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Certification

May 13 update: Thanks to the activism of FEA members the FL DOE announced that all Temporary and Professional certificates that would have expired June 30, 2020 are extended to December 31, 2020 to allow teachers to complete certification courses and tests.

March 2020 update: Please see our Q&A for Florida Educators for information about changes to Certification during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Educator Certification is handled through the Florida Department of Education. They maintain a comprehensive overview of the certification process on their website.

Below are more specific links and important information about obtaining or renewing your Florida professional educator certificate:

Initial Certification

New Florida teachers come from many paths. Four steps that all initial applicants will need to complete in order to obtain a Florida teaching certificate:

  1. Completing your application package
  2. Obtaining your state of eligibility
  3. Secure employment in a Florida public school
  4. Submit fingerprints for certification

For more specific information on how to obtain your certificate, please visit the following pages on the Florida Department of Education (DOE) website:

Renewal of Certification

Professional educator certificates in Florida must valid for a five (5) year period.

In general, renewal requires six (6) college credit semester hours, one hundred and twenty (120) in-service points, or some combination of both.

Of the total requirement, at least one (1) college credit hour or twenty (20) in-service points must be earned in teaching students with disabilities. Many local unions offer courses to their members which will satisfy this requirement. Ask your local about their professional development offerings.

More specific information on renewing your certificate can be found on the Florida DOE website.

Renewing a certification that has lapsed

If you hold a certificate from another state or are Nationally Board certified, the best path might be to use the reciprocity route to reinstate your certificate.

If your certificate lapsed and you do not have a current certificate from another state or National Board Certifications, you can still find information about how to reinstate your professional certificate on the Florida DOE site.

It is important to note that if your certificate has expired and you want to teach before you have completed the requirements for reinstatement, you must apply for a non-renewable temporary certificate which is valid for three years. You can apply for a temporary certificate using the DOE’s Online Licensing Service

National Board Certification

The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) has long been recognized as the gold standard when it comes to teacher certification. If you are nationally-board certified and want to obtain your Florida certification, find information on how to do so on the Florida DOE site.

If you are currently teaching in Florida and want to earn National Board status visit the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

One more important note about the National Board program: In 1998 the Florida Legislature created a program to incentivize teachers to earn their National Board Certification. Teachers could earn bonuses up to 10% of their annual salary for earning their National Board certification.

While he bonus language still exists in state law, but the Legislature unfortunately stopped appropriating funding for the bonus years ago—instead choosing to award bonuses based on evaluations and college admission test scores.

If you think the Legislature should once again fund the National Board Certified Teacher bonus that is in state law, you can find your local legislator’s contact information here and let them know.

Help passing certification tests

Information about Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) can be found on the Florida Department of Education website.

Many of our local affiliates offer tutoring for the FTCE. Fill out the form below to find the contact information for your local union and ask if they provide FCTE tutoring.

ParaPro Assessment

The Educational Testing Service has information about the ParaPro Assessment. (Note: Each district has their own process for credentialing paraprofessionals so check with your school district’s HR department for specifics.)

Q&As for Florida Educators

Common questions about school closures, testing, students with IEPs, evaluations, certifications and more. Updated 3/31.

Digital Learning Resources for Educators and Parents

Resources for engaging students during the school closure

FEA Statewide Town Hall on COVID-19 

Video and transcript of March 25 town hall on the impact of coronavirus on Florida’s public education system.

Q&As and Resources for Parents

Common questions and resources for parents — including links for meals for students in need.

Advocacy Updates for
COVID-19

Ways for members to take action to protect students, educators, healthcare professionals and working people.

Member Benefit Resources and Links

Overview of the additional resources our benefit partners are providing to help members deal with the COVID pandemic. Updated 4/20 with Student Loan Forgiveness information.

AFL-CIO Survival Guide for Unemployment

A PDF guide for working people facing unemployment.

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Once again, you spoke and Tallahassee listened.

All Temporary and Professional certificates that would have expired June 30, 2020 are extended to December 31, 2020 to allow teachers to complete certification courses and tests.

Read a PDF of Commissioner Corcoran’s full Emergency Order granting the extension.