How to Become a Teacher in Florida

Thomas BroderickNalea J. Ko
Updated June 14, 2024
Edited by
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Teaching in Florida gives you the chance to be part of a large school system that urgently needs educators. Even though Florida employs the highest levels of the elementary and middle school educators in 2023, the Sunshine State leads the country in teacher shortages.

Public schools in Florida need more than 5,000 teachers, according to a report from Annenberg Institute at Brown University.

Florida allows aspiring educators to become certified after they earn a bachelor’s degree and pass all certification exams. Out-of-state teachers with a similar license can also benefit from Florida’s full reciprocity agreements.

Learn how to become a teacher in Florida with this comprehensive guide. Dive into Florida’s educational and certification requirements, and get informed about salary estimates and career projections.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Florida

If you want to pursue a teaching certificate in Florida, you first need to decide on your subject area. This ensures you complete the appropriate educational program and register for the right certification exams.

Follow these steps to learn how to become a teacher in Florida.

Step 1: Meet Florida’s Education Requirements

Florida provides multiple direct and alternative paths to become a certified teacher. Whether you choose to earn a temporary teaching certificate or a professional certificate, you need at least a bachelor’s degree which meets your subject area requirements. Look for a properly accredited school and teaching program.

Candidates can demonstrate educational competence by finishing a state-approved teaching preparation program and passing the Florida Professional Education Test. Florida also offers alternative routes to become a certified teacher. You can pursue a Florida certificate if you hold a standard certificate from another state or a certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Many educators choose to obtain a teaching degree. Teaching degrees examine educational trends, classroom management, lesson plans, and instruction. They also provide in-person teaching experience in classrooms. Florida does not stipulate the type of bachelor’s degree required for teaching candidates. To teach subjects like art, math, science, or English, a degree in that specific subject can be helpful for teaching.

2. Attend a State-Approved Teacher Preparation Program

To meet the professional preparation and education competence requirements, teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations. The exams test your competency in general subject areas, professional preparation and education, and subject specialization.

Colleges like Lynn University, Miami Dade College, and Northwest Florida State College provide state-approved programs in biology, elementary education, chemistry, and middle school math.

3. Consider Your Options for Demonstrating Competency

The Florida Department of Education offers 11 different ways to demonstrate professional preparation and education competency. Possible options include completing a master’s degree in a STEM field and passing the Florida Professional Education Test or showing proof of at least two semesters of college instructional experience.

Additionally, pathways to a certification exist for teachers with licenses from other states. These candidates need a teaching certificate, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate, or a certificate from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence to qualify.

Learn how to get a temporary teaching certificate in Florida

Step 2: Pass the Required Certification Exams

To ensure that teachers possess the classroom skills and pedagogical knowledge needed to teach in Florida, they must pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE). The exact tests you take depend on your background. The Bureau of Educator Certification determines what courses you need to take after you submit your application.

If you graduated from a Florida-approved teacher program, you must pass three parts of the FTCE, including the general knowledge, professional education, and subject area portions. The general knowledge consists of an essay, English language, reading, and math sections.

Percentages needed to pass vary for each section. Generally, you cannot score below 71%-75%. Tests are graded as pass or fail.

The three subtests cost $97 on the first attempt, while all four subsets cost $130 on the first attempt. Military personnel and their family may qualify for exam fee waivers.

Step 3: Obtain Your Teaching License

Floridians meet the state’s licensure requirements by completing four steps. As of April 2024, teaching in Florida requires an application and fingerprints. Candidates who pass a criminal background check then begin their job hunt. Educators receive their temporary or professional license after accepting a job offer. Please check the state board website for the latest information.

1. Fill Out the Application

The official application requires aspiring teachers to provide their personal and educational histories. Candidates must reveal any criminal record and submit official undergraduate or graduate transcripts. Teachers with a license from another state include a copy of their license. As of April 2024, Florida charges a $75 processing fee. Educators renewing their license pay the same fee.

2. Receive an Official Statement of Status of Eligibility (SOE)

Florida issues an SOE to all licensure candidates who submit a complete application. Candidates with a positive SOE may begin a job hunt. If the state finds someone ineligible, the SOE explains why and offers advice on fixing issues. These individuals reapply by submitting new documents and paying an additional fee.

3. Find Employment

Florida features public, charter public, virtual, and private schools. The state’s government website provides contact information for the 67 public school districts. These districts post open positions on their human resources websites. Other options include researching private job boards and reaching out to potential employers.

4. Provide Fingerprints

Licensure candidates with a job offer submit fingerprints for the state to run a criminal background check. The process varies slightly for individuals planning on teaching in Florida private schools. Criminal convictions that disqualify someone from becoming a teacher in Florida include sexual misconduct, arson, and robbery. Those who pass the background check receive their temporary or professional license within 30 days.

Maintaining Your Teaching Credentials

Teaching in Florida requires that educators take professional development (PD) classes throughout the school year and summer. Florida requires PD so that educators may create engaging lessons and teach learners valuable life lessons. The state approves a PD catalog by evaluating classes’ professional learning standards.

A professional teaching license lasts five years. Teachers must earn 100 inservice points in that time. The state requires a college class in each of a teacher’s licensed subject areas. Educators also take one undergraduate or graduate class in teaching students with disabilities. Teachers must earn a minimum C grade for college classes to count toward PD.

Teachers earn the remainder of their inservice points by taking PD from approved providers. The state lets licensed educators take some classes 100% online. Please check a provider’s status with the state board before signing up for a class.

Can You Become a Florida Teacher With an Out-of-State License?

Yes, it’s possible. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement lets teachers transfer their license between some U.S. states and Canadian provinces. This agreement helps relocating teachers resume their career as soon as possible. As a NASDTEC member state, Florida accepts out-of-state licenses if they compare to its professional license.

Out-of-state teachers must hold an active license in a subject Florida public schools teach. The state does not accept expired or revoked licenses. These educators follow the same licensure process as Floridians applying for a first-time temporary or professional license.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Florida

The Florida Department of Education’s 2024-2025 report highlights a shortage of teachers in exceptional student education, English, science, math, and English for speakers of other languages.

​​The department projects the highest vacancies in the 2024-2025 school year in exceptional student education, with an estimated 2,541 open positions. Other subject areas facing high vacancies include elementary education, English for speakers of other languages, English, math, pre-K primary education, and general science. In an effort to fill vacancies, the Florida School District offers aspiring educators direct access to recruiters.

Top 5 Most In-Demand Subject Areas for Florida Teachers

  1. Exceptional Student Education
  2. English
  3. Science-General
  4. Math
  5. Science-Physical

How Much Do Teachers Make in Florida?

Florida ranks 48th nationally in average teacher pay, according to AP News. The National Education Association lists average annual pay for Florida public school teachers at a little over $48,000. 2023 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the average annual elementary teacher wage at $60,370. Exact pay depends on teaching specialization and district.

Florida’s highest salaries in education go to educational administrators. Educational administrators, or principals, work in elementary, middle, and high schools. They make an average annual wage of $94,690 in Florida as of May 2023, according to the BLS.

Other highly paid teaching positions in Florida include special education secondary school teachers, who earn an average annual salary of $64,760.

Salaries for Florida Teachers
RoleAnnual Mean SalaryJob Growth Rate (2022-2032)
Education Administrators, Kindergarten through Secondary$94,6901%
Instructional Coordinators$67,5102%
Special Education, Secondary School$64,7600%
Kindergarten Teachers$60,4501%
Elementary School Teachers$60,3701%
Source: BLS

Resources for Teachers

Florida Center for Reading Research: FCRR equips Florida educators to improve reading outcomes. The site offers educators researched-based materials, including student-centered activities, webinars, and a repository of literacy materials. FCRR’s Florida K-12 Reading Endorsement allows teachers to get credentialed.

Teacher Created Materials – Florida Resources:New and experienced educators use Teacher Created Materials to find lessons and activities aligned with state standards. Affordable teaching materials include readers in multiple subject areas. Each features colorful photographs and graphics to grab students’ attention.

UFLI Virtual Teaching Resource Hub: UFLI offers literacy teachers many free resources, such as lesson plans, instructional activities, and tech tools and tips. Other documents cover classroom management fundamentals and differentiated teaching techniques.

Florida Teachers of Tomorrow: This website helps first-year teachers to navigate their way to create a more dynamic and effective learning environment. Resource links lead to an online study community, state test resources, and career postings. Teachers of Tomorrow also offers answers to frequently asked questions.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Farm to School: FDACS helps Florida’s K-12 science teachers create engaging lessons with free digital books on the state’s agriculture and natural resources. Many of these resources feature classroom activities aligning with state standards.

Common Questions About How to Become a Teacher in Florida

How long does it take to become a teacher in Florida?

Becoming a teacher in Florida takes about four years. During that time, you can complete a bachelor in education degree that includes classroom experience. Your teaching program may allow you to register for the Florida certification exams before graduating and obtain a temporary teacher certificate.

Is earning your teaching degree online worth it?

Online teaching majors take the same coursework as their peers who study on campus. Because online courses do not require in-person attendance, the format works better for students who also care for family members or hold a job.

How do I become a certified teacher in Florida?

You can follow Florida’s certification path, if you’re already in the state. If you’re certified to teach in another state, you can become a certified teacher in Florida through the state’s reciprocity agreement. Florida also offers a pathway for former college instructors. When you submit the initial application, you can include out-of-state certificates, if applicable. Otherwise you’ll need to pass the Florida certification exams.

Are teachers in demand in Florida?

Yes. Florida faces a critical shortage of teachers. To alleviate the problem, districts such as Miami Dade partner with the Teacher Accelerator Program to offer a quick pathway for college graduates with degrees outside of education. The program includes a training course and a summer internship that prepares participants for state certification.

Can I teach in Florida without a teaching degree?

No, in order to teach in Florida, you need to complete a teacher-preparation program, which requires a bachelor’s degree. However, you may complete a bachelor’s degree in another subject and then obtain teaching certification through a teacher-preparation program.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accredited Schools Online. Page last reviewed April 30, 2024.

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