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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“The professors here are like family to me. They are always looking for ways to help you get it done.”

Kiana Davis

Central Carolina Technical College

My name is Kiana Davis. I am 39, and the mother of two beautiful kids ages 18 and 16. I put my education on hold to provide for my family when I first had kids. When things didn’t go as planned, I ended up getting divorced and decided I wanted to go back to school to be able to provide for myself and my kids. My biggest motivation is making sure that I’m able to take care of my kids without the extra income from my ex-husband. Education means everything to me. I am studying logistics and one class away from receiving my diploma.

“I’m a lot smarter than I thought I was. Now I can see myself pressing forward to do more than what I thought I could back in the day.”

Seth Davis

Northeastern Technical College

My name is Seth Davis. Straight out of high school I came to tech and I was like, “I’m going to see how I like it.” I started my CNA back in the day, but got a little bit stubborn. My step-dad, who works in the industrial field, said, “Hey I know you like to travel. I know a company who does traveling industrial work.” The next week, I went in for an interview and got the job as a manager trainee and they sent me to Tennessee for training. Thirty-four states later, I have over 500,000 travel miles under my belt. 

A few years later, I was tired of spending 300 days on the road living in hotels and eating fast food. I decided to explore getting back into the nursing program at Tech — and here I am. 

“When I visited I felt so impressed with the technology at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, and everything was so accessible.”

Elmira Peterson

Horry-Georgetown Technical College

My name is Elmira Peterson. I’m originally from Albania, but have spent the past five years in the United States. I received my citizenship one year ago, and I’m so proud of it.

I grew up in a communist system in Albania. It is always our dream to study abroad. I was able to get my university degree in Albanian Languages and Literature, but I still dreamed of studying abroad. In Albania, I was a teacher for many, many years. When I came to the US and got married, I realized I needed to go back to college. I chose Horry-Georgetown Technical College because it offered me the opportunity to pursue a second lifelong career as a dental hygienist.

After that, I went to work as a temp. I did that for a year before deciding to go to Aiken Tech. I looked at a few programs to see what I would like and chose the industrial maintenance program. I’ve always liked to take things apart, learn how they work and fix them, so the program felt like a good match for me. My mom was the one who told me about the Technical Scholars Program, which I’m doing right now. 

“There are a lot of high expectations set on young people around going to college. Do what is right for you.”

Sarah Hill

Florence-Darlington Technical College

My name is Sarah Hill. My major is human services and I graduate in May of next year. After I graduate, I’m going to the bridge program at Coker to get my Bachelor’s in psychology. I came to Tech as a dual-enrollment student in high school in 2017. After high school, I went to Francis Marion for a semester, but didn’t do well there. It was a hard transition from going to high school to college.

I decided that it was best for me to take a step back. Instead of taking a gap year, I enrolled at Tech to do a slower transition into college. I started in the nursing program in 2018. My mom is a nurse and went to Tech, as well as several other family members. I didn’t love the nursing program, so I ended up switching over to the human services program, which focuses on psychology and helping better serve the community.

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.