Career Clusters arrange occupations and industries into 16 broad categories according to related skills and knowledge requirements.

In South Carolina, curriculum, instruction and student experiences are organized according to cluster, providing real-world relevance and pathways to college and career success. Eighth grade students, with help from parents or parental designees and school counselors and career specialists, create an Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) selecting career clusters and outlining courses for graduation and successful transition to postsecondary education or the workforce.

Learn About Career Clusters

Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources

It’s not just about farming anymore. The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster of study encompasses the production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing, and development of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture and other plant and animal products and resources. From working with small animals to designing new machines for processing foods to sports turf management, this cluster is ripe for those with technical skills and interest in math, science and the environment.

Did You Know?

Population growth at home and worldwide means increased consumption of food and other resources. South Carolina’s agrarian tradition, available acreage, college and technical training readies our state to take advantage of a growing demand for agriculture, food and natural resources.

Available Majors

“Farming today is much different than it was over 60 years ago when my grandfather started our family farm. Today, farmers not only plow fields, plant crops and irrigate, they work with state-of-the-art irrigation technology and GPS systems, implement soil and water conservation practices and work daily in operations and business management to improve the efficiencies of farm production.”

— Chris Rawl, Co-Owner Clayton Rawl Farms, Inc.

Architecture and Construction

Architecture and construction professionals are behind all aspects of the structures and landscapes we see every day in our cities and suburbs including designing, planning, managing, building and maintaining the built environment. From initial planning and design to physical construction and maintenance, career opportunities abound.

Did You Know?

Fourteen million new construction workers will be required by 2015, in careers ranging from carpentry and masonry to new technologies to computerize control of the internal environments of huge office buildings.

Available Majors

“The vast fields of architecture and construction offer unique opportunities to match nearly every type of worker, from those who enjoy working alone to those who can manage a team, from people who would rather work indoors in an office to people who long to spend their days working actively outdoors. Architecture and construction professionals can work for a firm or company or be in business for themselves – it’s up to them. Plus, with all the latest advances in green building technology, professionals in this field can do work that really makes a difference on this planet.”

– Pete Williams, President, Atherm Remodelers, Inc.

Business Management and Administration

Business Management and Administration is one of our state’s fastest-growing and highest paying job market sectors with more than 85 occupations and 400,000 jobs. This cluster encompasses careers in planning, organizing, directing and evaluating business functions essential to efficient and productive business operations.

Did You Know?

The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina is ranked #1 in undergraduate international business education by U.S. News & World Report in its September 2011 annual survey “America’s Best Colleges Guide” — the 15th year the school has received this distinction.

Available Majors

“HumanResources is a challenging and rewarding career that allows you to work across all departments in an organization, such as hiring, training, benefits, etc. Great interpersonal skills and a passion for working with people are invaluable in HR positions.”
—Jill Menhart, Human Resource Director, VC3

Want to Know More?

The following outside resources can help you continue to explore the Business Management and Administration cluster of study.

Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications

The arts are all about self-expression, but conveying your message to your audience requires the right tools and technology. The Arts, Audio/Visual Technology and Communications cluster of study focuses on both the act of creation and the technologies that make artistic creation and communication possible. Sometimes referred to as Arts and Humanities, this cluster encompasses designing, producing, exhibiting, performing, writing and publishing multimedia content including visual and performing arts as well as design, journalism and entertainment services.

Did You Know?

The Arts in South Carolina creates a core impact of $9.2 billion and 78,682 jobs and a full impact of $13.3 billion and 107,614 jobs.

Source: South Carolina’s Creative Cluster: A Catalyst for Economic Development (April 2011), by Douglas Woodward, PhD, director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business at USC.

Available Majors

“Success as an arts professional relies not only on spending thousands of hours at mastering a skill, such as the piano, the barre, or the easel; it also relies on carefully honed listening and observational skills, mastery of the creative discovery process, an intense curiosity and an interest in human beings.”

— Katie Fox, Director of Theatre Operations, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College

Education and Training

Everyone wants to make a difference, but teachers may have the best claim to shaping the future. The Education and Training cluster of study encompasses planning, managing and providing education and training services as well as related support services such as administration, administrative support and professional support. From kindergarten teacher to counselor to college professor, this cluster offers a wide array of paths and possibilities for those ready to make a difference.

Did You Know?

Government studies show good prospects for job growth in a wide range of education careers, from preschool and kindergarten teachers to post-secondary educators and specialized trainers in a myriad of fields. Job growth is expected to increase over the next ten years as the baby boomer population retires and leaves jobs available.

Available Majors

“Whether helping a child to learn to read, a teen to do algebra, a college student to speak a foreign language, or a working professional to master a new skill, those who teach are empowering lives and powering our economy.”

–Bob Brookshire, Professor, Integrated Information Technology Program, University of South Carolina


For people interested in math, organization and technical expertise, a career in finance may be just the solution. With jobs ranging from insurance agent to investment banker, this cluster encompasses planning and related services for financial and investment planning, banking, insurance and financial management.

Did You Know?

The South Carolina Occupational Information System (SCOIS) counts more than 100 occupations that fall under the broad category of finance.

Available Majors

“Business strategists and professionals must be able to accurately anticipate and assess real results in real numbers. Professionals in the finance cluster are vital to our economic life, now and into the future.” 

— Ken Washburn, SCBT Vice President/ Manager

Government and Public Administration

Government and public administration jobs are filled by people dedicated to ensuring our modern democracy – with all its complexities – works for everyone. The Government and Public Administration cluster encompasses planning and executing government functions at the local, state and federal levels, including governance, national security, foreign service, planning, revenue and taxation, and regulations. From medicine to the military, agriculture to aeronautics, office administration to information technology, nearly every area of employment can be found within this cluster.

Did You Know?

Today, more than 2.3 million Americans serve their nation in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves. Border patrols, airport security officers and other similar jobs also fall under this cluster’s national security major.

Available Majors

Whether it’s protecting our rivers and making sure we have clean water to drink, educating our next generation of leaders or our calls for help when we need it most; public service isn’t just a career – it’s a calling. Public servants are some of the best and brightest our community has to offer, and they make a real difference in our lives every single day.”

— The Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor, City of Columbia

Health Science

As South Carolina’s population ages and more people need healthcare services, opportunities expand for those who like working with people and have mastered the basics in math, science and communications. The Health Science cluster encompasses planning, managing and providing therapeutic services, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services, and biotechnology research and development.

Did You Know?

Healthcare is the largest and fastest-growing industry in the United States, with more than 10 million workers are employed in more than 200 careers. In South Carolina, nearly 120,000 people are employed in the healthcare industry.

Available Majors

“Healthcare careers provide the chance to help people, do interesting technical work, and earn relatively high salaries. In addition, the healthcare industry offers some of the best employment opportunities in the economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), wage and salary employment in the healthcare industry is projected to grow 22 percent by 2016. That translates into about 3 million new jobs — nearly 20 percent of the total number of jobs expected to be added to the economy over the projections decade.”

— Tamara Dillon, Economist, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, US Department of Labor

Hospitality and Tourism

Known internationally for its cultural and natural attractions, more than 30 million people travel to the Palmetto State each year, making South Carolina a great place for a career in hospitality and tourism.

The Hospitality and Tourism cluster of study includes career pathways related to families and human needs such as restaurant and food/beverage services, lodging, travel and tourism, recreation, amusements and attractions.

Did You Know?

The hospitality industry in South Carolina is projected to add almost 37,000 more jobs over the next ten years, which is a projected growth rate of nearly 20%.

Available Majors

“The opportunities for students to excel in the hospitality industry are endless. Whether you’re interested in cooking, management, or owning you own business one day, the hospitality industry has a place for you in South Carolina.”

— South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association

Human Services

A career in Human Services connects people with each other. Meeting human needs is a part of everyday life, and individuals in Human Services careers are committed to improving quality of life for people.

The Human Services cluster of study prepares individuals for employment related to families and human needs such as counseling and mental health services, family and community services, personal care and consumer services. Career choices include dietitians, bankers, consumer advocates, personal trainers, teaching assistants, and religious leaders.

Did You Know?

From fashion coordinator to pharmaceutical sales representative to child care worker,  more than 100 occupations fall within the human services sector of the South Carolina job market.

Available Majors

  • Early Childhood Development and Services
  • Counseling and Mental Health Services
  • Family and Community Services
  • Personal Care Services
  • Consumer Services

Information Technology

The knowledge economy is here, and the future is now. Managing information in various electronic and digital forms is and will continue to be a major area of career opportunities.

The Information Technology (IT) cluster of study has a range of career opportunities unlike any other disciple. Encompassing the design, development, support and management of hardware, software, multimedia, and Business applications and integrated systems, the need for IT exists in nearly every economic endeavor and  area of everyday life – providing an endless variety of work places and settings.

Did You Know?

More than 69% of all IT jobs are with companies that are everyday household names in industries such as retail, design, insurance, banking, aerospace, energy and healthcare.

Available Majors

“Students who pick IT as their profession have the unique opportunity to pick any industry or type of business to apply their skills and create the future.”

— Lonnie Emard, Executive Director of IT-oLogy

Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security

Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security offer rewarding opportunities and unique positions not available in other industries. This cluster of study encompasses planning, managing and providing legal, public safety, protective services and homeland security, including professional and technical support services.

Jobs range from protective services such as homeland and computer security, firefighters, security, and police officers to rescuers, lawyers, judges, and legal assistants. Typically, these types of positions are for outgoing people who can think on their feet and enjoy helping others, planning, and protecting.

Did You Know?

Almost 20% of the jobs in South Carolina have to do with the government or military services.


Manufacturing is big business in South Carolina, producing $24 billion per year in economic activity and employing nearly 700,000 people. The Manufacturing cluster of study encompasses planning, managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products and related professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance and manufacturing/process engineering.

Did You Know?

The Palmetto State is home to almost 5,000 manufacturing-related businesses from plastics to technology, pharmaceuticals to minerals. In addition, an impressive 97% of South Carolina’s total merchandise exports are manufactured goods.

Available Majors

“I think the notion that American manufacturing is losing ground to offshore suppliers is unfounded. In the 20 years I have been teaching, I have never had so many companies, both local and as far away as California, contact me for machine tool graduates. When we run out of graduates, they hire our current machine tool students on an internship or part-time basis. It is extremely gratifying to watch our students get challenging, excellent paying jobs with great companies!”

— Dr. Alan Grier, Precision Machining Program Director, Midlands Technical College


Marketing helps close the gap consumers and the product or service they need or want. It encompasses planning, managing and performing various marketing activities to reach organizational goals and communicate a message to consumers. Whether in advertising and public relations, market research, product management or retail, the marketing cluster of study offers several possible majors and a wide range of job opportunities.

Did You Know?

In South Carolina alone there are more than 135,000 jobs available in marketing, sales and service.

Available Majors

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

If you’ve got the urge to figure out how things work and advance the frontiers of knowledge, a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) might be right for you. STEM encompasses planning, managing and providing scientific research and professional and technical services. It’s a great career choice because even in tough economic times, new opportunities are created within this cluster, a trend that’s expected to continue.

Did You Know?

Within the next 15 years, more than $40 billion of capital investment in nuclear power generation will be deployed within a 100-mile radius of Columbia, SC. This presents a significant opportunity for our region to expand nuclear and other clean technology economic activity in the region. Source:

Available Majors

“The global economy is in a time of significant change. We are experiencing a major economic and educational shift that is creating tremendous opportunities for individuals with an early interest in science, technology, engineering and math. We must ensure enough of our young people have a strong foundation in STEM disciplines if we want to prevent the export of technology-based enterprises and see our community succeed in the knowledge-based economy.”

— Dr. Sonny White, Past President, Midlands Technical College

Transportation, Distribution and Logistics

Today’s modern technology allows us to travel from one place to another quickly and in a variety of ways – by air, sea, highway and rail. With people all over the globe constantly in motion, there’s a consistent need to build, manage and maintain these various methods of transportation.

The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics cluster of study encompasses the planning, management and movement of people, materials and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail and water as well as related professional and technical support services including infrastructure planning and management, logistics services, mobile equipment and facility maintenance.

Did You Know?

According to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), more than 100 occupations fall under the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics career cluster.

Available Majors

“In the transportation, distribution and logistics industry, jobs are available in virtually any line of work, from a civil engineer to an airline pilot to security investigator. The opportunities in this field are endless, but they all have one thing in common — they help keep the world moving.”

— Brad Lindsey, UPS

Downloads Available!

Learn even more about the career clusters

Learn More