How to Get Certified to Teach in South Carolina

Teaching certification is a required credential for teachers and education professionals. Get some quick facts about the education and degree requirements necessary to qualify for jobs as a teacher.

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There are several steps involved in becoming a certified teacher in the state of South Carolina. After completing a bachelor's degree it's necessary to take an accredited teacher training program, pass the Praxis I and Praxis II exams, and pass a background check.

Essential Information

Every state has specific requirements that prospective teachers must meet before stepping into a classroom setting. In South Carolina, teacher certification requirements include earning a bachelor's degree, teacher training, exams and a background check. Teachers looking to advance into educational leadership and administrative roles should continue their education by earning a master's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements Praxis I Pre Professional Exam, Praxis II
Required Experience Student teaching
Other Requirements Pass a background check
Specializations Elementary, middle or high school; mathematics, science, English and other subjects
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for elementary school, middle school and high school teachers*
Average Salary (2015)* $49,250 for elementary school teachers,
$50,080 for middle school teachers,
$51,590 for high school teachers*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Steps to Become Certified to Teach in South Carolina

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring teachers must first earn their bachelor's degrees, which can be in education or another subject. Those who major in a subject other than education can usually fulfill their state's teaching requirements during or after their bachelor's degree program. To fulfill the teacher preparation component of the bachelor's degree program, the program must be accredited by the State Board of Education or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students can usually major in special education, elementary, middle or secondary education.

These teacher preparation bachelor's degree programs combine coursework on curriculum planning and classroom management with supervised practice teaching. Students will also look at child and adolescent development and explore effective communication techniques with groups of children at particular ages. Those who major in secondary education usually specialize in a particular subject, such as math, English, biology or language studies.

Step 2: Complete an Accredited Teacher Training Program

Students who didn't complete a teacher preparation bachelor's degree program must complete an alternative teacher training program before becoming certified in South Carolina. Many aspiring teachers choose the Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE).

If participating in PACE, individuals can take education courses while teaching in the classroom under a provisional license. They must successfully teach for at least three years and pass their courses before receiving certification. The subject they teach must match the subject for which they are pursuing certification.

Step 3: Take Skills Exams

South Carolina has its own exam requirements for teacher certification. All prospective teachers must first pass a basic skills exam that includes math and verbal topics. This exam is called the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test and must typically be taken before students begin their teacher preparation programs.

Aspiring teachers also must pass a specialized content exam called the Praxis II after they complete their teacher program. The content exam must match the grade level and subject that the student intends to teach, whether that is in elementary education, special education or secondary school biology. These exams must have been taken within the last ten years for applicants to qualify for teacher certification.

Step 4: Pass a Background Check

South Carolina requires teachers to pass a background check to receive certification. The State Board of Education reviews any discrepancies or issues before making a final decision. Individuals must also be fingerprinted by a representative from the FBI. The fingerprinting procedure usually requires a fee.

Step 5: Get a Master's Degree

For those who wish to earn a higher salary or pursue an administrative position, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that a master's degree can help advance a teacher's career. A graduate education can also lead to a job as an instructional coordinator or an instructional technology specialist. Graduate programs usually require applicants to earn their teaching certification before gaining acceptance.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Job opportunities for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers are expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. Positions for high school teachers are also expected to increase by 6% in that same time period.

According to the BLS, as of May 2015 South Carolina had 20,790 elementary school teachers who earned a mean salary of $49,250 a year. The state also had 9,060 middle school teachers who made a mean annual salary of $50,080, and 14,620 high school teachers, who earned $51,590 on average.

Teachers in South Carolina can begin working in the field under a provisional license while they're completing their accredited teacher training (PACE). They must also have a bachelor's degree and pass a background check, and pass the skills exams. Those who enter the teaching field may also opt to continue studies and complete a master's degree, which is necessary for moving into administrative careers.

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