The Aparri School of Arts and Trades (ASAT) was established in 1928 through Republic Act (RA) No. 948 as a vocational secondary school called Aparri Vocational School (AVS). During those early years, classes were held in rented buildings and canvass tents.

In 1938, due to increasing enrollment, the Provincial Government constructed buildings for AVS which were unfortunately burned down but later on rebuilt. Three decades later, in 1958, AVS was nationalized and renamed as Aparri Vocational High School (AVHS). On June 22, 1963, AVHS was finally converted into the Aparri School of Arts and Trades (ASAT) through RA 3732 with the same curriculum.

In the 1970s, ASAT offered a course on Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology (BSIT) with different major subjects/areas and two-year technical courses (i.e., Machine Shop Practice, Automotive Mechanics, Applied Electronics, Practical Electricity, Garments Trades and Food Technology aside from its regular trade secondary education program. However, the creation of the Cagayan State University (CSU) in June 1978 through Presidential Decree (PD) 1436 effected the transfer of ASAT’s BSIT course, staff and facilities to the University. Nevertheless, ASAT obtained its assessment and accreditation to offer basic secondary education and two-year technical-vocational education and training courses in 1986.

The establishment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) by RA7796 in August 1994 significantly weakened ASAT as the prime vocational high school in northern Cagayan. This was because ASAT was absorbed by TESDA by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which took effect on August 24, 2000. This caused the transfer of qualified manpower and physical resources to tesda. Those teachers that were not absorbed by tesda were distributed to lallo NHS maura annex and lallo NHS bulala annex. Hence, the 5.6 hectare ASAT campus was mostly transferred to TESDA, leaving only one hectare for ASAT. Likewise, the former 14 buildings of ASAT were also apportioned where 10 buildings went to TESDA and only 4 buildings to ASAT. At this time DECS and TESDA used the school name ASAT which confused visitors, potential enrollees and correspondence.

In November 2001, DECS and TESDA again signed a MOA for DECS (then renamed as DepEd) to assume jurisdiction over secondary education programs including the facilities and budget which were transferred to TESDA-ASAT. This drastically changed the intent of the first MOA transferring the whole ASAT to TESDA.

Finally, in October 2012, RA 10227 changed the name of TESDA-Aparri School of Arts and Trades into Aparri  Polytechnic Institute (API). This enabled the original ASAT to regain and solely maintain its name but without its original property.