Florida Teacher Certification Guide

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How To Become a Teacher in Florida

As with most other states, earning a Florida teacher certification can be challenging if one is not sure what the requirements are. Many steps have to be taken for prospective educators who wish to learn how to get a teaching certificate in Florida.

The first and most crucial step is to earn at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited university that offers teacher preparation programs. For those who follow the traditional certification route, this means a degree in the area they plan to teach. Although there are other certification methods, this is the most common.

Candidates will be then required to take and pass the Florida teacher certification exam (FTCE) series. Once these requirements are met, candidates can apply for teacher certification through the Florida Department of Education.

Florida Teacher Preparation Programs

Again, the first of the Florida teacher certification requirements is to complete an accredited teacher preparation program. Most colleges and universities that offer Education as a degree plan also provide programs designed to prepare prospective educators to teach in a school setting.

The following are a few Florida state-approved teacher preparation programs:

  • University of Florida
  • Florida A&M University
  • Jacksonville University
  • University of Tampa
  • College of Central Florida

When searching for teacher preparation programs, know what criteria to look for before applying. A program that offers a wide variety of certification areas may be the best option, since it will allow most candidates a choice when it comes to their teaching area. Additionally, candidates should ensure that the college or university meets the qualifications set out by the Department of Education.

Florida Teacher Education Requirements

Learning how to get a teaching certificate in Florida includes discovering the Department of Education's various requirements. These criteria include completing at least a bachelor's degree program and an educator preparation program focused on the area the candidate is planning to teach.

Florida teacher certification requirements also include taking the FTCE (Florida Teacher Certification Exams) to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to teach in a public school setting. Learning about the various certification areas can be done on the Department of Education website or through the candidate's university.

Those who have degrees in an area outside of education who decide to become certified in the state have the option to earn a Florida alternative teaching certification. These typically bypass the educator preparation requirements but still requires candidates to take and pass specific exams.

Teacher Certification Exams in Florida

When discovering how to become a teacher in Florida, understand the various exams required for certification. The Department of Education has three different Florida teaching certification exam requirements for prospective teachers. These tests must be completed before applying for certification in the state:

  • FTCE General Knowledge Test - includes basic competency knowledge in English Language Skills, Reading, Math, and an essay portion.
  • FTCE Professional Education Test - includes eight competency areas to assess candidates' professional and pedagogical knowledge that assures they can teach in the public school setting.
  • FTCE Subject Area Examinations - include the content area the candidate chooses based on their degree and teacher preparation program.

Candidates should be aware that the Florida Department of Education does not accept the Praxis series of exams as part of their certification requirements. Instead, the state developed the FTCE exams to meet the criteria necessary to ensure highly qualified educators.

Temporary Teaching Certificate in Florida

The Department of Education in Florida has two certificates available to candidates at different stages of their education career. When candidates complete their teacher preparation program and pass the appropriate FTCE exams, they can apply for certification in the state.

1) The temporary teaching certificate in Florida is issued for three years and requires candidates to have at least an undergraduate degree and an offer of employment with a Florida school district. Initially, candidates are given a Temporary Certificate to allow them time to make sure all other requirements are met.

2) The Professional Certificate is issued to candidates who have completed all of the requirements for certification and have had their temporary license for three years. This certification can also be given to those out-of-state candidates.

Other Requirements for Florida Teachers

Once a candidate has met the Florida teacher certification requirements, they must submit to a criminal background check and fingerprinting by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. The fingerprinting is usually submitted to the local public school district in which the candidate is applying. Once the background check has been completed and comes back with no problems, the teacher certification can be issued.

Alternative Routes to Certification for Florida Teachers

While some individuals know that they want to become a teacher before attending university, others decide to transition from their current career to teaching later in life. Because of this, the Bureau of Teacher Certification in Florida offers alternative routes to teaching certification.

For candidates who have at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in another subject, prospective teachers can earn a Florida alternative teaching certification. There are several options for licensure for those seeking a non-traditional route, including programs through colleges and universities or local public school districts.

For example, state-approved Educator Preparation Institutes (EPIs) offer programs designed to give those with a bachelor's degree the skills necessary to teach in a public school through alternative routes. These programs lead candidates to earn a temporary teaching certificate that Florida offers for beginning educators.

Professional Development Certification Programs are offered through public school districts across Florida. These programs are designed to teach candidates the competencies needed to become highly qualified educators in the state.

For more information on how to become a teacher in Florida through alternative routes, contact the Florida Department of Education's Bureau of Educator Certification.

Florida Teaching Certification Reciprocity

Educators from out-of-state who want to learn how to get a teaching certificate in Florida can find this information on the Department of Education website. Currently, Florida teacher certification reciprocity is done through two pathways that allow educators to be certified in the state.

  1. Have a valid teaching certificate in another state comparable to the Professional Certification in Florida. The out-of-state certification should be equivalent to a subject area issued for Florida teacher certification.

  2. Have a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or NBPTS license. When applying for certification in Florida, those who hold this certification will be issued a Florida teaching certificate based on the most comparable subject area.

Florida also participates in the NASDTEC (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification) Interstate Agreement. This means that the state of Florida has developed guidelines to allow out-of-state teachers the opportunity to get certification in the state. Note that Florida currently offers full reciprocity, which means candidates do not have to meet any other criteria to be licensed.

Candidates who have received educator training in another country have to provide specific documentation to prove that they have completed the educational requirements. These candidates should submit an original evaluation of their credentials that show they are qualified to teach in a public school.

Florida Teaching Certification Renewal

Educators who earn certification in Florida following an accredited teacher preparation program are initially issued a Temporary Certification, which is given for three years. This period allows them the time needed to complete the rest of their requirements for full certification.

Once the three years of the Temporary Certification has expired, those candidates who have completed their requirements will be eligible to apply for their Professional certification. To be considered highly qualified, they will need to provide appropriate documentation that they have completed all of the required criteria.

Professional Certifications are issued for five years for those who have finished their Temporary certificate and have completed the requirements. After the five-year certification period, educators need to check into Florida teacher certification renewal to keep their license.

To earn Florida teacher certification renewal, educators must earn at least six semester college credit hours that include teaching students with learning differences. The Department of Education outlines approved courses eligible for renewal purposes on their website for those who need additional information.

Florida Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary

Like many other states, there is a growing demand for educators in the public and private school environment. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for Florida, the growth expectation is said to be about 7% over the next ten years (which is comparable to most job categories nationally).

The chart below outlines the average salary rates in Florida:

Teaching Position Average Salary
Preschool Teachers $29,820
Kindergarten Teachers $57,920
Elementary School Teachers $57,520
Middle School Teachers $59,820
Secondary School Teachers $61,530

The Department of Education has outlined approved class sizes for the various grade groups in Florida. For grades from preschool through third grade, the class sizes are limited to 18 students. Grades four through eight are capped at 22 students, while high school classes are limited to 25 students for each category.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Florida?

    The length of time it takes to get a teaching certificate in Florida depends on whether a candidate has completed an undergraduate degree or not. Those who are starting at the beginning will need to acquire a 4-year degree and teacher preparation program.

  • What tests do I need to take to become a teacher in Florida?

    For certification in Florida, candidates need to take three assessments that test the basic and advanced knowledge necessary to be considered highly qualified. They include FTCE-General Knowledge, FTCE-Professional Education, and FTCE-Subject Area Examinations.

  • How much is the Florida teacher certification exam?

    The Florida teacher certification exam cost depends on the exact test candidates are taking.

    FTCE General Knowledge exam is broken down into 4 subparts. If candidates take the entire test at the same time, the cost is $130; three subtests are $97.50; two subtests are $65, and one subtest is $32.50.

    FTCE Professional Education and Subject area exams cost $150.

  • Is it hard to become a teacher in Florida?

    Becoming a teacher in Florida is no harder than getting a license in any other state. They all require at least an undergraduate degree and specific certification exams to become certified. The process can be challenging due to the necessity of producing highly qualified educators.