Planning & Zoning Education

General Information About Planning and Zoning Education


Planning and zoning training requirements are governed by the South Carolina Planning Education Advisory Committee (SCPEAC).  SCAC's live webinars and recorded training offered through the SCAC Learning Portal meet the requirements set forth by SCPEAC.  For more information, please contact Susan Turkopuls or call 1-800-922-6081, ext. 315.

Planning and Zoning Live Webinars

SCAC typically offers 3 hours of planning and zoning continuing education once per year via live webinar training. Webinar recordings are made available on-demand as planning and zoning training videos through SCAC's learning portal.  

Planning and Zoning Training Videos

Learning portal – Recorded planning and zoning training, including 6 hours of Orientation training, is available through the SCAC learning portal. SCPEAC has approved this method since the learning portal tracks individual participant completion. To access the learning portal, planning and zoning officials will first need an account with us if they do not have one yet. This is to ensure they are a local government official and can earn a certificate. To create an account or retrieve a password, use the following link:

Once an account has been created, proceed to the learning portal to log in using the credentials. The planning and zoning courses listed in the Planning and Zoning course catalog vary by length, so please read the course descriptions. Upon completion of a course, a certificate will be emailed to the participant which must be filed with the appropriate department for retention.

Courses available in the Learning Portal include:


Course Name# of Credit Hours Year Offered/Recorded
Orientation - Modules 1 - 4 (each module satisfies 1.5 credit hours)6.0 Hours2021, 2022
Affordable Housing, Public Meetings, and Other Trends in Planning ad Zoning3.0 Hours2023
2022 SCAC Planning & Zoning Continuing Education3.0 Hours2022
Advanced Issues in Planning and Zoning Land Use 3.0 Hours2011
Current Planning and Zoning Issues for Urban and Rural Communities 3.0 Hours2013
Current Trends for Planning and Zoning Officials 3.0 Hours2017
Growth Implications for South Carolina Counties 1.5 Hours2020
Legal & Ethical Considerations for Managing Public Meetings 1.5 Hours2019
Planning Strategies for South Carolina’s Rural and Urban Counties 3.0 Hours2019
Planning Your County’s Infrastructure 3.0 Hours2016
Public Service Ethics 3.0 Hours2012
Resource Considerations for Planning and Zoning Officials 3.0 Hours2018
Staying Power: Planning for Lifelong Communities and Solar Energy 3.0 Hours2015
Trends in Planning and Zoning Virtual Meetings and Online Services 1.5 Hours2020
Managing and Conducting Meetings 3.0 Hours2021

Institute of Government for County Officials – SCAC provides the Institute of Government for County Officials to equip county officials with the tools needed to enhance their skills and abilities to function more effectively in their positions. There are four courses 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 the Institute of Government for County Officials.


Frequently Asked Questions


The South Carolina Planning Education Advisory Committee (SCPEAC) is charged with approving education programs and determining categories of persons who are eligible for exemption from the educational requirements.

Who is required to receive educational training?

  • Appointed officials who serve on a planning commission, board of zoning appeals, or board of architectural review
  • Professional employees who are employed as a planning professional, zoning administrator, zoning official, or as a deputy or assistant to these positions

What training is required?

  • Officials and employees must attend a minimum of six hours of orientation
  • Thereafter, there is an annual requirement to attend at least three hours of continuing education.
  • New officials and/or employees must attend orientation training within 180 days prior to and no later than 365 days after initial appointment or employment.

Are there limits or restrictions on the types of training or methods of delivery for the orientation or continuing education offerings?

Yes, SCPEAC guidelines restrict the type of training and method of delivery. SCAC’s course offerings comply with SCPEAC guidelines.

  • Orientation Training – SCAC offers planning and zoning orientation training that meets the SCPEAC requirements online at no cost. This is accomplished through SCAC’s Learning Portal which tracks an individual's progress and completion. The orientation course is composed of four different modules that are each 1.5 hours long; totaling 6 hours of training. completing each module, individuals will receive a certificate of completion. Access the SCAC learning portal.
  • Continuing Education – SCAC offers live continuing education webinars annually at no cost. Additionally, online recorded training can be viewed so long as it meets the requirement that participation or attendance can be confirmed. This is accomplished for individuals taking courses through SCAC’s Learning Portal, which tracks progress and completion. Certificates of completion are emailed to the individual upon completion of the class. 
  • Facilitated Group Viewing of Recorded Content - If continuing education recordings are viewed in a facilitated group setting by an approved sponsor, the facilitator is responsible for recording attendance and issuing certificates of completion.  SCAC does not issue training certificates for on-demand group viewings.  Orientation training is not intended for group viewing. 

Who is exempt from the educational requirements?

An appointed official or professional employee who has one or more of the following qualifications is exempt:

  • Certification by the American Institute of Certified Planners
  • Holds a master’s or doctorate degree in planning from an accredited college or university
  • Holds a master’s or doctorate degree or specialized training or experience in a field related to planning as determined by the advisory committee
  • Licensed to practice law in South Carolina
  • A certification form and documentation of exemption must be filed with the clerk to council by the first-anniversary date of appointment or employment. This documentation only needs to be filed once and must be retained while the official/employee is performing relevant duties.

What are the requirements of the local governing body?

  • To identify their appointed officials and professional employees who are required to receive training no later than Dec. 31 of each year and provide a list to the clerk to council and to each planning or zoning entity in the jurisdiction
  • To annually inform each planning or zoning entity of the educational requirements
  • To sponsor and provide approved education programs or to fund approved education programs provided by another sponsor

What is the clerk to council’s responsibilities?

The clerk must keep in the official public original records of:

  • All filed forms and documentation that certify compliance with educational requirements for three years after the calendar year in which each form is filed
  • All filed forms and documentation that certify an exemption for the tenure of the appointed official or professional employee
  • SCAC does not maintain records on behalf of the local governing body.

What are the consequences of failure to comply?

An appointed official is subject to removal from office and a professional employee is subject to suspension or dismissal from employment if he/she:

  • Fails to complete the requisite number of hours of orientation training and continuing education within the allotted time or
  • Fails to file the required certification form and documentation with the clerk.

Failure to comply may also call into question any decision or recommendations made by officials or employees and open the county up to liability.

A local governing body is prohibited from appointing or employing a person who has falsified the certification form or documentation.