Elementary Education Certification in South Carolina

Jul 09, 2018

Elementary level teachers educate children of ages 4-11 (grades K-6). In South Carolina, elementary teachers need to complete a number of education, training and testing steps to qualify for licensure.

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Elementary level teachers have the important task of providing young children with the foundational knowledge that will enable them to properly develop in middle and secondary school. To provide this foundation, elementary teachers must be patient, organized, and sensitive to the specific needs of young learners. Aspiring elementary level teachers in South Carolina must acquire licensure and an endorsement in elementary education.

Teaching Certification Requirements in South Carolina

Average Salary for Elementary Teachers in South Carolina (2017)* $50,510
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core), Principles of Learning and Teaching (Pedagogy) (Grades K-6, code: 5622) or PPAT or edTPA, Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (code: 5001)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Elementary level teacher candidates in South Carolina must first obtain a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates should choose a degree program which incorporates an approved elementary education educator preparation program (effectively a major in elementary education). These preparation programs will typically consist of a core education program, which introduces key concepts and theories, and elementary education courses such as literacy instruction, elementary classroom management, and social studies.

Such programs will also include a practicum and internship. You may find that the number of actual hours spent in the classroom generally vary by program, but it is common for elementary education programs to require prospective teachers to fulfill 12 credit hours of professional clinical experience during the final semester of their training.

Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) requires elementary teacher candidates to pass three sets of tests administered by ETS. These tests comprise a basic skills assessment (Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators), a pedagogy assessment (Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)), and a series of Praxis tests specific to the elementary education licensure area:

  • In order for a candidate to be accepted into an approved educator preparation program, the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam must be passed.
    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (5712) (pass score - 156)
    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (5722) (pass score - 158)
    • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (5732) (pass score - 142)
  • The PLT exam is taken towards the end of an educator preparation program. There are four PLT exams and the one that a candidate will take depends on the grade level(s) they hope to teach. Aspiring elementary level teachers should take the PLT: Grades K-6 (5622) (pass score - 160).

Some South Carolina educator preparation programs ask teacher candidates to pass the PPAT assessment (pass score is 36), or an edTPA, both of which will be accepted by the SCDE. Candidates should contact their preparation program provider to find out which tests they need to take.

  • The final exam an elementary education teacher needs to take is the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects test. This test consists of four subtests which can be taken on the same day or separately:
    • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects (5001)
      • Reading and Language Arts Subtest (5002) (pass score - 157)
      • Mathematics Subtest (5003) (pass score - 157)
      • Social Studies Subtest (5004) (pass score - 155)
      • Science Subtest (5005) (pass score - 159)

Candidates who wish to take all of the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects tests at once should register with ETS using the code, 5001. Otherwise, the specific test codes should be used when taking the test separately.

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement

Candidates should apply for an initial teaching license using the Certification Application Technology Services (CATS) online application system administered by the SCDE. Official college and/or university transcripts must be attached to the application, along with a 'verification of college preparation recommendation for teacher certificate', a form completed by the candidate's educator preparation program provider. ETS will send test scores to SCDE on the candidate's request.

Candidates must also apply for student teaching clearance and complete a fingerprinting process before they can start teaching. Candidates must have their application files in order six months prior to starting teaching. With this in mind, the following deadlines should be heeded:

  • Fall semester: February 15 (February prior to student teaching)
  • Spring semester: June 15 (June prior to student teaching)

When an application is successful, candidates are awarded an Initial Educator Certificate which is valid for three years.

South Carolina Elementary Education Teacher Certification Resources

Check the links below to access our study guides for elementary level teacher candidates studying for their licensure exams in South Carolina:

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