In 1941, Renton Technical College came into existence as a war production school. Throughout World War II, the College provided customized pre-employment training and job upgrading/re-training.
After the war, Renton Technical College became a state-funded vocational school with the mission of assisting industry in converting from a war time to a peace time economy. For the next 20 years, Renton Technical College conducted a large number of re-training classes and a small number of high quality training programs.
In 1965, Renton Technical College moved to a central campus comprised of three new buildings. For the next five years, the basis of the specialized college was laid with its emphasis on open-entry, open-exit, and continuous progress instruction based on achievement of measurable competencies.
Since 1971, Renton Technical College has grown to nearly 400,000 square feet and the student body has increased 500 percent. The original three buildings have been remodeled and expanded, 10 new structures have been built, four portables have been added, and the college has acquired numerous off-campus facilities.
The growth of the central campus has enabled Renton Technical College to improve and expand training in the growing industries of health, service, and information technology – especially those fields that are affected by new technologies. Renton Technical College continues to provide customized training and services to Puget Sound-area businesses.
The second 50 years, beginning in 1991, were marked by the conversion of the state's vocational-technical institutes to technical colleges. As part of this change, governance was shifted to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and authorization was given to grant two year, sub-baccalaureate degrees and certificates of completion. Degrees are awarded in 36 preparatory programs, in apprenticeship and through three general occupational degree programs. Certificates are currently provided in 80 programs.