Institute of Government

The Institute of Government for County Officials

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The Institute of Government for County Officials (the Institute) is a training program designed to equip county officials with the tools needed to enhance their skills and abilities to function more effectively in their positions. SCAC provides the Institute in cooperation with the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston. Clemson University’s Master of Public Administration Program is a sponsor of the Institute.

First offered in 1989, the Institute curriculum has been enhanced over the years to reflect current information that county officials need to know in order to be effective leaders. 

Institute Classes Offered In-person and Online

Each year courses are offered prior to SCAC's Mid-Year Conference, Annual Conference and Fall Meeting of the County Council Coalition.

Future Meeting Dates:

October 18, 2023

  • For the full schedule, download the app

  • Visit the App Store or Google Play and search for "sc counties".

App Store

Google Play

February 20, 2024

View courses offered online:

The SCAC Learning Portal houses both interactive and hybrid Institute of Government Classes. Classes are $80 each and can be viewed online to fulfill requirements for individuals pursuing Level I and Level II certification from the Institute of Government for County Officials.

Courses currently available are:

  • Level I: Orientation to County Government I [R]
  • Level I: Orientation to County Government II [R]
  • Level I: Managing and Conducting Meetings [E]
  • Level I: Strategic Planning [E]
  • Level II: Financial Management
  • Level II: The Policy Role of Council
  • Level II: The Property Taxation Process
  • Advanced: Putting Dollars to Work for Your County
Visit our Portal and log in to view Institute of Government Classes. Forgot your username and password? Contact Jennifer Haworth.
Once participants log in to  the Portal using the link above, at the top of the page is a “Catalog” tab which will take them to the page listing the webinar recordings. Click “Buy Now” to pay for a course and begin watching it. Your transcript will be automatically updated after you have completed a course.
If you have any questions about the Institute of Government, please email Susan Turkopuls.

What are the Requirements for Earning a Certificate?

  • Level I County officials must attend 27 contact hours of instruction composed of six required courses (18 contact hours) and any three elective courses (9 contact hours) to graduate from Level I.
  • Level II County officials must attend 18 hours of instruction composed of any six courses (18 contact hours) to graduate from Level II. Graduates of Level I and participants who are within nine hours (three courses) of graduating from Level I are eligible to earn credit for Level II courses.
  • SCAC offers a full day of orientation training for newly-elected county council members in even-numbered years. By attending orientation, new council members are enrolled in the Institute and earn six hours of credit toward their Level I certificate.
  • In order to receive credit for Institute courses, participants must be present for the entire course and return a form to certify that they have attended and completed the course.
  • Credits for courses in Levels I and II are valid for four years, after which time they are removed from the county official's record.
  • Officials are awarded a certificate upon graduation from Level I and Level II. Certificates are presented at SCAC's Annual Conference.
  • SCAC's staff maintains the Institute's records. If you have questions about your record or need additional information, please call (803) 252-7255 (in-state: 1-800-922-6081) or send an e-mail to

Which Courses Offer Continuing Education Credit for Planning/Zoning Officials and Employees?

Four Institute of Government courses are approved by the S.C. Education Planning Advisory Committee for continuing education credit for local government planning/zoning officials and employees. These courses include:

  • Level I Planning and Land Use; Ethical Leadership and Public Service; and Managing and Conducting Meetings
  • Level II Economic Development

Learn more about planning/zoning continuing education

Advanced Courses for Level II Graduates

Advanced courses offer a means for graduates of Levels I and II to continue their training and increase their knowledge of timely issues. Typically, two courses are offered each year prior to the Association's Annual Conference, and the topics change each year. SCAC does not maintain records of credit or issue certificates for Advanced courses.

Questions? Call Susan Turkopuls at 1-800-922-6081, ext. 315, or send an e-mail