How to Become a Preschool or Kindergarten Teacher in South Carolina

Preschool and Kindergarten teachers work with children between the ages of 3-6 years old. Teacher candidates must fulfill a number of education, training and testing requirements to become certified to teach these age groups.

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Preschool and kindergarten teachers are a child's first mentors in a structured educational environment. Such teachers must be able to convey empathy and patience so that their young students can soon feel comfortable and settle into a mindset that enables them to learn. In order to become a preschool or kindergarten teacher in South Carolina, candidates must acquire a teaching license and an endorsement in early childhood education (PreK-3). The steps that need to be followed to achieve certification and endorsement are described below.

Preschool and Kindergarten Teaching Certification Requirements in South Carolina

Average Salary for Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers in South Carolina (2017)* $27,840 (Preschool), $52,510 (Kindergarten)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core)
Principles of Learning and Teaching (Pedagogy - Early Childhood 5621)
Praxis subject-area test (Education of Young Children 5024)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

The first thing an aspiring preschool or kindergarten teacher in South Carolina needs to do is pursue a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university that incorporates an elementary education educator preparation program approved by the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). Such programs will typically include a core teacher education curriculum that will normally be completed within the first two years of the program. The rest of the program will likely focus on reading assessment and literacy.

Existing holders of a South Carolina teaching license, who would like to teach preschool and/or kindergarten, should complete an approved early childhood educator preparation program.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

Preschool and kindergarten teacher candidates in South Carolina need to pass three tests administered by ETS. These tests consist of basic skills, pedagogy, and early childhood education assessments:

  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators - basic skills
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) - pedagogy
  • Praxis subject-area test

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam must be passed as a condition of entry onto an approved educator preparation program. The exam consists of three sub-tests which can be taken on the same day or separately:

  • Reading: qualifying score of 156
  • Writing: qualifying score of 158
  • Mathematics: qualifying score of 148

The PLT (pedagogy) exam is normally taken near graduation via an approved educator preparation program. There are four versions of this exam. Preschool and kindergarten teacher candidates are only required to take the following PLT test:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood: qualifying score of 157

Preschool and kindergarten teacher candidates also need to take the following subject-area test:

  • Education of Young Children: qualifying score of 160

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement

When candidates have completed the education, training and testing requirements, they may apply for their initial teaching license using SCDE's Certification Application Technology Services (CATS) online application system. Official college and/or university transcripts should be submitted with the application alongside a 'verification of college preparation recommendation for teacher certificate' form completed and signed by the candidate's educator program provider. Testing scores must be sent to SCDE by ETS.

As part of the application, candidates must also acquire student teaching clearance and then complete a fingerprinting process before they can actually begin teaching. Candidates need to make sure that their application files are complete at least six months prior to their student teaching. With this in mind, 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)

Once an application is complete, candidates are awarded an Initial Educator Certificate which is valid for three years. At this point, certificate holders can apply for teaching jobs in South Carolina.

Preschool Teacher Certification Resources

Click on the links below to access our resources for helping preschool and kindergarten teacher candidates prepare for their South Carolina licensure exams:

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