How To Become a Teacher in Florida

Written by TeachingDegree.org Staff


Nicknamed the "Sunshine State," Florida depends on tourism, agriculture, and transportation to bolster its economy, the fourth-largest in the United States. Additionally, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) emphasizes technical training through programs like the Workforce Education Initiative and the Family Empowerment Scholarship.

Florida offers traditional and online teaching degrees and diverse educator career opportunities. Many Floridians prefer distance learning: National Center for Education Statistics data shows that nearly 20% of college students in Florida enroll in exclusively online courses. Many schools promote flexible enrollment options and accelerated completion times, both of which may reduce tuition costs. Most accredited teaching degrees in Florida include a state-required teacher training program.

While Florida teachers require a bachelor's degree to qualify for state certification, they may pursue an alternative path to licensure. Floridians can achieve one of many possible combinations of education, exams, and experience toward obtaining a temporary or professional teaching certificate. Many teachers also work in critical shortage areas.

The following guide details how to become a teacher in Florida.

Florida at a Glance

Population 21,646,155
Per Capita Income $31,359
Full-Time Equivalent Teachers 164,398.70
Number of Public School Districts 76
Number of Public K-12 Schools 234
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 42
Climate

Average Annual Temperature: 70.7 ℉

Annual Precipitation: 54.5 inches

Major Sports Teams

Miami Dolphins

Miami Heat

Orlando Magic

Miami Marlins

Top Florida Schools for Teaching

  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Saint Leo University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Florida International University
  • The Baptist College of Florida
  • The University of West Florida
  • Florida Gateway College
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
  • Northwest Florida State College

Why Go to College for Education in Florida?

Students pursuing teaching in Florida enjoy numerous online learning options. The percentage of Floridians enrolled at least partially in distance-based higher education programs (44.3%) exceeds the national figure of 34.7%, as shown below. Specifically, Florida exceeds the national data for students enrolled both exclusively and partially in online programs.

While the state-required teacher training program includes an in-person component, online programs allow students to complete their training close to home. Many Florida programs also offer in-state tuition rates, regardless of students' residency status. Learners can pursue a variety of specializations, especially in elementary education, the state's largest educator group.

Tuition rates in Florida fall below the national average for nearly every type of school. Out-of-state students enrolled at public, four-year institutions in Florida enjoy especially significant cost savings of more than $7,000, compared to the average national cost for these schools. Online programs with in-state tuition rates can often further reduce tuition costs at such schools.

With incentives including salary bonuses and alternative licensure pathways, the state promotes diverse career opportunities for teaching in Florida. Florida teachers guided students to an 86% high school graduate rate in 2017-18, exceeding the national rate.

Postsecondary Education Statistics for Florida

Students in Florida can choose from a host of institutions to pursue their degrees — the state houses 160 four-year schools. Though per-student appropriations do not meet national averages, Florida does match the national average percentage of tax revenue allocated to higher education at 5.8%.

Higher Education in Florida
FL Data National Data
Number of Four-Year Colleges 160 3,004
Number of Two-Year Colleges 69 1,579
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education 44.3% 34.7%
Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student $7,542 $8,196
Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education 5.8% 5.8%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree 9.8% 8.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree 18.5% 19.4%
Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher 10.6% 12.1%
Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau - American Community Survey

Accreditation for Florida Schools

Students researching how to become a teacher in Florida should only consider accredited schools. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation through an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Regional accreditation is usually reserved for nonprofit institutions. Typically, students planning to transfer schools or pursue graduate studies must have completed coursework at regionally accredited institutions. Florida schools receive regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Some education programs in Florida also receive programmatic accreditation through an agency such as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Programmatic accreditation demonstrates that an education program meets field standards for professional certification and experience.

Considerations for a Teaching Degree in Florida

There are a host of factors aspiring teachers in Florida must consider as they choose a program. Students should investigate online versus campus-based degrees, what grade or subject they want to teach, and tuition costs.

Teaching Degree Levels

While teaching certification in Florida requires a bachelor's degree, students can pursue a teaching degree at any level on the path toward a lucrative career. Florida schools offer diverse specializations in particular grade levels and teaching subjects, preparing graduates for licensure in their area of expertise.

Associate Degree in Teaching

Students working toward teaching in Florida with a two-year associate degree can become early childhood educators in birth through pre-K settings. Many graduates of an associate program go on to pursue a bachelor's degree, including a state-approved teacher education program, which is the minimum education requirement for K-12 teachers in all public and some private Florida schools.

Bachelor's Degree in Teaching

Students learning how to become a teacher in Florida must begin with a bachelor's degree, the minimum education requirement for certification. Students must also choose a teaching grade and/or subject as their major. State-approved teaching degrees at this level in Florida include a teacher education program, which qualifies graduates for the teacher certification examination.

Master's Degree in Teaching

Students must earn a master's degree to pursue jobs in education administration or school counseling in Florida. Enrollees may also pursue a master's in a specialization, such as K-12 reading or speech-language impaired, or particular teaching subject or grade level. Schools may offer a master of education (M.Ed.) or a master of arts in teaching (MAT).

Ph.D. in Teaching

Teaching in Florida in a postsecondary school typically requires a doctorate. A terminal degree in education, such as an Ed.D., can prepare students for jobs in educational research and policy or education administration. While completion times vary by program, a Ph.D. or Ed.D. usually takes 4-6 years to complete.

What Grade or Subject Will You Want To Teach?

Aspiring teachers in Florida should first decide which grade and/or subject they want to teach. Since the state requires teachers to take the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) or Florida Educational Leadership Examination in a particular subject, grade, or specialization, teachers can pursue certification aligned with their individual career goals.

Preschool

Researching how to become a preschool teacher in Florida starts with a degree-completion plan. Preschool teachers in public schools require at least a bachelor's degree and teaching certification. Alternatively, an associate degree may suffice for childcare professionals, teacher's aides, and preschool teachers in private schools.

Elementary School

Elementary school teachers at public schools require a bachelor's degree and certification through the FDOE. Students may pursue certification for multiple K-5 subjects through a general elementary education program, or complete a degree and earn certification in a specialization such as art or special education. Some schools also offer master's degrees in elementary education.

Middle School

Public middle school teachers need a bachelor's degree to earn certification for teaching in Florida. Candidates can take certification tests to teach English, general science, math, or social science in grades 5-9 in Florida. Teachers may also add teaching subject certifications with additional tests.

High School

Becoming a high school teacher in Florida requires pursuing a bachelor's degree in a secondary teaching subject for grades 6-12. Florida high school teachers can take the FTCE in secondary English, math, drama, or social science, or one of four specific science areas.

Special Education

Special education teachers in Florida require at least a bachelor's degree. Students must take the FTCE in K-12 exceptional student education, hearing impaired, visually impaired or speech-language impaired, the latter requiring a master's degree. Florida offers academic endorsement in one of several specializations including autism spectrum disorders and pre-K disabilities.

On-Campus Versus Online Program Options

Students interested in teaching in Florida can complete their degree in a variety of formats. Many schools offer programs to accommodate learners in all locations and specializations. Most Florida schools enable students to choose whether to attend classes on campus, online, or through hybrid study.

On-Campus Programs

Many Florida colleges still offer traditional teaching degrees. Students may choose to study on campus in order to physically access academic advisors, campus amenities, and peer support. In terms of academic performance, some students simply prefer learning in a conventional in-person classroom.

Online Programs

Online programs provide the same immersive experience as campus-based degrees in Florida. Most distance degrees involve weekly assignments and offer support through virtual textbooks, tutoring, and technology assistance. Distance learners often require stronger self-management and time-management skills than traditional students.

Many online degrees provide more flexible enrollment and scheduling options than a traditional program. Online programs in Florida can also offer in-state tuition rates and enable enrollees to reduce or eliminate commuting costs and living expenses.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs best suit students who prefer learning through a combination of in-person and online instruction. Most hybrid degrees pair online coursework with several in-person sessions each semester. Such programs can accommodate working students by offering in-person classes at night or on weekends. Hybrid programs also serve part-time students and commuters with limited campus access.
Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education
Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses
FL Students 18.8% 25.5% 55.7%
United States Students 16.3% 18.4% 65.3%
Source: NCES

Paying for Your Teaching Degree

Cost is a major concern for students learning how to become a teacher in Florida. Most Floridians require financial aid to complete their teaching degree. Most schools require college students to submit the FAFSA with their admissions application to determine financial aid eligibility. Options may include scholarships, grants, fellowships, federal funding, and loans.

As shown below, most types of schools in Florida offer lower tuition costs than the national average. Public, four-year institutions in Florida offer a savings of more than $7,400 for out-of-state students when compared to national tuition rates. Florida offers financial aid through TEACH grants, loan forgiveness for teachers, and programs like the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers. Learn more at the pages linked below.

Average Cost of College Tuition and Fees in FL, 2017-2018
Florida National
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $4,455 $9,037
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year) $18,241 $25,657
Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year) $25,531 $30,731
Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $2,506 $3,243
Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year) $9,111 $7,971
Source: NCES

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

Online learning offers many benefits and accommodations, especially for nonresident students. Many Floridians seek out schools offering affordable online programs with low tuition rates for learners who may reside out of state. Schools such as the University of South Florida and Broward College offer minimal per-credit tuition increases for nonresidents enrolled in online programs.

Additionally, Florida participates in a reciprocity agreement with surrounding states through the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), under the broader Midwestern Higher Education Compact. SREB represents schools in 16 of the southernmost United States, enabling nonresident students attending participating schools to pay discounted tuition rates.

Florida's Cost of Living

Students researching the cost of teaching programs in Florida should also consider the cost of living, which significantly impacts where a student decides to earn their degree. Florida maintains a lower cost of living (97.9) than the national average of 100. Other factors that contribute to Florida's low cost of living include housing and transportation costs, both below the national average at 95.4 and 96.7, respectively.

Other School Selection Criteria

The process of choosing a school can involve a long list of critical factors. Key considerations might include:

Program Length

Students who aspire to start teaching Florida as soon as possible might consider an online program with accelerated completion options.

School Size

While some students prefer the amenities large schools can offer, others thrive in an intimate setting where they can get personalized attention from instructors.

Prestige/Reputation

Beyond offering a state-approved teacher education program, some schools maintain a higher level of prestige by touting features such as programmatically accredited teaching programs.

Job Placement

Schools with robust alumni networks and career service centers can help ensure students find employment after graduation.

Program Culture

Many Florida schools accommodate aspiring educators through a variety of teaching specializations for every grade and subject.

Extracurriculars

For students attending in person, schools with a bevy of extracurricular activities like Greek life, study groups, and networking events on campus can make the college experience more meaningful.

Teaching in Florida

Florida ranked third in the nation for education in 2018, according to U.S. News & World Report. Florida also ranked No.1 for higher education in 2018. The Nation's Report Card shows fourth-graders exceeding the national average in subjects including science, reading, and writing, and especially math, for multiple consecutive years. These achievements can be attributed to Florida's highly qualified elementary school teachers.

Florida serves more than 4,200 public schools and employs more than 164,000 full-time teachers. The state enrolls more than 2.5 million students, with an emphasis on K-12 reading programs, career and technical training for adult learners, and accommodations for students with visual or hearing impairments or learning disabilities.

Partnered with the FDOE, the Florida Education Foundation focuses on developing the teacher workforce and improving education programs statewide. Additionally, the FDOE hosts its own Just for Teachers community online, providing resources such as a classroom supply assistance program, field trips, and teacher discounts.

How to Become a Teacher in Florida

Prospective teachers in Florida must navigate a series of certification options. Teachers may pursue a direct path to professional certification or obtain a temporary certificate before applying for full professional credentials. Teachers with out-of-state certification must hold credentials in the same subject and grade level as a Florida professional teaching certificate, or hold a certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Most students complete a bachelor's degree on the direct path to professional certification in Florida. These students must complete a state-approved initial teacher preparation program. Additionally, learners must take and pass the FTCE in three parts: general knowledge, professional preparation and education competency, and the subject test in a teaching subject.

Florida's initial teacher preparation programs include field hours teaching in a statewide elementary or secondary school. These field hours are typically embedded within a bachelor's or master's teaching curriculum. Students who have not yet completed the initial teacher preparation program must pursue employment at a state-approved school to qualify for a temporary certificate.

Steps to Becoming a Texas Teacher

  • Step 1: Earn at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as special education; early childhood education; or elementary, middle school, or secondary education. The degree must be accredited and include a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step 2: Apply for certification through the Online Licensing Service site and receive an official statement of eligibility, which determines next steps. Students who have already taken the FTCE should skip to Step 4.
  • Step 3: Take and pass the FTCE, in three sections:
        1. General Knowledge Test
        2. Professional Education Test
        3. Subject Area Examinations, including but not limited to:
  • Preschool education, birth to age four
  • PreK-3 in various subjects including developmental knowledge, language arts and reading, or math
  • Elementary education (K-6) in various subjects including math, science, or social science
  • Middle grades (5-9) in various subjects including English, social science, or general science
  • English K-12
  • Exceptional student education K-12
  • Step 4: Pursue employment in a state-approved public or private elementary or secondary school in Florida
  • Step 5: Submit fingerprints for a criminal background screening

Education Requirements for Florida Teachers

The first step toward teaching in Florida is earning a degree. Schools offer education degrees at all levels and in various specializations, grades, and teaching subjects. The average salary of teachers in Florida correlates with a candidate's education and experience.

As the minimum requirement for teaching certification in Florida, a bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete. Aspiring teachers who hold out-of-state certification or have not yet completed a state-approved teacher preparation program may pursue an alternative path to licensure through the FDOE. The state also provides pathways to upgrade from a temporary to professional teaching certificate.

To earn an official statement of eligibility from the FDOE, students must complete an accredited bachelor's degree and a teacher training program, which includes student-teaching in the classroom. Additionally, learners must pass all three sections of the FTCE. Candidates deemed eligible for temporary or professional certification must secure employment teaching in Florida at a state-approved public or private school.

Teacher Certification and Licensure in Florida

Florida teachers in public K-12 schools must hold state-issued teaching certification. Teachers in private schools and alternative learning institutions are not typically required to maintain the same professional certification. Florida educators must pass the FTCE, which includes a general knowledge assessment, a professional education assessment, and a subject test in one of 39 subject areas.

While the majority of tests and subtests include multiple-choice questions, some sections include written or oral components. The general knowledge test requires an essay, and the middle and secondary English subject tests assess written performance. Some foreign language subject tests in French, Spanish, and German also include an oral interview.

Florida may waive the registration and exam fees for qualifying military students and veterans. The general knowledge test (including fees for taking all four subtests at once) costs $130, or students can pay individually for one, two, or three subtests. The professional education test costs $150. Each subject test costs $150. These figures reflect "first attempt" costs. Fees to retake exams vary by type.

The subtests take between 40 and 100 minutes to complete. The professional education assessment lasts for 150 minutes. Individual subject test times vary from 60 to 150 minutes.

Student Teaching and Other Required Experience

Becoming a certified teacher in Florida requires field practicums and student-teaching experience. State-approved bachelor's and master's degrees include field experience as part of Florida's initial teacher preparation programs. Florida requires teachers in public pre-K-12 schools to complete a student-teaching experience to obtain teaching certification.

Bachelor's degrees in education may also include field practicums. Similar to a student-teaching experience, practicum placement is tailored to a student's teaching specialization. Graduates of a bachelor's or master's degree may pursue a standalone teacher preparation program through a state-approved educator preparation institute. Florida also offers professional development certification programs.

Teachers may pursue temporary or professional certification in Florida. Graduates of a bachelor's degree who have not yet completed a teacher preparation program or passed all three sections of the FTCE may apply for a temporary teaching certificate. Students must initialize employment in a state-approved public or private school that includes a teacher preparation program to qualify for temporary certification.

Temporary certification is nonrenewable and lasts for three years. Students qualify for professional certification, renewable every five years, once they complete a teacher preparation program, pass the FTCE, and are employed full time teaching in Florida.

Alternative Paths to Becoming a Florida Teacher

Most Floridians pursue a direct path to professional certification by earning a bachelor's degree that includes a teacher preparation program. Others seek an alternative path toward temporary or professional licensure. FDOE offers a variety of unique routes to certification for teachers at all levels of education and experience.

Besides earning a bachelor's degree, students can complete a baccalaureate program through a state-approved educator preparation institute. Students may also complete a minimum of 15 college credits in education or at least two semesters of college teaching experience to qualify for a professional certificate. These candidates must also complete a professional education competence program while employed at an approved Florida school and pass all three sections of the FTCE.

Candidates may also choose the professional training option or professional development certification program in a state-approved public school district to qualify for professional certification. Additionally, Florida honors certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. Out-of-state teachers must complete a teacher preparation program through an accredited school in the U.S. or hold a valid standard teaching certificate in another state.

Finding a Teaching Job in Florida

Students can pursue teaching in Florida through a variety of career-building resources. Many job seekers prefer conducting their professional networking online, while others attend local events like job fairs and annual teacher conferences. Beyond searching for lucrative teaching jobs in Florida, aspiring teachers should also seek out mentor relationships and lifelong education opportunities. The following resources frequently update their teaching in Florida jobs:

  • The Great Florida Teach-InThe FDOE hosts this annual job fair for certified teachers through a partnership with the state's Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development, and Retention.
  • Teachers-Teachers.comTailored to job-seekers and employers in education, this website serves more than 4,000 districts as a subsidiary of Frontline Education, LLC.
  • Florida Virtual School JobsFLVS serves more than 200,000 K-12 students nationwide through virtual learning programs and offers career opportunities in Florida at its home office location and virtual classroom.
  • Southern Teachers AgencySouthern Teachers helps recruit teachers for all districts and school types across Florida. The site posts available jobs online and hosts job fairs in person throughout the year.

Notable Florida Schools and Districts

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools

    The fourth-largest school district in the U.S., M-DCPS includes 476 schools and serves more than 350,000 students. More than 17,700 teachers work in this district. M-DCPS earned an "A" rating for more two consecutive years, home to 13 of Florida's top 20 schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. M-DCPS' public schools boast a graduation rate of 89%.

  • Broward County Public Schools

    BCPS is the nation's sixth-largest school district and the second-largest in Florida. The district boasts a 95.1% graduation rate. BCPS includes 241 schools and technical colleges and 89 charter schools. The district employs more than 14,000 instructors and enrolls more than 260,000 students.

  • Hillsborough County Public Schools

    The seventh-largest school district in the U.S., HCPS serves more than 224,000 students and occupies more than 235 schools and instructional sites. The district employs more than 24,000 teachers and staff. HCPS' graduation rate has increased for five consecutive years, setting an all-time record at 85.8% in 2018.

Florida Teacher Salaries

Teachers in Florida earn variable salaries depending on the grade and subject they teach. While the average salary of teachers in Florida does not meet the national occupational average, the state accommodates teachers at all levels of education and experience. Special educators in kindergarten and elementary schools earn the highest Florida teacher salary, as shown below.

Kindergarten and elementary school special education teachers making $62,950 also come closest to meeting the national average for this occupation ($64,420). Special education middle school teachers represent the second-highest earners among educators in Florida, earning $58,400, followed by secondary school teachers, who earn $57,880.

The table below also illustrates the potential for teachers with an advanced degree and extensive experience to earn more than bachelor's degree-holders. While teachers with a bachelor's degree and minimal experience earn a base salary of $39,670, Florida teacher salary can increase to $59,050 for educators with a master's degree and 20+ years of experience. Variable districts, subjects, and shortage areas also affect Florida teacher salaries.

Florida Teacher Salaries

Average Annual Salary of Public Elementary and Secondary Teachers, 2018-19

Average Annual Salary

Florida Teachers

$54,155
Average Annual Salary

National

$48,395

Source: NCES

Annual Mean Wage by Teaching Level in Florida, 2019

FL National
Teacher Assistants $26,640 $29,640
Substitute Teachers $28,850 $32,460
Preschool Teachers $28,790 $34,650
Special Education, Preschool $50,720 $67,060
Kindergarten Teachers $55,340 $60,210
Elementary School Teachers $56,280 $63,930
Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School $57,360 $64,420
Middle School Teachers $56,290 $63,550
Special Education, Middle School $56,720 $65,740
Secondary School Teachers $58,000 $65,930
Special Education, Secondary School $57,890 $65,710
Source: BLS

Annual Base Salary of Elementary and Secondary Teachers by Education and Experience, 2017-18

0-2 Years 3-5 Years 6-10 Years 11-20 Years 20+ Years Average, All Levels
FL Teachers with a Bachelor's $39,670 $41,720 $42,930 $46,410 $55,850 $45,310
National Average of Teachers with a Bachelor's $42,440 $44,490 $46,990 $54,380 $60,770 $49,890
FL Teachers with a Master's $42,730 $44,220 $48,630 $59,050 $49,710
National Average of Teachers with a Master's $51,050 $56,140 $65,700 $73,430 $63,120
Sources: NCES, NCES

Florida Trends in Education

Statistics Surrounding Florida Schools and Education

Florida Nation
Total Students, All Grades 2,846,444, 2018-19 56.4 million, Fall 2020
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 17.31, 2018-19 16.0, 2016
Per-Pupil Expenditure, 2018 $9,663 $12,654
Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2020 +16% +7%
Projected Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2029 +10% +1%
Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) for Public High School Students, 2017-18 86% 85%
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Teachers 164,398.70, 2018-19 3.7 million, Fall 2020
Percentage of Teachers 55 or Older, 2017-2018 19.5% 16.5%
Source: NTPS, NCES

Number of Public Schools by Level, 2017-18

FL Nation
Elementary 2,843 67,408
Secondary 679 23,882
Combined Elementary and Secondary 662 6,278
Alternative 388 5,185
Special Education 163 1,903
One-Teacher Schools 0 188
Source: NCES

FL Employment by Teaching Level

Teaching Level FL Employment FL Projected Growth, 2018-28 National Employment National Projected Growth, 2018-28
Teacher Assistants 52,170 +8.7% 1,380,300 +4.0%
Substitute Teachers 16,170 +7.7% 615,700 +3.3%
Preschool Teachers 31,470 +12.3% 523,600 +7%
Special Education, Preschool 1,220 +8.2% 24,000 +7.9%
Kindergarten Teachers 10,510 +7.7% 134,500 +3.9%
Elementary School Teachers 74,260 +7.2% 1,434,400 +3.3%
Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School 4,920 +7.3% 184,300 +2.8%
Middle School Teachers 29,520 +7.1% 615,700 +3.5%
Special Education, Middle School 2,440 +7% 86,800 +2.8%
Secondary School Teachers 47,110 +7.1% 1,072,500 +3.6%
Special Education, Secondary School 4,580 +6.8% 142,000 +3.0%
Source: Projections Central

Florida enrolls nearly three million students and employs a workforce of more than 164,000 teachers, concentrated primarily in elementary schools. The state reported a 16% increase in elementary and secondary school enrollment from 2017 to 2020, higher than the national average of 7%. Florida boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio (17.31), only slightly above the national ratio of 16-to-1.

Florida's highly qualified teachers led high school students to achieve an adjusted cohort graduation rate of 86% in 2017-18, exceeding the national average by 1%. While elementary school teachers represent the largest employment group of educators at more than 74,000, preschool teachers project the highest job growth (12.3%) in the state from 2018-28. Teacher assistants project both the second-largest employment and the second-highest job growth in Florida during the same period.

While special educators, especially in kindergarten and elementary schools, earn some of the highest Florida teacher salaries, the state houses very few special education facilities compared to the national data. The state does not operate any one-teacher schools such as those dedicated to special education or gifted learners.

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Florida have online teaching programs?

Many schools offer online programs to prepare students for teaching Florida. In fact, statistics show more Floridians enroll in online college programs than the national average.

How do you get a teaching license in Florida?

Aspiring teachers need at least a bachelor's degree in their subject or grade specialization. Additionally, they must complete a state-approved teacher education program and pass the FTCE exam.

Do you need a master's to teach in Florida?

While only a bachelor's degree is required for initial teaching certification, some positions and specializations require a master's degree. For example, educational administrators and speech-language impaired special educators require a master's degree and additional subject testing.

Can you be a teacher without a teaching degree in Florida?

Floridians without a teaching degree may pursue licensure by completing at least 15 semester credits in education at a state-approved college or university, an approved professional education competence program, and one year of full-time teaching experience.

How much do teachers make in Florida?

While Florida teacher salaries vary, the average teacher (with a bachelor's degree) earns $45,310. However, kindergarten and elementary school special educators claim the highest Florida teacher salary, at $62,950.

Is there a teacher shortage in Florida?

Yes. As recently as January 2020, the FDOE declared eight critical shortage areas across Florida's K-12 schools. Students may pursue teaching in Florida in a critical shortage area through a temporary certificate or alternate pathway to certification.

Professional Teaching Organizations in Florida

  • Florida Education AssociationFEA serves 145,000 members, including teachers in K-12 and postsecondary schools and retired educators in Florida. FEA recognizes that the majority of its members spend their own income on supplies and offers benefits including discounts of up to 50% at more than 350,000 merchants nationwide.
  • Professional Educators Network of FloridaPEN focuses on providing liability insurance and employment rights protection to Florida teachers. Members enjoy long-term healthcare and life insurance, dental and vision insurance, and tax-deferred annuity options. PEN also offers multiple discounts on consumer goods and services.
  • Association of American EducatorsThe largest of its kind with members in all 50 states, AAE is a non-union professional teachers' organization. AAE promotes best teaching practices with an emphasis on continuing education and professional networking. Benefits include insurance and employment rights coverage, and access to teaching scholarships and grants.
  • Florida Association of Teacher EducatorsAs Florida's state branch of the Association of Teacher Educators, FATE's membership spans the entire state, divided into five regional units. FATE distributes exclusive publications, grants awards to teaching scholars, and hosts an annual conference for members in Florida.

Related Reading

Teaching Programs in Florida

The following ranks the best schools for teaching in Florida, including only accredited programs. Students should check the IPEDS site (updated annually) to confirm that their school holds national or regional accreditation. In addition to maintaining accreditation institution-wide, the following schools offer programs that include career training for Florida teachers.

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