1937—Hamden L. Forkner of Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, proposes to business teachers across the country that a national organization is needed for the thousands of business clubs in the nation's high schools and colleges.
1940—The National Council for Business Education (now known as the National Business Education Association) sponsors the proposed student organization. Committees are appointed to formulate the organization's general plans. The name "Future Business Leaders of America" is selected for the organization.
1942—An experimental chapter is chartered at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, on February 3. A second chapter is started two days later in St. Albans, West Virginia. The first collegiate chapter is chartered at the University of Northern Iowa on February 10. By the end of the year, 39 chapters are added. Over the next three and one-half years, another 38 chapters join.
1946—The United Business Education Association assumes sponsorship of FBLA. Headquarters office for FBLA is established at the National Education Association Center in Washington, D.C.
1947—Iowa becomes the first FBLA state chapter. Indiana and Ohio quickly follow. Within the next three years, FBLA state chapters total ten.
1958—The postsecondary division, Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), is created.
1969—FBLA-PBL is granted independent status as a nonprofit educational student association under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). FBLA-PBL acquires its own board of directors and full-time staff.
1973—FBLA-PBL appoints Edward D. Miller as the association's first full-time executive director.
1979—The board of directors approves establishment of the FBLA-PBL Alumni Division.
1981—The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation purchases 1.6 acres of land in the Center for Educational Associations, Reston, Virginia, as the site for a future FBLA-PBL National Center.
1987—FBLA annual membership tops 200,000 for the first time.
1989—The Alumni Division is renamed as the Professional Division to include alumni and professional businesspersons.
1990—The groundbreaking ceremony is held for the FBLA-PBL National Center.
1991—The grand opening of the 11,600 square foot FBLA-PBL National Center is held.
1994—The FBLA–Middle Level division is formed for students in grades 5–9.
1997—Edward D. Miller retires as president and chief executive officer of the national association. Jean Buckley is appointed president and chief executive officer.
2001—FBLA-PBL National Center mortgage is retired.