childhood Education” and “Student, Family and Community Engagement.”
Post-Secondary Educational Institutions:
Bellingham has a multitude of post-secondary educational institutions which provides the county’s businesses with an extensive and intelligent workforce.
Western Washington University (aka Western) is a comprehensive, highly ranked, 4-year liberal arts university that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. With nearly 15,000 students, Western is the county’s largest employer. The university’s seven colleges which include; The College of Business & Economics, The College of Fine & Performing Arts, The College of Humanities & Social Sciences, The College of Science & Engineering, The Huxley College of the Environment, The Woodring College of Education and the Graduate School together offer more than 140 major fields of study. In addition, the university is home to the Fairhaven College for Interdisciplinary Studies – a liberal arts college within WWU that allows students to design their own degree programs by drawing from the resources at Fairhaven College and the larger institution.
Western’s Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) works in partnership with local businesses, government entities and non-profits to bridge the resources of Western students, faculty and staff to assist in creating solutions. The CEBR’s work includes a variety of analysis, internship programs, and class and faculty projects.
Whatcom Community College (aka Whatcom) is a regionally & nationally accredited, state-funded, two-year college serving 11,000 students
annually. Confirming its stature as a national leader in cybersecurity education, Whatcom Community College has been designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense.
Whatcom offers transfer degrees, professional and technical training programs, as well as basic education, job skills, and community & continuing education classes. The goal of the Whatcom Community College Foundation is to ensure access to higher education for students from all backgrounds and to promote academic innovation and excellence on their campus.
Charter College is a private, independent institution that emphasizes a new direction for continuing learning. Charter College is not a liberal arts college, university, or a vocational school. Instead, Charter College takes the best elements from each of these respected educational institutions to create a unique and innovative experience that meets students’ needs. Charter College offers programs in the growing fields of healthcare, business, legal, criminal justice, information technology and select trade careers.
Trinity Western University (aka TWU) in Bellingham is an extension site of Trinity Western University located in Langley BC. Trinity is a
Christian University of the arts, sciences, and professions. TWU focuses on allowing working adults to schedule around their jobs in order to graduate with a bachelor’s degree while continuing their careers. TWU offers a BA in Leadership, Psychology, and Project Management and MA in Leadership, TESOL, MBA and more.
The Northwest Indian College (aka NWIC) headquartered on the Lummi Indian Reservation in is the only accredited tribal college in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. NWIC grew from the Lummi Indian School of Aquaculture, a single-purpose institution developed to provide a supply
of technicians for employment in Indian-owned and operated fish and shellfish hatcheries throughout the United States and Canada. NWIC offers bachelor’s degrees in Native Studies Leadership, Native Environmental Science, Tribal Governance and Business Management as well as Associate degrees in Arts and Sciences, Applied Science, technical Arts, Science Transfer and certificate programs.
Bellingham Technical College (aka BTC) is a leading educational institution and the only technical college in northwest Washington State. BTC
offers high-quality education in a supportive, student-first environment and has been providing skills-focused education to thousands of local and regional students. BTC is highly regarded in the business community for its forward-thinking and ability to anticipate employment needs by preparing students for tomorrow’s jobs.
Overall, Bellingham’s educational institutions provide Whatcom County with an exceptional range of learning opportunities. From vocational training to highly developed master’s degrees, employers can expect to choose from some of the brightest in the state.