About Bates

Bates Downtown Campus Courtyard

Celebrating nearly 75 years in the Tacoma and Pierce County community, Bates is an innovator. Our mission is to inspire, challenge and educate. With Bates as your educational partner, you can reinvent yourself.

Vocational training began in Tacoma on Sept. 4, 1940, in the basement of Hawthorne Elementary School. During the 1941-42 school year, the program became known as the Tacoma Vocational School.

In 1944 the Tacoma School District hired L. H. (LaVerne Hazen) Bates as the school's director. The school's name was changed to the Tacoma Vocational-Technical Institute in 1947.

Verne Bates retired from the director's position in 1969. The Tacoma School Board changed the Institute's name to the L. H. Bates Vocational Technical Institute in honor of Mr. Bates' service and dedication to the Institute and vocational education.

In 1991, state legislation separated the state's vocational technical institutes from local school districts and merged them under the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

Today, Bates Technical College annually serves approximately 3,000 career training students and 10,000 more community members on three campuses in programs such as Continuing Education, Child Studies, High School, General Education and Basic Studies, and others.

Our unique classroom settings mirror the workplace, providing students with opportunities to practice and develop skills to levels required for successful employment. Bates offers two-year associate of technology degrees, certificates of competency, certificates of training, industry certifications and, in specific programs, prepares students for the achievement of state licensure. The college maintains articulation degrees with several four-year universities, making some of the college's two-year degrees transferable.

We invite you to explore more and then contact us today.