Alternative Teaching Certification in South Carolina

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The South Carolina State Department of Education offers many pathways to alternative teacher certification for applicants who wish to teach but have not graduated from a teacher education program. These include Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE), American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence (ABCTE), Teach for America (TFA), and Adjunct Teaching Certification.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in South Carolina.

PACE – After meeting education, experience and examination requirements, you will be issued a Statement of Eligibility to teach. Then, you must find a teaching position in South Carolina and begin your educator training program while teaching. A training program will be designed for you and will include three courses, which must be taken at a college/university housing a teacher education program in the state. Once you have completed the induction phase and passed the pedagogy exam, you may proceed to apply for a Professional Certificate.

ABCTE – After meeting education requirements and obtaining a South Carolina teaching position, you will receive an Alternate Route Certificate. You may teach under this certificate for three years, complete the induction and evaluation program, and pass the pedagogy exam before advancing to the Professional Certificate.

TFA- After meeting requirements, you will receive an Initial Certificate and be placed as a teacher into a high-need area of the state. You must commit to teach there for at least two years while completing the program. If you teach for a third year and complete additional education requirements, you will earn a Professional Certificate.

Adjunct Teaching Certification – A school district that wishes to employ you must contact the Department of Education requesting Adjunct Teaching Certification if you meet requirements. You must be assigned a mentor in your content area and receive annual evaluations while teaching under the Adjunct Teaching Certificate. You must also complete professional development requirements each year you have the certificate. You may only teach two credit-bearing courses in your area each school year. This certification does not lead to professional certification.

Alternative Certification Requirements


Education Requirements

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  • You must have a bachelor’s degree (or 30 semester hours of undergraduate coursework or 24 hours of graduate coursework) in a PACE-approved content area to enter the program
  • After enrollment, you must complete your training program and three designated courses
  • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas (and wish to teach that area): English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Science to enter the program
  • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a certifiable area from a state-approved teacher education program to enter the program.
  • Once enrolled in the program, you must complete 9 semester hours of graduate-level coursework
Adjunct Teaching Certification:
  • You must have at least a bachelor’s degree and either a major in a South Carolina certification area listed here or pass the Praxis II exam for that area (see below).
  • Once you receive the Adjunct Teaching Certificate, you must complete 20 contact hours of professional development for each year that you hold the certificate.
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  • You must pass the Praxis II examination for your area of certification prior to entering the program. After entering the program, you must pass the Praxis Pedagogy exam for your grade level before advancing to the next level of certification, the Professional Certificate
  • You must pass the ABCTE Professional Teaching Knowledge exam prior to entering the program. After entering the program, you must pass the Praxis Pedagogy exam for your grade level before advancing to the next level of certification, the Professional Certificate
  • You must pass the Praxis II examination for your content area prior to entering the program. After your second year of employment as a teacher, you must pass a competence-building, goals-based evaluation. After successful evaluations for three years, you may apply for a Professional Certificate
Adjunct Teaching Certification:
  • If your major is not in a certification area, you must pass the Praxis II exam for that area.

Experience Requirements

  • You must have two years of full-time work experience (or a master’s degree)
  • No experience is required
  • No experience is required
Adjunct Teaching Certification:
  • You must have five years of occupational experience within the last ten years in your area of certification

Criminal History Background Check

A criminal history background check is required for all new teachers, regardless of the path they take to teacher certification. Your fingerprints must be taken at one of the LiveScan agencies listed here.

You are responsible for paying all associated fees. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will perform the criminal history background check. The State Law Enforcement Division will then process your background check and return the results to the Office of Educator Certification in approximately two weeks.


Contact Information

For more information on alternative certification programs, contact:

PACE: 803-734-8466 or

ABCTE: 877-669-2228 or visit the ABCTE website to request information

TFA: Visit the TFA website for information on the next application session.

Adjunct Teaching Certification: 803-734-4066 or

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Terminology and Specifics

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