OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Education System

Certification and Professional Development

What is the purpose of the certification program?

Florida educator certification supports the academic achievement of students by assuring that Florida educators are professionally qualified for highly effective instruction.

What is the purpose of the professional development program?

The statewide professional development system is in place to increase student achievement, enhance classroom instructional strategies that promote rigor and relevance throughout the curriculum, and prepare students for continuing education and the workforce.

Who are considered educators?

Educators include classroom teachers, school administrators, and other support professionals, such as guidance counselors and media specialists.

How are teachers certified?

The Bureau of Educator Certification is responsible for implementing certification provisions in Florida statutes and State Board of Education Rule 6A-4, Florida Administrative Code, which include approving applications for certification and ensuring that prospective teachers demonstrate a mastery of general knowledge, subject area knowledge, and professional preparation and education competence.

Florida offers two types of educator certificates: the professional certificate and the temporary certificate; each has specific requirements and validation periods. The state also has reciprocity procedures for out-of-state teachers who hold a valid certificate issued by another state and wish to obtain a Florida educator certificate.

Prospective teachers can earn certification in a variety of subject areas. Educators who currently hold a valid Florida Temporary or Professional Certificate can also add a subject coverage or endorsementif they satisfy the subject specialization requirements.

What is a temporary teaching certificate?

The temporary teaching certificate provides individuals who meet certain specified requirements to teach while they complete the remaining requirements for a professional certificate. To be eligible for a temporary teaching certificate, individuals must hold at least a bachelor's degree and demonstrate mastery of subject area knowledge or subject specialization with a 2.5 GPA for a requested subject, in addition to meeting other requirements. A temporary teaching certificate is valid for three years and not renewable.

The Department of Education provides a complete listing of the requirements associated with the temporary teaching certificate on its website.

What is National Board Certification, and how many Florida teachers have this certification?

The National Board Certification is designed to develop, retrain, and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide.  National Board Certification identifies teachers who meet the National Board Standards, which represent a consensus among educators about what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do in 25 certificate areas. To gain National Board Certification, teachers must demonstrate that they meet those standards by passing a series of assessment components.

A valid National Board Certificate is accepted for full reciprocity for a Florida Professional Certificate for new teachers in Florida.  In addition, National Board Certification satisfies Florida's requirements for renewal of an educator's Florida Professional Certificate.

In 2019, the most recent year for which such data is available, Florida had 13,552 National Board Certified Teachers. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards provides a directory of Florida teachers with a National Board Certification.

How does the Department of Education help to ensure teacher quality?

The department's Division of Educator Quality provides a number of statewide oversight and support activities designed to ensure teacher quality. These include educator preparation programs, educator evaluation systems, professional development systems, and educator recruitment programs.

In addition, the department has established the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) to provide guidance to educators and educator preparation programs.  The FEAPs serve as the state's standards for effective instructional practice and are used to define and identify effective teaching.

What professional development activities are school districts required to provide?

Section 1012.98, Florida Statutes, requires each district to develop a professional development system and a master plan of in-service activities using student achievement and other data to identify school and student needs. Each district must provide in-service activities coupled with follow-up support to achieve school- and district-level improvement goals and standards. Principals must establish and maintain individual professional development plans tied to student performance for all instructional personnel. Additional requirements include in-service activities for administrators and continuous evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of professional development programs.

What professional standards are educators held to, and how does the Department of Education enforce these standards?

Certified educators are held to the standards of conduct as outlined in Florida statutes and State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.081, Florida Administrative Code.  The Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct specifies what professional educators and members of the community can and should expect from educators. In addition to the standards, the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices include professional responsibility and ethics as a foundational principle of the state's teacher preparation programs, educator certification requirements and school district instructional personnel appraisal systems. 
If an educator violates the code of ethics and misconduct is suspected, the Office of Professional Practices administers a state-level grievance process that investigates alleged wrongdoing by Florida-certified teachers.

What does the state do to recruit teachers?

The Florida Department of Education's Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development, and Retention assists prospective teachers who have an interest in teaching in the state. At the state level, the Bureau organizes the Great Florida Teach-In, which is an annual job fair that enables educator candidates seeking employment in Florida to obtain interviews with district and charter school personnel responsible for hiring teachers. The bureau also maintains district recruitment contacts and local job fair information on its recruitment website for prospective teachers.

In addition, the bureau provides assistance to schools in starting and maintaining chapters of Florida Future Educators of America, which is a pre-collegiate and collegiate teacher program. The program provides a forum for students to become aware of career opportunities in education and nurtures their interest in teaching as a career.

Updates

Creation of the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation.  The 2020 Legislature enacted Chapter 2020-94Laws of Florida, which creates a teacher salary increase allocation within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP).  The allocation is intended to assist school districts and charter schools in their recruitment and retention of classroom teachers and other instructional personnel.  Each school district will receive the allocation based on the district's proportionate share of the base FEFP allocation, and each district must provide a calculated proportionate share to each charter school within the district.  District and charter school use of this allocation is restricted to

  • increasing the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers and certified prekindergarten teachers to at least $47,500, or to the maximum amount achievable based on the allocation and as specified in the General Appropriations Act;
  • as funding permits, providing salary increases for full-time classroom teachers and certified prekindergarten teachers who did not receive a salary increase, or who received an increase of less than 2%; and
  • providing salary increases for other full-time instructional personnel, such as school counselors and media specialists.

Prior to distributing allocation funds, each school district and each charter school shall develop a salary distribution plan, which must be approved by the district school board or charter school governing body, respectively.  These salary distribution plans must be submitted to the Department of Education by October 1st of each fiscal year.

The law also repeals the Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal allocations, which previously served as recruitment and retention awards for qualified personnel. 

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Florida College System Industry Certifications, Report 19-10, October 2019
School District Postsecondary Industry Certifications, Report 19-09, October 2019

Where can I get more information?

What are the applicable statutes?

Sections 1012.54, 1012.55, 1012.56, 1012.585, and 1012.98, Florida Statutes; and Rules 6A-4 and 6A-5, Florida Administrative Code.

Whom do I contact for help?

Bureau of Educator Certification, 1-800-445-6739

Website

Professional Development in Florida, 850-245-0546

Website

Office of Professional Practices Services, 850-245-0438

Website