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. Focused on technical education, the school offered Carpentry, Farm Equipment Mechanics, and Machine Shop.
Through the years, the college has experienced as many name changes as it has Presidents. The college's integrity and commitment has been fostered in large part due to the stability of its leadership. While there have been five Presidents at ATCC, all but its founder, Vern Maack, were long-term employees of the college before assuming the presidency. Most of the Presidents were faculty before assuming administrator roles. Their backgrounds as faculty served them well as much of the college's success has been a result of exemplary instructors. Alexandria Technical & Community College has attracted faculty members who have managed to master both the expertise of their industry fields and the talent of teaching. Instructors' dedication to their students' success has made ATCC a premier technical college.
The college's reputation for quality instruction and service to its students has followed it through being an area vocational technical school to being Alexandria Technical & Community College. Through the many name changes, the college also shifted from being under the local school district to being a state college within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System in 1995.
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. While still offering a Carpentry program, the college also offers over 50 programs, including degrees that seamlessly transfer into bachelor degrees.