Founded in 1961, at the request of local School District 206, Alexandria Area Vocational Technical School was established through community support and state funding. The school opened with 3 programs and 21 students. Through the years, the college has experienced name changes and programming offerings.

Although the college has never wavered from its focus on exceptional technical education, the college has operated as a comprehensive college for decades. ATCC was the first two year college in Minnesota to be accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. As a comprehensive college, ATCC better serves its community, partners, and its students.