SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Pay1: $51,027

LICENSURE/RECIPROCITY2: SC Dept. of Education

  • Education/Experience Requirements: Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Testing Requirements: Praxis PLT and Praxis Subject Assessments required.
  • Temporary Certificate Offered?: No
  • Other Notes: Temporary, lateral, or alternative certificates are not eligible for reciprocal teacher certification. Teaching certificate issued depends on years of experience.
  • Teaching in South Carolina
  • Military Spouse Certification Applicants

RETIREMENT: South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS)

  • Teacher Pensions Overall Grade3: F – Click here to see why.
  • Employees/employers DO pay social security tax and therefore ARE eligible for social security benefits.
  • Two Plan Options: Which Plan is Best For You?
    • Members contribute 9% of gross pay (tax-deferred) with either option.
  • Option 1 – SCRS Plan: Defined Benefit Plan (Pension Program)
    • 8 year vesting period. You can request to have employEE contributions + interest refunded or rolled into a qualifying account; however, employER contributions are not refunded.
    • Purchasing Additional Service Credits: Active members may purchase additional service credit for various types of previous employment and leaves of absence, and up to five years of nonqualified service, which is a type of service credit not associated with any specific employment. Generally, a member on leave without pay from a covered employer is not eligible to establish service credit of any type. You may establish service credit through a lump sum payment, a pre or post tax installment service purchase or a tax-deferred rollover from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), a 401(k) plan, a 401(a) eligible plan, a 403(b) plan or a 457 plan.
    • Class Two members (earned service credit prior to July 1, 2012): For unreduced retirement benefits must have 28 years of service credit on the date of retirement, five years of which must be earned service credit; or Age 65 or older on the date of retirement with five years of earned service credit.
  • Class Three members (have NOT earned service credit prior to July 1, 2012): For unreduced retirement benefits must meet the Rule of 90 requirement with at least eight years of earned service credit. This means that your age and years of service credit must add up to 90. For example, a member who is 56 years old and has at least 34 years of service credit, eight years of which must be earned service credit, would be eligible for normal retirement; or  Age 65 or older on the date of retirement with eight years of earned service credit.
    • As there are no Class III vested members yet, no calculator has been published. The following is a link to a chart for estimated monthly payments:
  • See the 2019 Handbook handbook for reduced retirement considerations.
  • Option 2 – State Optional Retirement Plan (ORP): Defined Contribution Plan
    • Employer contributes 5% of your gross pay in addition to the 9% you contribute.
    • You bear the investment risk and decide how funds are invested and withdrawn later on.
    • Portable plan where immediate rights to account balance, including both employEE AND when retiring from or leaving employment.
  • Additional Retirement Savings:
    • SCRS also offers Deferred Compensation Programs (DCP) including a401(k) and 457(b) plans (both have Roth options) as well. See SC DCP for more info.

COLLEGE SAVINGS:

  • Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan
    • South Carolina offers contributors a state income tax deduction equal to the dollar amount contributed to the plan each year (no limit, and SC does not recapture the tax deduction if you move the plan.).
    • Fund Options
  • Some higher education institutions offer tuition discounts for children of full-time public teacher/service employees, but the information isn’t always well advertised (for instance, many TN colleges offer 25% tuition discounts for children below the age of 24 of parents who are full-time public teachers).

1Median Pay: sourced from 2018 data collected by National Education Association (NEA). See their Full Report for more information.

2Teacher Reciprocity: sourced from data aggregated by Teacher Certification Degrees. View the full state-by-state list here. Additionally, in some states special considerations for reciprocity, application expedition, fee waivers, etc. may be available to teachers married to activity duty military personnel; be sure to contact the respective State Dept. Of Education to learn more.

3Teacher Pensions Rating: sourced from https://www.teacherpensions.org/. Visit their website to learn about their mission or view a State Comparison.

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