How to Become a Teacher in Florida

Interested in becoming a teacher in the sunshine state? Learn more about the requirements to qualify for professional licensure in Florida.

Updated September 20, 2023

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To become a teacher in Florida, educators need a bachelor's degree and completion of a state-approved teacher-preparation program. Other steps include completing a criminal background check and passing examinations. These requirements ensure Florida's public school students learn from highly qualified educators. Private schools may use different hiring criteria.

The following article covers how to become a teacher in Florida. Sections answer frequently asked questions, introduce teacher-preparation programs, and present the latest hiring and economic data. The final section provides links to helpful outside resources for teaching in Florida. Please reach out to a state agency or accredited college to learn more about becoming a teacher in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Florida

Can I teach in Florida without a teaching degree?

Some people become a teacher in Florida by earning a bachelor's in teaching. Others enter the career by earning a bachelor's in another subject and completing a teacher-preparation program.

How long does it take to get a teacher certification in Florida?

A typical bachelor's degree takes four years to complete. Teachers-in-training with a bachelor's in another subject need another 1-2 years to qualify for a professional teaching license.

Are teachers in demand in Florida?

As of March 2022, Florida's teacher shortage amounts to nearly 4,500 open positions in K-12 public schools. Many subjects, including English, need more highly qualified teachers.

Finding an Accredited Teaching Program

Individuals wanting to become a teacher in Florida must graduate from an accredited college. Accreditation agencies use U.S. Department of Education standards to evaluate the nation's colleges and universities. An accredited school offers the education it promises prospective students. Please do not apply to unaccredited schools. Their graduates may not qualify for jobs or graduate-level programs.

Some learners working toward becoming a teacher in Florida earn an online or hybrid degree. Like all institutions, online colleges must hold accreditation. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) awards accreditation specific to online programs. DEAC-accredited schools provide online and on-campus students with the same educational experience and resources.

Some top teacher-preparation programs earn programmatic accreditation from a private agency. These agencies include the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accredits hundreds of the nation's best bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs preparing students for a teaching license.

Florida Teaching Requirements

Teaching in Florida K-12 public schools requires holding a state-issued license. Recent college graduates qualify for professional licensure by completing a teacher-preparation program with a student teaching experience. Other requirements include passing a teacher competency exam and a subject-specific exam.

Florida lets workers with non-teaching bachelor's degrees enter the profession with temporary licenses. The state gives these teachers three years to complete a teacher-preparation program and apply for a professional license. Requirements include a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and an examination. Temporary and professional licensure candidates submit paperwork online.

Florida's licensure process varies from other states. Licensure candidates do not receive their temporary or professional license until they accept a job offer. Teaching in Florida also requires that all new employees submit to a criminal background check. This requirement applies to all schools, including private ones.

Florida Teacher License

Floridians meet the state's licensure requirements by completing four steps. As of March 2022, 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. 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 March 2022, Florida charges a $75 processing fee. Educators renewing their license pay the same fee.

  2. 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. 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. 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.

Continuing Education Requirements in Florida

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.

Florida Teacher Reciprocity Agreements

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.

Additional Teacher Certifications

Florida teachers increase their employability by adding certifications to their license. More certifications let them apply to more jobs, a benefit in a competitive job market. This advantage also helps students. Teachers with many areas of expertise create more engaging lessons and offer academic help on multiple subjects.

As of March 2022, Florida awards certifications in a dozen content areas, including science, world languages, and exceptional student education. Certification in autism spectrum disorders requires a bachelor's in special education with 12 credits in autism diagnosis and education. Aspiring world language educators need 30 credits of undergraduate instruction in the language they want to teach.

Florida does not offer certifications in all subjects. Since 2011, the state has repealed certifications in journalism, speech, and teacher coordinator of cooperative education. As a result, out-of-state educators cannot transfer these certifications.

Florida Teacher Outlook

The average Florida K-12 public school teacher earned approximately $51,170 in the 2020-2021 school year. Salaries in the state's public school districts ranged from $40,380-$61,640. In March 2022, the state government announced additional funding for teacher salaries in the 2022-2023 academic year. Florida has yet to announce specific figures.

In the 2021-2022 school year, Florida's schools needed more teacher applicants specializing in science and English. Nearly a quarter of open positions relate to special or exceptional student education. The state's plan to solve this problem involves awarding new teachers a $1,000 signing bonus.

Top 5 Most In-Demand Subject Areas for Florida Teachers

  1. Science-General
  2. English
  3. Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  4. Science-Physical
  5. Reading

Source: Identification of Critical Teacher Shortage Areas for 2021-22

Resources for Teachers

FCRR provides Florida English and language arts teachers with a resource database containing podcasts, videos, and lesson materials. In-depth guides cover reading strategies for learners with a disability, such as dyslexia. 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 offers literacy teachers many free resources, such as lesson structure guides, instructional activities, and tech tools and tips. Other documents cover classroom management fundamentals and behavior modification techniques. The website helps recent graduates navigate their first year in the classroom. Resource links lead to an online study community, teaching job resources, and a news center. Teachers of Tomorrow also offers answers to frequently asked questions. FDACS helps Florida's K-12 science teachers create engaging lessons with free digital books on the state's plants, animals, and coastal areas. Many of these resources feature classroom activities aligning with state standards.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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