SC Teaching Certification (Guide) | TeachSC | (2023)

SC Teaching Certification (Guide) | TeachSC | (1)

To teach in South Carolina, you’ll need to know the certification requirements. Read this page for more info or click the button to download our guide.

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Download the Guide

To teach in South Carolina, you’ll need a degree and a teaching certificate. On this page, we’ll go over each step you’ll need to get there.

On this page, you can:

  • Decide what you want to teach.
  • Choose the right certification area.
  • Learn about critical need subject areas and loan forgiveness.
  • Understand your pathway options.
  • Review your pathway to certification.
  • Get answers to frequently asked questions about teaching in South Carolina.
  • Explore more resources.

We do our best to keep all information updated, but because certification requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and your teaching program (also called an educator preparation program or EPP).

Decide What Subject and Grade to Teach

Click the statement below that fits you best.

You’ll have more job opportunities—and make a bigger impact—teaching in a critical need area. When you get certified to teach in a shortage area, you may also qualify for generous student loan forgiveness programs.

Choose the Right Certification Area

Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can choose your official certification area. Click on the tabs in the next section for a full list of South Carolina certification options. (2)

How to read this section

In the charts below, you’ll notice a few symbols next to certain certification areas. Here’s what those mean:

*There are currently no traditional programs in South Carolina that offer certification in this subject area. However, you can add it to your initial certification subject area or pursue certification through an alternative pathway.

**There are currently no programs in South Carolina that offer this subject as an initial certification area. However, you can add it to your teaching certificate in another subject.

+To earn your Montessori certification, you’ll need to complete a training program that is accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. Learn more at the SCDE Montessori Certification Applicants page.

You can add additional endorsements in different subject areas throughout your teaching career. You don’t have to achieve all your certifications at once.

(Video) How to Pass Your Teacher Certification Exams | 5 Tips | Think Like a Test Maker| Kathleen Jasper

Consider a Critical Needs Subject

Why teach in a South Carolina critical need area?

You’ll have more job opportunities—and make a bigger impact—teaching in a high-need area. When you get certified to teach in a shortage area, you may also qualify for generous student loan forgiveness programs.

You can see which certification areas are critical need in the Choose the Right Certification Area section.

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your student loans.

— U.S. Department of Education (3)

Teacher loan forgiveness

If you commit to teaching in a state-designated shortage area, you also have loan forgiveness options (meaning you won’t have to pay your student loans back!):

  • South Carolina Student Loan offers loan forgiveness options for teachers who have a South Carolina Teacher Loan, Career Changers Loan or PACE Loan. To qualify, you may need to teach in a critical need subject area, critical need geographic area or both.
  • The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness funds if you teach in a school that serves low-income students for at least five years.

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree or have vocational work experience, you may be eligible for alternative certification pathways that put you in the classroom faster.

(Video) Teacher Certification Overview

Choose Your Teacher Education Pathway

To teach in South Carolina, your next steps will look different depending on your background. We'll help you figure out what you'll need to move forward.

Steps to a Teaching Certificate

Once you know what you want to teach, you're ready to start your journey to become a certified educator! Most South Carolina teachers begin with an initial certificate (you can learn more about initial certifications in the FAQs section of this page).

  1. 1

    Earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university.

    Your bachelor’s degree should be in a field closely related to what you want to teach. South Carolina accepts degrees from a large number of universities, but you should confirm that yours is regionally accredited.

    Keep in mind that you can earn your degree and your teaching certificate at the same time—so if you're an undergraduate, see Step 2 below.

    Paying for your program can feel like a lot. That's where our Financial Aid Guide comes in: get our favorite tips to find grants, scholarships, loan forgiveness opportunities and other strategies to cover your costs.

    TEACH SC can help you reduce your teaching program application costs! We’ll reimburse up to $100 for any expenses required for you to apply to a teaching program (like application fees, transcript fees and more). Get the details on our Fee Reimbursements page.

  2. 2

    Complete an approved teaching program through a regionally accredited college or university.

    You can complete your teaching program as part of your bachelor’s degree or, if you already have a degree, you can attend a certification-only, master's degree or alternative certification program. (4)

    Through your teaching certificate program, you will:

    • Take coursework related to the specific subject and grade levels you want to teach, as well as the teaching profession more broadly. This might include courses on teaching strategies or classroom management skills.
    • Participate in hands-on classroom experiences, where you can observe and practice with instructors, mentors and teachers who are effective and experienced.

    The goal of South Carolina’s educator preparation providers is to design and implement programs that prepare teachers, service professionals, and leaders who will be competent practitioners… and will continue to grow in knowledge and skills throughout their careers.

    (Video) Online Teacher Certification in South Carolina

    —South Carolina Department of Education (5)

    The TeachSC Teaching Certificate Program Eligibility Guide has all the info you need to ace your exams, request your transcripts, win over your interviewer and more.

  3. 3

    Meet South Carolina teacher testing requirements.

    You’ll have to pass one or more tests designed to show you know your subject well enough to teach it. Depending on your teaching program, you might take a test before you enroll, during your program or after you finish.

    Before you finish your program, you'll also complete what’s called a “pedagogy assessment.” To meet this requirement, you'll prepare a portfolio of lesson plans, student work and other artifacts to submit for assessment as part of your student teaching experience.

    Learn more about required tests at the SCDE Certification Assessments page.

    Stressed about testing? You're not alone! Our Testing Guide covers everything from exam registration to study materials to what to expect on test day.

  4. 4

    Submit your teaching certificate application to the state.

    After you meet the requirements above, it’s time for you to formally apply for your teaching certificate. First, confirm with your teaching program that you are eligible to apply. After that, you can contact the SCDE with any questions.

    To start your application, you'll create an online account with the SCDE Educator Portal. There, you can apply for your certificate online, pay fees, check the status of your application or get a copy of your teaching certificate. Learn more at the SCDE How to Apply page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about getting certified? Check out our top FAQs for more information.

Learn About Programs

SC Teaching Certification (Guide) | TeachSC | (2)

Want to keep exploring? The TeachSC About Programs page has more in-depth information on teaching certification pathways, including the types of programs available and how to decide whether a program is right for you. Click below to take the next step.

Learn About Programs
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  1. Critical Need Areas. South Carolina Department of Education.
  2. South Carolina Certification Fields and Specialized Endorsements. South Carolina Department of Education. June 9, 2020.
  3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education.
  4. Guidance for Prospective Educators. South Carolina Department of Education.
  5. “Introduction,” South Carolina Educator Preparation Guidelines: Standards, Policies, and Procedures. South Carolina Department of Education. December 10, 2019.
  6. Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE). South Carolina Department of Education.
  7. “Teacher Pay and Student Spending: How Does Your State Rank?” National Education Association. April 23, 2021.
  8. National Board Certification. South Carolina Board of Education.


Is there a shortage of teachers in South Carolina? ›

South Carolina launches program, task force to deal with teacher shortage as experts say it could get worse. The task force is expected to offer solutions to retain teachers and encourage college students to pursue careers in education.

Can you teach in South Carolina without a teaching degree? ›

In order to earn certification to teach in the state of South Carolina, candidates must complete a teacher education program from an accredited college or university that is approved by the state board of education, complete a student teaching internship, hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and provide a letter of ...

What happens if your teaching certificate expires in SC? ›

After a Professional certificate has been expired for ten school years or more, an extension can no longer be issued and the certificate is no longer eligible for renewal. The educator must reapply for certification and meet all requirements for their selected certification application pathway.

What is a highly qualified teacher in SC? ›

What are the criteria for being highly qualified? A highly qualified teacher must 1) have earned at least a bachelor's degree, 2) document content knowledge in each core content area he or she teaches, and 3) have full state certification appropriate for the teaching assignment.

What is the highest paying school district in South Carolina? ›

Greenville County Schools is focused on remaining a top-paying district in South Carolina so we can recruit and retain the best workforce to educate our students and serve our community,” said W.

What state is the lowest pay for teachers? ›

Mississippi has the lowest average teacher salary of $45,574, followed by West Virginia with $47,826. The other states with average teacher salaries under $50,000 a year are New Mexico, Florida, South Dakota, Kansas, and Arizona.
Teacher Pay by State 2022.
StateTeacher Salary
South Dakota$49,761
48 more rows

Why are teachers leaving South Carolina? ›

National teacher associations have found the most common reason teachers leave the profession is low pay. While South Carolina legislators provided money in the state budget to boost teachers' salaries by up to $4,000, the actual increase depended on the district.

Where does South Carolina rank in education? ›

Public School Ranking by State
Overall RankStateQuality
46South Carolina42
47West Virginia47
47 more rows
25 Jul 2022

How many teaching jobs are in SC? ›


South Carolina school districts reported 56,166 full-time and part-time certified teaching/service positions for the 2021-22 school year.

How long does it take to become a teacher in SC? ›

The traditional teacher certification path in South Carolina typically takes a bit longer than four years. Students complete a state-approved bachelor's degree focused on educator preparation. They also pursue a semester-long student-teaching internship.


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