Find an Education Path For Teaching in South Carolina, (SC)

Aspiring educators must follow certain steps in order to attain their goal of teaching in South Carolina. The first step depends on where you are academically on the path toward official certification. Please choose the highest level of education that you have achieved and we will help guide you as you advance towards a teaching career in South Carolina.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

The information below will help you discover the steps you should take to become a teacher in South Carolina.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

If you have completed high school and received either a diploma or a GED certificate, you may be eligible to enter college as a freshman, defined as a person who has not attended a regionally accredited college or university after high-school graduation. Two-year and four-year colleges or universities are options for students who want to continue their education and pursue a certificate that will allow them to work as an educator. Graduation from high school or the equivalent is necessary for acceptance into a Bachelor’s degree program in the field of education.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Degree, credential and certificate programs offered by two-year and community colleges may lead to education-related jobs that students can begin right after graduating. Some students choose to use their time at a two-year college to take transferable general education classes and earn an Associate degree before enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree program. After aspiring teachers have completed enough credits, students can transfer the core coursework units to a South Carolina-approved university or four-year college where they will have the opportunity to pursue an education degree that will take them one step closer to certification to teach in South Carolina.

  1. Some two-year and community colleges offer teacher education partnerships with four-year universities in or accredited by South Carolina. Students attend a two-year college to complete Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degrees in areas such as Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Special Needs Education and Secondary Education. Before allowing students to transfer into a university education degree program, some schools or departments of education require applicants to pass the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests in Mathematics, Reading, and Language Arts and Writing.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment shortly after graduation. A certificate or Associate degree in Early Childhood Education, may qualify you to begin working as a teaching assistant or child caretaker with infants, toddlers and pre-school children at Head Start, preschools, childcare organizations or before- and after-school programs.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Completing a Bachelor of Education degree in the grade level or subject matter you want to teach is an essential step on the path to becoming an educator in South Carolina. All levels of teacher certification, from Initial to Professional, require individuals to have at least a bachelor’s degree. To be eligible to apply for a South Carolina teaching certificate, prospective teachers must also satisfy all state-mandated requirements and meet all criteria for teacher certification determined by the State Board of Education. If college graduates who want to teach in South Carolina already have a non-education Bachelor’s degree, the steps they must follow toward certification will often depend on their undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include coursework and classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  2. Prospective educators who want to enter an accredited Teacher Education program must first pass all three Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST), which assess an applicant’s reading, writing and mathematics skills. The Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test is required before qualifying to receive initial certification to teach in South Carolina. Teaching candidates must also pass the Praxis II Subject Area Competence Tests in their specialty areas.
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you received your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied some certificate programs’ recommended academic requirements. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. South Carolina offers some alternative routes to certification, which encourage people to become teachers even though they graduated with college degrees outside the education field and have worked in other professions. The state’s Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) is designed to enrich education by creating paths for individuals to become professionally certified educators and to bring more diversity to public school classrooms. To participate in alternative credentialing programs, a person must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a qualifying subject area, a passing score on the appropriate Praxis II assessment and fulfillment of the work experience requirement. All South Carolina teachers complete an accredited Teacher Preparation Program. Some of these are Post-Baccalaureate programs and some are part of Master’s in Education programs. Consult with advisors to gather information, which will help you decide which route works best for you.
  6. Once prospective teachers earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with an education emphasis, successfully complete a state-approved Teacher Education Program, pass all mandatory assessments of skills, content, knowledge and subject matter, fulfill student teaching and other experiential hours, and comply with other South Carolina requirements, they will be qualified to apply for an Initial Certificate, which will allow you to teach in South Carolina.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program

Graduate programs leading to a Master’s degree with an Education focus are often combined with the required Teacher Preparation coursework and experiential fieldwork. There are assessment exams to take before entering an education graduate program, as well as tests that must be completed prior to applying for a South Carolina Teaching Certificate. Students have a variety of options when it comes to choosing which Master’s degree to pursue and which subject area or grade level to teach. Once you have earned a graduate degree, such as a Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) in Elementary Education or in Secondary Education, or a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Teaching or in Early Childhood Education, you can move forward in a few different directions toward reaching your goal.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with a Teacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the South Carolina Department of Education to request an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Earning an Educational Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) may increase your opportunities for a better job and a higher income. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information necessary to discover the best university and education program to meet your needs.