I Defy is redefining how the world thinks about technical education by celebrating the power of South Carolina technical colleges and spotlighting the spirit of students defying tradition, norms and expectation through a technical education.

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“In order to succeed, you have to give every ounce of yourself. If you do, the career opportunities are endless.”

Alexander Allen

Trident Technical College

For the first time in my life, I asked for help. I got in touch with a facility in Charleston where I could get the help I needed. After a year sober, it started to look like I had a chance at a real life — building family and a career. I made the decision to come to Trident because I wanted to get my core classes out of the way and have a smooth transition back into academia.  I didn’t know anything about Trident other than it was a technical college. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. There are stigmas about technical colleges, but let me say: you’ve got to put in the work. You have to study. You have to keep up the same way you would at Chapel Hill or Clemson. 

“Push forward and don’t give up. Strive to be someone better and do something greater — and settle for nothing less.”

Jordan Blanding

Denmark Technical College

I defy all the negative things people said about me because I’m not a negative individual. I’m all about the positive and helping people. When someone says, “Hey, you’re never going to amount to this. You’re never going to do this. You’re never going to do that,” I defy it. I never felt good about myself until I came to Denmark Tech. Now that I’m actually feeling good about myself, I’m accomplishing all of the goals I never thought I would. It’s like every day I wake up, sit down and think, “Where would I be if I wasn’t here?” I’m happy that I’m proving everybody wrong.

“I didn’t realize that everything was so accessible. It all seemed abstract, but it wasn’t. Greenville Tech did a great job of making it concrete.”

Hanna Hopkins

Greenville Technical College

I’m the first person in my family to go to college. I graduated high school in 2011, and went straight into Greenville Tech with hopes of becoming a nurse. After being accepted to the program, I got scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it, so I switched to the cosmetology program. I’ve been a cosmetologist in downtown Greenville for about seven years. I recently decided to go back to school to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I have completely surpassed my own expectations of what I thought I was capable of. I became president of the nursing program and made the Dean’s list every semester. I’ve really defied the odds I was holding against myself. I now have hopes of becoming a nurse and applying to MUSC for further education. This is the story of how I overcame and pushed beyond my own self-doubt.

“Technical colleges build people up so they can fly when they graduate. We’re shooting for the stars.”

JaMarcus Smalls

Greenville Technical College

My name is Ja’Marcus Smalls, and I’m from a small town in South Carolina. I come from a background of educators, law enforcement officers and military personnel. I’m very family-oriented, and come from a religious background. My mom and grandfather are pastors, so I’m really church-oriented. I like to have fun, live life and be a game-changer. In high school we had a college career day, and several colleges participated. I applied to USC Columbia and Clemson to see which schools I would get into. I wanted to go to a college that was far from home — but not too far from home — so I could have a new experience and get a different perspective on life. I ended up taking a year off, went to work for my local school district and then applied to Greenville Tech. At Greenville Tech, I can inspire others and create an environment that makes everybody feel safe. It has also given me a chance to hone my leadership skills through the Call Me Mister Program and the student government association. Being in the choir also allows me to shine and help others. If not for Greenville Tech, I really don’t know where I would be right now. I’ve had to overcome different challenges, including being hospitalized for heart problems. When I needed money to pay for housing, I had to ask friends and family for help. Without those people in my life, I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing today. 

Technical education is powerful.

There are a lot of misperceptions about technical education, so allow us to fill you in. (Spoiler alert: We’re a major player in education, and a driving force for local communities, employers and economies throughout South Carolina.)


South Carolina’s Largest Higher Education Sector

Each year the System educates and trains over 160,000 South Carolinians through our credit programs (103,281) and continuing education programs (57,786).

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Geographicallly accessible across the state

Our colleges are strategically located across the state with nearly every South Carolinian within a 30-minute drive of one of our 16 main campuses or 64 satellite campuses.



Our colleges offer a variety of programs in South Carolina’s high-demand, high-paying fields, including 78 degrees, 28 diplomas and nearly 1,000 certificate programs.

Top 10 Programs

1. Nursing

Median Salary: $63,897

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 19%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 3,130

2. Data Processing

Median Salary: $78,270

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 14%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

3. Business Administration

Median Salary: $89,280

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 13%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 320

4. Criminal Justice

Median Salary: $40,770

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 7%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 880

5. Culinary Arts

Median Salary: $38,460

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 21%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 600

6. Accounting

Median Salary: $58,640

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 13%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,780

7. Public Administration / Social Services

Median Salary: $58,800

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 18%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

8. Mechatronics

Average Salary: $68,140

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 12%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

9. Information Technology

Median Salary: $76,370

Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 14%

Projected Annual Job Openings: 500

10. Transfer Programs

Our colleges offer students many paths for transfer through individual agreements with partnering institutions.

South Carolina Technical Colleges

What Will You Defy?

Join the 160,000 people each year who defy norms, traditions, and expectations through a South Carolina technical education.
Learn how we can help make your dreams a reality.