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South Carolina Teacher Certification

Quality Counts, the annual education assessment published by Education Week, examines various aspects of national and state school policies. Accountability for quality; incentives and allocation; and efforts to build and support the capacity of the teaching workforce are three critical categories of policymaking that apply to teachers. Assessments results for these three categories gave the nation a C grade and South Carolina an A, the highest grade possible, in both 2010 and 2011.

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How to Become a Teacher in South Carolina

Any individual employed in a South Carolina public school classroom, either teaching or in an instructional support position, must hold an appropriate state-granted teaching credential. To qualify for certification in South Carolina, all applicants must fulfill certain requirements.

  • Earn a bachelor’s or master's degree from:
  • An institution that has a state-approved teacher education program.

or from

  • A South Carolina institution that has programs approved for teacher education.

or from

  • An institution that has programs approved for teacher education by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
  • Earn professional education credits through an institution that has a teacher education program approved for South Carolina Initial certification.
  • Take and pass the exams required to qualify for Initial certification, including the Praxis Pedagogy examination, which tests general professional knowledge.
  • Complete Praxis II content area exams and submit the passing examination score(s) to the South Carolina State Board of Education for purposes of certification.
  • Undergo a criminal records check by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division plus a national criminal records check supported by fingerprints conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Background checks from other states are not transferable to South Carolina.

Credential Classification

Classification of an educator’s credential is determined by a combination of factors, including formal education, performance, professional development and teaching experience.

The types of credential classification in South Carolina include:

Initial Certificate

  • An initial certificate is valid for three years, after which public school teachers who do not yet meet the requirements for professional certification may have their certificates renewed annually at the request of the employing school district.
  • Non-public school teachers who hold initial certificates and are employed in a nonpublic school educational setting may have their certificates renewed annually for an indefinite period.
  • To qualify for an initial certificate, the applicant must fulfill the following requirements:
    • Earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree either from an institution that has a state- approved and accredited teacher education program or from an institution that has programs approved for teacher education by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
      • Submit the required teaching area examination score(s) as adopted by the State Board of Education for purposes of certification.
      • Undergo a criminal records check by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and a national criminal records check supported by fingerprints conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Professional Certificate

  • Professional certificates are valid for five years. To qualify for subsequent levels of professional certification applicants must:
  • Meet all criteria for initial area of certification and have earned a bachelor’s degree that meets regulations for teacher certification and program approval.
  • Successfully complete all additional testing or coursework requirements.
  • Meet the South Carolina Board of Education formal evaluation standards.

or

  • Successfully meet all requirements for reciprocity according to Interstate Agreement on Qualifications of Educational Personnel.

Procedure for Advancing From Initial to Professional

An initial certificate is issued for three years. Moving from an initial certificate to a professional certificate requires the completion of two requirements.

  • Receive a passing score on the appropriate Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Praxis test. Students completing a state approved teacher preparation program must meet the PLT test requirement prior to receiving an initial certificate.
  • Meet the requirements of South Carolina’s ADEPT (Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching) system of formal evaluation
  • If a teacher holding an initial certificate completes the Praxis and ADEPT requirements during the school year, the teacher can initiate the upgrade to the professional certificate.

Student Teaching

Individuals pursuing undergraduate or graduate programs that lead to Initial Teacher certification must complete the state’s current student teaching requirements.

Teachers who have taught full time for three years or longer and who have met all requirements for certification,
except student teaching, may request that their teaching experience be used in lieu of student teaching for certification purposes if they meet the state’s teaching equivalency conditions and submit appropriate paperwork.

Required Examinations

All applicants must take, pass and submit scores for the Praxis basic skills, professional knowledge and content area examinations before being granted either initial or professional certification.

References

  • (http://www.edweek.org/media/ew/qc/2011/QualityCounts2011_PressRelease.pdf)
  • (http://www.scteachers.org/cert/certpdf/TeacherCertificationManual.pdf
    SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATOR CERTIFICATION MANUAL; 2011 revision)
  • http://www.scteachers.org/cert/index.cfm