According to the National Center for Education, Florida is the fourth largest school system with over 65 districts. Because of the growing student population of nearly 4,600, Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation predicts a growth rate of 2.3. This is encouraging news for prospective teachers who will be seeking tenure in the State of Florida. Becoming licensed with a professional teaching certificate, which expires after five years but is renewable, is the initial step in the process.

Credentials begin with possessing an undergraduate degree. All applicants should have at least a bachelor’s qualification from an accredited college or university in the United States. Degrees submitted by applicants with foreign academic training, or territories other than an American institution, must be evaluated and have equivalence to a U.S. degree.

The second step is to take the Florida Teacher Certificate Examination (FTCE) and pass all three sections as follows:

Section one is a multiple choice General Knowledge Test and comprises English language skills requiring a passing grade of 73 correct answers, reading with a passing grade of 65 correct and mathematics with a score of 60 percent. A score of six out of twelve must be attained in the essay, for a total of four subtests.

Section two consists of the Professional Education Test multiple choice questions. It requires a passing grade of 73 percent.

Section three is the Subject Areas Examination. This includes forty-two tests, most of which are multiple choices; others include reading, speaking and writing. To be exempt from the FTCE requirement, a teacher must have another state’s certificate or a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate; both must be valid. When application for certification is made, it will be determined which tests are mandatory. The results are reported on The Official Statement of Status of Eligibility.

After passing the necessary tests, the CG-10 application form must be completed online or via hard copy. The form should be accompanied by official college transcripts, complete with degrees and credits, along with the appropriate processing fee in the form of money order, cashier’s or personal check.

Finally, cleared fingerprints should be submitted for the conducting of a criminal background check. If already employed by the Florida school district, this may be done through the district’s personnel office. Otherwise, they are available from the Bureau of Education Certification. This is where all applications are evaluated.

There is no shortage of teacher-degree programs in Florida. Prospective educators may pursue certification at one of many campus-based institutions. Approved institutions that facilitate teacher education programs are aware of the schools’ curricula. They are also cognizant of the demands of the profession. Therefore, they are fully equipped to prepare future teachers for this noble career.

People who are seeking teacher training but prefer to attend from home instead of a physical campus also have a wide selection from which to choose. Online teacher education programs are available from well-established and regionally accredited institutions. It’s simply a matter of identifying and contacting a preferred school.