South Carolina Alternative Teacher Certification

The state of South Carolina offers options for alternative teacher certification for those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program. These alternatives lead to full certification in most cases, though certain programs such as the Adjunct Certification Route are temporary.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

The minimum requirement to pursue alternative teacher certification in South Carolina is a bachelor’s degree. Candidates must also take and pass the Praxis exams appropriate to the subject(s) and grade level(s) they wish to teach. Finally, prospective teachers must pass a state and federal background check.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in South Carolina

There are several routes for earning an alternative teaching license in South Carolina. To earn full certification, candidates who have a bachelor’s degree must pursue additional education to convert to professional certification under one of the following pathways.

Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE)

The Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) allows qualified individuals to begin teaching right away under the guidance of mentor teachers while they complete a required program of study designed to enhance their pedagogical knowledge and effectiveness in the classroom. Candidates must have a major or its equivalent in the subject for which they are seeking endorsement as well as two years of full-time work experience. The course of study for each individual candidate is determined by review of the applicant’s credentials and related experience. Upon successful completion of the PACE program as well as three years of teaching, candidates may qualify for a Professional teaching certificate.

American Board Certification (ABCTE)

South Carolina recognizes certification through the American Board (ABCTE) in English, mathematics, and the sciences. Candidates who earn ABCTE certification are eligible to seek and accept employment in South Carolina while completing the requirements for full certification, such as completing a master’s degree in education, or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program.

Career and Technology Education (CATE) Work Based Certification Program

Prospective teachers who are interested in leading career and technical education (CTE) classrooms may qualify for the Career and Technology Education (CATE) Work Based Certification Program. This program leads to certification in CTE subjects in grades 9 through 12. To be eligible, candidates must have at least a high school diploma and the designated education and experience for the CTE subject they wish to teach. Eligible applicants may apply to a school district, which applies for an Induction certificate on the candidate’s behalf. Candidates then have five years to fulfill professional development requirements, including In-Service Institutes and coursework, to become fully certified.

Adjunct Teacher Certification

Adjunct Teacher Certification is the newest alternative route approved by the South Carolina Board of Education. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree with a major in the certificate area or passing scores on the appropriate Praxis II exam plus at least five years of related occupational experience. Candidates must be employed by a school district, which requests the Adjunct Certificate on the candidate’s behalf. Educators may teach up to two courses per year with this certificate. However, this certificate does not lead to full-time professional certification.

Testing Requirements for South Carolina Alternative Certification

The South Carolina State Board of Education requires all educators to earn passing scores on the Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis II: Subject Assessments/Specialty Area examinations. In most cases, these exams must be passed prior to requesting an alternative teaching certificate. You can find out which exams are appropriate to the endorsements you are seeking through the South Carolina Department of Education.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

South Carolina offers limited reciprocity to out-of-state teachers who hold a current and valid teaching certificate in another state. Reciprocity is based on an evaluation of the candidate’s experience and education. Note that South Carolina does not offer reciprocity for any type of career and technical or vocational teaching certificates. For more information, review our guide to teacher certification reciprocity or the South Carolina Department of Education’s information for out-of-state applicants.

Additional Resources

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in South Carolina

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these specific programs:

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1. South Carolina Department of Education: https://ed.sc.gov/educators/