Nantong Vocational University is one of the first universities that engage in higher vocational education in China. During its forty running years, it has gone through merger and integration for several times. The starting milestone of this university can be traced back to 1973. At that time, for the urgent need of technical personnel, institutions of machinery, electronic devices and others established their own worker’s schools successively. With the transition between scattered school running to a centralized school running，some of the schools were merged into Nantong Vocational University in the year of 1982.
In 1980s, with the progress of reformation and opening to the outside world, the economy in coastal areas developed swiftly, which resulted in an urgent demand for large quantities of technical applied talents working in the first line of production, management and services. Under this background, a group of vocational universities closely related with the industry developments emerged.. On May 9th, 1983, after the approval of the People's Government of Jiangsu Province and the record of the Ministry of Education, Nantong Vocational University was founded as a comprehensive full-time ordinary institution of higher learning. Afterwards, Nantong Textile Worker University and Nantong Food Worker Technical Secondary School merged into Nantong Vocational University in February 1997 and June 1999 respectively. On February 5th, 2004, Nantong Technician University also became one part of this university. The university’s name, “Nantong Vocational University” is still in use today.