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History and Accreditation


In 1939, the residents of the La Junta School District Number 11 voted that bonds be used to finance a junior college building to be administered by the Board of Education. On September 15, 1941, “La Junta Junior College” opened its doors. The college was operated by the school district. By state statute, the college was classified as a continuation school.

In 1949 an election was held on a county-wide basis to consider the proposal that the college become an independent unit supported by the county rather than by the local school district. This proposal was approved by the voters and the college was renamed, “Otero County Junior College.” The elected board, the Junior College Committee, did not desire to assume control of the college then, and it continued to operate as a continuation school. On January 1, 1956, the college governing board voted to take over the existing facilities from the La Junta School District, and the college changed its name to “Otero Junior College.” The college became primarily a transfer institution emphasizing the first two years of a four-year degree program.

In 1967, the 46th General Assembly of the State of Colorado passed the Community College Act, a law creating a state system of junior colleges to be governed by the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE). Existing junior colleges were given the option of joining the system with the approval of qualified voters in their respective junior college district. That same year, the college received accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

On February 20, 1968, Otero County voters unanimously favored joining the state system. The college officially became a state two-year college on July 1, 1968. With the creation of the state system of community colleges, funds for establishing and expanding occupational programs were increased, and Otero Junior College became a more comprehensive junior college.

In the Fall of 1969, Otero Junior College was designated as an area vocational-technical school, expanding its offerings in vocational education to public schools in the college’s tri-county service area as the Central Arkansas Valley Occupational Center. In the Spring of 1993 this partnership was discontinued.


Historic Macdonald Hall


Accreditation - Certification - Affiliation

Otero Junior College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Commission can be reached at: 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60602-1411. Telephone: 312-263-0456 | 800-621-7440 | Fax: 312-263-7462

The Nursing Assistant and Practical Nursing programs are approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. The ADN Registered Nursing Program is approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste 8-50 Atlanta, GA 30326 404-975-5000.

Otero Junior College is an institutional member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, the Association of Community College Business Officers, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers.


La Junta is located in the Central Arkansas River Valley on U.S. Highway 50 in southeastern Colorado. It is the county seat of Otero County and has a population of about 7,000. Located in a rich, irrigated farming community, it also has several manufacturing industries. Major employers in the area include: Oliver Manufacturing, DeBourgh Manufacturing Company, Southeast Colorado Power, Falcon Industries, Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, and Lewis Bolt and Nut. La Junta is also a hub for livestock and produce markets.

The people of La Junta support many churches, fraternal organizations, and service clubs. The public library, financed by the city and by endowment, is one of the outstanding institutions of its kind in southeastern Colorado.

The cultural interests of the city are reflected in the programs of the Community Concert series, numerous art exhibits, the internationally renowned Koshare Dancers, The Picketwire Players theatre group, various creative writing and art groups, and community club programs.

City parks, located near the college, provide varied recreational facilities. Basketball, tennis courts, and a skateboard facility are open at any time. Numerous picnic and outdoor recreation facilities are available at the historic City Park, located just 4 blocks north of the college.


Otero Junior College is Focused on Your Future