What is APEC?

The Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification program, called APEC, is ideal for career changers and employees of our partnering school districts who are interested in teacher certification but need a program that supports working adults. The APEC Program prepares our students through coursework, classroom experiences, and mentoring to become successful classroom teachers. 

Leading the Way 

Columbia College is leading the way in alternative certification in South Carolina. Our APEC Program was one of three South Carolina initiatives recognized for its effectiveness in improving student outcomes in public schools. It was recently named a finalist for the 2020 Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award presented by Furman University’s Riley Institute. Learn more about this recognition.

Who's Eligible? 

  • Anyone who holds a 4-year degree, regardless of content area. 
  • Employed as a teacher assistant in one of the following districts: Fairfield County, Kershaw County, Lexington 1, Lexington-Richland 5, Richland One, Richland 2, and Sumter County.
  • Cannot have been enrolled in another alternative certification program. 

How to Enroll

Check out our enrollment steps and timeline, so you know what to expect during the APEC enrollment process.

  • We recommend attending an information session.
  • Complete your application by February 24, 2023.
  • Qualified applicants will be invited to interview March 1 – 15, 2023.
  • APEC Fellows are selected and notified by March 15, 2023.
  • Accepted APEC Fellows will attend program orientation in April of 2023.
  • Summer Session Module 1 begins on May 1.

APEC Information Session

Want to learn more about the APEC Center?  Click here to watch our most recent information session, or join us at our upcoming virtual information sessions on October 18, November 7, or November 29. Find more details here. 

APEC Center Handbook

Professional Learning Series

The APEC Center hosts a professional learning series called Polishing Your Performance (PYP) in which experienced educators share their expertise and experiences with our APEC Fellows, Columbia College students, and employees of our partner districts. 

Check out the newest installment of Polishing your Performance below. Math-ology: Student Edition with Laresha McDaniel

View Previous PYP Series

  • Response to Intervention, featuring Dr. Dana Richardson. Watch now.
  • REVIVED! Finding the Passion and Power of Teaching, featuring Dr. Akil Ross. Watch now.
  • Teacher Leadership & Advocacy, featuring Patrick Kelly. Watch now


Have questions about the process or the program? Connect with us directly at apeccenter@columbiasc.edu.