Become a Teacher in Florida
FLORIDA HIGHLIGHTSAvg. Elementary School Teacher Salary:$47,630
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary:$50,550
Vacation Weeks per Year:15
Expenditure per Pupil:$9,060
Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONfldoe.org/
Turlington Building, Suite 1514
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
TEACHING IN FLORIDA
FLORIDA TEACHER SHORTAGE AREAS
The United States Department of Education defines a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) as a subject matter or grade level within a state in which there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary teachers. The shortage may be caused by teaching positions that are unfilled or are filled by teachers who have temporary certification or teach in in academic subject other than their area of preparation. According to a report by the USDE Office of Postsecondary Education, Florida has the following Teacher Shortage Areas:
- English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/3/2016.
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Florida, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required. (Step One)
- Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. (Step Two)
- Pass required exams. (Step Three)
- Submit a Florida teaching credential application. (Step Four)
Continue below for more information.
To become certified as a teacher in Florida, you will need to complete the appropriate number of college credit hours, a teacher preparation course, and the standardized tests specified below. If you have a teaching credential from another state, you may be able to use an interstate reciprocity program to become certified in Florida. Visit the Florida Department of Education Educator Certification page for more information on getting your Teaching Credential in Florida.
Florida offers two levels of certification: a Temporary Certificate for beginning teachers and a Professional Certificate for teachers who have met additional competency requirements.
Learn more about getting your teaching credential.
All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have certification credit hour requirements for specialty areas. Florida has diverse coursework requirements, with different prerequisite coursework for over 40 different subjects.
Although there are more detailed specifications listed on its department of education site, Florida requires a major in elementary education or 30 semester hours in Elementary Education related-coursework to work as an Elementary School teacher, and a major or 30 semester hours in the desired subject area for Secondary Education. Visit the subject page for more specific requirements.
A passing score on the Florida Subject Area Subject Examination or a valid American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) certificate can suffice in place of the specified coursework. There are a number of ways to move from a Temporary to a Professional Certificate, most of which involve additional courses from a teacher preparation program. For more information about prerequisite coursework to teach in Florida, click here.
To earn your teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Florida can be found on the Florida Department of Education website.
Certification testing in Florida is run by FTCE (Florida Teacher Certification Examinations). Teachers are required to complete the Florida General Knowledge Test and the Florida Subject Area Examinations. Applicants for the Professional Certificate may need to take the FTCE Professional Education Test.
Read more about teacher certification tests.
Anyone with a Bachelor’s degree in the state is eligible for the Florida Alternative Teacher Certification Program. This program provides certification through a combination of on-the-job training and a support system that includes an online curriculum, peer-to-peer mentoring and “survival instruction” in effective teaching and classroom management techniques.
The program involves four levels of assessment to determine a trainee’s mastery of the required competencies. The trainee’s support team will include a building-level administrator who will verify that competencies are being put into practice. The team must also include an outside educator, either from the school district or a university program, as a “collaborative partner.”
You must obtain a temporary teaching certificate and secure employment with a school district in order to be eligible for the alternative certification program. The process for temporary certification can be started the Florida Department of Education Certification page
Educator Preparation Institutes (EPIs), offered by many community and state colleges, are another alternative route for mid-career professionals or non-education majors. Students with a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university may enter an EPI program. More information can be found on the Florida Department of Education Educator Preparation Institutes page.
Additionally, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence has an online program that can lead to a temporary teaching certificate in Florida.
The Troops to Teachers program helps members of the military transition to a teaching career. In order to participate, you must have or earn a four-year college degree. Participants can receive a stipend to cover certification expenses if they teach in a high-needs school or in a district where a high percentage of students live below the poverty level.
It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A master's degree in the field of education will give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a Master’s program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay.
Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on Teach.com.
Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Florida, visit the Teach.com reciprocity page. Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Florida Department of Education.
Florida residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.
Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree on Teach.com.
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average teacher in Florida makes $48,179 per year. Florida provides differential pay as an incentive to get teachers into high needs schools and shortage subjects. Florida teacher salaries vary by school district.
Learn more about teacher salaries.
Teacher retirement benefits are provided via the Florida Retirement System. Florida teachers can retire with full benefits at age 65 after at least 6 years of service, or at any age after 30 years of service.
Florida’s benefits differ from district to district, so contact your district representative to learn more.
Learn more about benefits for teachers.
School principals establish the guidelines for Florida’s professional development. However, there are a few statewide rules that each principal must abide by that are outlined in the Florida Professional Outline Evaluation Protocol. Florida aims to link student achievement to teacher quality.
Florida has some limited induction policies to provide professional development and mentoring to new teachers. Links to Department of Education professional development and support resources can be found on the Teach in Florida website.
Learn more about finding a teaching job.