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Retirement Benefits Calculator glossary

Service credit

Accumulated period in years, including partial years, for which you earned creditable compensation and made contributions under the Defined Benefit Program. You:

  • Earn service credit every day you work.
  • Earn service credit on paid leave.
  • Earn up to 1.0 service credit each full year you teach.If you teach a partial year, you will receive less than 1.0 service credit.

Additionally, you may be eligible to purchase service credit. Examples include:

  • Employer-approved sabbatical leave.
  • Previously refunded CalSTRS service.
  • Other creditable events.

For a detailed explanation of service credit and types of service credit available to purchase, see the CalSTRS Member Handbook.

Other service credit

Nonqualified service credit, or air time, up to 5.0 years purchased prior to January 1, 2012.

For a detailed explanation of nonqualified service credit, refer to the Member Handbook.

Unused sick leave 

At service retirement, you can convert your unused sick leave to additional service credit.

The formula for determining unused sick leave is:

Accumulated days of unused sick leave ÷ Number of base days for full-time service = Service credit amount granted

For a detailed explanation of converting unused sick leave, see the Member Handbook.

Retirement Incentive Program

A program provided by employers that:

  • Can increase the service credit used in calculating your service retirement benefit.
  • Adds two years of service credit to Defined Benefit members who are eligible to retire.

More information on the Retirement Incentive Program is available in the Member Handbook and Retirement Incentive Program FAQ.