The Florida Teaching and Certification Resource

Teaching in Florida is a great move for new and experienced teachers and there are several ways to obtain a teaching certificate in Florida. All Florida teachers are required to hold an accredited teaching certification along with a few additional prerequisites such as basic knowledge examinations and proper teacher training. The Florida Department of Education oversees the teaching certification process, which is outlined below.

How to Become a Teacher in Florida

Like most states, becoming a certified teacher in Florida state means obtaining a Florida teacher certification. In order to be eligible for certification, the Sunshine state requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher education program. Furthermore, new teacher applicants and certified out-of-state teachers will have to complete the Florida examination process. In terms of the Florida teacher certification renewal policies, the process depends on which certification is currently held and specific teaching experience.

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In order to receive a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate to teach in the state of Florida, candidates must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program as well as the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE). A Professional Florida Educator Certificate is the state’s highest educator license and is valid for five years, at which point it can be renewed.

If the above requirements have not been met, but applicants have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher in an endorsed subject area or a teacher preparation program outside of the state of Florida, candidates may receive a Temporary Certificate and begin to teach in Florida schools while simultaneously pursuing the remaining qualifications of a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate. A Temporary Certificate is valid for three years, and is non-renewable.

If applicants want to apply for a Florida teacher certification with an out-of state teaching credential, they may be able to use an interstate reciprocity program to become certified in Florida. For more details, contact the Florida Department of Education.
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Finding Approved Florida Teachers Certification Programs

The process of obtaining a Florida educator certificate is made fairly easy because there are a lot of options when it comes to quality teacher education programs. When it comes to evaluating teacher certification schools, it’s imperative to choose one that is officially accredited by a recognized organization. In fact, the process of evaluating quality Florida teachers certification programs should begin by confirming that the host schools are in good standing with the appropriate regional accreditation body. There are six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education.

Florida schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Every school in the state of Florida should have this accreditation. When considering online teaching certification schools that may be headquartered out of state, it should be accredited by one of the aforementioned regional bodies. Teaching certification online is a great way to prepare to become a teacher, but the school should be accredited just like a campus-based program. If an applicant can not show that they have studied at a fully accredited institution in Florida, they will not be issued a Florida educator certification.

Additionally, Florida recognizes another accreditation in addition to the regional accreditation, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. Two former accreditation bodies, the TEAC and the NCATE, were recently united to form one accreditation agency, CAEP, which is recognized by the US Department of Education. Although a CAEP accreditation is not required for all Florida schools, it is a distinguished sign of a quality teaching curriculum and most schools apply for the respected accreditation. It’s important to note that while the CAEP accreditation is recognized by the state of Florida, it does not replace the mandatory regional accreditation which leads to Florida educator certification .

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Florida.

Quick Guide

Florida Teacher Education Requirements

In addition to a bachelor’s degree and an accredited teaching degree, obtaining a teaching certification in florida also requires diverse coursework requirements for student teaching hours. The different prerequisite cover coursework for over 40 different elementary, middle and high school subjects among other areas of study.

In some cases, specified coursework requirements can be waived if the applicant can show passing scores on the Florida Subject Area Subject Examination or a valid American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) certificate.

Florida Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System has predicted 2,990 average annual openings for elementary school teachers in Florida, 1,350 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 1,580 average annual openings for secondary school teachers from 2012-2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 142,570 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state (2013). The average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $47,410, for middle school teachers $47,720, and for secondary school teachers $49,230 (BLS 2013). The Florida Education Association, the largest active teacher’s union in Florida, provides further information on news and issues impacting the state education system.

Florida Teacher Testing Requirements

Florida State SealAnyone looking for Florida teacher certification is required to pass basic knowledge and subject tests examinations. Florida testing requirements are overseen by the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations and are different depending on which certificate the applicant is seeking. Within the two certificate pathways, there are two basic exams and an additional one for the Professional Certificate.

For a Temporary Educator’s Certificate, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate Mastery of Subject Area Knowledge or meet Subject Specialization with a 2.5 GPA

For a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate Mastery of Subject Area Knowledge for a requested subject
  • Demonstrate Mastery of General Knowledge
  • Demonstrate Mastery of Professional Preparation and Education Competence

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Additional Florida Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most states, teaching applicants must clear a state wide and federal background check. The Florida Professional Certificate will only be issued once the applicant’s fingerprints have been cleared for criminal behavior.

Florida Teachers Licensing Application Process

When applying for Florida teachers licensing, it’s imperative to have fulfilled all of the requirements as stipulated by the Florida Department of Education:

  1. Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
  2. Completion of a state-approved teacher education program offered by a regionally accredited post-secondary;
  3. Institution with a major course of study in the same subject area of the Florida license being sought;
  4. Passing scores on the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations in the appropriate field of study;
  5. Pass a background check processed by the employing school system

Florida Department of Education
Bureau of Educator Certification
Suite 201, Turlington Building
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400

Visit the Florida Department of Education for more details on Florida teacher certification.

Teacher Quote: “Changes will come, education paradigms will shift, but you must have confidence in your abilities. It’s very easy to burn out when you are delivering instruction using techniques that contradict the needs of your students, the researched-based methods you learned in college, and even your own personality.” -Jill Tillis, Florida Kindergarten Teacher

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Florida Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 18,370 $26,480
Kindergarten Teachers 10,050 $47,680
Elementary School Teachers 69,310 $48,900
Middle School Teachers 29,660 $49,010
Secondary School Teachers 40,020 $51,080

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Florida Teacher Interview

Interview with Jill Tillis, Florida Kindergarten Teacher

Interview with Kris Hughes, Florida Second Grade Teacher

Student Review: “My experience at the University of Phoenix was a wonderful one that has prepared me for the wonderful world of teaching. My experiences gave me the knowledge in different learning styles and programs available to teachers. I benefitted from the online learning environment by being able to attend class whenever I had free time in my schedule. The online format allowed for more in depth conversations than a traditional timed class would allow. The diversity of school systems across the country also helped to understand the different ways school systems are run. For me, online classes made me a well rounded student and prepared me for the real world in the classroom.” -Jennifer D., student at University of Phoenix

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Florida

Question: What are the requirements to become an elementary school teacher in Florida?

Answer: Becoming an elementary teacher in Florida first requires earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or in another subject with at least 30 credit hours in elementary education. The next step is to pass the tests for elementary certifications and for the subject areas you hope to teach. Finally, you must apply to the Florida Department of Education for your certificate.

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Florida?

Answer: The requirements for being a substitute teacher in Florida vary depending on each district. At a minimum, you must be 18, have graduated from high school, and pass a criminal background check. Most districts require some type of certification as well, which may be through the state or the district.

Question: How do I become a high school teacher in Florida?

Answer: The first step towards becoming a high school teacher in Florida is to earn a bachelor’s degree. You must then pass a test that demonstrates your mastery of the subjects you hope to teach. Finally, you need to complete a teacher preparation program at a college or university and apply for your certificate through the state.

Question: How do I become a kindergarten teacher in Florida?

Answer: To become a kindergarten teacher in Florida, you need to be certified for K-6 education. This requires a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or a bachelor’s degree plus 30 credit hours in elementary education. There are also certain specific courses that are required.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Florida State Department of Education: http://www.fldoe.org/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.