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 is the first Registered Apprenticeship Program for educators and the first alternative program to use a teaching-residency model. Learn more about this recognition.


Qualified individuals must meet the following requirements in order to apply and be accepted into the APEC Program:

  • Employment with one of the following school districts: Fairfield County, Kershaw County, Lexington 1, Lexington-Richland 5, Richland One, Richland 2, and Sumter County 
  • OR a former graduate of Benedict, Morris or Columbia College  
  • Obtain a 4-year degree in any content area

How to Enroll

Please follow these steps in order to enroll in our APEC program:

1. Complete your application by February 28, 2023 and submit the following materials to documents@columbiasc.edu: 

  • Official transcripts from any institution in which you've enrolled.
  • Three signed letters of recommendation, two of which should be from a school/distrcit personnel.
  • A writing sample answering the following prompt: In an essay of no more than 750 words, describe the personal and professional experiences that have inspired you to pursue a career in education. Why do you feel that teaching is the right profession for you? What do you believe are the qualities of an effective teacher? In what ways do you demonstrate these qualities? 

2. Qualified applicants will be invited to interview March 1 – 15, 2023.

3. APEC Fellows are selected and notified by March 15, 2023.

4. Accepted APEC Fellows will attend program orientation in April of 2023.

5. 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 session on 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.