The South Carolina Teaching and Certification Resource
The traditional pathway to South Carolina teacher certification is completing a bachelor’s degree that includes a teacher preparation program. The South Carolina Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined below to help you learn how to become a teacher in South Carolina.
How to Become a Teacher in South Carolina
To meet the basic eligibility requirements for teaching certification in South Carolina, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, pass the required Praxis assessments, and complete a background check. Additionally, prospective teachers must complete an approved South Carolina teacher preparation program, which is typically included in the bachelor’s degree curriculum for traditional route educators.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program, you may be eligible for licensure under one of the alternative teacher certification routes in South Carolina.
South Carolina uses a tiered license structure for educators. Those who meet the minimum certification requirements above are eligible for the Initial Certificate. Candidates may then complete continuing education to advance the license. Advanced certificate classifications in the state are as follows:
- Bachelor’s +18. This certificate is granted to those who hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed 18 credit hours of graduate coursework within seven years.
- Master Degree. The Master Degree certificate recognizes those who have a master’s degree in an acceptable academic or professional field.
- Master’s +30. The Master’s +30 certificate is for those who hold a master’s degree plus 30 semester hours of graduate studies; or, hold a master’s degree based on 60 semester hours of graduate studies; or, hold two master’s degrees totaling at least 60 semester hours of graduate studies.
- Docorate. The doctorate certificate is issued to those who meet certification requirements and hold a doctoral degree in an area recognized by the South Carolina Department of Education.
- I want to be a teacher in South Carolina, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about South Carolina’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in South Carolina
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in SC through 20242
Completing an approved South Carolina teacher preparation program is one of the most important steps to earn South Carolina teacher certification. Programs located in South Carolina that do not have this approval will not qualify graduates for licensure. You can see a list of approved programs through the South Carolina Department of Education.
Out-of-state programs must hold accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education. Out-of-state schools offering online programs must be accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies and be approved by that state’s teacher licensing authority as well as that state’s Board of Education for the preparation of teachers. You can read more about program approval requirements here.
Additionally, schools may be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation is viewed as a marker of excellence in the education field.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce projects 133 average annual job openings due to growth for elementary school teachers, 63 average annual job openings due to growth for middle school teachers, and 94 average annual job openings due to growth for secondary school teachers in South Carolina through 2024.3 These projected openings are in addition to anticipated openings from replacements. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 44,470 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in South Carolina, excluding special education.4 Elementary school teachers in the state earn an average annual salary of $49,250, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $50,080, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $51,590.4 The South Carolina Education Association is a useful resource for educators interested in working in South Carolina.
South Carolina Teacher Education Requirements
In order to earn certification to teach in the state of South Carolina, candidates must complete a teacher education program from an accredited college or university, complete a student teaching internship, hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and provide a letter of recommendation for a teaching license from a teacher preparation program official. Alternative routes to certification in South Carolina are also available.
South Carolina Teacher Testing Requirements
The South Carolina State Board of Education requires that teachers seeking certification earn passing scores on the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis Subject Assessments. The Praxis series is designed to assess candidates’ knowledge of teaching fundamentals as well as their level of expertise in the subject area they plan to teach. You can find out which specific exams are appropriate to the subject(s) you wish to teach through the South Carolina Department of Education.
Additional South Carolina Teacher Certification Requirements
South Carolina law states that all prospective teachers must submit fingerprints for a state and federal background check. South Carolina is moving to electronic fingerprinting for all state residents, though out-of-state residents may still submit a manual card scan. Refer to the state’s Electronic Fingerprint Procedures for more information on completing this process.
South Carolina Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once the requirements for South Carolina educator certification have been completed, candidates must send an application to the Educator Licensure Office. The following documentation is required:
- Completed electronic fingerprint process.
- Official, sealed transcripts from each college or university attended.
- College Recommendation Form signed by designated teacher preparation program official.
- Passing scores for the required Praxis II content area exams.
- Passing score on the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) in the grade level(s) for which endorsement is sought.
- South Carolina Licensure Application.
- Payment of the application fee.
Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on South Carolina teacher certification.
South Carolina Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||150||$49,280|
|Elementary School Teachers||20,790||$49,250|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||3,000||$55,960|
|Middle School Teachers||9,060||$50,080|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||1,370||$53,530|
|Secondary School Teachers||14,620||$51,590|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||1,680||$55,410|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||900||$53,080|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4
South Carolina Teacher Interview
Interview with Bridget Pearsall, South Carolina Math Teacher
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in South Carolina
Question: How can you become a substitute teacher in South Carolina?
Answer: The state of South Carolina does not require certification for substitute teachers; the only requirement is that prospective substitutes have at least a high school diploma. However, individual school districts set their own requirements.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. South Carolina Department of Education: http://ed.sc.gov/educators/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce: http://dew.sc.gov/about-lmi.asp
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sc.htm