Middle school teachers help developing children build on the foundational knowledge they acquired in early childhood education. In South Carolina, middle school teacher candidates must obtain licensure and an endorsement in their subject area. The steps that must be completed to qualify for certification are described in this article.
Teaching Certification Requirements in South Carolina
|Average Salary for Middle School Teachers in South Carolina (2017)*||$52,400|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Middle Level Education|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core), Principles of Learning and Teaching (Pedagogy) (Grades 5-9 (code: 5623), PPAT or edTPA, Middle Level Education Subject Area test|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Earn a Degree
Aspiring middle school teachers in South Carolina will first need to acquire a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, whilst taking a degree, candidates must undertake and complete an educator preparation program approved by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Candidates should choose a program in Middle Level Education. These programs combine general education courses such as curriculum models and standards and learning theories, with courses specific to middle level education including classes in a candidate's chosen subject area such as English language arts, science, math, and social studies. The senior year will generally focus on field experience in a middle school classroom setting.
Step 2: Pass all Required Testing
Middle School Teacher candidates in South Carolina have to pass three tests (administered by ETS) to qualify for an initial teacher license. The tests consist of a Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (basic skills), Principles of Learning and Teaching (pedagogy), and a subject area test:
- The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam must be passed to be accepted into an approved educator preparation program. This exam comprises three tests. These tests can be taken at the same time or separately:
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (code: 5712, minimum pass score - 156)
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (code: 5722, minimum pass score - 158)
- Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (code: 5732, minimum pass score - 142)
- The Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) is a pedagogy exam which is generally taken at the end of an educator preparation program. There are four versions of this exam. Middle school teacher candidates should take the following PLT exam:
- PLT: Grades 5-9 (code: 5623, minimum pass score - 160)
There are some educator preparation programs in South Carolina that require candidates to complete the PPAT assessment (the passing score is 36), or an edTPA. The SCDE accepts either assessment. Candidates should get in touch with their program provider to check which tests they require. The PPAT and edTPA must be completed while candidates are undertaking their approved educator preparation program.
- Finally, a candidate will need to pass a subject area test. Middle school teacher candidates must pass the middle school education tests in the subject area they wish to teach. The testing options are as follows:
- Middle School Language Arts (code: 5047, minimum pass score - 164)
- Middle School Mathematics (code: 5169, minimum pass score - 165)
- Middle School Science (code: 5440, minimum pass score - 150)
- Middle School Social Studies (code: 5089, minimum pass score - 155)
Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement
Once all of the education and testing requirements have been successfully completed, middle school teacher candidates are then free to apply for an initial teaching license using SCDE's Certification Application Technology Services (CATS) electronic application system. Official college and/or university transcripts must be included with the application, alongside a 'verification of college preparation recommendation for teacher certificate' form completed by the candidate's educator program provider. Testing scores should also be sent to SCDE by the ETS.
Teacher candidates will also need to get student teaching clearance and then complete a fingerprinting process before they can begin student teaching in a South Carolina school. These background checks are completed as part of your application. Candidates should ensure that their application files are complete six months before they intend to begin student teaching. Given this, the following deadlines should be noted:
- Fall semester student teachers: February 15 (i.e., the February prior to student teaching)
- Spring semester student teachers: June 15 (i.e., the June prior to student teaching)
When applications are accepted, candidates are awarded an Initial Educator Certificate (valid for three years).
Teacher Certification Resources
Click on the links below to access our study guides for helping middle school teacher candidates in South Carolina prepare for their certification exams: