How to Become a Teacher in South Carolina


Learning how to become a teacher in South Carolina starts with tracking down the education and certification requirements. It also helps to know about the state’s prospects for educators.

South Carolina usually has a good number of job openings for teachers each year, particularly for the beginning of the school year. Many of the positions are in the rural areas where math, science and special education teachers are in demand. Salaries average $49,860 annually, though beginners will earn substantially less.

There are several pathways to becoming a teacher in South Carolina. All must eventually lead to a professional certification in the core academics (math, science, language arts). This includes most special education teachers, as they also teach core academics.

To find out how to become a teacher in South Carolina, it helps to be familiar with the certification process. There are two basic kinds of certificates — traditional and alternative.

Traditional Certification

  • Initial certification.This is valid for three years. To qualify for an initial certificate, the applicant must obtain at least a bachelor degree from a teaching program accredited by the State Board of Education or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This may be from a brick-and-mortar institution or from one of the online degree programs the state recognizes. Candidates also must also pass the state’s teaching area exam. South Carolina uses the Praxis series of assessments.
  • Professional Certification. This is valid for five years and includes all of the requirements for an initial certificate. Additionally, the teacher will need to successfully complete the induction program by passing the teacher evaluation tool the state uses.

Alternative Certification

A shortage of qualified teachers in South Carolina in the 1980s prompted the state to adopt various non-traditional ways to recruit and train teachers. An alternative route certificate is granted to those who enroll and complete one of the alternative programs.

To qualify for any one of these alternative certifications, the candidates must have at least a bachelor degree from qualifying traditional or online degree programs. The degree can be in any field and is not limited to a teacher-preparation program. Additionally, the teacher will have a minimum of three years to achieve the status of professional certificate.

South Carolina currently implements the following alternative certification routes.

Program of Alternative Certification for Educators

Through PACE, a college graduate with a bachelor degree in any field can eventually come to hold a professional South Carolina teaching certificate. Job seekers who apply to the program and are recommended to participate must have either two years of work experience in their field or a master degree. They must also pass the state’s required testing in the subject area they want to work in (Praxis). They can then be hired in a critical-needs area. They will work under the guidance of this mentoring program, attend seminars and pass the state’s evaluation tool to eventually become a professionally certified teacher.

Teach For America

This alternative route to becoming a teacher is available to graduates who will hold a bachelor degree by the time the program’s summer seminar begins. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and have at least a 2.50 grade-point average. The program looks for certain traits in applicants such as leadership skills.

American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence

Graduates with bachelor degrees from accredited traditional or online degree programs can earn an alternative certification by successfully completing the ABCTE exams. This is limited to the fields of biology, chemistry, English, math, physics and science. Once the applicant has successfully completed the program and exams, he or she can receive an alternative certification upon accepting a job offer.