Many prospective teachers choose to pursue a career teaching in Florida due to its job security, summer breaks, competitive salaries, and professional development opportunities.
Becoming a teacher in Florida is a fulfilling career choice. In addition to earning a decent living, teaching allows you to enhance the lives of young children.
The journey to becoming a certified teacher in Florida can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process and requirements. Each U.S. state has its own set of requirements for certification, and Florida is no different.
This guide takes you through the step-by-step process of how to become a teacher in Florida.
We’ll cover everything from obtaining the necessary education and certification to finding job opportunities and building your teaching career in the Sunshine State.
Overview of the Teaching Situation in Florida
Data from the Florida Department of Education suggests that there are about 397,860 people employed in educational instruction. This includes teachers and librarians.
Florida has 67 school districts in Florida, with more than 4,000 public schools enrolling 3 million students annually.
With these huge numbers, Florida is struggling with an acute teacher shortage. There is an urgent need to recruit more Florida teachers in areas such as English, Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Science-General, Reading, and more.
The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) seeks to attract more teachers in and out of state into their classrooms.
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Florida
To become a teacher in Florida, you must go through some mandatory steps. We’ll cover each step to help you understand exactly what you need to do to get certified.
1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree.
You must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to become a teacher in Florida.
Having a bachelor’s degree demonstrates to employers and the state that you’ve developed the skills necessary to be an effective teacher.
The degree must be in the subject area you wish to teach or in a related field. The state of Florida recognizes degrees from both in-state and out-of-state institutions as long as they are accredited.
You’re still eligible to become a teacher if your degree is not education-related. This is as long as you complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) Subject Area Exam.
The state of Florida views the bachelor’s degree as an indicator of your preparation for the challenges of teaching and commitment to the profession.
2. Gain Student Teaching Experience.
To obtain a teaching certificate in Florida, you must complete a state-approved student teaching experience program after your bachelor’s degree. Teaching experience equips you with the necessary training and real-life experience to become an effective teacher.
In the program, you’re placed in a real classroom under the supervision of a mentor teacher. Here, you’re allowed to plan and teach lessons, work with students, collaborate with colleagues, and receive feedback and support from the mentor teacher.
The experience you gain in the student teaching experience program will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your classroom.
If you’re using the alternative certification route of the Educator Preparation Program (EPI), student teaching is not a requirement. For EPIs you’re not required to undergo the student teaching program with alternative certification, however, you teach for a year on a temporary teaching certificate but enjoy full pay and benefits.
3. Pass the Required Certification Test.
To obtain a teaching license in Florida, you must pass the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE). Passing the FTCE demonstrates your knowledge and skills related to teaching.
The FTCE is a series of standardized tests administered by the Florida Department of Education.
The test is designed to assess the knowledge and skills required of all prospective teachers in Florida. It’s computer-based and offered in testing centers throughout the state.
There are three different FTCE exams that you may be required to take, depending on the specific teaching field and grade level you wish to teach. For instance:
- General Knowledge Test (GKT): This test measures the general knowledge and abilities required of all teachers in Florida. It covers reading, writing, and math skills.
- Subject Area Exam(SAE): This exam measures knowledge in a specific subject area. For example, if you want to teach mathematics, you would need to take the Mathematics Subject Area Exam.
- Professional Education Test (PEd): This test measures your knowledge of pedagogy and professional practices. For example, curriculum development, assessment, and classroom management.
To pass the FTCE, a candidate must score at or above the passing level established by the Florida Department of Education. The score required to pass the FTCE is subject to change and varies depending on the exam and the specific teaching field.
4. Get Certified.
After completing all the above requirements, you must apply for a teaching certificate from the Florida Department of Education.
Follow these steps to get certification:
- Visit the Florida Department of Education’s website and complete an online application for a teaching certificate.
- Pay the application fee, which is paid online as part of the application process.
- Submit official transcripts from your bachelor’s degree program and any other required documentation, i.e., proof of passing the FTCE exams or completing a state-approved teacher preparation program.
The Florida Department of Education will review your application and determine if you meet all the state requirements for certification.
If your application is approved, you’ll receive your teaching certificate. It’ll indicate the specific subject area and grade level you are certified to teach.
5. Applying for teaching jobs in Florida.
Armed with your teaching certificate, you can go ahead and start looking for teaching jobs in Florida. You can apply for jobs directly to school districts since school districts in Florida have their own websites and job postings. Here you’ll find and apply for open teaching positions.
As you search for a full-time teaching position, you should consider substitute teaching. Becoming a substitute teacher can help you gain experience and build relationships with schools and administrators.
Also, connect and build relationships with other teachers, administrators, and educational organizations in your community. You can achieve this by:
- Attending job fairs
- Attending education events
- Joining professional organizations,
- Reaching out to former teachers or professors for advice and guidance.
You should also utilize online job search resources. For instance, Teach in Florida is an online job search website specifically designed for teachers.
You can search for open teaching positions by location, subject area, and grade level.
Certification Requirements in Florida
As stated, anyone planning to teach in Florida must seek an educator’s certificate from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE).
Florida offers two types of certification to its teachers, namely, the:
- Temporary Certificate
- Professional Certificate.
1. Temporary Certificate for Teachers in Florida
The temporary certificate is a nonrenewable educators certification that’s valid for three years. The holders of this certificate can teach full-time while completing the professional certification requirements.
To obtain a Temporary Certificate for teachers in Florida, you must meet the following requirements:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or from a non-accredited but approved institution.
- Demonstrate mastery of the subject area or meet subject specialization with a 2.5 GPA in the area you wish to teach.
- Submit to a criminal history background check and fingerprint clearance conducted by the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
- Must first gain employment in a Florida school
2. Professional Certificate for Teachers in Florida
The Professional Certificate for teachers In Florida is the highest teacher certification level available in Florida. It’s renewable and valid for up to five years.
To obtain this certificate, you must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or from a non-accredited, approved institution.
- Pass a subject area examination in the area you wish to teach
- Clear fingerprint-based screening and criminal background check by the FBI and FLDE
- Pass a General Knowledge Test that tests your knowledge in English language skills, mathematics, essay writing, and reading.
- Demonstrate mastery of professional preparation and education competence
Certification Application Fee
To be a licensed teacher in Florida, you need to pay fees for the certifications. The table below shows the cost and purpose of various certification applications.
|FLDOE Statement of Status of Eligibility||$75 per subject||For those who’ve never held Florida certification, or certification expired more than a year ago|
|Temporary to professional certificate||$75||Upgrading from temporary to professional certificate after three years|
|Addition of a subject||$75 per subject||Demonstrating qualification to teach in additional subjects|
|Removal of a subject||$20||If you no longer intend to teach on particular subjects|
|Renewal of valid Professional Educator Certificate||$75||Professional Certificate needs renewal after every five years|
|Late renewal of Professional Educators Certificate||$105||If Professional Certificate expired within the past year|
|Reinstatement of an expired Professional Certificate||$75 per subject||Reinstating an already expired Professional Certificate|
|Athletic Coaching Certification||$75||Applying for temporary, upgrading to 5 year or new 5-year certification|
Requirements for Out-of-State Teachers
As mentioned above, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) is keen on attracting out of state teachers into Florida classrooms to curb the teacher shortage.
There are two reciprocity routes prospective teachers and administrators can follow to qualify for the Professional Certificate in Florida.
1. Valid Standard Certificate Issued by a State Other than Florida
If you hold a valid standard educator’s certificate from another state, you can be licensed to teach in Florida. The certificate must be the state equivalent of the Professional Certificate. It must also be issued in a subject that’s comparable to a Florida certification subject.
The certificate must hold a higher or similar level of training for certification required in Florida. It also must be valid and not expired or revoked.
2. Certificate Issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certificate is recognized in Florida.
If you’re a holder of the NBPTS certificate, you can be licensed to teach in a classroom in Florida. All you have to do is apply for the Professional Certificate. The certificate will reflect the Florida subject considered the NBPTS equivalent. It must also be valid and not expired.
Florida’s Certification Renewal Requirements
The Temporary certificates remain valid for three years and are nonrenewable. After that period, you must obtain a Professional Certificate to teach. All Florida teachers must renew their credentials every five years.
Many school districts in the state offer professional development and training workshops for educators to gain their continuing education units (CEUs). Professional bodies like Simple K12 offer training that could count when renewing your certification — after checking with your school or school district.
To renew a teaching certificate in Florida, you must complete a minimum of six semester hours (or the equivalent) of college coursework in education or a related subject area.
If you happen to obtain a valid NBPTS certificate in that subject, it automatically renews your Florida certificate in that subject.
Salary Expectations for Florida Teachers
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the mean annual wage for those working in educational instruction and library occupation in Florida is $55,680.
The data further suggests that the average hourly wage is $26.77. The range falls between $ 44,450 for the lowest earner and $64,907 for the highest.
Salary averages vary widely depending on the city, certifications, level of education, and years of experience as a teacher.
Florida Teacher Shortages
Data from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) shows a teacher shortage in all subjects.
The shortage is, however, critical in the following subjects:
- Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
- English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
The number of teachers graduating in Florida is not enough to meet the needs of Florida’s K-12 population.
Start Teaching in Florida
Due to the acute teacher shortage, the demand for teachers in Florida is consistently high. This means job security is assured for those in the field.
Now that you’ve learned how to become a teacher in Florida, you, too, can work towards becoming one. Florida teachers are compensated competitively and are eligible for medical and dental cover and a defined benefit pension plan, depending on the school district.
The best part of being a teacher in Florida is you’ll generally have the summer months off. This provides time for rest and relaxation on Florida’s beautiful beaches and national parks. You may also decide to pursue additional employment or educational opportunities.
If you’d like to become a teacher in Florida, check out the certification options available for you and start your journey today.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to become a teacher in Florida?
Becoming a teacher in Florida will take you between four and five years. This is because you must have a bachelor’s degree, which generally takes about four years to complete.
You must also go through the teacher preparation program and pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE).
Can I become a teacher in Florida without a teaching degree?
Yes, you can become a teacher in Florida without a teaching degree. All you need is a bachelor’s degree in any major with a 2.50 GPA.
How hard is the Florida Teacher Certification Exam?
The Florida Subject Area Examination and the Florida Professional Education Test are easy to navigate because they only contain one section each. Besides, having gone through teacher training and having subject area knowledge should make them simpler.
The General Knowledge test is harder because it contains multiple subtests. You should prepare adequately for this section of the educator certification examinations.