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The Florida Teaching and Certification Resource

There are several pathways to obtain a teaching certificate in Florida. All Florida teachers are required to hold educator certification, which requires meeting prerequisites such as passing basic knowledge examinations and completing a formal teacher preparation program. The Florida Department of Education oversees the teaching certification process, which is outlined below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Florida.

How to Become a Teacher in Florida

Public school teachers in Florida are required to obtain teacher certification before leading a classroom. 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, candidates must complete the content examinations appropriate to the subject and grade level to be taught.

In order to receive a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate, candidates must first complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. In Florida approved preparation programs are known as Educator Preparation Institutes (EPIs). You can view a list of approved teacher training programs through the Teach in Florida website. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in education, you can also read more about different pathways to teaching licensure on our guide to alternative teacher certification in Florida.

The next step is to complete the required Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE). Those who pass all three sections of the exam will qualify for a Florida Professional Certificate, the state’s highest educator license.

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 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.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Florida

Projected Job Growth

18%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in FL through 202216

There are many options when it comes to quality teacher education programs in Florida. Candidates should choose a school that is officially accredited by a recognized organization. There are six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education. Florida colleges and universities are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

In addition, if located in the state of Florida, the certification program chosen should be an approved Educator Preparation Institute (EPI). Online teaching certification schools that may be headquartered out-of-state should be accredited by one of the aforementioned regional accrediting bodies. If an applicant can not show that they have studied at a regionally accredited institution, they will not be eligible for Florida educator certification.

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

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Florida.

Florida Teacher Outlook
The State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has predicted 3,093 average new annual openings for elementary school teachers in Florida, 1,396 average new annual openings for middle school teachers, and 1,659 average new annual openings for secondary school teachers from 2014 to 2022.3 These new openings are exclusive of replacement openings as current teachers retire or move positions. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity estimated 208,700 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state as of 2014.3 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Florida the average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $47,730, for middle school teachers $48,440, and for secondary school teachers $50,490.4 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 Education Requirements

As part of the teacher preparation requirements, Florida candidates for teaching certification must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. 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. For those who hold bachelor’s degrees in a subject other than education, completion of the Florida Professional Development Certification Program and a passing score on the Florida Professional Education Test may also be sufficient to obtain teaching certification.

Florida Teacher Testing Requirements

Florida State SealAll teaching candidates in Florida are required to pass basic teaching knowledge and content area examinations. Florida testing requirements differ based on the type of certificate the applicant is seeking. Within the two certificate pathways, there are two basic exams and an additional Professional Certificate.

For a Temporary Educator’s Certificate, applicants must:

  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Obtain a position within a Florida school
  • Submit fingerprints for a background check
  • Prove content knowledge through degree and course requirements and pass the appropriate subject area examination

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

  • Hold at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Prove content knowledge through degree and course requirements and pass the appropriate subject area examination
  • Submit fingerprints for a background check
  • Prove mastery of general knowledge through the Florida General Knowledge Test, complete two semesters of full-time college teaching experience, or meet the score requirements on the GRE revised General Test
  • Prove mastery of Professional Preparation and Education Competence, which can be done by completing an approved teacher preparation program or other approved professional training program, such as the Professional Development Certification Program

Additional Florida Teacher Certification Requirements

Florida teaching applicants must clear a state and federal background check. The Florida Professional Certificate will only be issued once the applicant’s fingerprints have been cleared.

Florida Teachers Licensing Application Process

To be considered for Florida teacher licensing all requirements stipulated by the Florida Department of Education must be met. To have an application for a teaching certificate reviewed, candidates must:

  • Possess at least bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
  • Demonstrate completion of an approved teacher training program;
  • Post passing scores on the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations in the appropriate area(s); and
  • Pass a background check processed by the employing school system.

Completed applications may be completed online or be sent to:

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

Florida Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 20,660 $26,180
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 1,690 $48,640
Kindergarten Teachers 11,060 $46,490
Elementary School Teachers 70,910 $47,730
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 7,780 $49,810
Middle School Teachers 32,180 $48,440
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 3,190 $48,940
Secondary School Teachers 43,460 $50,490
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 3,180 $50,580
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 7,530 $50,720

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

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 becoming 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 and/or complete an approved teacher preparation program at a college or university. You must then pass the Florida Subject Area Examination(s) to demonstrate your mastery of the subject(s) you hope to teach before applying 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, as well as the content area examinations required for K-6 educator certification.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
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. State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: http://www.floridajobs.org/
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
15. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
16. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm