In 1966, the State Board of Education approved the formation of the Area I – Vocational-Technical School with Calmar as its administrative headquarters. This included the public school districts in Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties, as well as sections of Bremer, Buchanan and Mitchell counties.

On September 5, 1967, career education programs in Calmar began with 170 students enrolled in 12 programs. The school also broke ground on construction of college facilities on the 210-acre Calmar campus, which now include Darwin L. Schrage Administration Building, Max Clark Hall, Wilder Business Center, Industrial Technologies, Student Center, Agricultural Technologies, Child Development Center and Iowa’s Dairy Center, a $4.1 million dairy education center and applied research laboratory built in 2000.

The merged Area I Vocational-Technical School was enlarged in 1970 to include the public school districts in Dubuque and Delaware counties and sections of Jones and Jackson counties. In 1971, career education programs in Dubuque began at several locations throughout the city including the Roshek building.

In April 1979, the Area I Vocational-Technical School changed its name to Northeast Iowa Technical Institute. This same year, the Peosta campus was established. The Peosta campus currently includes the main building, the Gas Utilities and Construction building, a child development center, the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety and most recently the Industrial Technologies building, which opened in August 2010.

In 1988, the College was authorized by the Iowa Board of Education to award the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as diplomas and certificates. The College also changed its name from Northeast Iowa Technical Institute to Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC).

NICC has since expanded to include service locations in Cresco, Dubuque, New Hampton, Manchester, Oelwein and Waukon. The purpose of these locations is to bring education and training to students where they live and to serve as a catalyst for economic development. In 2008, the Town Clock Business Center in Dubuque was expanded to include a one-stop center with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA).

In December of 2007, taxpayers passed, by supermajority, a $35 million renovation and construction bond levy for NICC. The funds supported construction and renovation of the industrial technologies buildings on each campus, the student center on the Calmar campus, renovations to the health and science labs and a new library on the Peosta campus, Darwin L. Schrage Administration building in Calmar, and the Wilder Business Center, which opened in January 2013.

In fall 2011, the Aspen Institute Community College Excellence Program named NICC to the top ten of community colleges in the nation for the College’s successful graduate outcomes, academic excellence and community impact.

Northeast Iowa Community College district voters approved a continuation of a $39 million bond levy in September 2018. The funding supported renovations to the Peosta campus Main Building and Max Clark Hall on the Calmar campus, and updates to educational programming and services, infrastructure, security and technology.

On July 1, 2022, Dr. Herbert Riedel began his tenure as the new president of Northeast Iowa Community College. Under Dr. Riedel’s leadership, the College continued its mission to provide in-demand education and training focused on improving lives, driving business success and advancing community vitality.

On Oct. 16, 2023, Northeast Iowa Community College named current Vice President for Finance and Administration, David Dahms, as the College’s acting President.