Become a Teacher

Become a Teacher in Florida – Teacher Certification


The Florida Education Association states a shortage of 2,440 positions in January 2020. The need for teachers is greater than ever, and we know the importance of their role in a child’s life. Have you ever thought about becoming a teacher?


The calling to be an educator is a unique one, but understanding the road to get there can be confusing as there is lots of information on the topic. What tends to be unknown to those outside of the education industry is there is a state certification process that an individual must go through to be able to teach in a classroom. Each state has specific rules and requirements to get certified; today, we will talk about the steps to getting certified in Florida.


  1. Apply with the Florida Department of Education (FL DOE)


The minimum requirement to be able to apply for your certification is having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. This can be in ANY major. Many think they need to go back to college and get another degree to become a teacher. Though this is an option, it’s really not necessary as more alternative certification options have become more available over the past ten years, making it very possible for you to become an educator sooner than you think.


When you apply with the FL DOE, you will need to fill out an online application, submit your official transcripts or credential evaluation, and pay a $75 per subject area fee. NOTE: If you a member of the military, there are military waivers for the fees when applying for the first time. If you currently hold a valid certificate from another state, submits your valid certificate too.


Once the FL DOE receives all your documents and payment, they take a minimum of 4 weeks to process your application package. The average processing time is anywhere from 1-3 months. Keep in mind; peak application period times are usually during May-August, and processing times can go up to 4-6 months.


You’ve applied, now what? What you are waiting for is a formal response from the FL DOE called your Statement of Status of Eligibility (SOE). This document defines if you are “eligible” or “not eligible” to teach in the subject area you applied for and will outline any additional requirements you will need to complete to earn your Temporary Certificate and your Professional Certificate. This document lets school districts know they can hire you as a teacher.


To get additional info about applying, links to military waiver information, and more check out our Become A Teacher page!


  1. Obtain an “Eligible” SOE, Get Hired, and Earn Your Temporary Certificate


Do I have to wait possibly months to find out if I’m eligible to teach? NO! Check out our Become A Teacher page and go to the Eligible OR Not Eligible section to learn more.Once you have become eligible, administrators will have the ability to hire you. It is once you get hired you will be provided a 3-year, non-renewable Temporary Certificate.


  1. Earn Your Professional Certificate


Alright, we are almost to the finish line! There are a total of 11 routes you can take to earn your Professional Certificate. There are options to go directly to a Professional Certification and options to go from a Temporary to a Professional. I’m going to summarize these routes as:


  • College. This is either taking a college undergraduate program that specializes in teaching OR completing the college classes as listed on your SOE.  These options are ideal for people that currently do not have a bachelor’s degree or only have a few classes to take (3 or less is my rule).
  • Alternative Certification. This is ideal if you have a bachelor’s degree, but it’s not in education. EPIs and PDCPs provide affordable and flexible programs to get you certified without having to go back to college. Keep in mind all alt-certs are not created equal. You will need to compare cost, check for admission requirements, program length, and flexibility to ensure you can meet your deadlines.
  • Reciprocity. If you have an NBPTS certificate or an active certificate from another state, just submit a copy of this certificate to the FL DOE to obtain your Florida license. NOTE: Depending on your state, you may still be required to take state exams.
  • Other. I can’t lump these two into any category, so they go here.
    • College Teaching Experience. This applies to those that have taught at a college professor, and your experience equals one year of full-time teaching. You will need to submit an employment verification letter from the school you were employed. This letter must contain specific pieces of information for the FL DOE to accept your experience.
    • STEM Teaching. This does apply to a small margin of people. In order to qualify, you must have a Master’s in a STEM major, teach an approved STEM course, and earns a highly effective rating; this is the route for you.


Now you will still be required to take state exams in order to become certified, so check out our blog on the Florida Teacher Certification Exams (FTCE). Feel free to get general certification questions answered by e-mailing

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