how to become a teacher in florida

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how to become a teacher in florida

Should I Become a Teacher in Florida?

Teaching involves the instruction of students by utilizing various methods, including demonstrations, discussions and lectures. Working with energetic students in grades kindergarten through high school may be demanding and dealing with those students who are unmotivated or disrespectful can be frustrating. However, teachers often find their reward in observing their students’ progress and accomplishments at the end of the year.

The Florida Department of Education regulates teacher certification in the state. Prospective teachers in Florida are required to earn a bachelor’s degree from a university offering a state-approved teacher preparation program. After enrolling in an appropriate undergraduate degree program, completing teacher preparation coursework, passing any required exams (FTCE Exams) and obtaining employment or sufficient teaching experience in a school, individuals can apply for a Florida teaching certificate. In some cases, individuals may follow alternative routes to certification if they meet specific qualifications. The following table contains the main requirements for being a teacher in Florida:

Career Requirements

Degree LevelBachelor’s degree is required; some teachers have a master’s degree
Degree FieldTeacher education or subject areas such as English/language arts, mathematics or science
ExperienceEmployment by a school or teaching experience required for certification
CertificationState certification required
Key SkillsInstructing, speaking, listening, social perceptiveness, classroom management, flexibility
Salary$74,040 (Annual mean salary for a postsecondary teacher)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014), Florida Department of Education, ONet Online.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or a Specific Subject Area

Prospective teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree in order to meet educational eligibility for teacher certification in the state of Florida. The state’s Department of Education (DOE) advises aspiring teachers to decide what subject they want to teach and pursue a degree in that discipline.

Appropriate majors may vary depending on where the student wants to teach. For example, elementary school teachers teach students from kindergarten through grade six in multiple subject areas. Those who plan to teach in an elementary school usually major in elementary education.

Individuals who want to teach older students usually major in the specific subject area that they’re planning to teach, such as social sciences, English or mathematics. All students are required to participate in student teaching for certification. Additionally, exams testing general knowledge, subject area mastery and professional mastery are required for individuals desiring certification.

Success Tips:

  • Become a substitute teacher during college. The state of Florida provides training to its substitute teachers, which helps prepare them to manage a classroom and instruct students. Such preparation and experience in a classroom could help individuals interested in becoming teachers hone the skills needed to be successful, such as communicating effectively. Additionally, being a substitute allows future teachers to learn from experienced educators on an informal basis.
  • Volunteer in a setting that involves working with children. Individuals can sign up to be tutors or mentors to children. Future teachers can volunteer to work with children who are in the same age bracket as those they would like to teach in their chosen subject.

Step 2: Get Florida State Certification

After finishing an approved teacher education program, individuals need to apply for teacher certification in the state of Florida. In order to obtain the certificate, candidates need to submit an application to be approved by the Florida Department of Education. After submitting their applications, candidates will receive an Official Statement of the Status of Eligibility, which will classify them as either eligible or not eligible.

Professional and temporary certification options are available. The Professional Certificate is renewable and good for five academic years, and the Temporary Certificate is not renewable and only valid for three academic years. The temporary option also requires securing employment by a state-approved school and having fingerprints on file, while the professional option requires one year of full-time experience as a classroom teacher. Individuals who have achieved all of the requirements for certification will be eligible for the Professional Certificate, and those who still need to finish some requirements will be issued a Temporary Certificate.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree

Although only a bachelor’s degree is required to be eligible for certification as a teacher in Florida, some teachers choose to return to school for a master’s degree to help advance their careers. Many universities in Florida offer graduate degree programs for both certified teachers who wish to continue their education and those with a bachelor’s degree who would like to achieve certification.

One option in terms of graduate degree programs for professional educators is the Master of Education (MEd). Individuals with bachelor’s degrees who are not certified, but would like to be, can become certified through completing a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree program.

florida teacher salary

 The average Public School Teacher salary in Florida is $57,643 as of January 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $50,319 and $66,559. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

how to become a teacher in florida without a bachelors degree

Q&A: Can I Become a Teacher Without a Bachelor’s Degree?

Many people find careers in teaching and related fields rewarding and their roles can help improve the lives of their students. Each state has its own requirements for becoming a teacher and some vary depending on whether you choose to teach at a private or public school. Knowing your options with or without a bachelor’s degree can help you decide on a teaching or related career that helps you meet your professional goals. In this article, we discuss whether you can become a teacher without a bachelor’s degree and other common questions about getting a teaching job.

Can I become a teacher without a bachelor’s degree?

Public school systems in all 50 states require teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree to get a job at any grade level. While some private schools may allow you to become a teacher without a bachelor’s degree, nearly all require one. Many parents enroll their children in private schools because they want them to receive a high-quality education, so private elementary, middle and high schools often require teachers to have a master’s or doctoral degree as well.

New York, Connecticut and Maryland require teachers to have a minimum of a master’s degree in education to teach at public schools. Teachers in these states may begin teaching without attending graduate school, however, as long as they receive a master’s degree within a certain time frame after they start their teaching career to maintain licensure. Public school teachers in Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Oregon can receive provisional or first-year teaching licenses with a bachelor’s degree, but their states also require them to receive a master’s degree to obtain full licensure.

What alternative teaching careers can I pursue without a bachelor’s degree?

If you want to start a job similar to teaching without getting a bachelor’s degree, you have many options for alternative careers. People often choose to become teachers because they enjoy working with children and want to make a difference in their lives. However, other perks, such as flexible schedules and job stability may also make the job appealing. Other jobs allow you to experience some of the same benefits as a teaching job without requiring you to earn a bachelor’s degree. Examples include:

  • Tutor
  • Nanny
  • Daycare assistant
  • Personal trainer
  • Teacher’s aide
  • Substitute teacher
  • Athletic coach
  • Children’s author
  • Museum tour guide

Can I become a teacher if I have a bachelor’s degree in another field?

In most states, you can become a teacher if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field. In fact, Washington D.C. and every state except Minnesota and Rhode Island offer alternative teaching certification options for people with bachelor’s degrees who want to change careers. This applies only to public schools, as some private schools allow people who have a bachelor’s degree to become a teacher without state certification. Each state has its own requirements for becoming a teacher without a degree in education, but they typically require applicants to complete some or all of the following:

  • College-level courses on teaching and instruction through an accredited school or program
  • A specific number of hours gaining practical experience in a classroom setting
  • Mentorship with an experienced teacher or another professional in the field
  • Testing to prove competence and mastery of the subjects they plan to teach
  • Screening processes such as background checks

People with bachelor’s degrees who choose to become teachers sometimes pursue an alternative certification route to get a job in a high-needs school. High-needs schools include those with above-average poverty rates, which introduces unique challenges for students and teachers. Many states offer incentives such as financial aid and loan forgiveness to people willing to become teachers and commit to high-needs schools.

What important skills do I need to become a teacher?

Besides education, teachers need many hard and soft skills to become successful educators. As leaders of a group, teachers have the responsibility of having a firm but supportive approach, especially because they work with children. Teachers who have many of these soft skills may find it easier to earn the respect of their students, keep their attention in class and help them learn effectively:

  • Enthusiasm: Children typically have high energy levels, so enthusiasm can encourage participation.
  • Patience: Students experience different rates of cognitive development, so some need more time and attention.
  • Organization: Teachers usually teach several subjects or classes, so organizational skills can help them keep curricula separate.
  • Communication: Learning how to communicate efficiently through active listening and simple speech can benefit both teachers and students.
  • Empathy: Emotional development can lead to certain challenges for students, but teachers can help by practicing empathy.
  • Creativity: When teachers make learning fun, students often pay closer attention and retain information.

Some hard skills for teachers that can help them and their students experience success in the classroom include proficiency in classroom management software, videoconferencing systems and classroom electronics such as projection machines and word processing.

What certifications and licenses do I need to become a teacher?

People who wish to pursue a career in public school systems need state licenses to get a job as a teacher. Specific requirements vary by state and most offer both traditional and alternative certification options. Traditional routes for certification and licensure typically involve the following steps:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in education.
  2. Complete the student teaching requirement for your state.
  3. Pass state exams for teachers.
  4. Apply for certification and licensure.

Many universities offer education degree programs that include student teaching requirements and state exams. However, if you move to another state after college, the state you move to may have different requirements. Some states offer teaching license reciprocation, which means they honor licenses from other states. In most states, a teaching license includes certification for a certain grade level or subject area. For example, licensed kindergarten teachers have an elementary education certification. Teachers can also earn and maintain certification in other areas, known as endorsements. Endorsements usually require additional coursework and examinations.

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