South Carolina brings a lot to the table when it comes to education: a comprehensive technical college system, public universities with a wealth of programs and degrees, and private universities that cater to everything from religious affiliation to desired career. Tech tools for online learning programs in South Carolina include teleclasses, Web chats and interactive tutorials.
South Carolina has 16 technical community colleges that belong to the South Carolina Technical College System. The system is widespread and popular, with an annual enrollment of 138,150 across all campuses. The 15 fields of study can be categorized into five subject areas: agriculture, food, and natural resources; education and training; information technology; marketing, sales, and services; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Despite its name, the South Carolina Technical College System also features non-technical programs, including early childhood education and a general associate degree in arts.
South Carolina’s technical colleges serve many adults returning to school, either a few years after graduating high school, or well into their careers. In fact, 43 percent of students attending community college in the state are age 25 or older. A special program called Apprenticeship Carolina benefits both students and local businesses. This division provides information and technical assistance to South Carolina employers so that they can create registered apprenticeship programs. Through this, students get practical on-site training and job experience, and employers can train qualified workers in specialty fields.
The University of South Carolina (USC) has four community colleges. At USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union, students can earn many credits toward a bachelor’s degree at USC, including required core curriculum and courses specific to a chosen major. The USC community colleges also offer a program where students can earn a bachelor’s on their community college campus while working in conjunction with another USC school. Degrees available in this program are business administration, elementary or early childhood education, liberal studies, organizational leadership and nursing.
|Greenville Technical College||Greenville||Experiential learning programs with BMW, Michelin and GE|
|Midlands Technical College||Columbia||Offers nearly 100 career-oriented programs|
|Trident Technical College||Charleston||Unique elements include aeronautical studies, a culinary institute and film, media and visual arts programs|
|University of South Carolina Lancaster||Lancaster||Offers University 101 class to ease the transition from high school to college|
|University of South Carolina Sumter||Sumter||Ranked a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine|
South Carolina has a number of public universities committed to offering students quality educations and a wide variety of degree programs at an affordable price. The largest is the University of South Carolina (USC), a system that includes a flagship campus in Columbia and three additional university campuses, plus the community colleges mentioned above. USC Columbia has an enrollment of 31,964, including over 24,000 undergraduate students. The school offers nearly 200 master’s and Ph.D programs in addition to its extensive undergraduate offerings for students with wide-ranging career aspirations. USC Columbia reports that it is a top producer of U.S. Fulbright recipients, the #1 public university honors college, and a Best Value Public College as ranked by Kiplinger’s and Princeton Review.
For those looking for a public education on a smaller scale than at the state’s mega universities, USC’s other campuses may fit the bill. USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate offer similar — though less numerous — academic programs, and a more personal setting.
Beyond USC, there are many other public school options in South Carolina. Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, proudly describes itself as a highly regarded science and engineering-oriented public university. It offers colleges of agriculture, forestry, and life; architecture, arts, and humanities; business and behavioral sciences; engineering and science; and health, education, and human development. Over 400 student clubs and organizations, 50 club sports and 17 intramural sports, and even 18 holes of golf round out the options in academics and student life.
South Carolina has a strong military history that is reflected in another public college, The Citadel. Located in Charleston, the military college of South Carolina has around 2,300 undergraduates who make up the Carolina Corps of Cadets, as well as 1,000 civilian graduate students. Undergraduates live and study under a classical military system that stresses principled leadership and character training. One third of graduates go on to accept military commissions.
Many other public universities provide additional options for students in South Carolina, including a medical university and several master’s universities and research colleges.
|School||Location||Did you know?|
|The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina||Charleston||Leads South Carolina public colleges and universities in its four-year graduation rate of 62.4% (vs. national rate of about 30%)|
|Clemson University||Clemson||Primary research collaborator for the local Greenville Hospital System, and research administrator for all GHS research|
|College of Charleston||Charleston||Offers 57 majors and 73 minors from astrophysics to dance to tourism management|
|Medical University of South Carolina||Charleston||University with a medical center and six colleges for the education of health professionals, biomedical scientists and other health related personnel|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia (main campus), Aiken, Beaufort, and Spartanburg||Offers award-winning sports and entertainment management graduate programs|
From seminaries to medical schools, research universities to law schools, South Carolina provides a wealth of options when it comes to private colleges. The state’s private schools tend to be on the smaller side, most with fewer than 2,000 students and only a handful with more than 3,000. However, with many small schools clustered together, many of South Carolina’s cities have a college-town atmosphere with vibrant cultural offerings.
The largest private school in the state is Limestone College, a Christian liberal arts college in Gaffney, South Carolina. It has its roots as a women’s college, but became coeducational in the 1960s. The school describes the keys to its academics: 80 percent of classes taught by full-time faculty and staff, and a low 12.5-1 faculty to student ratio. The school primarily offers bachelor’s degrees across 25 academic departments, along with an online MBA program.
Several South Carolina schools have special focuses, including law, osteopathic medicine, chiropractic, and bible or religious studies. The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) provides osteopathic medical education to several hundred students each year. The school is dedicated to educating health care providers for rural and medically-underserved populations. The Spartanburg campus collaborates with Wofford College, allowing students to use the Wofford library and participate in Wofford student activities, while being educated by VCOM.
Another small special-focus school is Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, part of Lenoir-Rhyne University. With around 150 students, this school provides a highly personalized religious education, with master’s degrees in divinity, Christian ministry, arts religion and sacred theology.
|School||Location||Points of interest|
|Charleston Southern University||Charleston||Christian university with 45 majors and 6 master’s degrees including education and nursing|
|Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine||Spartanburg||Simulation and educational technology center mimics critical care environments for education and testing|
|Furman University||Greenville||Offers NCAA Division I athletics, a center for sustainability, and lakes and trails on campus|
|Limestone College||Gaffney||Ten campus buildings are included on the National Register of Historic Places|
|Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary||Columbia||Student housing includes traditional dorms and family housing in townhome-style apartments|
Community colleges, public universities and private colleges in South Carolina all have online and distance learning options for students who need more flexible schedules or who can’t come to a campus. Nearly every school offers some form of online or distance option.
The South Carolina Technical College System offers distance learning in various formats and instructional methodologies. Some are fully online through a personal computer and can be completed at the student’s convenience. Others are teleclasses that occur at a set day and time, where the students and teacher can interact through Web chats. Online courses at the Technical College of the Lowcountry use the Blackboard learning system, where students can submit assignments, participate in discussions, and access learning materials posted by the professor and classmates. Midlands Technical College’s online class program, Desire2Learn, offers interactive tutorials for students new to online learning to help familiarize them with the technology, requirements, and procedures for participation in distance learning.
The University of South Carolina has an entire college dedicated to online learning: Palmetto College. With Palmetto College, students can earn online bachelor’s degrees while taking advantage of the resources of the entire USC system. Financial aid may be available for qualified students in the online program. Graduate degrees are an online option for working professionals who want to advance their future career opportunities without having to leave their current jobs. Programs include master’s degrees in education, health information technology and public health, and a doctoral program in education curriculum and instruction.
Charleston Southern University offers a bachelor’s and master’s in organizational management through online courses, and the bachelor’s was rated one of the best online programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2014. A number of bachelor’s degree programs are available, and transfer and military credits are typically accepted. Master’s programs can be completed online in as little as one year, depending on a student’s schedule.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce lists several major business sectors for the state: aerospace; alternative energy; automotive; business and pharmaceuticals; distribution; food processing; forestry and wood products; plastics and chemicals; and recreation. Manufacturing drives growth in the state, in a wide number of product areas from aerospace to appliances. In the field of aerospace, the state is home to many companies including Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Honeywell, and 3D Systems. Boeing also has facilities in the state. Many automotive plans are located in the state as well, such as BMW, Michelin, Daimler AG and American LaFrance. These and other companies point to a need for skilled engineers and technicians.
Agriculture is a key industry in South Carolina, as well. With over 90 percent of the land in the state as farm or forest land, the industry creates and supports 200,000 jobs. Graduates with knowledge of everything from farm equipment to microbiology can use their skills to great advantage in this industry. Occupations with high growth projected in the next several years include health care support, education and training, business and financial opportunities, and construction and extraction — and many of these fields require an educated workforce.
University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, South Carolina
Columbia CollegeColumbia, South Carolina
Trident Technical CollegeCharleston, South Carolina
Clemson UniversityClemson, South Carolina
Greenville Technical CollegeGreenville, South Carolina
Midlands Technical CollegeWest Columbia, South Carolina
College of CharlestonCharleston, South Carolina
Coastal Carolina UniversityConway, South Carolina
Horry-Georgetown Technical CollegeConway, South Carolina
Tri-County Technical CollegePendleton, South Carolina