Become a Teacher in South Carolina

South Carolina Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $49,250
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $51,590
Vacation Weeks per Year 15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 1:30
Expenditure per Pupil $9,732

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

1429 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201

South Carolina Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage occurs when there are not enough teachers in key subject areas, which has been partly caused by years of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession, a growing student population and fewer people entering teacher preparation programs, according to the Learning Policy Institute.

The following is a list of teacher shortage areas in South Carolina for the 2016-17 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education (see page 142).

  • Career and Technical Education
  • English Language Learners
  • Fine Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Physical Education/Health Science
  • Social Science
  • Special Education (Non–Core)
  • World Languages

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in South Carolina

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/1/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of South Carolina, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a South Carolina teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your South Carolina Teaching Credential

To earn your South Carolina teaching credential you will have to complete required the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and pass standardized tests, as well participate in as an accredited certification program.

South Carolina issues an initial certificate (valid for 3 years, can be renewed) to beginning teachers. In order to obtain an initial certificate. During that period, a teacher must pass required the appropriate Praxis II PLT exams and participate in the state’s formal teacher evaluation system in order to advance to a professional certificate (renewable every 5 years).

Learn more about getting your South Carolina teaching credential.

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in South Carolina

All states require at least a bachelor’s degree to teach. Some states require additional undergraduate coursework.  South Carolina has fairly specific coursework requirements for teachers. Here are a few examples of prerequisite classes for undergraduate teaching majors at the University of South Carolina.

Early Childhood Education (Grades K-3)/Elementary Education

The following courses fulfill the education core for a bachelor's degree in early childhood  or elementary education:

  • Classroom Inquiry with Technology
  • Learning Through Community Service
  • Schools In Communities
  • Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Practicum: Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Introduction to Classroom Assessment
  • Introduction to Exceptional Children

Middle-Level Education (Grades 5-8)

  • Classroom Inquiry with Technology
  • Learning Through Community Service
  • Schools In Communities
  • Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Practicum: Learners and the Diversity of Learning
  • Introduction to Classroom Assessment
  • Introduction to Exceptional Children

Secondary Education (Grades 9-12) – Contact the South Carolina State Department of Education or your teacher preparation program for more information.

South Carolina requires a period of supervised student teaching.

Step Two: South Carolina Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher Certification Programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of approved teacher preparation programs in South Carolina can be found by visiting the South Carolina Department of Education’s Approved Educator Programs page.

Step Three: Required Tests for South Carolina

Most states require tests to show competency in basic skills as well as in the desired Subject Area. South Carolina requires the PPST (Pre Professional Skills Test) for basic skills in order to enter a teacher preparation program and the Praxis II: Subject Tests as well as the Praxis II PLT (Principles of Learning and Teaching) Test for Subject Area competency.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

Read more about teacher certification tests.

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Featured Online Programs

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BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Alternative Teacher Certification in South Carolina

The South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators provides a route for eligible candidates who have not met regular certification requirements to teach in areas where there is a critical shortage of teachers. Candidates who have at least two years of postsecondary work experience and have obtained employment with a South Carolina public school in a content area with a teacher shortage are issued a one-year Critical Needs Teaching Certificate, which can be renewed twice for a total of three years.  They complete periodic training in classroom instruction, complete at least three approved core courses and undergo a period of mentoring and evaluation.

South Carolina recognizes the ABCTE teaching certification route for teachers of biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, physics, or science. ABCTE is a self-paced, online teacher certification program.

South Carolina also has a Teaching Fellows program.

Finally, adjunct certification for part-time teaching is available to subject experts in certain specialties. An adjunct certificate cannot be converted to a professional teaching certification.

South Carolina Troops to Teachers program

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Benefits of a Master's Degree in South Carolina

It is no longer enough for educators to only have years of experience teaching to remain qualified. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, teachers are almost entirely being evaluated by their results in the classroom.

A master's degree in the field of education can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After completing a master's program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and earn higher pay.

A master’s degree in South Carolina can result in a $4,500 increase in initial salary compared with those who only have a bachelor’s degree. After 10 years of experience, a master’s degree will earn you $5,400 more than a bachelor’s degree.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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Certification Reciprocity in South Carolina

Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers who are certified in one state to teach in another. To find out what states have interstate reciprocity with South Carolina, visit the reciprocity page. For specific questions about your situation, contact the South Carolina Department of Education.

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Financial Aid in South Carolina

South Carolina residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree on

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South Carolina Teacher Salary and Incentives

In South Carolina, teachers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $50,751 per year in 2013-14, according to the South Carolina Education Association, which is 141% of the state average income.  South Carolina provides loan forgiveness for teachers in high needs schools and shortage subjects.

Learn more about teacher salaries at

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South Carolina Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Teachers in South Carolina are eligible to participate in the state’s Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program, which allows retirement-eligible teachers to begin collecting deferred retirement benefits while still working. All retirement benefits for South Carolina teachers are handled by the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority Retirement Systems.

Average final compensation is calculated by taking the average of an individual’s three 3 highest consecutive years of compensation. Teachers at the age of 65 with at least five 5 years of experience, or at age 55 with at least 28 years of experience are eligible for full benefits. Teachers at the age of 60 with at least five  5 years of experience and teachers at the age of 55 with at least 25 years of experience are eligible for reduced benefits.

Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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Professional Development for Teachers in South Carolina

The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) and administers the Teacher Cadet Teaching Fellows and ProTeam programs for mentoring and recruiting new teachers. The newly created Call Me MISTER program run through Clemson University also helps recruit and mentor new teachers in South Carolina. Additional professional development programs vary by district.

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South Carolina Teaching Jobs

CERRA runs a Teacher Job Bank which teachers can use to submit a centralized application to a variety of postings. The job bank makes it easy to browse jobs by district, region, and specialty. CERRA also runs the South Carolina Teacher Expo, which can be a useful event for teachers seeking employment.

Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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