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Teaching Programs in Florida

With an expanding aging population, Florida is relying on the next generation of children to take on jobs in medicine, politics, and other fields that either expect to have a huge number of retiring professionals or that serve the aging population. These efforts begin at the elementary school level and continue through post-secondary education.

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Lawmakers recently approved an increase in education funding of $20.2 billion for the 2020–2021 fiscal year. As a result, more teachers will be hired, training for existing teachers will be expanded, and classrooms will get the technology they need.

Recently U.S. News and World Report published a report of the top 10 states for education—and Florida came in at #3! If you want to be a part of this success, read on to learn more about the myriad education programs in Florida.

How to Become a Teacher in Florida

To teach in Florida you need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate (license). Although you can teach for several years with a temporary certificate, in the end you will need to earn the full professional certificate, the Florida Professional Certificate.

The Florida Department of Education defines several routes you can take in order to qualify for the Florida Professional Certificate.

Direct Pathway

Taking this path leads you directly to earning the Florida Professional Certificate. You will need to complete an Initial Teacher Preparation (ITP) program, which is generally incorporated in a bachelor’s or master’s of education degree program. Once you complete the program, which will include a specified number of student teaching hours, you can apply for the Florida Professional Certificate. 

Alternative Pathways

Alternative pathways entail earning a temporary teaching certificate and then completing additional coursework to qualify for the Florida Professional Certificate.

This path is optimal for several groups of people:

  • If you have a bachelor’s in another subject and want to become a teacher, you can enroll in a Florida-approved Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) program. Upon successful completion, you will be qualified to apply for the Florida Professional Certificate. This program generally takes about nine months.
  • If you are a newly-hired teacher who earned a temporary certificate based on professional subject matter expertise, you can complete a Professional Development Certification Program (PDCP) in order to qualify for a professional certificate. This type of program is an alternative to completing required courses through a college or university. PDCPs are offered by Florida public school districts or charter schools. They are generally two-year programs that you can take while working.

Certificates in Florida

There are two types of certificates in Florida: a temporary certificate and a professional certificate. You need a bachelor’s degree to earn both types.

A temporary certificate allows you to teach in Florida for three years. Most people who are teaching with this certificate are also taking coursework to qualify for a professional certificate. The temporary certificate is nonrenewable.

You will need to earn a Florida Professional Certificate to teach in Florida on a permanent basis. The certificate is valid for five years; to renew you will have to complete professional development requirements.

Both certificates require a bachelor’s degree and a passing score on the appropriate Florida subject matter exam. To earn a Florida Professional Certificate you also need to pass the Florida Professional Education Test.

For more information about certification, visit the Florida Department of Education.

Paying for Your Education

In addition to financial aid, grants, and scholarships, Florida has a Tuition Waiver for Classroom Teachers program. In this program, Florida colleges may waive tuition and associated fees for classroom teachers who are enrolled in approved courses up to six college credit hours per term.

You can also apply for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. You will be eligible for this program if you teach full-time for a specified number of years in districts that serve low-income students.

To learn about other financial aid opportunities, refer to the Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance website.

Career Outlook for Educators in Florida

One of the major benefits of becoming a teacher in Florida is the faster-than-average job growth outlook. CareerOneStop predicts a 13% boost in kindergarten, elementary, and special education jobs and a 14% increase in secondary education jobs between 2016 and 2026. These figures are about twice those for the United States as a whole.

You may find that you have more than one opportunity available to you after graduation if you are flexible about which district you work in and which part of the state you live in.

2018 Median Annual Teaching Salaries in Florida
  • Elementary: $48,630
  • Secondary: $52,121
  • Post-Secondary*: $80,800

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

*Average of all individual post-secondary teaching salaries provided by BLS.

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