Florida Alternative Teacher Certification

The Florida State Board of Education offers alternative paths to certification for those applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a formal teacher preparation program. The Florida Department of Education oversees this process. 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 parts of the exam are:

  • The Subject Area Exams, specific to the content area(s) in which the candidate desires to teach.
  • The General Knowledge Test, which measures knowledge and skills in essay writing, the English language, reading, and mathematics.
  • The Professional Education Exam, which measures pedagogical knowledge such as lesson planning and the selection of appropriate evaluation instruments.

Once all exams have been successfully 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 Certification Programs in Florida

In order to ensure that you qualify for licensure, it’s important to complete an alternative certification program that is approved by the state. The following list of school-based alternative programs leading to a certificate or master’s degree includes schools that have been approved by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE).

  • Broward College
  • Daytona State College
  • Eastern Florida State College
  • Florida Gateway College
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Gulf Coast State College
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Indian River State College
  • Miami Dade College
  • Palm Beach State College
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • Polk State College
  • Saint Leo University
  • Santa Fe College
  • Seminole State College
  • St. Johns River State College
  • St. Petersburg College
  • State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
  • University of Florida
  • University of West Florida
  • Valencia College

Additional Resources

1. Florida State Department of Education: https://www.fldoe.org/