Until as recently as 2006, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) was known as Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI). The change in name was necessitated by the desire of the college board to show that what had began as a regional vocational institute had developed into an institution capable of delivering quality educational services not only regionally but also nationally and to also reflect its growth into a community college. The institution started as a trade school in 1965 with the stated aim of providing marketable skills to adult learners. Beginning with a class of 150 students, TVI expanded quickly and in 1979 obtained legislative approval to become an independent school.
The college obtained its accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1978 through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).