In 1965, the citizens of Central Texas joined together to authorize the building of a community college that would serve the western section of Bell County; Burnet, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Lampasas, Llano, Mason, Mills and San Saba counties; portions of McCulloch and Williamson counties; as well as Fort Hood and the state correctional facilities in Gatesville. The campus was constructed on 560 acres of land donated by Fort Hood through the Department of Education and with funds supplied through a local $2 million bond issue. Central Texas College, under Section 130.04 of the Texas Education Code, opened its doors with an initial enrollment of 2,068 students in the fall of 1967. The number of students and the locations of offerings have steadily increased since that time. Central Texas College (CTC) has maintained its institutional accreditation status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges since first being awarded accreditation in 1969 and was reaffirmed most recently in June 2015.

CTC initiated on-site programs on Fort Hood in 1970 and in Europe in 1974. CTC’s success at Fort Hood and Europe led to the explosive expansion of CTC’s locations including Fort Leonard Wood (Missouri), South Korea and the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific Fleets in 1976. By the early 1980s CTC offered programs to military personnel stationed in the Pacific Command, Alaska and Panama as well as throughout the Continental United States. This expansion occurred locally as well with the initiation of instructional programs and services for the Texas Department of Corrections in Gatesville in 1976.

In 1970, CTC began to offer broadcast telecourses to the citizens of Central Texas. College credit classes were first delivered by video conference in the service area in 1994 and from the Central Campus in 1996, enabling area high schools and other colleges in the geographical region to receive CTC courses. At the same time, Central Campus faculty began to enrich traditionally taught courses with professionally produced multimedia materials and with materials selected from the Internet. CTC taught its first online course in 1998. In 1998, CTC was invited to list its online courses in the inventory of the Electronic Campus of the Southern Regional Educational Consortium. CTC’s membership in the Sloan Consortium was approved in 1999. In 2000, the PricewaterhouseCoopers firm invited CTC to become an educational partner in the new Army University Access Online (eArmyU) project for the soldiers in the United States Army. Entire associate degrees were available online for the first time in the spring of 2001. CTC continues expanding its distance education offerings and delivery methods and is a leader among two-year institutions in providing distance education courses and degree programs.
In 2014, Killeen Independent School District (KISD) applied for Texas Education Agency approval to partner with CTC on the creation of an Early College High School. Early College High School (ECHS) is a dual credit model where students work on obtaining a high school diploma at the same time that they’re working on an associate degree. The goal is to finish both by the time they graduate with a high school diploma. Approval was granted and ECHS was launched on Central Campus in 2015 with a cohort of 150 students and 150 enrollments. All students work toward an AA Interdisciplinary Studies degree, and tuition and textbooks are paid by the district, KISD. Initially, only juniors and seniors participated in this program, but it expanded to include sophomores and grew to 1,265 students and 5,680 enrollments by the 2020-2021 school year. The inaugural ECHS graduating class of 113 students finished in Spring 2019, followed by 125 in 2020 and 145 in Spring 2021 with many in each class graduating with honors.

Today, CTC consists of administrative units referred to as: Central Campus and Service Area, Continental, Europe, Fort Hood and the Navy. Of these, the Central Campus and Service Area and Fort Hood operate within the state of Texas. Instruction is provided to a variety of students to include military, civilians and incarcerated students.

Students enrolled in CTC may select a degree plan from 69 Associate of Arts degree programs, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science degree programs and Associate of Applied Science degree programs. In addition, students choosing to earn a certificate may enroll in any of the 90 certificate programs. Campuses may offer the full range of degree programs and services or only those identified through local needs assessments. CTC also provides a wide range of education and training opportunities for those students who do not select a degree or certificate option. Committed to serving all students, CTC provides comprehensive programs and services for special populations: disability support services, single parent/homemaker support services and nontraditional career support services as well as tutoring. To meet occupational training needs, CTC offers a variety of credit and noncredit professional development and job-related skills programs such as basic literacy, leadership skills, foreign language skills and occupational skills programs.