Technical College Benefits
- Transfer information
- The 16 technical colleges in South Carolina
- Associate degree and diploma program information
- What is technical education all about?
- How does a technical college differ from a four-year university?
- How much would I pay to attend a technical college?
- What about financial aid?
- What if I want a degree you don't offer?
- What do I have to do to be accepted into a technical college?
- What kind of salary would I make with an associate degree?
- What kind of majors do the technical colleges offer?
- How do I apply to a technical college?
- Do you have housing available for students who attend a technical college?
- How difficult are college classes?
- I never thought I wanted to go to college, why should I?
What is technical education all about?
A degree, diploma or certificate in a technical major will give you a special skill or practical knowledge in a particular field such as engineering, health and medicine, computers and a lot of other technically oriented fields. The Technical College System was designed in 1961 to help prepare people just like you for the kind of jobs that companies in South Carolina need employees for. In other words, we offer programs that will help you get a job.
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How does a technical college differ from a four-year university?
We don't differ at all from a four-year institution in terms of the quality of the education you'll receive. The technical colleges do not teach courses that are any easier than a university. We have to follow the same guidelines that any college or university does when putting together a course outline.
You'll get well qualified faculty teaching all of your classes, and in many cases your classes will be considerably smaller than those at a four-year college. Going to college can be quite an adjustment for some students and smaller classes are a real plus when you find you need a little extra help from your instructors.
If a four-year (bachelor's) degree is your goal, getting started at a technical college is a great first step. You wouldn't believe how much you will save just by getting your first two years of education at one of the 16 technical colleges located across the state and then transferring to the four-year institution of your choice.
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How much would I pay to attend a technical college?
Tuition varies at each institution across the state, but is significantly less than you would pay for your first two years at a large university. The average cost to attend a public, two-year technical college is about $2,949 a year (in-state tuition). The average tuition cost to attend a public four-year institution in South Carolina is about $10,277. And private college could cost you much more than that.
You do the math. Something else to consider is this: if you think you'd like to work while you're in school, the technical colleges cater to students with very busy schedules. Some of our institutions have telecourses and some are even moving classes to the Internet as a way to get you the credit you need in a way that suits your busy schedule. All of them offer classes during the day and evening to accommodate your needs as a student.
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What about financial aid?
Good question. Each college has a financial aid office that can help you seek grants and loans to help pay for your education. It helps for you to do some research as well for financial aid opportunities because there are many scholarships available. Your local library could provide some assistance in finding sources of financial aid for college. Make sure if you need financial aid to attend college that you apply early.
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What if I want a degree you don't offer?
If you are seeking a degree that only a four-year institution offers, it would be a good idea to investigate the possibility of finishing your general education classes at one of the technical colleges and then transferring. During your freshman and sophomore years in college you will be taking primarily your general education classes like English 101, history, science, math, etc. These classes are going to be basically the same no matter where you go. At least if you take them at a technical college, you (or your parents) won't have to pay so much. So if you're seeking a degree in a major that none of our colleges offer, think about getting your first two years out of the way first and then transfer. It's a pretty smart move.
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What do I have to do to be accepted into a technical college?
Generally, you have to meet certain entrance requirements in order to be accepted into college-level courses at the technical colleges. You can take an entrance exam required by the college you wish to attend or you may use SAT scores. But don't worry about taking these exams. They are not used as a way to keep you out of our colleges.
We realize that you may be better in some subjects than others and you might need a little extra preparation in some areas. That's ok. You may have to take a few classes to help get you ready for college-level work, but it's not a big deal.
If you think you might be interested in attending one of the 16 technical colleges, give them a call and ask for the admissions office. Request an application and any information that will help you learn as much about their institution as you can. You also may wish to contact the financial aid office for additional information.
Set up an appointment with an admissions counselor to discuss your academic goals. The important thing is to keep yourself informed and ask a lot of questions. Remember, this is your future you're making decisions about and you want to make the best decisions you can about the career field you choose.
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What kind of salary would I make with an associate degree?
As with any degree, salaries will vary. Some of the most technical and high skilled programs will pay more. Do some research in your field of interest. Your earning potential depends on the degree you get, the company you go to work for and how much experience you have when you graduate.
The best thing to do is:
- Determine some careers you might be interested in,
- Talk to your guidance counselor or a career counselor at your local technical college about what your earning potential might
- Talk to some people who do what you are interested in and ask them what you might expect to make,
- Once you've decided on a career field, get as much experience as you can in that field while you are still in school - take an internship, co-op position, or even volunteer to work for free if it gives you some exposure to your field of interest. That kind of experience and initiative will increase your chances for a larger salary.
What kind of majors do the technical colleges offer?
Believe it or not, there are hundreds of different associate degree and diploma majors offered across the state at the technical colleges. They vary, but here is a short list:
- Forest Products Technology
- Forestry Management
- Banking and Finance
- Court Reporting
- Culinary Arts
- General Business
- Computer Data Processing
- Computer Technology
- Telecommunication Systems Management
- Architectural Engineering Technology
- Automated Manufacturing Technology
- Chemical Engineering Technology
- Civil Engineering Technology
- Computer Engineering Technology
- Construction Engineering Technology
- Electronic Instrumentation Technology
- Engineering Graphics
- Environmental Engineering Technology
- Environmental Operations Technology
- Hazardous Materials Technology
- Manufacturing Engineering Technology
- Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Nuclear Engineering Technology
- Dental Assisting
- Dental Hygiene
- Medical Assistant Technology
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Pharmacy Technology
- Physical Therapist Assistant
- Radiologic Technology
- Respiratory Care
- Surgical Technology
- Veterinary Technology
- Air Conditioning/Refrigeration
- Auto Body Repair
- Automotive Technology
- Chemical Laboratory Assistant
- Commercial Graphics
- Industrial Drafting
- Machine Tool Technology
- Radio and Television Broadcasting
- Criminal Justice Technology
- Early Childhood Development
- Legal Assistant/Paralegal
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How do I apply to a technical college?
Just visit the directory page that lists all the technical colleges in the state. Choose the one nearest you or the one that offers the major you are interested in. You can either call the college directly, e-mail the admissions office (if online access is available), or write them for an admissions application. If you're not sure who to call, call the SC Technical College System at (803) 896-5320. We'll help point you in the right direction.
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Do you have housing available for students who attend a technical college?
Only Denmark Technical College andGreenville Technical College provide on-campus housing. However, if you require housing in order to attend any of the colleges, the admissions staff at each institution should be able to provide you with local housing information.
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How difficult are college classes?
That's hard to say. They are going to be different than a high school class, but you've been preparing in high school to taking a bigger step once you graduated and it isn't anything you can't handle with hard work. You shouldn't expect that any college-level course will be easy. The key is attending classes regularly, studying, acquiring good notetaking skills, managing your time wisely, and getting help as soon as you realize you are having a problem in class. All of the technical colleges have counselors and tutors available to help you with classes in which you may be having trouble. And the instructors care whether you do well or not. They don't want to see you fail. But you carry most of the responsibility for how well you do in a class.
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I never thought I wanted to go to college, why should I?
That's a good question. Maybe you really don't want to go to college. But think about a few very practical reasons. The more education you have, the higher your earning power.
A lot of high school students say that they are "sick of school," and they "don't want to sit in a classroom for four more years." Perhaps a technical certificate, one year diploma or two year associate degree is a better alternative.
We live in a time where technology is constantly changing. The way we communicate is changing, the way we take care of daily activities is changing. If you are the least bit interested in having a career that will be financially rewarding, you need to think a little beyond how bored you were in math class. If you don't take a little time to invest in your own abilities to think and make decisions, you are probably making a big mistake. A year or two is not that much time to invest in your future. Think how fast the last two years of your life have gone by.
You could have a marketable degree and great paying job with a minimum investment of time and money. And if you really want to get out of high school and start making money, get a job and go to school part-time. Over half of the students enrolled at a technical college are part-time students. Many of them graduated from high school, got a job immediately and then realized they couldn't do what they really wanted with only a high school education. Now the smart ones are back in school.
Think about it carefully before you make a decision. And again, make an appointment with an admissions counselor at your local technical college to discuss why you would want to go to college. They'll probably have a lot of good information for you.
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Transferring from a two-year college to a four-year college
The following list represents sites throughout the SC Technical Education System that provide transfer agreements available between the state's two-year technical colleges and four-year universities. If you are interested in pursuing a two-year degree but ultimately wish to obtain a bachelor's degree, you should visit the site of the technical college you are interested in attending and see what transfer agreements the institution has available. These transfer agreements allow you to complete your associate degree and then transfer to a four-year institution as a junior to complete a bachelor's degree. If you see a reference at any of the sites to the Commission on Higher Education's (CHE) list, please refer to the Commission's site for a list of statewide courses which will transfer. For information regarding the transfer agreements available on this site call the technical college in which you are interested or the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education at (803) 896-5361.
Technical College Transfer Agreements
- Aiken Technical College
- Central Carolina Technical College
- Denmark Technical College
- Florence-Darlington Technical College
- Greenville Technical College
- Horry-Georgetown Technical College
- Midlands Technical College
- Northeastern Technical College
- Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
- Piedmont Technical College
- Spartanburg Community College
- Technical College of the Lowcountry
- Tri-County Technical College
- Trident Technical College
- Williamsburg Technical College
- York Technical College
Visit the South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Center (SC TRAC) site to find:
- Transfer course equivalencies;
- Transfer profiles for the participating institutions;
- Searchable databases such as Search by Institution and Search by Course; and
- Planning for Transfer Guidance.