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:
Covid-19 Specific Certification Waivers
Teachers who are currently certified but out of field in any area except Reading and ESOL will be allowed to continue in the out-of-field assignment for the 2020-21 school year if the district makes that request of the DOE.
For Reading, authorization for an out-of-field teacher in Reading is extended to December 31, 2020.
ESOL teachers as well as all other teachers who are out-of-field must obtain certification coverage in the out-of-field subject or successfully demonstrate progress toward obtaining the required certification coverage during the 2020-2021 school year in order to continue working in the out-of-field coverage area.
At this time, certificates that were set to expire on June 30, 2020 have been extended to December 31, 2020.
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:
- Completing your application package
- Obtaining your state of eligibility
- Secure employment in a Florida public school
- 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.
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.
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.)