Northwest-Shoals Community College is a comprehensive two-year public institution of higher learning providing technical, academic and lifelong educational opportunities for the northwest Alabama Region. The College is part of the Alabama Community College System, a statewide system of postsecondary colleges, governed by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees. Northwest-Shoals derives its original charter from the Alabama legislature through the Alabama Trade School and Junior College Authority Act of 1963.
The Northwest-Shoals service area is comprised of the counties of Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence and the western portion of Winston. The College operates two campuses – the Shoals Campus in Muscle Shoals and the Phil Campbell Campus in Phil Campbell.
The Phil Campbell Campus was founded in 1963 as Northwest Alabama State Junior College to provide access to postsecondary education for citizens of the rural counties of northwest Alabama. It was the first public junior college in what was to become the Alabama Community College System and was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges in 1967. The Shoals Campus, founded in 1966 as Joe Wheeler State Trade School, provided occupational and technical training.
Both institutions recognized that the narrowness of their focus did not meet their constituents’ educational needs. In 1973, Muscle Shoals State Technical Institute enhanced its curriculum and obtained accreditation from the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions. In 1977, with the approval of the Alabama State Board of Education, Northwest Alabama State Junior College established a branch campus in Tuscumbia primarily to offer first and second-year college courses.
In 1989, the Alabama State Board of Education created Northwest Alabama Community College through the consolidation of Northwest Alabama State Junior College in Phil Campbell and Northwest Alabama State Technical College in Hamilton. Shoals Community College was created through consolidating Muscle Shoals State Technical College and the Tuscumbia Campus of Northwest Alabama State Junior College. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted accreditation to Northwest Alabama Community College in 1990. Shoals Community College received its accreditation in 1991.
Northwest-Shoals Community College was formed in 1993 by the Alabama State Board of Education through the merger of Northwest Alabama Community College’s Phil Campbell Campus and Shoals Community College. The merger was enacted in order to provide more effective and efficient educational services to residents of rural northwest Alabama and the Shoals area.
Additionally, the merger provided business and industry with a single focal point for addressing educational and training needs and provided a single workforce development center to assist communities with economic development activities. The merger was reviewed and approved by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Reaffirmation of accreditation was granted by SACS in 1999 and again in 2009. Northwest-Shoals Community College, composed of two campuses, has adequate physical facilities to support an environment in which academic, social, physical, and emotional development may be fostered. The two campuses are located in Muscle Shoals and Phil Campbell. The campus in Muscle Shoals is designated as the Shoals Campus. The Shoals is a two-county region comprised of Colbert and Lauderdale counties.
Phil Campbell Campus
The Phil Campbell Campus is located approximately 30 miles south of the Shoals campus. It is easily accessible from either U.S. Highway 43 or Alabama Highway 5/AL Hwy 13. Located on a scenic 100-acre site one mile southwest of the town of Phil Campbell, the campus provides academic and applied technology programs and a full complement of student and community services. The Bevill Fine Arts Center is among the premier cultural centers in northwest Alabama and the home of numerous concerts, musicals and special events for both the College and local communities.
The 110-acre Shoals Campus houses academic and career technical programs. The Patriot Center, a multipurpose facility, offers a seating capacity of approximately 1,300 people. A child development center is available to students and the community with a qualified staff to care for the children. Also housed on the Shoals Campus are health studies programs, science labs, special programs such as Adult Education, Alabama Career Essentials and the Alabama Technology Network.