About Helena College


Helena College supports our diverse community by providing the paths and tools necessary to assist learners in achieving their educational and career goals.


Helena College aspires to empower our students through impactful, affordable, lifelong education that is responsive to the needs of our community in ways that are enriching, collaborative, and equitable.

Guiding Principles

The guiding principles serve as pillars to our strategic plan and frame the way we live our mission and hope to accomplish our vision. They were developed following collaborative campus-wide listening sessions in spring 2021

  • Effectiveness: We utilize a variety of assessment practices to ensure continuous improvement and mission fulfillment.   
  • Stewardship: We act on behalf of stakeholders in the responsible planning and management of organizational resources while fostering a culture of integrity and accountability across our community.
  • Impact: We collaboratively create responsive educational opportunities
  • Equity: We strive to foster a positive and welcoming climate where we value, include, and support all at Helena College

Strategic Plan

View the full 2022-2027 Strategic Plan

Institutional Competencies

Institutional learning outcomes or institutional competencies represent learning that is central to the academic, professional and personal success of all Helena College students. The competencies encompass the fundamental knowledge and skills that all students should achieve and demonstrate upon completion of any degree or credential earned from the institution. The competencies align with the College's mission, are integrated within general education and program-specific curricula, and are introduced, reinforced and assessed at the course level.

Helena College Institutional Competencies

History of Helena College


The Helena College University of Montana, formerly the Helena College of Technology and the Helena Vocational-Technical Center, is founded in 1939 when the Office of Public Instruction designates five training centers for Montana. The Helena Center is the only one to accept the challenge.

Helena High School Aviation 1938

1940s - 1960s UM-Helena Building

During World War II, thousands of war production workers are trained for shipyards, aircraft factories, and Air Force bases, as well as for other large and small production enterprises. At the same time, preflight training is conducted for students at Carroll College under a Navy training contract. Following World War II, courses are updated for veterans from all over Montana, as well as for local high school students. The curriculum expands to include auto mechanics, machine shop, welding, and electronics, in addition to the aviation program. During the mid-1950s, diesel mechanics, building trades, and pilot training are added. Additional programs are added during the 1960s, such as practical nursing, agricultural mechanics, data processing, and other business and office courses.



A new building is completed at 1115 North Roberts Street. The building is known as the Donaldson campus, named in honor of the late Gene Donaldson, a long-time education supporter. The campus encompasses nearly 108,000 square feet of classroom, shop, and other instructional-related space.

Instructor in historic photo


The Montana State Legislature reaffirms the state designation of five vocational training centers established by statutory law. A portion of the original building in Helena is still used being today for the Aviation Maintenance Technology program.


The Montana Legislature authorizes a major renovation project at the airport facility.


The Montana Legislature authorizes the transfer of governance of the state’s five Vocational-Technical Centers (in Billings, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula) to the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education. This transfer ends joint governance by the local school districts and the state Office of Public Instruction.


The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education restructures the Montana University System, which results in the Helena Vocational-Technical Center becoming affiliated with The University of Montana. The institution is renamed the Helena College of Technology of The University of Montana.


Construction of the Student Center is finished. Located at the Donaldson campus, the facility includes food service, a bookstore, and a lounge area. The project is initiated by the Student Senate.

2007 Donaldson Campus 2007

A $10 million expansion and renovation project was completed at the Airport and Donaldson Campuses. The expansion adds 21% more space to the Donaldson Campus, including a new library, lecture hall, science labs, student services facilities, and a multi-purpose room for continuing education and academic instruction. As part of the expansion, the Montana Arts Council commissioned Helena artist Richard Swanson to complete a sculpture entitled “Soar” near the new main entrance. Renovations of the existing space are completed, increasing classroom space and providing facilities for the Nursing and Fire and Rescue programs. The Airport Campus is expanded by 24% to include a new facility for the Automotive Technology program and additional space for the Machine Tool program. The Construction Technology program is relocated to the Airport campus. The Montana Legislature approved funding for a further $5.1 million expansion of the Airport Campus to provide more space for the Welding Technology program. Construction was completed in the Spring of 2011.


Helena College begins offering 2nd year options in the Welding Technology and Machine Tool Technology programs as well as new program offerings: The Associate of Arts in Mental Health Direct Care, The Interior Space Planning & Design Certificate, Evening-After Hours Degree Program: (Evening, Online & Weekend Courses) Associate of Arts in Business Technology/Associate of Applied Science in Small Business Management Technology.

2009 - 2011

Construction begins on the Airport Campus. As part of the expansion, the campus added a 10,000 square foot welding lab with 30 individual welding booths. The remodel included replacing older heating equipment and water heaters with new energy efficient equipment. The new “dyno test” room allows students to safely test engines for torque and power. Renovations also included a new makeup air and exhaust system in our Diesel lab, new compressed air system which includes two new compressors which supply the college with more air volume and pressure.


As part of the Montana University System’s (MUS) College!NOW initiative to expand the comprehensive mission of its two-year colleges and programs, the Montana Board of Regents voted in June of 2012 to approve renaming Montana’s five Colleges of Technology.  Helena College University of Montana was the name chosen for Helena’s two-year college.

Office of the Dean/CEO
Phone: 406-447-6926

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