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Alternative Teacher Certification in South Carolina

The state of South Carolina provides an alternative pathway for individuals who have made the decision to deviate from the traditional route to becoming an educator. The requirements and options that the South Carolina Department of Education maintains will be discussed below.

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Like most states, South Carolina offers a number of alternative programs that individuals can participate in to become a licensed educator within the state. There are currently nine programs, each requiring applicants to meet South Carolina's requirements, as well as a few requirements unique to the individual programs.

South Carolina Alternative Educator Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Education Professionals in Wisconsin (2017)* $52,510 (Kindergarten), $50,510 (Elementary), $52,400 (Middle School), $53,960 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Any
Testing Requirements Praxis II
Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

The state of South Carolina has two minimum requirements that prospective candidates must meet educationally in order to be eligible to participate in an alternative pathway. The applicant must have completed and been awarded their bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The South Carolina Department of Education also requires that the applicant not have participated in student teaching while attending a traditional teacher-preparation program. There are currently nine state-approved alternative pathway programs in the state of South Carolina. These programs include: Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) Adjunct Teaching Certification, American Board, Career and Technology Education (CATE), Greenville Alternative Teacher Education Program (GATE), TeachCharleston, Montessori Initial Certification, PACE, Teach for America (TFA), and Teachers of Tomorrow (ToT).

Certification Requirements

The South Carolina Department of Education requires that candidates for any teaching certification complete two examinations. The first is a Subject-Area Assessment and the second is a pedagogy examination.

Subject-Area Examination

The state of South Carolina verifies subject-area competency by having individuals who wish to be educators complete the Praxis II or ACTFL World Language exams. The Praxis II exams cover every subject test, minus certain languages that can be supplemented with the ACTFL. Individuals seeking alternative certification must earn a qualifying score on the subject-area examination before being admitted to the alternative certification program. Minimum score requirements range between 130 and 169 depending on the subject-area assessment they are required to take.

The potential educator, if they desire to teach a language, has the option to take the ACTFL World language examination. South Carolina requires that applicants looking for certification in a language must take the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and the Writing Proficiency Test (WPT). In order to be approved for certification, the applicant must score at least advanced-low on both the OPI and the WPT.

Pedagogy Examination

There is only one required pedagogy examination required by the South Carolina Department of Education. This is the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT). There are four different areas that can be completed: Early Childhood, Grades K - 6, Grades 5 - 9, and Grades 7 - 12. The minimum scores that must be attained are, respectively, 157, 160, 160, and 157. The applicant will take this examination based on the grade level they are interested in teaching. This pedagogy examination must be completed while the prospective educator is participating in the program.

There are also two optional pedagogy examinations that can be used in lieu of the PLT examination: the edTPA and PPAT. The edTPA allows educators to demonstrate their knowledge and use of teaching practices by compiling a portfolio that will be submitted for scoring. Since there are a number of assessment areas that candidates choose from, they will need to speak with their program provider/advisor in regards to what assessment(s) they should take. There are three assessment options: 13-Rubric, 15-Rubric, and 18-Rubric. In order to pass, the candidates must score 32, 37, and 44 respectively.

The Praxis PPAT evaluates the applicants' knowledge and ability to impact students, and it measures basic pedagogical knowledge. It is made up of four tasks, each created with a specific goal. Task one requires the educator to demonstrate knowledge of students and learning environments. Task two allows candidates to display their capacity to assess and collect data in order to measure student learning. Tasks three and four, respectively, require the applicant to show the ability to design instruction plans for student learning and to implement and analyze said instruction plans in order to promote student learning.

Resources for South Carolina Educators Interested in Alternative Certification

Below are resources that individuals in South Carolina can utilize if they are interested in pursuing an alternative certification. The links below lead to courses that can provide more information.

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