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 enroll in 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 Florida Department of Education website. If you have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program, 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.

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 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


Growth in Teaching Jobs in FL through 20262

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 recognized 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. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Florida schools page.

Additionally, Florida recognizes another accreditation in addition to the regional accreditation, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). 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.

Florida Teacher Education Requirements

Florida State SealAs part of the state’s 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

All 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, meet score requirements on the GRE revised General Test, or hold a master’s degree
  • 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) (waived if the candidate is seeking a temporary certificate); 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
Room 201, Turlington Building
325 West Gaines St
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400

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

Florida Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

There were a reported 4,336 public schools in Florida during the 2016-2017 school year, with an estimated student enrollment of over 2.8 million.3 With approximately 186,339 public school teachers, this gave Florida a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1.3

Through 2026, it is predicted that there will be 6,330 average annual openings for elementary school teachers in Florida, 2,760 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 3,740 average annual openings for secondary school teachers.3 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in Florida, the average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $50,070, for middle school teachers $53,140, and for secondary school teachers $54,120.4 The Florida Education Association, the largest active teacher’s union in Florida, provides further information on news and issues impacting the state education system.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers25,940$27,990
Preschool Teachers, Special Education1,230$50,120
Kindergarten Teachers10,680$50,400
Elementary School Teachers75,750$50,070
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School5,020$60,720
Middle School Teachers30,110$53,140
Middle School Teachers, Special Education2,490$55,050
Secondary School Teachers47,960$54,120
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education4,660$55,080
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education5,960$52,800

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Florida

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Florida broadly has the following shortages5:

  • Career and Technical Education, Pre-K-12
  • English as a Second Language, Pre-K-12
  • Language Arts (English, Reading), Pre-K-12
  • Mathematics, Pre-K-12
  • Science (General, Earth and Space, Physical), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (Exceptional Children), Pre-K-12

The Florida Department of Education’s (FLDOE) Identification of Critical Teacher Shortage Areas for 2020-21 report determined teacher shortage areas by ranking disciplines in three areas: percentage of courses in a discipline taught by teachers not certified in that discipline; projected vacancies in a discipline; and percentage of completers from state-approved teacher preparation programs.6 English as a second language (ESOL) and general science tied for first place in the critical teacher shortage rankings for 2021-22, followed by English, ESE (exceptional student education), physical science, math, technical education, and reading.6 The report ranked elementary education first for projected number of vacancies, but the discipline was ranked last for percentage of teacher preparation school graduates (counterintuitively meaning that it had the largest number of relative graduates in the pipeline), which brought down its cumulative ranking.6 As with any state, teacher shortages will vary by district.

Florida Teacher Interviews

Florida School District Requirements

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a teacher in Jacksonville, check out our city page below. On this page, you will find a step-by-step description of how to become a teacher in Jacksonville’s public school district as well as information on private and charter schools in the area, becoming a substitute teacher, and school contact information.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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 or higher 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. Many 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 professional 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.

1. Florida State Department of Education: https://www.fldoe.org/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
6. Florida Department of Education, Identification of Critical Teacher Shortage Areas for 2020-21: https://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/7749/urlt/CriticalTeacherShortageAreas19.pdf