Florida Teacher Certification

Teaching in Florida can be an extremely fulfilling experience. As a teacher, you get the opportunity to welcome young, hopeful students into your classroom each year and shape them into smart, productive adults ready to enter life after schooling.

Teachers in Florida enjoy other benefits, too, like a retirement plan with state contributions, as well as job security with thousands of viable schools to choose from in the nation’s fifth-largest school system. Some Florida school districts help teachers with student loan forgiveness; they also offer paid sick leave and tuition reimbursement, while all Florida teachers can take advantage of Just For Teachers Discounts.

Now is an especially great time to begin working towards a Florida teacher certification, given that the Florida Department of Education has reported a serious teacher shortage for 2022-23 in areas such as English, science, reading, math, and other subjects. 

Florida Department of Education Teacher Certification

As an aspiring teacher in Florida, the Florida Department of. Education (FLDOE) is a great asset in helping you navigate teacher certification in the Sunshine State. The FLDOE provides resources on the steps to becoming a teacher, exam requirements, and more. The department also stores education data and tracks student performance for Florida’s students and educators.

The Florida Department of Education is the governing body of the Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC), responsible for granting teacher certification. Teacher candidates must submit their teacher certification applications to BEC.

However, the FLDOE website is where candidates can find a wealth of information on how to become a certified educator in Florida, including routes to teacher certification and how to apply. And, if you’re pursuing an alternative pathway to teacher certification in Florida, you can also find information on state-approved educator preparation institute programs like Moreland University’s TEACH-NOW.

Most notably, the Florida Department of Education offers the latest insights on Florida teacher job vacancies and where the highest demand for teachers exist. Their Critical Teacher Shortage Area Reports are released yearly and provide detailed information on subject areas for which teachers are most highly sought after.

How to Become a Certified Teacher in Florida

In general, there are two pathways to earn your Florida educator certification.

The Direct Pathway

The direct pathway to teacher certification in Florida involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education from a state-approved initial teacher preparation program (ITP); this makes you eligible for teacher certification. This is the typical route for someone who knows they want to teach in Florida before earning a degree. This is also the fastest way to earn your teacher certification.

As of 2021, 95 teacher preparation program providers existed in Florida, including 58 public and private institutions of higher education (IHE). In 2020-2021, the average net price for a bachelor’s in education degree from a four-year Florida university was $15,128.

The Alternative Pathway

The alternative route to teacher certification in Florida is for aspiring teachers who have already received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university in the United States, or the international equivalent, in a field other than education.

These career changers don’t have to earn a bachelor’s degree in education to become a teacher. They can complete a state-approved educator preparation institute program (EPI) like Moreland University’s TEACH-NOW in as little as nine months or earn a master’s in education in 12 months to become eligible for teacher certification.

Testing requirements for teacher certification in Florida

Individuals seeking Florida certification must complete the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations, or FTCE in order to qualify for a Florida Professional Certificate. 

The Bureau of Postsecondary Assessment in Florida oversees Florida Teacher Certification Examinations. On the FTCE, expect a General Knowledge Test, a Professional Education Test, and Subject Area Examinations. 

General Knowledge Test—this certification exam is the basic skills test. It is made up of four separate tests:  

  • The English language skills subtest assesses your ability to identify accurate language structure and grammar, utilize vocabulary, and make use of English language conventions such as correct spelling, tense agreement, and punctuation. 
  • The reading subtest measures your skills at identifying major ideas and conventions of craft in a given written passage. 
  • The mathematics subtest assesses your understanding of fundamental mathematical concepts tied to arithmetic, geometry and measurement, probability and statistics, algebra, and data interpretation. 
  • An essay portion, which is a single written response to a question geared towards measuring your ability to create effective written communication with clear and well-formulated arguments. 

Professional Education Test—this test examines how prepared you are as a teacher in terms of pedagogy and professional practices. It consists of roughly 100 multiple-choice questions done on a computer, taking 2 and-a-half hours. A scaled score of 200 is needed to pass. 

You will be tested on eight key competency areas: 

  • Instructional design and planning 
  • Appropriate student-centered learning environments 
  • Instructional delivery and facilitation through a thorough understanding of subject matter 
  • Multiple types of assessment strategies for determining impact on student learning 
  • The Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Professional in Florida 
  • Relevant continuous professional improvement 
  • Research-based practices appropriate for teaching English Language Learners 
  • Effective literacy strategies 

Subject Area Exams—this exam will be more specific to the degree you have earned or the preparation program you completed. This exam will test your knowledge and skill related to teaching a specific grade and/or subject level. The test is multple-choice and lasts 150 minutes with a scaled score of 200 requried to pass. 

Your testing requirements can differ depending on the type of certification you’re seeking. 

Some exemptions exist on select tests, so Florida teacher candidates may not need to pass each FTCE. Your official, valid Statement of Status of Eligibility provides the exact exams needed to pass, as well as any exemptions based on your Florida educator certification application. 

Moreland University’s “Guide to Teacher Certification in Florida” offers a streamlined overview of what it takes to become a certified teacher in Florida.

Access the downloadable guide at no cost here.

Florida Teacher Certification Requirements

Requirements for educator certification can be found on the Florida Department of Education website. After completing your educator certification application, the eligibility requirements for a Florida teacher certification are specified in your valid Statement of Status of Eligibility (SOE).

Most teaching candidates will need to meet the following requirements:

A valid, official Statement of Status of Eligibility

Completed fingerprinting
and background screening

Steps to Get a Teaching Certification in Florida

Before starting your journey to get certified as a Florida teacher, first, consider the grade and subject areas you’d prefer to teach. Plus, keep in mind areas where there is an expected teacher shortage. The teacher certification you eventually earn will be specific to the subject area you plan to teach.

Start by thinking about the classes you enjoyed in high school and college, or perhaps what your favorite educators taught growing up. If you’re a natural with young children, consider teaching in pre-K or elementary.

At the end of the day, your own passions and interests should align with the kind of teacher you’d like to be so you enjoy coming to class and have fun educating your students.

We recommend following these steps:

  1. Decide which grade/subject areas you’d like to teach.
  2. Determine your pathway to teacher certification.
  3. Determine which Florida teacher certificate to apply for.
  4. Submit your Florida educator certification application.
  5. Complete all requirements for teacher certification.
  6. Complete an educator preparation institute program (EPI).
  7. Complete required fingerprinting and background screening.
  8. Earn your teacher certification.

Types of Florida Teacher Certifications

In the state of Florida, aspiring teachers can choose from two educator certificates; both enable you to start teaching in a classroom as a full-time educator.

Florida Professional Certificate

The Florida professional teaching certificate is the highest level of educator certification the Bureau of Educator Certification provides. This certificate is valid for five school years and is renewable.

It requires the following: 

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Demonstrable mastery of subject area knowledge,  
  • Demonstrable mastery of general knowledge, and  
  • Demonstrable mastery of professional preparation and education competence (see Florida teacher testing requirements). 
  • Completion of all application process requirements 

Eligible applicants are issued a Florida professional certificate after clearing a fingerprint screening and background check. To avoid a second screening, completing a fingerprint screening after being employed in a Florida school is recommended. 

Florida Temporary Certificate

Using a temporary certificate, teaching candidates can often join the classroom in a full-time capacity while completing an EPI program (or any other outstanding requirements for the professional certificate).

For issuance of a temporary certificate, a candidate must complete the application process, be employed by a Florida school, and clear the fingerprint screening and background check. The candidate must also demonstrate subject area
knowledge or meet subject specialization with at least a 2.5 GPA.

Unlike the professional certificate, a Florida temporary certificate is only valid for three years and cannot be renewed. This certificate helps aspiring teachers join the classroom while they work toward completing all requirements for the professional certificate. 

If you have been teaching with a Temporary Certificate, you can move to a Professional Certificate in one of three ways: 

  • Valid certificate from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) and demonstration of professional education competence in the classroom 
  • Professional preparation college courses, teaching experience, demonstration of professional education competence in the classroom, and passing Florida Certification Examinations 
  • College professional training option, teaching experience, demonstration of professional education competence in the classroom, and passing the Florida Certification Examinations 

If your goal is to become a career teacher, you should of course try to earn your professional certificate. The temporary certificate is intended for those candidates who still need to meet certain requirements before being awarded their professional certificate. 

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Florida Teacher Education Requirements

Florida educators are required to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree equal to an accredited four-year college or university in the United States. A credential evaluation report from an approved credential evaluation agency — like the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) — is required for bachelor’s degrees earned outside of the U.S.

Teachers who hold bachelor’s degrees in education from an approved initial preparation program can move through the direct pathway to teacher certification. This pathway is

shorter than the alternative pathway to teacher certification, which is required for those with a bachelor’s degree earned outside of an initial preparation program.

If you have a bachelor’s degree equivalent to a U.S. four-year college/university that’s not in education, you may have to complete an accepted educator preparation institute program (EPI). This can take as little as nine months. Another option would be completing a master’s in education program from an EPI that can lead to a graduate’s degree.

Speak with an admissions representative about Moreland University’s TEACH-NOW Educator Preparation Institute program*

*Before applying to TEACH-NOW, you must have an official, valid Statement of Status of Eligibility deeming you eligible for teacher certification.

Florida Licensing Application Process

Submitting your application for educator certification in Florida is relatively easy and takes less than an hour to complete. Be sure to have all documents handy before completing the application because it won’t be reviewed until it’s complete.

After the Bureau of Educator Certification reviews your completed application, you’ll receive a valid, official Statement of Status of Eligibility (SOE) deeming you eligible or ineligible for teacher certification.
With an eligible SOE, candidates can complete a state-approved EPI program, if necessary, or proceed to fingerprinting and a background check before earning your teacher certification.

If you receive a valid, official SOE that deems you ineligible for teacher certification, this may mean additional requirements need to be met. Your official statement will provide options for completing the requirements for certification. After you resend your documentation to the Bureau of Educator Certification, your application package will be scheduled for re-evaluation and you will receive a revised official statement if done correctly.  

Payment is required to complete your application, so have a credit or debit card ready. You can also submit payment via a check or money order. The $75 processing fee is dependent on the subject area or endorsement for which you’re applying.

You can submit your application online with the Bureau of Educator Certification or you can mail a copy to Florida Department of Education Bureau of Educator Certification Room 201, Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0400

Get answers to your teacher certification questions.

i States with the most public schools, 2020-21 | American School & University (asumag.com)
ii Report Title (fldoe.org)
iii ** Net Price is average net price for 2020-2021, generated for full-time beginning undergraduate students who were awarded grant or scholarship aid from federal, state or local governments, or the institution. For public institutions, only students paying the in-state or in-district rate are included. For institutions that charge students by program, net price is generated for the institution’s largest program. Source: College Navigator – Search Results (ed.gov)