Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Florida
The Florida Early Childhood Education Scene
Florida, nicknamed “The Sunshine State”, receives high national ratings for its public education system. It is in first place for both teacher quality and advanced placement participation, and is ranked 6th according to Education Week’s Quality Counts rankings (State Impact). It earns top rankings for early childhood education, offering a free high-quality Voluntary Pre-kindergarten Program for four-year-olds. There are many opportunities for those pursuing a career in early childhood education in the state of Florida.
Getting Your Florida Teaching Certificate or License
The Florida Department of Education includes extensive information about the various ways to obtain certification or licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring and current teachers.
The two educator certificates available are the Professional Certificate and the Temporary Certificate. The Professional Certificate is a five-year renewable license that requires mastery in Subject Area Knowledge, General Knowledge, and Professional Preparation and Education Competence. The Temporary Certificate is a three-year nonrenewable license that requires Subject Area Knowledge or Subject Specialization. It offers flexibility so that individuals can teach in the classroom while completing the requirements for a Professional Certificate.
There are four steps to take towards certification. Certificates are available for out-of-state teachers, graduates of a teacher education program, career changers or college graduates, and foreign-trained graduates. View the certification examination requirements here. To apply for certification in Florida, you must submit an online application as well as the specified processing fee.
Florida Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education
There are approximately 30 accredited early childhood education colleges in Florida.
is located in the charming city of Tallahassee and is equipped with state-of-the-art educational buildings. It is one of the nation’s elite research universities and has the Carnegie Foundation’s highest designation. It offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (pre-K through grade three). A master’s degree and a doctorate in early childhood education (birth through grade three) are also available.
is a Catholic international coeducational school located in a suburb of downtown Miami. It is primarily a liberal arts college, offering a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (birth through grade three and K through six) and a master’s degree in early and middle childhood education (pre-K through eight).
located in Gainesville, is ranked 24th in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of America’s best graduate programs. It also consistently ranks in the top 100 universities in the world. The school offers a Bachelor, Master and doctorate in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (K through six).
located in Orlando, produces more teachers than any other institution in the state and is the second largest university in the U.S. A metropolitan public research institution, it offers a bachelor’s and master’s degree in early childhood development and education (pre-K through three).
Getting a Job as an Early Childhood Teacher in Florida
There are several different avenues you can take in pursuing a career in this constantly evolving field.
Public schools absorb the vast majority of new job seekers in early childhood education. Teach in Florida is the official source for finding public-school employment opportunities within the state. You can apply, create and post a resume online. The site also provides information about recruitment, upcoming job fairs, salary schedules and more.
Other employers to become familiar with include private and Montessori schools, as well as Head Start. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area as well, as many of these centers are in constant search of highly-qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.
Professional Groups for Florida Teachers
There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Florida that share similar goals.
The Florida Association of Teacher Educators (FATE) aims to improve the effectiveness of teacher education through various program opportunities. It is affiliated with the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE),the national organization. View this regional directory to connect with educators in your area.
The Florida Education Association (FEA) works for job protection and offers both support and a voice on the job. It has many local affiliates. Joining your local grassroots organization also enrolls you in the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization.
The Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides learning opportunities for early childhood educators. It is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.
The Professional Educators Network of Florida (PEN) provides professional representation, excellent legal protection and quality liability insurance. There is no national organization, so the money you pay towards membership is utilized solely in Florida.
Florida Early Childhood Education Bloggers
The Florida Current education blog provides insightful articles about the current issues in Florida’s school systems.
Florida School Speak is a Florida Department of Education blog by the teacher liaison Kelly Seay who highlights breaking news, classroom tips and teacher initiatives. A respectable number of dedicated teachers also share their own insights through their personal blogs.
Second Grade Silliness is run by a second-grade teacher who shares fun-filled ideas for the early elementary classroom.
Kindergarten Smiles is written by a kindergarten teacher who shares instructional ideas for the early learner on a weekly basis.
Pencils, Glue, and Tying Shoes is run by a veteran first-grade teacher who shares early education resources with her teacher followers.