Can working summer school count as years of service credit?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

How you accumulate service credit depends upon your employment status, specifically whether or not you are a full-time or part-time educator. Service credit is the accumulated period of time, in years and partial years, during which you receive creditable compensation and make contributions to the Defined Benefit Program. Full-time educators typically earn one year of service credit for working one school year. For part-time educators, service credit for one school year is the hours or days actually worked compared to the full-time equivalent, or what would be required if employed full time in that position.

Typically for full-time educators, your contributions and most of your employer’s contributions from earnings in excess of one year of service credit earned from extra duty assignments, summer school or other extra pay are credited to the Defined Benefit Supplement Account and such earnings are not included in final compensation used to establish pension benefits under the Defined Benefit Program. If you made retirement contributions to CalSTRS on or after January 1, 2001, as a Defined Benefit member, you have a Defined Benefit Supplement account which provides additional income for retirement.

If you are employed in multiple part-time or substitute positions for one or more CalSTRS employers during the school year, you may earn more than one year of service credit in a school year. At the end of the school year, CalSTRS will calculate if you earned more than one year of service credit. If you did, you will receive one year of service credit contributions in your Defined Benefit account earned at the highest pay rates. Your and your employer’s contributions for service in excess of one year will be credited to your Defined Benefit Supplement account.