With over 85 public school districts and numerous private schools in the state, South Carolina offers many opportunities for those who want to earn South Carolina teacher certification. With over 719,000 children enrolled in public K-12 classes during the 2011-2012 school year, aspiring teachers are likely to find a classroom happy to have them.
Becoming a teacher in South Carolina
There are many different routes to teacher certification in South Carolina. Most teachers earn a bachelor’s degree and then pursue their teaching certificate, which allows them to teach at both public and private schools. Unlike other states, South Carolina does not have a minimum requirement for undergraduate education courses; rather, the certification requirements can be met after graduation from an accredited bachelor’s degree program.
Aspiring teachers must complete a state-approved teacher education program. This program consists of a combination of knowledge-based courses and hands-on fieldwork in a classroom. If a student has a bachelor’s degree in something other than education, alternative certification is possible.
According to the South Carolina State Department of Education, an aspiring teacher must pay a fee, submit to a fingerprint check, complete an application (including recommendation form and transcript) and pass the appropriate tests to earn South Carolina teacher certification. These tests include the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), the Praxis II: Subject tests in a specialty area and Praxis II: PLT (Principles of Learning and Teaching).
South Carolina teaching credentials
Those who already hold teaching certification in another state will likely be able to transfer that license to South Carolina. The fingerprinting, fee and application requirements still apply, but the tests can be waived with evidence of a valid, current license to teach in another state, as well as verification of teaching experience.
Teachers in the South Carolina school system who teach a core academic subject must meet the state’s “highly qualified” requirements. The state identifies the core academic subjects as reading or language arts, English, science, foreign languages, mathematics, government, civics, economics, history, geography, dance, art and music.
In order to meet the highly qualified teacher requirement, a teacher must have at least a bachelor’s degree, must demonstrate knowledge in the core area taught, and must have full state certification that is appropriate to their teaching assignment.
Teaching certification is valid for five years, and expires on June 30 of the expiration year. In order to renew, a teacher must earn at least 120 renewal credits during that five year period. Those who do not hold a master’s degree must earn at least 60 of those hours in graduate course work. These continuing credit courses to renew the South Carolina teacher certification can be taken in person or online.
South Carolina and education
Earning South Carolina teaching certification can open doors to working in one of 85 public school districts, consisting of 1,218 public schools in the state, as well as numerous private and charter schools. Those who choose to work on the postsecondary level might work in one of 31 private colleges or 28 public colleges in the state, in addition to numerous for-profit schools or online distance-learning schools.
Those interested in earning teaching certification in South Carolina should review the expectations for starting work in public or private schools, then determine what it might take to complete the requirements set forth by the state. The South Carolina State Department of Education is a good place to begin.
Teach South Carolina, Teacher Certification, http://www.teachsc.org/certification.html
South Carolina State Department of Education, Active Student Headcounts, http://ed.sc.gov/data/student-counts/Student_Headcounts/ActiveStudentHeadcounts.cfm
South Carolina State Department of Education, Recertification, http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Certification-Recruitment-and-Preparation/Certification/Recertification.cfm
South Carolina Fast Facts, Education Facts, http://www.sciway.net/facts/#e