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Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in Florida

With the fourth-largest school system in the nation, 67 public school districts, over 4,000 public schools, and almost three million students annually, Florida offers plenty of opportunities for English teachers to make a different in the lives of their students. In addition, English teachers are on the state’s critically needed coverage areas.

To become an English teacher in the Sunshine State, complete the steps listed below:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Educator Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for a License
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Educator Prep Program

Before becoming an English teacher in Florida, the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree and educator preparation program at a state-approved college or university. A list of state-approved programs is online here.

If you want to teach English at the middle school level in Florida, state law requires following one of the paths below:

  1. Plan One: a bachelor’s or higher degree with an undergraduate or graduate major in English or middle grades English
  2. Plan Two: a bachelor’s or higher degree with eighteen semester hours in English, including all areas specified below:
    1. Credit in English composition and grammar beyond freshman English
    2. Credit in speech or oral interpretation
    3. Nine semester hours in literature.

To teach English at the secondary level (grades 6-12), you must follow one of the paths below:

  1. Plan One: A bachelor’s or higher degree with an undergraduate or graduate major in English
  2. Plan Two: A bachelor’s or higher degree with thirty semester hours in English, including all the areas specified below:
    1. Credit in English composition and grammar beyond freshman English
    2. Credit in speech or oral interpretation
    3. Fifteen semester hours in literature

Classes at a teacher prep program will vary by school and the grades you plan to teach, but in general, they will cover the principles of effective teaching, learning how to develop curriculum for diverse learning styles, learning how to collaborate with other teachers, provide meaningful feedback, conduct appropriate assessments, integrating technology, develop effective learning communities, communicating with parents and teachers, and encourage an atmosphere of respect. Most teacher prep programs also include a student teaching component.

 


 

Step 2. Complete Testing

Florida’s educator licensing exams are unique to the state. The Bureau of Educator Certification determines testing requirements after you submit an application for certification. In general, passing the three components of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination is required for those who plan to eventually apply for the Professional License. For prospective English teachers, these exams include:

  1. The General Knowledge Test
  2. The Professional Education Test
  3. English 6–12 or Middle Grades English 5–9 subject area test

The General Knowledge Test, which is administered only by computer, includes the following components:

  • An essay (fifty minutes; passing score is 6 out of 12)
  • English Language Skills test (forty minutes; passing is based on a scaled score of at least 200)
  • Reading test (forty minutes; passing is based on a scaled score of at least 200)
  • Mathematics test (one hour and forty minutes; passing is based on a scaled score of at least 200)

The FTCE Professional Education Test is a two-and-a-half hour, computer-based test of pedagogy and professional practices, which includes roughly one hundred and twenty multiple-choice questions. A passing score is a scaled score of at least 200. More information on the FCTE can be found here.

The English 6–12 test is a computer-based test that includes one essay and approximately 85 multiple-choice questions. A passing score is a scaled score of at least 200, and the fee for first-time test-takers is $200 (re-takes are $220). More information on the English 6–12 test is available here.

The Middle Grades English 5–9 test is a two-and-half-hour computer-based exam comprised of one essay and approximately 85 multiple-choice questions. A passing score is a scaled score of at least 200, and the fee for first-time test-takers is $200 (re-takes are $220). More information is available here.

A list of test centers for the FTCE is available here.

 


 

Step 3: Apply for Your License

In Florida, there are two kinds of teacher certificates: A) The Temporary Certificate, which is valid for three school years and may not be renewed and B) The Professional Certificate, which is valid for five years and can be renewed.

You may apply for the Professional Certificate if you have graduated from an approved Florida educator prep program and passed all three section of the FCTE exams listed above. If you haven’t passed all sections of the FCTE, you can apply for a Temporary Certificate, which gives you a chance to complete the remaining portions of the test while still teaching full time.

Applicants for the Temporary License are available online. The requirements are listed below:

  • A bachelors degree
  • Passing scores on the exams above
  • Employment at a Florida school
  • Cleared fingerprints
  • A fee of $75

Applications for the Professional License are also available online. The requirements are outlined below:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Passing score on the exams listed above
  • Completion of a state-approved educator prep program from a Florida school
  • Cleared fingerprints
  • A $75 fee

There are other routes for satisfying some of the requirements for a Professional License, and further information is available here. Those with a valid certificate from another state, who are board-certified teachers (certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), or who meet other requirements may be able to apply for the Professional License without first holding a temporary license. Further information on the paths to a professional license is available here.

 


 

Step 4: Maintain and Upgrade Your License

The Professional License must be renewed every five years. The method for renewal depends on the school where you are employed; further details on renewal are available here.

In order to renew, you must complete six semester hours of college credit, including at least one hour of teaching students with disabilities. These credits must come from an accredited or approved institution, and need to be noted on an official transcript. A list of potential subjects for these classes is available here.

 


 

Step 5: Pursue Graduate Work

Academic work beyond the bachelor degree can be an excellent way enhance your teaching skills and strengthen your commitment to the field. It also often results in a salary increase, based on local teacher salary schedules.

Some of the options for post-baccalaureate work in Florida include:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)
  • Graduate Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Graduate Certificate in Teaching
  • Ed. in English Education, Literacy and the Arts
  • A.E. in English Education, Literacy and the Arts
  • Ed. in English Education – Media Literacy
  • A.E. in English Education – Media Literacy
  • A.E. in Language Arts, Reading, & Children’s Literature
  • Ed. in English Education, ProTeach
  • Ed. in Reading Education
  • Doctor of philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in teaching
  • Doctor of education degree (Ph.D.)

 


 

Florida English Teacher Salaries

Florida has set out to create a new standard in education. They call it BHAG: Big Harry Audacious Goals. They equate it to the way that Seattle birthed coffee with the advent of Starbucks. Florida wants to offer a world-class public education to all students in the state. The way they plan to achieve this will be multi-faceted. Of course one element of this program will have to include offering outstanding teacher salaries to attract the best teachers.

Current teacher salaries in Florida schools vary with each district. For instance an English teacher in the Miami, Dade County School District who holds an undergraduate degree will start out earning $40,500 in their first year. In Duval County schools that same English teacher would earn $37,300. While these entry-level salaries are several thousand dollars apart, they do not tell the entire story.

When you consider earnings, you have to look at other possible factors such as cost of living, retirement, insurance, bonuses, and additional pay for college credits and higher degrees. Each school district will offer slightly different salary and benefits. To continue looking at Dade County and Duval County we can compare entry-level English teachers who hold bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees:

Dade County

  • Bachelor’s: $ $40,500
  • Master’s: $ 43,600
  • Doctorate: $47,700

Duval

  • Bachelor’s: $37,300
  • Master’s: $38,300
  • Doctorate: $40,300

You can find additional salary information for other cities throughout Florida in the table below:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach FL
110
52170
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach FL Metropolitan Division
320
74960
Gainesville FL
140
80760
Jacksonville FL
290
58480
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach FL
920
Estimate Not Released
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall FL Metropolitan Division
370
Estimate Not Released
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford FL
790
62420
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville FL
110
37500
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent FL
80
57080
Tallahassee FL
150
81300
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL
320
60800
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach FL Metropolitan Division
230
55490

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