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Life & Career Events

How We Measure Service and Credit

The length of your teaching career affects the amount of your pension and when you're eligible to receive it. We measure your plan membership in two ways:

  1. Credit
    This is the actual number of years, months, and days you've worked and contributed to the plan. We use this figure to calculate the amount of your pension.
  2. Qualifying years
    This is the number of school years in which you've taught for at least a portion of the year. Qualifying years determine when you're eligible for an unreduced retirement pension. Because of changes in the plan, there are different rules for measuring your qualifying years.

Measuring your qualifying years

For the school years

Days of work needed for one qualifying year

after January 1, 1997

more than 10 days

September 1, 1990 to January 1, 1997

more than 20 days

before September 1,1990

any credit

Exceptions: When buying back credit for an absence, qualifying service is only counted if you purchase the full amount eligible. Otherwise, qualifying service is counted in actual time. Also, if the first or last year of your teaching career is a partial year, you'll receive credit for the portion of the year worked.

Qualifying factor

Your age plus qualifying years is your qualifying factor. It's used to determine when you're eligible for an unreduced pension, and to calculate an early retirement reduction.


Jane is eligible for an unreduced pension because her age plus qualifying years of service equal 85:

53 years of age + 32 years of qualifying service = 85 qualifying factor
years of age   years of qualifying service   qualifying factor