The Academic Tier is for use by academic institutions such as High Schools, Community Colleges, Certification Programs, Colleges and Universities and was developed to address and accommodate the particular needs of such institutions.

There are two Academic Tier Levels: Academic Tier A covers non-accredited higher educational institutions like community colleges or certificate programs, or any K-12 school. Academic Tier B covers fully accredited Colleges or Universities. The Academic Tier Contract does not have a set compensation minimum. Property rights and rights of first refusal are protected under the Academic Tier.  The academic institution is responsible for a pension contribution of 8% of all compensation, plus a fixed health contribution.

The following is the SDC policy regarding Members working in a college or university setting:

    • Full-time teachers who direct student productions as part of their teaching assignments are not required to file SDC contracts
    • Director/Choreographers jobbed into a college or university for the specific purpose of directing or choreographing any production are required to file a contract.
    • Guest or part-time teachers must determine if more than 50% of their time is spent directing and/or choreographing. If so, an SDC contract must be filed.

Some academic institutions have difficulty signing contracts with outside unions due to state regulations or other reasons. In such cases, members can file the Academic Tier Contract through PES Payroll, Spotlight Payroll, Falcon Paymasters or the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA). These companies provide services as Employer of Record to academic institutions on behalf of SDC members. Below are links to PES, Spotlight, Falcon and U/RTA.



Once the contract has been completed, the employer should print four (4) copies and sign them first. Then, after the SDC member signs, two (2) copies should be mailed to SDC. The appropriate health and pension contributions should arrive in separate checks – one made out to “SDC-League Health Fund” and the other to “SDC-League Pension Fund” and mailed to the following address:

Zenith American Solutions, 140 Sylvan Avenue, Suite 303, Englewood Cliffs, NJ  07632

PLEASE NOTE: The Academic Tier health contribution amounts are increasing effective January 1, 2017. Please see the links below for more information.




SDC Rep Maegan Morris x237
SDC Rep Suzette Porte x242


-The Tier Contract requires the placement of the SDC “Logo” in a conspicuous place in the program. Where can I find the Logo?
The SDC logo can be found at
-What happens if a show is extended?
If a show extends beyond the originally contracted period, the Director, Choreographer, or Director-Choreographer is due no less than 6% of their contractual fee per week, pro-ratable based on a 7 performance week. Under the Academic Tier Agreement, payment shall be as calculated above. Under the Tier Agreement, in no case shall payment be less than twelve dollars ($12) per performance. Additional pension (8%) and health (8%) contributions are due on any extension payments and must be paid as same accrues.
-If I negotiate a fee greater than minimum does my pension and health increase?
Since the pension payment is an amount equal to 8% of your fee, it will increase as your fee increases. Health payments are based on the Tier level and may not be increased or decreased.
-Why is there no minimum compensation level?
Academic institutions vary greatly in size and their ability to compensate visiting artists. Because of this, there is no minimum fee. You should negotiate with the institution directly for a salary level you’re comfortable with.
-How is the Tier level determined?
There are two Academic Tier Levels: Academic Tier A – This is a non-accredited higher educational institution like a community college or certificate program, or any K-12 school. Academic Tier B – This is a fully accredited College or University.