Sowela Technical Community College

Arts & Humanities Building

SOWELA Technical Community College is a comprehensive community college located in Lake Charles, Louisiana with an additional instructional site in Jennings, Louisiana.


In 1962, the name was changed to SOWELA (Southwest Louisiana) Technical Institute due to the expansion of facilities, growth of the student body, increased curricula, and the need for additional technical education.

In 1971, SOWELA Technical Institute gained significant recognition with accreditation from the Commission on Occupational Education (COE) Institutions of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a prestigious educational accrediting agency in the United States.

SOWELA Technical Institute moved to its present location near Chennault International Airport on the east side of Lake Charles, La. in January 1980. The institute was renamed SOWELA Regional Technical Institute in March 1990, as it served as the regional center for Region Five. By the 1990s, SOWELA was among the largest and most progressive post-secondary technical colleges in the state of Louisiana.

On July 27, 1995, the school was renamed again to Louisiana Technical College - SOWELA Campus, and in 2003, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors changed the status of Louisiana Technical College - SOWELA Campus to SOWELA Technical Community College, giving it the status of a technical community college.

The College currently offers associate degree, technical diploma, or certificate awards in 23 different programs that span such demand industries as petrochemical, automotive, aviation, culinary arts, graphic arts, nursing and allied health, and office systems. In the Summer of 2014, SOWELA introduced the 16-week Fast Track Process Technology (PTEC) program, which provides a compressed pathway to an Associate of Applied Science in Process Technology to qualified students who already hold an Associate or higher-level degree.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Lake Charles campus has embarked on an aggressive campus revitalization initiative that has resulted in three new buildings - The Phillips66 Process Technology building, the Arts and Humanities building, and the Nursing and Allied Health building. A new $20 million Regional Training Facility and an $8 million Student Services building will be completed on the Lake Charles campus by the end of 2016. Replacing the Morgan Smith Instructional Site in Jennings, a new $10 million facility will be built in 2016 adjacent to the Jennings High School in Jefferson Davis Parish.

SOWELA’s fund raising efforts are supported by the SOWELA Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 established to help raise and manage private sector funds for strategic initiatives which include scholarship support for students and facility and technological improvements.

The school’s mascot is the Flying Tigers, a salute to World War II General Clair Chennault’s 1st American Volunteer Group and their P-40 aircraft adorned with the famous shark-faced motif. SOWELA’s Lake Charles campus is situated on land formerly utilized as Chennault Air Force Base.

Dr. Neil Aspinwall is the Chancellor of the college.


Associate Degree

  • Accounting Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemical Laboratory Technology
  • Computer Networking Specialist
  • Computer Software Specialist
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Drafting and Design Technology
  • General Studies
  • Graphic Art
  • Industrial Instrumentation Technology
  • Office Systems Technology
  • Process Technology

Associate of Science

  • Nursing


  • Automotive Technology
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Culinary Arts and Occupations
  • General Apprenticeship - Electrical
  • General Apprenticeship - Plumbing
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Practical Nursing
  • Welding


  • Nurse Assistant

Workforce Programs

Student Organizations

Notable alumni


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