Leading the Way 

Columbia College is leading the way in alternative certification in South Carolina. The College received a five-year grant from the SC Commission on Higher Education to research and develop a quality alternative certification program. 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. 

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.

How to Enroll

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

1. We recommend attending an information session.
2. Complete your application by February 28.
3. Qualified applicants will be invited to interview the week of March 8th.
4. APEC Fellows are selected by April 1.
5. APEC Fellows attend program orientation in April of 2021.
6. Summer Session Module 1 begins on May 3.

APEC Center Handbook

APEC Information Session

Want to learn more about the APEC Center? Attend one of our upcoming virtual information sessions (available dates below). Unable to attend an information session? Watch one of our previous sessions.

Upcoming Session

A GoTo Meeting link will be sent out prior to the meeting to all registrants.

Professional Learning Series

The APEC Center hosts a monthly 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.

Upcoming Events

  • January 27, 2021 | 5:00–6:30 pm: Join us as we welcome Mrs. Sarah Gams, 2021 South Carolina Teacher of the Year and teacher in Lexington-Richland School District Five, as she discusses "Refining your Craft: Becoming an Expert Teacher." Register Here.
  • February 17, 2021 | 5:00–6:00 pm: Join us as we welcome Dr. Timothy Blackwell, Principal at Arden Elementary School in Richland School District one, for a conversation on effective leadership for Title One schools! Register Here.
  • March 15, 2021 | 5:00–6:00 pm: Join us as we welcome Dr. Christine LeBlanc, Assistant Professor of Education at Columbia College, for a discussion on "Providing Meaningful Feedback." Register Here.
  • April 1, 2021 | 5:00–6:00 pm: Join us as we welcome Mr. Craig Jelks, teacher in Fairfield County School District and APEC Center Teacher Mentor, for our next Polishing Your Performance series. Topic TBA. Register Here.
  • April 13, 2021 | 5:00–6:00 pm: Join us as we welcome Ms. Rosalyn Smith-Stover, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center (TFRC) and founder of Act Up Drama, Inc., for our next Polishing Your Performance series. Topic TBARegister Here.

A GoTo Meeting link will be sent out prior to the meeting to all registrants.

View Previous PYP Series

  • October 12: Response to Intervention, featuring Dr. Dana Richardson. Watch now.
  • October 24: REVIVED! Finding the Passion and Power of Teaching, featuring Dr. Akil Ross. Watch now.
  • November 9: Teacher Leadership & Advocacy, featuring Patrick Kelly. Watch now


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