Become a Special Education Teacher in South Carolina

Becoming a Special Education teacher in South Carolina requires completion of various education and certification requirements. Keep reading to learn more about the elements for certification. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Information about a Special Education Career

As a Special Education teacher, you're responsible for teaching reading, math, and other school subjects to physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled students. If you have severely disabled students in your class, you may also need to assist them in learning general life skills.

To become a Special Education teacher in South Carolina, you will need to meet several requirements, including successfully completing an Approved Educator Preparation Program.

Education/Experience Required *Bachelor's degree; valid teaching certificate; special certification in your area(s) of focus
Exam Requirements **Praxis exam; specialized test(s) in your subject area(s)
Certification Period **3 years for Initial Certification; 5 years for Professional Certification (options available for renewal)
Requirements to move from Initial to Professional Certification **Successfully complete Praxis II exam and ADEPT evaluation
Annual Mean Salary (2018) *$48,110 (preschool); $56,960 (kindergarten and elementary); $53,320 (middle school); $55,560 (secondary)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) *8% (national)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **South Carolina Department of Education

Education and Certification requirements

All teachers in South Carolina must have a bachelor's degree (at minimum), along with a valid Initial Certification (if they are new to teaching) or a Professional Certification (gained after holding a valid Initial Certification).

Additionally, all Special Education teachers in South Carolina must pass specific exams to become credentialed in their area of specialty (such as autism, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, and so on). To determine what specific credentials you'll need (and therefore which exams you'll need to take), consider the grade level you'll be teaching and what types of disability your students will have. You may need several credentials if you work with students with a variety of disabilities. Refer to the South Carolina State Board of Education website for a detailed list of required credentials for all Special Education areas of focus.

Initial Certification requirements

To get an Initial Certification, teachers must finish an approved teacher preparatory program through a regionally accredited college or university. You can check the South Carolina State Board of Education website for a list of approved schools throughout the country. Keep in mind any program you complete must include either an internship or student teaching.

Steps to Apply for Initial Certification

To apply for an Initial Certification in South Carolina, you first need to fill out an online application through South Carolina's CATS Portal. Then, you'll need to go through a criminal and background check (including submitting your fingerprints) and pay any certification fees. You'll also be required to pass any mandatory credential exams and submit documentation that proves you've met the requirements for the Initial Certification.

Professional Certification requirements

The Initial Certification is valid for 3 years from the date of issue. Before the end of your last valid academic year, you must pass a Praxis II exam and successfully complete the ADEPT evaluation to move up to Professional Certification status.

According to the South Carolina State Board of Education, if you successfully complete those 2 requirements prior to the expiration of your Initial Certification, your license will be automatically upgraded to a Professional Certification (valid for 5 years).

Certification renewal requirements

Once you've received your Professional Certification, it's valid for 5 years. To renew it, the following requirements must be met prior to your certificate's expiration:

  • Complete at least 120 renewal credits during your current certificate's valid period. If you don't have a master's degree or higher, at least half of the renewal credits must be completed through an accredited college or university (check the State Board of Education website for a list of acceptable institutions).
  • Finish suicide awareness trainings in accordance with the Jason Flatt Act (note that this requirement only applies to public school teachers at a high school or middle school).
  • Complete coursework that satisfies the Read to Succeed Endorsement Requirement.

All renewal applications are processed by the District Renewal Coordinator. Check with that person if you have any questions about the renewal process.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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