Northwest College opened in 1946 with nearly 100 full- and part-time students and three instructors who met in classrooms borrowed from the public school district.
Initially called the University of Wyoming Northwest Center, it was established through an agreement with the University of Wyoming and Park County School District No. 1. University support was discontinued in 1950.
In 1953 the name was changed to Northwest Community College, and in 1968 the college's tax base was expanded to include all of Park County. The name changed once more to Northwest College in 1989. Over the years, the quality of instruction matured, and a residential campus developed.