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Florida Teacher Certification and Career Guide

All Florida teachers must meet the certification standards established by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). The main steps for the traditional path to teacher certification in Florida are:

  1. Complete a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exams.
  4. Apply for a teaching certificate or license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in Florida.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in Florida
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
Florida School District Requirements
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions


How to Become a Teacher in Florida

The section below covers the traditional pathway to becoming a teacher in Florida. If you are a bachelor’s degree holder who has yet to complete a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Florida.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program.

All Florida teachers must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree major will depend on the grade level and subject to be taught. All prospective teachers must also complete a state-approved initial teacher preparation (ITP) program to meet the requirements for teacher certification. Candidates who have completed their bachelor’s degree but have not yet completed the ITP can apply for a Temporary Certificate while they meet the requirements.

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our Florida schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

Florida requires educators to complete a preservice field experience, or internship, during their ITP. Field experiences are opportunities for prospective teachers to develop their teaching skills in a classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher who provides actionable feedback. They must complete at least 60 hours of preservice field experience before the culminating field experience, which includes at least 12 weeks of student teaching. Some programs may offer longer field experiences or opportunities for more than one placement.

3. Pass the required Florida teacher exams.

Florida State SealFlorida requires prospective teachers to take the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) to demonstrate their content and pedagogical knowledge. The FTCE includes tests in general knowledge (reading, writing, and mathematics), professional knowledge, and subject area knowledge. The subject area test required is associated with the certification subject area. Candidates will receive guidance about the tests required for their certification area through their ITP.

4. Apply for Florida teacher certification.

Once these requirements have been met, Florida teaching candidates can apply for certification. Applications must be submitted online through the FLDOE Online Licensing Service. All applications must include:

  • Application Fee
  • Official Transcripts (submitted directly by the school or dropped off in-person)
  • Proof of passing FTCE scores
  • Complete application package

For more information on the certification process, visit the FLDOE Certification Steps page.

Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

Florida Teacher Certification Renewal

Professional Certificates must be renewed through the FLDOE online portal under the tab “It’s Time to Renew!” To qualify for renewal, applicants must complete six semester hours of college credit, including one semester hour in teaching students with disabilities. Florida offers a variety of alternatives to meet the renewal requirements, which can be found on the FLDOE Educator Certification Renewal Requirements page.

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate

Once certified to teach in Florida, teachers can only work in the subject and grade level they are certified in, although occasional, temporary exceptions are made. In order to add a subject, or endorsement, to a current certification, teachers must complete an online application through the FLDOE website and achieve a passing score on the FTCE test associated with the new subject area.

Florida Teaching License Reciprocity

Florida honors out-of-state teaching certificates with all states that have similar requirements. Out-of-state applicants will qualify for a Professional Certificate through the FLDOE online portal. To apply for a Professional Certificate in Florida through reciprocity, applicants must submit:

  • Out-of-state license or certificate
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts (submitted directly by the school or dropped off in-person)
  • Proof of passing exam scores
  • Complete application package

Additional information on Florida’s reciprocity program and the requirements needed to qualify can be found on the FLDOE Reciprocity page. You can learn more about transferring a teaching certificate or license between states on our guide to certification reciprocity.

In addition to standard teaching certificates, Florida offers a number of certificates and endorsements for support and administrative staff, each with their own set of requirements. Examples include:

  • Educational Media Specialist – Specialty Class: More commonly called librarians, Education Media Specialists are certified to work with grades preK-12 in public or charter schools. Specialists must have at least a bachelor’s degree and meet one of a variety of other specialty experience requirements.
  • School Principal – Administrative Class: To become a principal in Florida, candidates must have an Administrative Class School Principal endorsement. School principals must have a master’s degree, a valid Professional Certificate in educational leadership, supervision, or administration, and a passing score on the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE).
  • School Psychologist – Specialty Class: School psychologist endorsements allow professionals to work in any setting from pre-K through 12th grade. Candidates can follow one of four pathways to qualify for the School Psychologist endorsement, each requiring a combination of education and supervised experience. School psychologists in Florida must have a master’s degree or higher.

In addition to the above endorsements, Florida also certifies a variety of professional service areas such as school counselor, social worker, and educational leadership. For more information and a full list of certificate subjects for teachers, administrators, and specialists, visit the FLDOE website.

Florida Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth

9.9%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in FL through 20302*

Based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the 2017-2018 school year, Florida had approximately 186,128 teachers and 2,832,424 students.3 The overall student-to-teacher ratio in Florida is approximately 15:1.3

In general, job prospects in Florida are slightly lower than projected national averages, although elementary and special education teachers have slightly stronger projections overall. Job growth for Florida elementary teachers is expected to be 9.9% compared to 7.4% nationally; for Florida middle school teachers, 9.8% compared to 13.1% nationally; and for high school teachers, 9.8% compared to 13.7% nationally.2

The table below provides a detailed comparison of job growth prospects and salary levels for Florida teachers.

TypeNumber Employed in FL4Average Annual Openings in FL2FL Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302Average Annual Salary in FL425th Percentile Wages in FL575th Percentile Wages in FL5
Preschool Teachers23,8204,31017.7%$30,990$23,730$34,530
Preschool Teachers, Special Education2,00011010.4%$60,270$45,660$76,860
Kindergarten Teachers9,31096010.1%$58,990$47,250$66,620
Elementary School Teachers66,6106,1209.9%$59,240$48,360$68,120
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education7,0106009.9%$57,780$49,150$65,060
Middle School Teachers34,1302,8409.8%$58,700$47,700$64,990
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,81021010%$63,710$49,300$78,580
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education7404010.9%$65,880$50,300$74,660
Secondary School Teachers49,4203,7909.8%$63,470$49,820$74,670
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education8,6504809.6%$66,220$49,800$77,750
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education3609.6%$62,650$48,700$67,910

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in Florida

Florida, like many states throughout the country, has reported a number of teacher shortages for the 2023-2024 school year. According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report, Florida is experiencing shortages in the following areas:

In addition to the above shortages, Florida had around 5,300 unfilled teaching positions during the 2022-2023 school year.7 22,538 teachers during the 2021-2022 school year (the most recent data available) were considered underqualified for their positions. This includes teachers serving outside of their certification area on a temporary or emergency basis.7

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.

Additional Resources

Florida Teacher Interviews

Related Articles

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: 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 many private schools and private school teachers are in Florida?

Answer: According to data from the 2019-2020 school year, there were 2,506 private schools operating in Florida. Across those schools, there were 37,480 full-time teachers employed, teaching a total of 395,043 students.8 The FLDOE does not set requirements for Florida private schools or teachers, although individual schools may prefer certified teachers.

References:
1. Florida 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, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Florida: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_fl.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp