Become a Teacher in South Carolina


South Carolina State Department of Education

1429 Senate Street Columbia, SC 29201


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    Become a teacher in South Carolina

        South Carolina Teacher Shortage areas

            Earn Your South Carolina Teaching Credential

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

            To earn your South Carolina teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program.

            South Carolina issues an Initial Certificate (valid for 3 years, can be renewed) to beginning teachers. During that period, a teacher must pass the appropriate Praxis II PLT exam and participate in the state’s formal teacher evaluation system in order to advance to a Professional Certificate (renewable every 5 years).

            Learn more here about earning your South Carolina teaching credential.

            Learn more about getting your teaching credential.

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            Prerequisite Coursework in South Carolina

            All states require at least a Bachelor’s degree to teach. Some states require additional undergraduate coursework.  South Carolina has fairly specific coursework requirements. Some examples:

            Early Childhood Education (Grades K-3):

            • 3 semester hours in each of the following: Child Behavior and Development; Curriculum for Early Childhood Education; Methods and Materials for Early Childhood, and either Teaching Reading at the Elementary Level or Emergent Literacy.
            • 9 semester hours divided between math, science, and social studies
            • 3 semester hour Practicum in Early Childhood Education
            Elementary Education (Grades 2-6):
            • 6 semester hours in Teaching of Reading in the Elementary School
            • 3 semester hours in each of the following: Child Growth and Development; Mathematics for the Elementary School Teacher; Science for the Elementary Teacher, and Social Studies for the Elementary Teacher
            • 3 semester hours in one of the following courses: Literature for Children; Art for the Elementary School Teacher; Music for the Elementary School Teacher or Health for the Elementary School Teacher
            Middle Level Education (Grades 5-8) – 15 semester hours including:
            • 3 semester hours in each of the following: Middle Level Curriculum and Organization; Early Adolescent Growth and Development and Learning Communities, and Teaching Reading and Writing in the content field you plan to teach
            • 15 semester hours of coursework in the content field you plan to teach, including courses from at least 3 subjects within the content field
            Secondary Education (Grades 9-12) – Contact the South Carolina Department of Education or your teacher preparation program Secondary English (added on to a Secondary Education certificate):
            • 6 semester hours in Composition and Rhetoric
            • 3 semester hours in each of the following: Advanced Composition and Rhetoric; Development of Modern English; Modern English Grammar; Teaching of Reading (Secondary); British Literature; American Literature; Adolescent Literature, and Literary Criticism
            • 6 semester hours of literature electives
            South Carolina requires a period of supervised student teaching. Return to the top

            Required Tests for South Carolina

            Most states require tests to show competency in Basic Skills as well as in the desired Subject Area. South Carolina requires the PPST (Pre Professional Skills Test) for Basic Skills in order to enter a teacher preparation program and the Praxis II: Subject Tests as well as the Praxis II PLT (Principles of Learning and Teaching) Test for Subject Area competency.

            You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

            Read more about teacher certification tests.

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            South Carolina Teacher Certification Programs

            Teacher Certification Programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of approved teacher preparation programs in South Carolina can be found here.

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            Alternate Teacher Certification in South Carolina

            The South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators provides a route for eligible candidates who have not met regular certification requirements to teach in areas where there is a critical shortage of teachers. Candidates who have at least two years of post-secondary work experience and have obtained employment with a South Carolina public school in a content area with a teacher shortage are issued a one-year Critical Needs Teaching Certificate, which can be renewed twice for a total of three years.  They complete periodic training in classroom instruction, complete at least three approved core courses and undergo a period of mentoring and evaluation.

            South Carolina recognizes the ABCTE alterrnate teaching certification route for teachers of biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, physics, or science. ABCTE is a self-paced, online teacher certification program.

            South Carolina also has a Teaching Fellows program.

            Finally, adjunct certification for part-time teaching is available to subject experts in certain specialties. An Adjunct Certificate cannot be converted to a Professional Teaching Certificate.

            South Carolina Troops to Teachers program

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            Certification Reciprocity in South Carolina

            Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in South Carolina, visit the reciprocity page . Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the South Carolina Department of Education.

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            Benefits of a Master's in Education in South Carolina

            It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A Master's in Teaching will give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a Master's program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay.

            A Master’s degree in South Carolina can lead to a $4,500 increase in initial salary over holding just a Bachelor’s degree. After 10 years of experience, a Master’s degree will earn you $5,400 more than a Bachelor’s.

            Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education.

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            Master's in Education Financial Aid

            South Carolina residents are eligible for the  Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

            Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree.

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            South Carolina Teacher Salary and Incentives

            The average teacher in South Carolina makes $48,010 per year, which is 141% of the state average income.  South Carolina provides loan forgiveness for teachers in high needs schools and shortage subjects. For more specific salary info, consult the South Carolina Teacher Salary Scale.

            Learn more about teacher salaries.

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            South Carolina Teacher Benefits and Retirement

            Teachers in South Carolina are eligible to participate in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program, which allows retirement-eligible teachers to begin collecting deferred retirement benefits while still working. All retirement benefits for South Carolina teachers are handled by the South Carolina Retirement Systems. Average final compensation is calculated by taking the average of an individual’s 3 highest consecutive years of compensation. Teachers at the age of 65 with at least 5 years of experience, or at age 55 with at least 28 years of experience are eligible for full benefits. Teachers at the age of 60 with at least 5 years of experience, and teachers at the age of 55 with at least 25 years of experience are eligible for reduced benefits.

            Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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            Professional Development for Teachers in South Carolina

            The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) administers the Teacher Cadet, Teaching Fellow, and ProTeam Programs for mentoring and recruiting new teachers. The newly created Call Me MISTER program run through Clemson University also helps recruit and mentor new teachers in South Carolina. Additional professional development programs vary by district.

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            South Carolina Teaching Jobs

            CERRA runs a Teacher Job Bank which teachers can use to submit a centralized application to a variety of postings. The job bank makes it easy to browse jobs by district, region and specialty. CERRA also runs the South Carolina Teacher Expo, which can be a useful event for teachers seeking employment.

            Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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            South Carolina Teacher Certification Information & Links

            South Carolina Department of Education South Carolina Department of Education – Educator Certification, Recruitment and Preparation South Carolina Retirement Systems South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) Teacher Job Bank