Renton Technical College was founded in December 1941 as a war production school, providing customized pre-employment training for the aerospace industry in South Puget Sound.
After the war, the college became a state-funded professional-technical school, charged with assisting industry in converting to a peacetime economy. For the next two decades, the college focused on worker retraining classes and a small number of high quality industry training programs.
In 1965, the college, at that time known as Renton Vocational Technical Institute (RVTI), moved to our current location. The initial campus was just three buildings located on NE 4th St. in the Renton Highlands neighborhood. Until 1970, the college emphasized open-entry, open-exit, and continuous competency-based instruction.
Since 1971, the college has expanded to over nine acres of workforce training facilities. The original three buildings have been remodeled and expanded. One of the newest buildings, N, housing Facilities and Security, was completed in 2012. The 63,550 square foot Automotive Technology Complex hosted its grand opening in May 2017. The $20 million project involved the rebuilding and renovation of four separate buildings, and added space, top technology and the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified buildings on the RTC campus. The new buildings will expand the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) program. Renton Technical College is the only one in the state offering this program, where students train to work as professional automotive technicians on Ford products in ASE-Certified centers.
In 1991, Renton Vocational Technical Institute joined the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges and was renamed “Renton Technical College”. The college was granted the authority to award Associate’s degrees and certificates of completion. Beginning in winter quarter of 2015, Renton Technical College was granted the authority to award a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Application Development.
The growth of the campus has allowed the college to expand training in the fastest growing fields in our region; healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. The college also provides customized training and services to Puget Sound area businesses, both on our campus and at business locations. A part of that growth, the Construction Center of Excellence (CCE), was established in 2004 when the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges designated Renton Technical College (RTC) as a statewide leader in construction workforce education and training. The primary charge of the CCE is to help the state’s economic vitality grow. Renton Technical College has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1978.
In 2006, Renton Technical College was among six Washington colleges that joined Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, a national initiative to help more community college students succeed. In 2011, Achieving the Dream announced that Renton Technical College earned the Leader College distinction, achieved by raising persistence and graduation rates, closing achievement gaps, and changing lives. In September 2014, the college’s Leader College status was recertified.
Renton Technical College is proud to have been named as one of the 2015 top 10 community colleges in the nation for Community College Excellence by the Aspen Institute. The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate practices and policies that significantly improve college student outcomes. The college is honored to serve the citizens of our community.