Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country's overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how Florida measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).
The Florida Department of Education recently released updated high school graduation statistics for the 2010-11 school year, and the findings were very positive. At 80.1 percent, the high school graduation rate in the state is at an all-time high. The Florida Department of Education also saw a notable decrease in the dropout rate of Florida’s high school students during the 2010-11 school year. Florida’s dedicated educators are owed many thanks for this, as these well-trained and professionally competent educators have helped to motivate students such that they learn, enjoy learning and ultimately reap the benefits of a complete education. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in Florida.
The Bureau of Educator Certification of the Florida Department of Education (800-445-6739) issues two types of teaching certificates: a Temporary Certificate and a Professional Certificate. Both types of certificates require that you have a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, and proficiency in the subject area you plan to teach. You may be certified in a variety of Elementary Level Coverages, Middle Level Coverages, Secondary Level Coverages, Science Areas, Elementary and Secondary Coverages, and Foreign Language Areas. Educational requirements for becoming a certified Florida teacher are as follows (find schools offering teaching certification programs in Florida):
- You must have at a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, from a regionally accredited college or university, or from a non-accredited, approved institution.
- Regionally accredited institutions must be accredited by one of the following accreditation bodies:
- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- The Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
- The New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
- The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools
- The Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools
- The Western Association of Colleges and Schools
- Non-accredited, approved institutions must meet the following criteria:
- It is accepted for teacher certification purposes by the State Department of Education in which it is located
- It is a newly created Florida public college or university that offers at least a bachelor’s degree program
- It is located outside the United States and awards a degree that is the equivalent to a bachelor’s or higher degree awarded by an accredited or approved institution in the United States
- It holds a certificate of exemption
- Your degree from that institution was accepted by an accredited/approved institution on a transfer basis or in being admitted to their graduate degree program
- Your academic major should be in the content area in which you intend to teach
- If your major is not in the content area in which you plan to teach, you must have completed required courses in that content area with at least a 2.5 GPA in the content area
- You must demonstrate subject area knowledge in at least one area in which you plan to teach. This involves meeting course requirements for that subject
- You should be a graduate of a state approved Florida teacher preparation program
- This plus passing the necessary examinations leads straight to a Professional Certificate
- If you do not graduate from a Florida teacher preparation program, you may be eligible for a Temporary Certificate while you work as a teacher and complete educational requirements necessary for a Professional Certificate
Classes that you take for teacher preparation are usually at the bachelor’s degree level. Some educator preparation programs, however, may lead to a graduate degree.
Florida’s educational requirements make it easy to apply for certification if you attend out-of-state institutions, as long as the college or university from which you graduate is regionally accredited or approved - or if non-approved, meets the criteria listed above – and the course requirements for your subject area are met. To see the specialization and educational requirements for certification in all possible certification areas in Florida, click here.
Once the Florida Department of Education has received your completed application for teacher certification, they will evaluate it and determine which examinations you must pass for certification. This will result in the department issuing you a Statement of Eligibility, which outlines the examinations you must pass for certification. For an overview of Florida’s testing requirements, click here.
Basic skills testing:
All applicants must demonstrate a mastery of general knowledge, usually by passing the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) General Knowledge (GK) test. This exam tests your knowledge of essay writing, English language skills, reading and mathematics.
Additionally, all applicants for teacher certification must pass the FTCE Professional Education Test, which is a test of pedagogy and professional practices for educators.
Content area assessment testing:
You must also demonstrate content mastery in the area in which you wish to become certified to teach. This is usually achieved through passing the FTCE Subject Area Examination (SAE) that corresponds with your certification area. FTCE Tests are available in these certification subject areas
(along with their corresponding grade levels):
- Agriculture (6-12)
- Art (K-12)
- Biology (6-12)
- Business Education (6-12)
- Chemistry (6-12)
- Computer Science (K-12)
- Drama (6-12)
- Earth-Space Science (6-12)
- Educational Media Specialist (PK-12)
- Elementary Education (K-6)
- English (6-12)
- English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (K-12)
- Exceptional Student Education (K-12)
- Family and Consumer Science (6-12)
- French (6-12)
- German (6-12)
- Health (K-12)
- Hearing Impaired (K-12)
- Humanities (K-12)
- Journalism (6-12)
- Latin (K-12)
- Marketing (6-12)
- Mathematics (6-12)
- Middle Grades English (5-9)
- Middle Grades General Science (5-9)
- Middle Grades Mathematics (5-9)
- Middle Grades Social Science (5-9)
- Music (K-12)
- Physical Education (K-12)
- Physics (6-12)
- Prekindergarten/Primary (PK-3)
- Preschool Education (Birth-Age 4)
- Reading (K-12)
- Social Science (6-12)
- Spanish (K-12)
- Speech (6-12)
- Speech Language Impaired (K-12)
- Technology Education (K-12)
- Visually Impaired (K-12)
For languages that do not have a corresponding FTCE Test, the appropriate intermediate level exam provided by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) must be passed.
As part of your Florida teacher preparation program, you will satisfy student teaching requirements. The length of student teaching assignments vary according to the institution you attend. You’ll be placed in a classroom that is age and subject specific to the certification area you seek, and you will work under the tutelage of a mentor teacher, who will not only offer advice and guidance but also assess your classroom performance.
During your student teaching experience, you will likely be required to prepare lesson plans and take the lead in presenting lessons to the class. Your mentor teacher will likely prepare reports at regular intervals throughout the student teaching experience and offer valuable feedback.
Document and Application Requirements
The Florida Department of Education encourages you to apply for your teacher certification online
, as long as you possess a valid social security number. If you do not have a social security number, you must request application materials by mail. You will be expected to answer each prompt and complete the application in its entirety, along with paying the appropriate processing fee. Additional documentation, listed below, must be sent to Florida Department of Education
, Bureau of Educator Certification, Room 201, Turlington Building, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400:
- Official, unopened transcript(s) verifying your receipt of a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited or approved institution and all completed credits
- Copies of any other teaching certificates you may hold from other states or countries
After the Florida Department of Education receives and evaluates your application and the accompanying materials, you will be sent an Official Statement of Status of Eligibility. This statement, which is valid for three years, lets you know whether you are eligible for a Professional Certificate or Temporary Certificate. If eligible for a Temporary Certificate, additional criteria will need to be met before the expiration of the Temporary Certificate. Remember, a certificate is not issued until you are employed in a Florida school, so you must first seek and find employment in a Florida public, non-public, charter or other state-approved school before your certificate will be mailed to you. Visit TeachInFlorida.com for assistance in applying for teaching positions in Florida.
If you attended a college or university in a foreign country, check here for the requirements that must be met to apply for Florida teaching certification.
Criminal History Background Check
After you have secured employment with a Florida school, but before beginning work, you will be required to submit to a criminal history background check performed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This involves submitting fingerprints through the public school district’s personnel office. If your fingerprint results return clear, you will be issued a teaching certificate within 30 days of the Bureau of Educator Certification receiving the request from your district.
If you work for a nonpublic school in Florida, your employer will give you a fingerprint card and instructions on where to have the background check completed. You will return the completed card and processing fee to your employer, who will forward it to the Bureau of Educator Certification. Once the FBI and FDLE have cleared you for employment, within 30 days the Bureau will notify your employer and issue your teaching certificate.
If your fingerprinting results return a criminal record, your application will be forwarded to the Bureau of Professional Practices Services for review. They will contact you regarding the necessary information to resolve the situation and determine your eligibility for the issuance of a teaching certificate.
If you need further information on state-approved teacher preparation programs in Florida, contact the Deans and Directors of these programs.
For more information about educator certification in Florida, contact the Bureau of Educator Certification of the Florida Department of Education at 800-445-6739, or visit their website.
State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.