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Your 4-Step Guide to Florida Teacher Certification in 2017

Do you have a passion for education?
Do you want to be a great role model to children while helping them learn?

Florida Teacher Certification

Congratulations – you are cut out to be a teacher!

But where exactly do you start?

If you live in Florida, our educator preparation institute, Florida Teachers, will help you every step of the way!

Teacher Shortage Areas in FL

Like other states affected by the teacher shortage across the country, Florida is in high need of certified teachers. According to US Department of Education, the shortage is likely caused by the following:

  • Not enough students graduating with an Education degree
  • Increased teacher retirements by baby boomers
  • Increased number of school aged children in Florida

teacher shortage areas

Based on a report published by US Department of Education, these are the subject areas that have the highest demand for teachers in Florida*:

  • Special Education
  • Mathematics
  • General Science
  • Physical Science
  • Reading/Language Arts
  • Exceptional Student Education (ESE)
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

How to Become A Teacher in Florida

Get certified at home

To become a professional educator in Florida, here’s a summary of the steps you need to go through:

Step 1: Have a bachelor’s degree and other mandatory coursework.

Step 2: Complete a state-approved educator preparation program.

Step 3: Pass required Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) for teacher candidates.

Step 4: Submit your application for Florida Teaching Credentials.

Getting Your Florida Teaching Credentials

Levels of Teacher Certification in Florida

Florida awards two levels of certification for teachers depending on their competency and years in service:

  • Temporary Teaching Certificate – For new teachers
  • Professional Teaching Certificate– For experienced teachers who have completed competency requirements of the state

Steps to Florida Teacher Certification

There are two ways to become certified to teach in Florida  – complete a bachelor’s degree in an education program or complete an alternative certification route.

The Florida Department of Education has a more comprehensive list of prerequisites on its website; but in general, teacher candidates are required to have the following depending on the subject they wish to teach:

  • Elementary School Teachers – 30 semester hours or a major in Elementary Education
  • Secondary School Teachers – 30 semester hours of subject area teaching  or a major in Secondary Education

In the absence of coursework to demonstrate subject matter expertise, a passing score on the Florida Subject Area Subject Examination will suffice.

In addition to undergraduate coursework and state-required tests, you need to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program in order to earn your teaching credential.

A Faster Route to Teaching: Alternative Florida Teacher Certification

Have a bachelor’s degree? You may be eligible to join an alternative certification program. These programs combine live or online curriculum with on-the-job training and expert mentoring.

How does alternative teacher certification work?


Become eligible.


Alternative Certification combines training, test strategies, and everything you need to get a job and have a successful teaching career.

Certification institutions such as Teachers of Tomorrow offer guidance and resources needed for state test preparation including the GKT – which only has a 30% pass rate right now. Programs come in either 100% online (like Florida Teachers), fully live or blended format (50% online, 50% face-to-face training).

Once completed, you will qualify for a Temporary Certificate, which you can use as you begin your first year in teaching.


Start teaching.

With your temporary certificate, you will be the teacher of record in your classroom.  You must teach for two full semesters. The good news is, you earn full salary and benefits throughout the the first year. Also, a field supervisor, and program advisor will be assigned to provide ongoing support as you work your way to completing the teacher preparation program.


Get certified.

Once you’ve successfully completed the program requirements and your first year of teaching, you will be will earn your Professional Certificate.

Florida Educator Preparation Institutes

EPIs (Educator Preparation Institutes) are an alternative certification method applicable for non-education majors and professionals who want to begin teaching. You can enter the EPI program, if you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college.

Teachers of Tomorrow is an Educator Preparation Institute having been approved by the Florida Department of Education in June of 2016

Florida requires all teachers pass the Florida Subject Area Examinations and the Florida General Knowledge Test before or while you are on your Temporary Certificate. To earn your Professional

Certification, you must then take the FTCE Professional Education Test.

The standardized tests for aspiring teachers in Florida:


General Knowledge Test

The GK Test is a basic skills achievement exam and contains four different subtests:

  • English Language Skills – 40 items, multiple choice
  • Reading – 40 items, multiple choice, passage based
  • Essay
  • Mathematics – 45 items, multiple choice
Subject Area Exams

Commonly drafted in multiple-choice format, these exams are used to determine the knowledge of a teacher per content area.

  • English 6-12, English 5-9, French K-12, German K-12, and Spanish K-12 – with additional exam in essay format
  • Spanish K-12 and French K-12 – Given in a language lab
  • German K-12 – comes with an interview
  • Speech 6-12 – Includes a videotaped exam

Teachers working on their Professional Certificate and those who want to add another subject area to a Professional Certificate must pass the certification exam in the new subject area.

Professional Education Test

The Professional Education Test is taken to earn your Professional Teaching Certificate. The exam analyzes a teacher’s knowledge of pedagogy and teacher practices in general. The PEd Test is normally 120 items in length.

Moving through the Florida Teacher licensure process is a little complex. At each step there are different requirements and your best option is calling your Florida Teachers advisor so we can walk you through what you need to do.

To apply to become a teacher with the Florida Department of Education you must complete an initial application.  This application will be analyzed by the team at the FL DOE to determine what you need to do to earn your license. For the application you will provide:

  • CG-10 application form with complete personal information
  • Processing fee for each requested subject
  • Transcripts with complete list of degrees and college credits
  • Copies of teacher preparation certificate(s) you hold from U.S. states or other territories (if there are any)

As we’ve mentioned above, you need to complete two semesters or one year of teaching in either elementary or secondary school in Florida.

After your application, the Florida DOE will issue you your SOE.

Statement of Status of Eligibility (SOE)

This document will be presented to you after your application has been received and evaluated. The statement is valid for three years. There are two uses for the Statement of Status of Eligibility:

  1. To officially declare your eligibility (or otherwise) to gain a teaching license, temporary or professional, in your chosen subject area.
  2. To provide you a complete list of requirements to accumulate in order to qualify for full state certification.

In order to make sure you are ready to teach, you should begin working through an educator preparation program in advance of securing a teaching position.



Florida requires its teachers to submit their fingerprints through school’s office of personnel. Even educators in private schools are obliged to submit their fingerprint cards. Together with a processing fee, this card will then be submitted to the school admin and kept in record.

Teachers are also subjected to background checks, which are normally administered by the FBI and Department of Law Enforcement.


Three-year temporary certificate (non-renewable)

To become eligible for a temporary certificate valid for 3 years, you will use your Statement of Eligibility to get a teaching job in a public or private school, pass the GKT and pass your subject matter examination.  With all that complete, you are able to get your Temporary Certificate from the FL DOE.


Five-year professional certificate

After you successfully complete your educator preparation program, pass your Professional Education test and have good evaluations from your school, you can apply for your Professional Certificate which is good for five years.


Becoming a teacher is not easy.  You are being trusted to help Florida students succeed and thrive. So while the process of becoming a teach may seem daunting at times, in the end you can become that great teacher that inspires his or students to reach their full potential!

Professional Development for Teachers in Florida

The great thing about teaching is that there are plenty of room for professional improvement. However, if you need to get ahead with your career in education, you need to step up and cultivate your credentials.

One of the best ways to take your teaching career to a new level is by earning a master degree. This, together with extensive experience in teaching, will earn you more pedagogical theory and teaching skills. Also most of the time, you can extend your time as a student teacher with a mentor.

Once successful, your master’s degree can help you enrich what you already know about educating the youth; not to mention have better pay and job security.

Florida Teacher Salary and Incentives

Regarding salary, Florida provides decent compensation for teachers on all levels.

If you are teaching in high-needs areas (schools or subjects with high demands for teachers), Florida rewards you with reasonable differential pay. Also, you are entitled to a 15-day vacation leave per year.

How much does a Florida teacher make on average?

  • Elementary teachers: $47,630
  • Secondary teachers: $50,550
  • Public school teachers (district-specific Florida schools): $46,938

Florida Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Ideal retirement age of a teacher in Florida is 65 years old, given that they have completed between 6 to 30 years of service. Not all districts provide equal benefits, so we recommend that speak to your district representative to be informed.

Teachers in Florida are provided with retirement benefits through Florida Department of Management Services – Division of Retirement.

With regards to benefits, it depends on where you’re hired as a teacher. But in general, teachers are privileged with insurance for themselves and their family members. This covers vision, dental and medical insurances. Aside from sick and paid vacation leaves, they are also entitled to teaching grants (funding for educational initiatives).

Public school teachers who are members of the American Federation of Teachers or the National Education Association collaborated with schools in Florida to regulate salaries and ensure that teachers get the benefits they deserve.

Teachers also have the luxury of enjoying a summer vacation. Most teachers spend this time in many productive ways such as teaching summer classes, joining add-on programs for teachers, volunteering and the list goes on.

Become a Certified Florida Educator Today

Clearly, the journey to becoming a certified teacher in Florida takes time, effort, knowledge, and determination on your part. Accomplished successfully, you’d have the honor to shape up the minds of youth; plus, get the rewarding benefits of being a teacher.

Speak to a teacher certification expert today to know the options that best suit you.

Florida Teacher Certification Information & Links


*Disclaimer: Statistics, certification requirements, and other data presented here can change without prior notice. Teachers of Tomorrow strives to make content as relevant and accurate as possible; however, it’s important to note that the data from Florida’s education department should be the official resource for information.

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