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The South Carolina Teaching and Certification Resource

For aspiring teachers, there are many pathways that lead to South Carolina teacher certification. Although the various pathways may depend on experience and education, the traditional pathway is the most common. The Educator Licensure Board within the state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined below.

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 institute of higher education, pass the required Praxis assessments, and be cleared by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) following a criminal records and background check. Additionally, the South Carolina State Department of Education will verify eligibility based on the candidate’s completion of an approved South Carolina teachers certification program, verification of an out-of-state license, or successful participation in the Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE). Traditionally, applicants may receive an Initial Certificate which will allow them to teach for three years; after successfully teaching in the classroom for this period of time, teachers will become eligible for a renewable Professional Certificate which is good for five years.

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For those looking for information on South Carolina reciprocity, the state offers reciprocity with all U.S. states, Canadian provinces and Guam. For more information on the process as well as information on the South Carolina teacher certification renewal process, please contact the state’s Board of Education.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in South Carolina

Completing an approved South Carolina teachers certification program in an accredited school is one of the most important steps when pursuing South Carolina teacher certification. When evaluating schools that offer programs for new teachers, applicants should confirm that the school has been accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation agency.

There are six regional accreditation agencies that are overseen by the US Department of Education. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is responsible for accrediting schools in South Carolina. Applicants should confirm that their program of choice is offered by a SACS-accredited school. For those applicants evaluating online teaching certification programs, all schools offering online programs should also be accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies according to their headquartered state.

Additionally, most states look for a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the recent merger between two highly-regarded accreditation associations, TEAC and NCATE. For years, these two organizations have built a distinguished reputation as a maker of high quality teacher education curriculum and process. Under the new name, CAEP, the organization will continue to work to ensure excellence in the education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in South Carolina.

Quick Guide

South Carolina Teacher Education Requirements

In order to receive certification to teach in the state of South Carolina via the traditional route, applicants 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 from a designated college official. Alternative routes to certification in South Carolina are also available to those who meet the eligibility requirements and are willing to complete a prescribed course of study.

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South Carolina Teacher Outlook
The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 3,381 annual job openings in education and library related fields in South Carolina through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 49,941 public school and 5,550 private school teachers employed in South Carolina. According to the National Education Association, the average beginning teaching salary in South Carolina is $31,710 and the overall average teaching salary in South Carolina is $47,050, the 12th lowest among US states. The NEA also notes teacher shortages in art, business education, language arts, foreign languages, math, science and special education. Specialization in anyone of these fields may greatly increase the employment opportunity of newly certified teachers. The South Carolina Education Association is updated frequently with state education policy, employment opportunities and budget allocations and is a useful resource for new educators interested in working in South Carolina.

South Carolina Teacher Testing Requirements

South Carolina State SealThe South Carolina State Board of Education requires that teachers seeking initial or alternative certification present passing scores on the Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area examinations in order to receive and maintain their certification to teach in the South Carolina public school systems. The Praxis series is used for teacher certification purposes in many states and is designed to assess the candidates’ knowledge of teaching fundamentals as well as their level of expertise in the subject area they plan to teach.

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Additional South Carolina Teacher Certification Requirements

South Carolina law states that all teachers must submit fingerprints for a state and federal background check before being eligible to work in the public education system. Applicants should request fingerprinting cards before they send in their certification applications because the background clearance may take up to six weeks. Certified teachers may not begin to work in the school system until cleared from the background check.

South Carolina Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all steps towards South Carolina educator certification have been completed, applicants must send in the required documentation to the Educator Licensure Office. The certification process can take up to eight weeks, so applicants should send in their packet accordingly. The following documentation is required:

  1. Complete the electronic fingerprint process.
  2. Submit a copy of your Social Security Card (US).
  3. Submit an official, sealed transcript from each college or university attended.
  4. Submit a College Recommendation Form signed by designated college official.
  5. Submit passing scores for the required Praxis II specialty area exams.
  6. Submit passing score on the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) in the specific grade level.
  7. Complete the South Carlonina Licensure Application.
  8. Payment of the non-refundable fee online or by check/money order.

Office of Educator Services
8301 Parklane Rd
Columbia, South Carolina 29223

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 3,470 $26,330
Kindergarten Teachers 2,560 $52,980
Elementary School Teachers 19,760 $48,620
Middle School Teachers 10,170 $49,070
Secondary School Teachers 13,120 $50,370

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

South Carolina Teacher Interview

Interview with Bridget Pearsall, South Carolina Math Teacher

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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 has no statewide requirements for being a substitute teacher. Individual districts set their own requirements. To become a substitute, you need to apply to districts in which you want to work and follow their application procedures.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. South Carolina State Department of Education: http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.

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