Renton Technical College (RTC) is a two-year community college in Renton, Washington. RTC was founded in 1942 to meet the needs of war production for World War II. At the end of the war, the school turned to vocational training. In the 1990s, it was converted into a technical college.
There are nine distinct areas of study at RTC:
- Allied Health Careers
- Business Technology
- Construction and Building Technology
- Culinary Careers
- Education and Human Services
- Manufacturing and Product Service Technology
Through these nine departments, RTC offers 36 associate degrees, 12 associate transfer degrees for students intending to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, and 60 professional certificates, both for students beginning their careers and for those already working in their fields and seeking to update or upgrade their knowledge and skill set. Most programs meet for six hours a day five days a week.
The RTC library collection includes more than 27,000 books, 2,000 digitally formatted resources, and thousands of journals and magazines. The library offers a wide variety of services to support students in their academic and professional success, including reference consultancy both in the library and online; library orientations; and workshops on computer topics, including software and internet use.
The library is also home to the unique Darrell Anderson Culinary Archives, a collection of recipes, menus, and other culinary information donated by well-known Washington chef Darrell Anderson. Some recipes are also available online.
Continuing Education classes are targeted towards students who already work in their field and are seeking upgraded or updated skills. Continuing Education courses are generally offered outside of regular work hours and for shorter periods of time than standard curriculum classes. A number of Continuing Education classes are additionally offered online. Some of the most popular courses are in Child Care, Culinary Arts, Parent Cooperative Preschool, and a number of technical and computer programs.
Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training
Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) is a pilot program which combines basic courses with vocational subjects to launch students into successful careers. I-BEST is offered in several fields at RTC, including the Licensed Practical Nurse program.
Unlike many community colleges, RTC only offers a handful of basic courses online. Because RTC focuses strongly on technical trades, and because appropriate training involves equipment and personal supervision, those interested in earning a degree completely online should look elsewhere.
Transferring to a Four Year Institution
RTC has transfer agreements with several colleges and universities to guarantee that all of a student’s earned curriculum credits will transfer. These institutions include Capella University, Central Washington University, City University, DeVry University, The Evergreen State College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Shoreline Community College, and University of Phoenix.
The Basic Studies department offers education to adults who wish to master skills in reading, writing, math, and oral communications. These offerings are appropriate for adults whose earlier education was unsatisfactorily completed in their youth, as well as those with limited proficiency in English. Many students go on from Basic Skills to take their General Equivalency Diploma (GED).
Most Popular Fields of Study
Over 1500 RTC students a year engage in apprenticeships in 16 different programs. In fact, 20% of technical interns in the entire state of Washington in any given year are enrolled at RTC. Applicants must be at least 17 years old, have a valid Washington State driver’s license, and pass a battery of tests, including a physical, drug test, and interview. Candidates are expected to have an aptitude for spatial relations and math.
Students on internship work full-time in their profession for between two and five years, depending on the program, while attending classes part-time in the evenings or for a few concentrated weeks a year to earn a journey-level certificate. Many programs include the option of continuing on to earn an Applied Science or Associate degree.
Each internship program is administrated by an apprenticeship coordinator and a joint apprenticeship and training committee (JATC). Internships are paid. They pay an average of about $15 an hour to start with benefits, then pay increasingly well until the wage is roughly doubled towards the end of the internship.
Prospective students are warned that apprentices must provide their own transportation and tools, which can be significantly expensive in some programs; and that apprenticeships can often be physically demanding, require outside work in bad weather, and may be seasonal or variable based on market demand.
Beyond the Internship
The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Multi-Occupational Trades is designed for graduates of apprenticeship programs who have fulfilled at least 6000 on-the-job hours and 432 hours in the classroom. Students in this program study psychology, speech communications, composition, and algebra for business and industrial use.
Many programs at RTC have waiting lists, so applying as early as possible is essential if you wish to guarantee entry into the program of your choice.
RTC awards around 90 scholarships of their own a year, for a total of over $47,000 in awards. About 1,700 students receive financial aid in a given year.
Worker Retraining Assistance
Students who have been in the workforce and have returned to school to upgrade their skills or start a new career may qualify for assistance with child care, tuition, books, and supplies. They may also be able to receive unemployment benefits while engaged in full-time training. You may be eligible if you are receiving or eligible to receive unemployment benefits from Washington State; you have received a layoff notice and will be laid off in the near future; you have exhausted your unemployment benefits from Washington State within the past couple years; you are formerly self-employed but lost your business due to the recent economic downturn; you are a veteran who was honourable discharged from service in the last couple years; or a displaced homemaker—in other words, you used to be supported by the income of another family member but no longer enjoy that support.
Student Financial Aid Details
Over 12,000 students are enrolled at RTC at any given time, with over a third of those full-time attendees. About 60% of the student body is male and 40% is female. The average age of the student body is 32.
About 50% of the student body is European American; 17% is Asian American, Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander; 16% is Latino American; 14% is African American; and 2% is Native American.
After their time at RTC, about 5% of students at RTC transfer to four-year programs. 76% engage in direct workforce training, while about 17% attend RTC to study basic skills.
The child care center at RTC offers child care for children aged 12 months to 5 years. The center is open from 6:30 AM to 5 PM and only accepts full-time enrollments. Care giver-to-child ratios are 1:7 for toddlers and 1:10 for preschoolers. Many students receive funding from the Department of Early Learning at DSHS to subsidize child care costs.
Paid staff at the Center all have appropriate training in Early Childhood Education and are certified and licensed. In addition, students enrolled in the RTC early childhood education programs gain experience by assisting in the classrooms.
The child care center is in partnership with the Puget Sound Educational Service District to offer Head Start for eligible three year olds. Head Start participant receive additional services at no cost, including health screenings, parent education, and support to access services for the whole family.
The college cafeteria offers standard grill, deli, and salad bar fare from 6:30 AM to 1 PM Monday to Friday. In addition, the Culinary Education programs run two restaurants; Culinaire Room, a traditional restaurant serving a blend of Northwest, ethnic, and international cuisine; and Culinaire Express, a casual restaurant serving burgers, fries, and more to stay or to go. The Professional Baking program runs a bakery selling cakes, pies, breads, pastries, and baked goods to order.
Student Enrollment Demographics
There are roughly 88 full-time and 161 part-time faculty, with an additional professional technical staff of 22.
Basic Studies. Renton Technical College. Web. 29 May 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Internship Programs. Renton Technical College. Web. 29 May 2011.
Library Services. Renton Technical College. Web. 29 May 2011.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Worker Retraining Assistance. Renton Technical College. Web. 29 May 2011.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.