Earning a Doctor of Education Degree in South Carolina
South Carolina is a land of contrasts for the doctorate in education. Perhaps the most familiar names in our school listings are Clemson and USC, which are a) well-respected research institutions; and b) both taking part in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED). USC has the added perk of holding a community engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
But they aren’t your only choices! SWU has a unique online Ed.D. program; SCSU can help with principal & superintendent certification; NGU has a couple of doctoral scholarship opportunities; and Converse and CSU offer specific programs in leadership. To help you winnow these options down into a shortlist, you’ll find links to the curriculum and cost beside each degree title.
Wondering what the South Carolina employment situation is like for Ed.D. graduates? Have a look at our career section. It contains hard data on PreK-20 jobs & salaries, links to local job boards, and an annotated list of useful professional organizations (e.g. SCASA). While you’re pursuing your degree, you may also wish to attend a couple of conferences or take part in a leadership training program.
Online Doctor of Education Programs in South Carolina
Online Ed.D. Providers in South Carolina
- Southern Wesleyan University (CAEP-accredited)
- University of South Carolina-Columbia (CAEP-accredited)
What to Know About South Carolina Online Ed.D. Programs
You’ve got two CAEP-accredited options for South Carolina online doctoral programs in education—SWU and USC. Both have similar tuition rates, though USC’s programs have more credits and SWU’s program requires summer visits. Break out a budget spreadsheet to compare total costs.
USC and SWU’s distance learning offerings are primarily focused on topics such as curriculum, instruction, assessment, and technology. If you’d prefer something along the lines of educational leadership, you could consider a blended option such as Charleston Southern University’s Hybrid Doctor of Education in Leadership.
Note: Our overview of online doctoral programs in education has a complete listing of online Ed.D. degrees in every state.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Public South Carolina Universities
The University of South Carolina’s 60-credit Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction in Educational Technology or Curriculum Studies comes with the USC name and reputation baked in. Better yet, South Carolina certified teachers receive a modest discount on tuition rates. Having said that, these Ed.D. options do not lead to certification.
We particularly like the fact that USC’s online programs have been informed by the CPED initiative, which places an emphasis on applied & practical learning components. Courses are 8 weeks long and the entire degree lasts ~36 months. Almost all coursework is online, but the cohort-based Educational Technology concentration includes an initial on-campus orientation.
Online Ed.D. Programs at Private South Carolina Universities
Willing to consider a private Christian University? Southern Wesleyan University’s 54-credit Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Curriculum and Assessment has some distinct pluses. It’s a cohort-based program with short, 7-week courses and the entire degree takes ~36 months to complete. Tuition is remarkably reasonable for a private school and tuition discounts are available for online programs.
You’ll notice the unusual degree title—SWU has decided to lay an emphasis on assessment & institutional effectiveness over instruction. To that end, this Ed.D. also includes three summer residencies (one week each) where students get involved in keynotes, breakout sessions, and other curriculum activities focused around their dissertation topics.
Doctoral Education Funding in South Carolina
Internal Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
South Carolina universities don’t always list doctoral funding opportunities on the Ed.D. program page. To save you time, we’ve provided links to all the institutional aid options we could find. The Office of Financial Aid and the Graduate School can help with external aid (e.g. federal loans, work reimbursement, etc.). You should also feel free to ask the Ed.D. program coordinator how doctoral students usually pay for their degree.
Charleston Southern University
Clemson has teamed up with CCU, Winthrop, and the Citadel to ease the transition into Clemson’s Ed.D. Students completing Ed.S. programs at any of the four institutions will graduate with prerequisite courses for Clemson’s Ed.D., which will speed their time of completion. This is called the Consortium for Innovative Educational Practice.
Keep in mind that Clemson’s Ed.D. is a part-time program only, so certain financial aid options (e.g. Federal Graduate PLUS loans, graduate assistantships, etc.) won’t be available.
Converse has a section on Graduate Financial Planning, with details on assistantships, loans, and external scholarships.
North Greenville University
NGU has assembled advice on Financial Aid for NGU Graduate School. In the scholarships sub-section, you may want to investigate the Patterson Graduate School Scholarship and the Martin Timothy Brashier Scholars program (doctoral students in the Graduate School of Education are eligible to apply).
Southern Wesleyan University
SWU has a section on Financial Aid for Online Programs, with details on scholarships and loans. SWU alumni are eligible for an Alumni Scholarship (5% off course tuition) on any master’s or doctoral degree program.
Through the Corporate Tuition Discount Program, SWU also offers reduced tuition rates to employees of various corporations, educators in certain school districts, and members of professional associations. For example, Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA) members receive a 10% discount on tuition. Check the list!
University of South Carolina – Columbia
USC Online offers a discount tuition rate on education programs—including the Ed.D.—to South Carolina certified teachers. USC Online suggests you email financial aid staff with any further aid questions on online programs.
Because USC is a well-endowed university, we recommend you ask whether online Ed.D. students are eligible for traditional USC scholarships (e.g. College of Education awards).
Note: If a university name is missing from the list, we didn’t find specific examples of Ed.D. funding beyond private & federal loans and external aid.
School Administration Certification Requirements in South Carolina
The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) handles certification for public school educators. Once they have their teaching certificate, South Carolina administrators can seek add-on certificates in a variety of service & leadership fields, including
- Elementary Principal – Tier 1 & Tier 2 (PK-Grade 8)
- Secondary Principal – Tier 1 & Tier 2 (Grades 6-12)
- Superintendent (PK-Grade 12)
- Vocational/Technology/Career Center Director (Grades 6-12)
There are additional add-on fields for roles such as school psychologist, school counselor, library media specialist, etc.
We’ve provided a brief summary of principal & superintendent certification requirements below, but the SCDE has detailed instructions for Adding Service and Leadership Fields to an existing, valid South Carolina certificate.
The SCDE also maintains a list of state-approved educator preparation programs for certification. There’s at least one Ed.D. program in our school listings (i.e. SCSU) that leads to principal or superintendent certification.
Elementary OR Secondary Principal (PK-Grade 8 or Grades 6-12) Tier 1 Certificate
To earn an Elementary or Secondary School Principal Tier 1 Certificate, you must:
- Hold an existing, valid South Carolina Educator’s Professional Certificate at the elementary or secondary level.
- Hold a master’s degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited institute of higher education.
- Complete a state-approved educator preparation program for elementary principals or secondary principals, at the master’s level or higher, through a regionally accredited college or university.
- Earn a qualifying score on the Educational Leadership: Administration & Supervision (5412) test from ETS.
- Have at least three years of teaching experience, including at least one year of teaching in grades PreK-8 or 7-12.
Eligibility for Tier 2 certification will require the successful completion of the Principal Induction Program (PIP) in your first year of employment as a principal, as well as an overall rating of Proficient or Exemplary on the Program for Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Principal Performance (PADEPP) evaluation instrument in the second year.
Note: The SCDE has a separate section on Alternative Principal Certification.
Superintendent (PK-Grade 12) Certificate
To earn a Superintendent (PK-Grade 12) Certificate, you must:
- Hold a valid South Carolina Professional Certificate at the elementary, middle, or secondary level.
- Hold a master’s degree.
- Complete an advanced, state-approved educator preparation program for the training of superintendents.
- Earn a qualifying score on the Educational Leadership: Administration & Supervision (5412) test from ETS.
- Have at least three years of experience as a PreK-12 or postsecondary teacher and two years as a school or school district administrator, postsecondary administrator, or school business administrator.
Educational Leadership Jobs in South Carolina
Educational Leadership Career Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a close eye on employment & salary data for elementary & secondary school education administrators and postsecondary education administrators in every state. We especially like the employment maps, which provide a nationwide comparison.
Generally speaking, there are a respectable number of jobs for South Carolina K-12 administrators, though the state often can’t compete with North Carolina and Georgia in terms of school employment. If you’d like a more nuanced view of the job market, you’ll find SC Report Cards and SCDE Educator Profession Reports in the SCDE’s section on Data. Check out your District Report Card’s section on Classroom Environment.
The career outlook for South Carolina postsecondary education administrators is very similar. The state is often in the second employment bracket—good, but not as booming as North Carolina and its Research Triangle. Intriguingly, non-metropolitan areas in South Carolina’s Lower & Upper Savannah counties can have a particularly high concentration of jobs in this category. SCSU’s presence in Orangeburg County may have something to do with the Lower Savannah statistic!
Want even more insights? South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE) publishes various reports on the state of SC’s public colleges & universities, including comprehensive Statistical Abstracts and enrollment data. Each Statistical Abstract contains a large section on faculty, with stats on race, gender, tenure, and more.
Educational Leadership Salaries
You’ll find exact data on job numbers and mean wages for educational administrators in the BLS’s section on State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for South Carolina. Preschool administrators have their own category.
Overall, mean wages for K-12 administrators in South Carolina are fairly low—usually better than North Carolina but worse than Georgia. District Report Cards for South Carolina contain a section on Financial Data that lists average SC administrator salaries. You can even compare district salaries side by side.
Mean wages for postsecondary education administrators are also pretty poor—the state is often in the lowest wage bracket (using state averages). Having said that, Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC is a top paying metropolitan area in this category.
Faculty salaries for SC public colleges & universities are listed in the CHE’s Statistical Abstract. Big research institutions (i.e. Clemson, USC Columbia, and MUSC) always pay the best. You can also use the SC government’s State Salaries Query to look up the salaries of individual higher education administrators. Choose the university as the Agency and then select the Job title or Last Name.
Educational Leadership Job Boards
Conventional job sites (e.g. Indeed, HigherEdJobs, SchoolSpring, etc.) will contain listings for South Carolina educational leadership positions. However, you may also want to try state-specific job boards.
- SCASA’s Career Center lists jobs for South Carolina school leaders (e.g. principals, superintendents, etc.).
- SCASBO posts Vacancies for South Carolina school business officials (e.g. finance directors, assistant superintendents for business, etc.).
- SCSBA conducts Superintendent Searches for South Carolina school districts.
- SCASFAA lists Job Postings for South Carolina financial aid administrators.
- SCIWAY maintains an SC Higher Education Jobs Board, with links to employment websites at South Carolina colleges & universities (public & private).
Educational Leadership Organizations in South Carolina
Educational Leadership Associations
- South Carolina Association for Higher Continuing Education (SCACHE): SCACHE represents educators and administrators in South Carolina’s higher education institutions (e.g. deans, directors, coordinators, faculty, administrative support staff, graduate students, etc.). Check out the John J. Duffy Scholarship.
- South Carolina Association for Middle Level Education (SCAMLE): SCAMLE is the only organization in South Carolina that’s devoted to middle level issues. Membership is open to anyone involved in middle grades education.
- South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA): SCASA provides leadership development and support for South Carolina school leaders in its professional affiliates. Membership is open to all persons who serve as a school system leader or who are in an administrative position in a public or private school system, education agency/association, college, or university.
- South Carolina Association of School Business Officials (SCASBO): SCASBO is a non-profit association that aims to promote the highest standards of school business practices for its membership. Members include a range of SC school business officials, including those involved in finance and operations. It offers voluntary certification.
- South Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SCASFAA): SCASFAA represents professionals who are involved in administering student financial aid programs (e.g. administrators in higher education institutions, government agencies, foundations, private & community organizations, etc.). It’s affiliated with NASFAA.
- South Carolina Assocation for Supervision & Curriculum Development (South Carolina ASCD): South Carolina ASCD is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that’s dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of all students. It’s a state affiliate of ASCD.
- South Carolina Education Association (SCEA): SCEA represents classroom teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, principals, superintendents, and staff in PreK-12 and higher education. It’s a non-union group affiliated with the NEA. See also the Palmetto State Teachers Association (PSTA).
- South Carolina Organization of Rural Schools (SCORS): SCORS members are concerned with the issues, needs, and conditions of South Carolina rural schools.
- South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA): SCSBA serves as a source of information and statewide voice for boards governing South Carolina’s 81 public school districts. It’s a state affiliate of the NSBA.
Educational Leadership Professional Groups
- South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators (SCABSE): SCABSE is dedicated to ensuring a high quality education for all children—particularly African-American children—by establishing coalitions, providing forums, facilitating the placement of African-American professionals, and influencing public policy.
Note: Remember that state and national educator organizations often have funds and scholarships available for continuing education (e.g. Ed.D.). Check the website and ask about opportunities.
Educational Leadership Events in South Carolina
Educational Leadership Conferences
- SCABSE Winter Conference: SCABSE typically holds its three-day conference in mid-January. It includes a Leadership Academy, general sessions, virtual classrooms, a Town Hall Meeting, and more.
- SCACHE Annual Conference: This fall conference & business meeting for South Carolina higher education administrators takes place over two days in October.
- SCAMLE Annual Conference: This three-day event in late February/early March addresses issues related to middle grade education. It often includes a Friday Leadership Institute.
- SCASA Assistant Principals’ Leadership Summit: This one-day summit in July includes a variety of featured speakers. Participation is restricted to elementary, middle, and secondary assistant principals.
- SCASA Innovative Ideas Institute: SCASA’s flagship leadership development conference is held over four days in June. It attracts ~1,600 school leaders and includes breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and training opportunities.
- SCASA Personnel/Instructional Leaders’ Fall Conference: This two-day event for instructional leaders usually occurs in late September.
- SCASA Superintendents’ Symposium: This two-day conference for South Carolina superintendents takes place in September.
- SCASBO Conferences: SCASBO organizes a three-day Spring Conference in March for South Carolina school business officials. It also hosts a three-day Fall Conference in November.
- SCASFAA Annual Conference: This three-day conference for South Carolina financial aid administrators & professionals occurs in October.
- SCSBA Conferences: SCSBA hosts an array of conferences for school board members throughout the year. Some of these are also pertinent to South Carolina superintendents and school leaders (e.g. School Law Conference).
- South Carolina ASCD Spring Conference: This one-day event for educators interested in supervision & curriculum development is held in March. Also keep an eye out for the Whole Child Conference.
Educational Leadership Training
- SCAMLE Middle Level Leadership Seminars: SCAMLE seminar sessions are designed to help schools become high performing institutions. Participants gain useful knowledge, new practices, and leadership skills. All sessions can be customized to the needs of the school.
- SCASA Leadership Development: SCASA has created an array of professional development programs, including the well-known Center for Executive Education Leadership (CEEL), the SCASA Seminar Series (one-day workshops), and webinars.
- SCDE School & District Administrator Programs: SCDE has a landing page for all Department of Education-related training programs, including the School Leadership Executive Institute (SLEI), the year-long Institute for District Administrators (IDA), and the Principal Induction Program (PIP) that’s required for Tier 2 principal certification.
- South Carolina ASCD Emerging Leaders Program: This year-long networking program is open to educators, typically with 5–15 years of experience, who wish to become more involved in South Carolina’s educational community.