COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — A bill that would award work experience credit for new teachers is moving through the State House.

The legislation would provide that an individual’s prior years of work experience may be awarded on an initial teaching certificate if the prior experience is in, or related to, the content field of the certificate for which the individual is applying.

Existing certificate holders would also receive credit for prior work experience in, or related to, the content field of their teaching certificate.

Under the bill, if additional years of experience are awarded, the eligible individual is entitled to a pay adjustment for the current school year to reflect the new experience step on the employing district’s salary schedule.

The goal is to make the teaching profession more attractive for South Carolinians looking to switch careers. If you worked at least five years in a related field and taught that subject, you would be eligible for the credit.

In February, school districts reported more than 1200 vacant teaching positions.

“Those individuals take a pretty significant pay cut from the private sector to come into teaching. While this bill’s passage wouldn’t eliminate that pay cut it does certainly close that gap and make it easier for that career change,” said Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teachers Association.

The Senate Education Committee sent the bill to the floor this week.