Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Florida

In Florida, as in other states, individuals achieve teacher certification by meeting a general set of requirements and a set that are specific to the subject area or population they seek to teach.

Professional certification is dependent on completion of program requirements and going through a multi-step testing process. A temporary certificate may be issued before all requirements are met.

Most certifications can be achieved with degrees at the bachelor's level; reading and speech language impaired require a master's degree. Some ‘career and technical’ coverages do not require a bachelor’s degree. Even in this arena, though, quite a few do.

Some Florida students opt for combined bachelor’s/ master’s programs and finish their education in five years with multiple endorsements, including reading.

Types of Educator Credential

Florida issues credentials in the following broad categories:

  • Elementary
  • Middle level
  • Secondary
  • Science areas
  • World languages
  • Grades K - 12 special subjects
  • Exceptional student education
  • Career and technical coverages

Those seeking certification in science areas may be certified in one or more of the following: biology, chemistry, physics, earth-space science.

The Department of Education has published educational standards for individual certificate subjects. A secondary level English coverage would require an English major or 30 semester hours of coursework that included 15 semester hours of literature and at least a little coursework in 1) speech or oral interpretation and 2) composition/ grammar that was above the freshman comp level. A K-12 art coverage would require an art major or 30 semester hours of coursework that included one-dimensional art, two-dimensional art, and art history.

Meeting Professional Competence Standards

A person can achieve certification based on a traditional academic teacher preparation program that is in-state or out-of-state; it must be appropriately accredited or approved. Those who attend out-of-state schools should be aware that they won’t have the same testing along the way, though the licensing agency should be able to fill them in on what may be missing.

The Department of Education has provided a list of approved programs. One will find a wide variety of programs available at the bachelor’s level (

Prospective teachers who are already degreed may have multiple options. The Professional Development Certification Program is a state alternative program which allows well-qualified degree holders to teach while completing requirements for professional certification. They will have some preparation before taking on a teacher role, but the responsibility comes much sooner. The Florida College Professional Training Option for Content Majors is designed to facilitate the process for individuals with academic majors that correspond to teaching areas.

Individuals who have master’s degrees or doctoral degrees in high-needs STEM areas may not need to complete teacher preparation programs, provided they meet high standards -- including achieving strong results during their time teaching under a temporary certificate. A teacher credentialed through this pathway will need to earn a “highly effective” rating based on student success.

The Examination Process

Candidates take three types of examination en route to professional credentialing. The purpose is to assess all of the following:

  • Reading, writing, and math
  • Professional knowledge
  • Subject area proficiency

Florida teacher candidates take Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (

The Florida Teaching Certification Examinations (FTCE) General Knowledge Test is the official test of reading, writing, and math. Some individuals may be exempted from the FTCE, though not from the requirement to demonstrate proficiency. State code specifically references the GRE; it is not necessarily the only alternative.

The Professional Education Test measures professional knowledge. Additionally, there are 42 subject-specific examinations. The first-time teacher will be expected to take one (

A teacher may take additional subject area examinations later for adding subject area coverages.

The vendor maintains a website specifically for Florida examination candidates ( It includes test information guides. Examination carries a fee. This varies by exam. The Professional Education Test is currently $150 and is widely available at computer-delivered testing sites. The vendor notes that the Bureau of Educator Certification will determine what tests a person needs to register for after reviewing their application (

The Department of Education has a contact form for questions about the FTCE and other examinations (

Add-On Endorsements

Endorsements are add-on credentials. They require coursework or in-service. An autism spectrum disorders academic endorsement, for example, is an addition to an exceptional student certification; it requires 12 semester hours of coursework (

The approved educator programs list includes a section about approved add-on programs.

Out-of-State Teachers

Out-of-state teaching certificates can be accepted as evidence that professional preparation and education competence standards have been met. The Bureau of Educator Certification can also accept Board certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) as evidence. Certification by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) is evidence if combined with an approved competence demonstration program (

A teacher may be eligible for multiple approved subject area approvals based on credentials earned in other jurisdictions.

The Application Process

Florida has a new online application system ( Some documents, including official transcripts, must be submitted separately. Currently, the Bureau’s preferred method is electronic transcript submission by the school; directions can be found on the application system home page.

The application fee is $75. The same fee is charged for applying for an initial license, upgrading status, or adding a subject, coverage, or endorsement.

Currently, fingerprinting is done at a later stage after the individual has been issued an eligibility statement and offered a position (

Additional Information

Florida educators are credentialed by the Bureau of Educator Certification. The Bureau of Educator Certification can be reached at 800-445-6739.