Florida Alternative Teaching Certification Programs

(found programs from 7 schools)

Faced with critical teacher shortages in many content areas, the Florida Department of Education has approved multiple alternative certification routes. And the data shows that plenty of aspiring teachers have utilized them. In 2008-2009 alone, Florida issued certificates to 2,770 teachers entering the profession through alternative routes according to the National Center for Alternative Certification.

Florida's alternative certification pathways are competency based, and they are some of the most liberal and flexible in the country. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree to be admitted to a program, but if they can demonstrate certain core competencies, little or no additional college coursework is required.

These alternative pathways have helped Florida substantially increase the number of candidates completing teacher education programs. The Florida Department of Education reports that teacher education program completers increased from 6,300 in 2004-2005 to 10,000 in 2009-2010 with the largest percentage increase coming from alternative preparation programs and community college baccalaureate programs.

There are two major alternative certification paths in Florida. The first is the Alternative Certification Professional Preparation and Education Competence Program Via School Districts. Approved for the 2002-2003 school year, this program is designed to fast-track mid-career professionals into the classroom. Every Florida school district is required to offer some version of this program.

Under this pathway, school districts design and manage their own programs with oversight from the Florida Department of Education. These are competency-based programs, so participants do not need to enroll in additional college coursework to satisfy professional preparation requirements for a professional certificate. Instead, they complete district-determined requirements while working full-time.

The second path into the classroom is through an alternative certification program at an Educator Preparation Institute (EPI). Approved in 2004, this path also targets mid-career professionals and other college graduates without a degree in education. Like the alternative preparation programs delivered via school districts, EPI programs are competency based. More than two dozen colleges and universities in Florida have approved EPIs.

Schools in Florida:

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