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Washington Vocational and Technical Schools

The Washington State Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness is keenly aware of the national and international competition for solid employment opportunities. In turn, they've identified several business sectors for major investment and expansion to drive economic growth in the state:

  • Aerospace
  • Clean technology
  • Information, communication technology
  • Life science and global health
  • Maritime
  • Military and defense

Each of these industries includes career paths for vocational school graduates in Washington. The size and diversity of each business segment offers prospective students the opportunity to explore a range of potential training programs, from avionics to manufacturing, computer science to public health.

Aerospace: There are more than 1,350 aerospace-related companies in the state. Anchored by Boeing Commercial, the aerospace industry drove over $76 billion in state economic activity and employees more than 131,000 people.

Clean technology: Over 100 companies, across 12 industrial sectors, work in clean technology in Washington. The sector is responsible for employing nearly 90,000 individuals throughout the state.

Information and communication technology. The information and communication industry in Washington includes companies working in telecommunication, software design and data management. The sector employs over 190,000 in the state and total annual payroll is more than $21 billion annually.

Life science and global health: This business sector is comprised of a mix of companies, including 294 medical device, 191 biopharma and 78 nonprofit research businesses and organizations. Total state employment in this sector includes approximately 34,000 positions and 57,000 related positions.

Top industries and employers in Washington

Overall, the state's economy is in good shape, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.7 percent in September 2014. Washington is home to nine Fortune 500 companies including Costco (Kirkland), Microsoft (Redmond), Amazon (Seattle) and Starbucks (Seattle).

In a testament to Washington's business friendly climate, the state has been able to attract hundreds of other private businesses that are just as competitive as the retail and software giants, Starbucks and Microsoft, respectively. Some of the fastest-growing private companies in the state, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal include the following:

  1. 110 Consulting (Bellevue)
  2. A&R Solar (Seattle)
  3. Affirma Consulting (Bellevue)
  4. Akvelon Inc. (Bellevue)
  5. AltaSource Group (Kirkland)

Below is a sample list of some of the largest employers in the state:

Organization

Sector

Employees

Boeing

Aerospace

85,000

Joint Base Lewis McChord

Military

56,000

Microsoft

Software

41,664

University of Washington

Education

29,800

Amazon

Retail

15,000

Starbucks

Retail

10,837

Costco

Retail

8,912

Source: BizJournals, 2013

Additionally, the Seattle metro area continues to be a place of business investment and innovation. In fact, 93 companies made the 2014 Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. TUNE, a mobile marketing company, was ranked #88 overall on the list.

Vocational careers in Washington

Vocational training is important in Washington State. In addition to 34 community and technical colleges, Washington also has vocationally focused programs and associations, such as the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education and Washington Vocational Services. Many companies in the state turn to vocational graduates to build their trained, skilled workforce.

The list below includes companies that regularly hire individuals with vocational training (data from Washington Vocational Services:

  • AMC Theatres
  • Burger King
  • FredMeyer
  • Hobby Lobby
  • YMCA
  • Motel 6
  • Walgreens

In fact, some of the career paths projected to experience the greatest number of job openings between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are careers requiring either vocational education or post-secondary training. Below is an example list of those careers:

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Median Wage
Pile-Driver Operators3042260
Floor Sanders and Finishers28860
Stonemasons5025480
Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers39048010
Fence Erectors17028430
Mechanical Door Repairers5027250
Engine and Other Machine Assemblers94038260
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall37030190
Tile and Marble Setters29029000
Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters38023000
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders65036120
Structural Iron and Steel Workers85044460
Helpers--Electricians163022850
Massage Therapists102027880
Brickmasons and Blockmasons65036530
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers158036610
Roofers95027770
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers152028500
*This data is sourced from the 2013 BLS employment report (BLS.gov)

Individuals considering enrollment in a vocational school in Washington should learn more how a certificate, diploma or training program could open the door to potential careers in health care, construction, software development, culinary arts and more.

Sources:

BizJournals, Boeing tops the list of Washington State's largest employers, http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/subscriber-only/2013/07/26/boeing-tops-the-list-of-washington.html

Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Washington, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wa.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington Economy at a Glance, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.wa.htm

Department of Commerce, Improving the Economic Development System in Washington State, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Documents/Commerce-WEDC-Proviso-Work-Group.pdf

Export Washington, http://www.exportwashington.com/Pages/default.aspx

Inc., 2014 Inc. 5000, http://www.inc.com/inc5000/list/2014/metro/seattle

Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness, Progress Report to Legislature, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Documents/Commerce-OEDC-Performance-Update-2013.pdf

Puget Sound Business Journal, "Study: Invest $7 billion in state transport needs, $42 billion in benefits will come to Washington State," http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2014/10/study-invest-7-billion-in-state-transport-needs-42.html?page=all

Puget Sound Business Journal, PSBJ 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies 2014," http://www.exportwashington.com/Pages/default.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/default.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Office of Aerospace, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Office-of-Aerospace.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Clean Technology Sector, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Clean-Technology.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Information, Communication & Technologies, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Information-and-Communication-Technologies-%28ITC%29.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Life Sciences and Global Health, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Life-Sciences-and-Global-Health.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Maritime Sector, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Maritime.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Military and Defense Industry, http://www.commerce.wa.gov/Economic-Development/Industry-Sectors/Pages/Washington-State-Military-and-Defense.aspx

Washington State Department of Commerce, Choose Washington, http://choosewashington.com/

Vocational Schools in Washington
This list also contains online schools that accept students from Washington
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With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

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