Florida Alternative Teacher Certification
Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. The Florida Department of Education oversees this process in the state. If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in Florida. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, read more below about how you can switch careers and become a teacher in Florida through alternative routes to certification.
Requirements for Alternative Certification
All candidates for teacher licensure in Florida must have a bachelor’s degree and meet the state’s basic skills requirements in order to earn certification. As in most states, candidates for Florida alternative licensure must pass the same exams as educators following the traditional pathways to certification. Prospective teachers’ skills are measured through the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE), which are subject- and grade-specific competency tests.
Those following alternative certification pathways must also complete a teacher preparation program. For those who already hold a bachelor’s degree, these programs can be completed in as little as one year as a post-graduate certificate. Earning a master’s degree in education or in an academic subject that includes an approved teacher preparation program can also prepare teachers in Florida for certification.
Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Florida
There are several paths to obtaining alternative teacher certification based on the candidate’s previous education and experience. Most prospective teachers who majored in a subject other than education will need to complete one of Florida’s state-approved educator preparation programs, which may be offered at a college or university or as an add-on program through select school districts. Many of these programs are designed for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education.
Temporary Teaching Certification in Florida
If you completed a bachelor’s degree but did not complete an approved preparation program, or if you completed an education program outside of the state of Florida or in a country other than the United States, you may receive a Temporary Certificate while you complete the remaining requirements. A temporary certificate requires candidates to pass subject area knowledge exams or meet subject specialization requirements. This type of certificate is valid for three years while teachers complete the remaining requirements for full licensure. To be eligible for a Temporary Certificate, candidates must be employed within a Florida school district.
Professional Development Certification Program
Florida offers the Professional Development Certification Program for alternative licensure, which makes use of technology and teacher expertise to prepare non-educators who have subject-area expertise for a career in the classroom. Through this alternate route, eligible candidates can complete a teacher preparation program online and receive interactive tutoring and support from experienced professionals in the field of education. This innovative route to certification allows qualified professionals to begin their teaching careers while simultaneously pursuing effective and convenient professional development.
Five-Year Temporary Certificate for Veterans
Military veterans and their spouses who have at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university can qualify for a Five-Year Temporary Certificate. This certificate allows candidates to begin teaching while working towards the qualifications for a standard Professional Certificate, including earning a bachelor’s degree. In addition to 60 college credit hours, candidates for this route must have at least 48 months of military service with an honorable discharge, have a 2.5 overall GPA or above, pass the Florida subject area exam for their desired content area, and have an employment offer from a Florida school district.
Testing Requirements for Florida Alternative Certification
All candidates for teacher certification in Florida must pass the same set of exams, known as the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations. These tests assess the candidate’s pedagogical knowledge and readiness to teach Florida’s public school students. The three exams are:
- Subject Area Exams, specific to the content area(s) in which the candidate desires to teach.*
- General Knowledge Test, which measures knowledge and skills in essay writing, the English language, reading, and mathematics.**
- Professional Education Exam, which measures pedagogical knowledge such as lesson planning and the selection of appropriate evaluation instruments.
*For a World Languages Certificate, candidates can use the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) or the Defense Language Proficiency Tests (DLPT) in place of the Subject Area Exams.
**The General Knowledge Test is not required if the candidate demonstrates at least two semesters of full-time college experience or has earned a master’s degree.
Once all exams have been passed and all other requirements have been met, the candidate can qualify for the Professional Certificate.
Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State
To transfer teacher certification from another state to the state of Florida, candidates must either hold a valid standard (not temporary or other class) teaching certificate in another state or must have a current certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Teachers who meet this requirement and who have an employment offer from a Florida school may apply for a Temporary Certificate while completing the remaining requirements for Florida licensure, which include passing the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations. For more information, see our teaching license reciprocity resource.
Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Florida
In order to ensure that you qualify for licensure, it’s important to complete a certification program that is approved by the state. The following list of school-based programs that typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree includes schools that have been approved by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE).
- Barry University (Master’s)
- Broward College* (Alternative)
- Daytona State College* (Alternative)
- Doral College (Alternative)
- Eastern Florida State College (Alternative)
- Florida A&M University* (Alternative)
- Florida Atlantic University* (Alternative, Master’s)
- Florida Gateway College (Alternative)
- Florida Gulf Coast University* (Alternative, Certificate)
- Florida International University (Alternative)
- Florida State College at Jacksonville (Alternative)
- Hillsborough Community College (Alternative)
- Indian River State College (Alternative)
- Lynn University (Master’s)
- Miami Dade College (Alternative)
- Nova Southeastern University (Master’s)
- Pasco-Hernando State College* (Alternative)
- Polk State College* (Alternative)
- Rollins College (Master’s)
- Seminole State College (Alternative)
- St. Johns River State College (Alternative)
- St. Petersburg College* (Alternative)
- State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota* (Alternative)
- University of Central Florida* (Certificate, Master’s)
- University of Florida* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
- University of Miami (Master’s)
- University of North Florida* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
- University of South Florida (Master’s)
- University of West Florida (Alternative)
- Valencia College (Alternative)
*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.
- Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) Certificate Pathways and Routes: Guidelines for all acceptable routes to certification in Florida.
- Florida Professional Development Certification Program: Official website for Florida’s competency-based alternative certification program.
- Teacher Certification Reciprocity Guide: Our guide to state-by-state certification reciprocity.
1. Florida State Department of Education: https://www.fldoe.org/