How to Become a Science Teacher in Florida

Jan 02, 2019

Florida science teachers are offered a range of specific subject areas to major in during their education, and this comes in handy later as they attempt to pass a certification exam relating to their field.

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Florida science teachers are certified to teach grades six through 12, which may include both middle and high school. If teaching this subject area to young people interests you, you can learn all about their salaries and degree requirements, as well as the required basic skills and subject area knowledge exams.

Certification Requirements for Science Teachers in Florida

Average Salary for Florida Teachers (2016)* $48,840 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical education); $51,610 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical education)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Secondary Education and Science (or any bachelor's for the alternative route)
Testing Requirements Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE): General Knowledge Test; FTCE: Biology, FTCE: Chemistry; or FTCE Earth-Space Science

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step One: Earn a Degree in Education or Complete a Preparation Program

First, future science teachers have to complete a teacher education program at a university or college. During this experience, candidates may be enrolled in courses on classroom management, technology in the classroom, diversity, and instruction. There is also a required field experience or student teaching opportunity where candidates will spend time in a local high school or middle school classroom with a certified and experienced host teacher.

To specialize in teaching biology, students may take ecology, cell biology, and anatomy. Those who wish to teach chemistry may be exposed to organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry. Future physics educators may learn about engineering mathematics, calculus, and mechanics. Finally, all science teacher candidates may take a course that focuses on teaching science.

As an alternative route to the education degree, Florida teacher candidates who have a bachelor's degree in something other than education can complete the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) program. Courses in assessment, instructional design, and ethics are available. There is also a practicum that gives future teachers the opportunity to spend time in a classroom and tutoring students one-on-one.

Step Two: Pass All Certification Examinations

All Florida teacher candidates, including those who completed the EPI program, are required to take the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE): General Knowledge exam. This includes an essay, English language skills, reading, and math. Examinees have roughly five hours to pass all subtests with at least a 200 score. This does not include the essay section, however, as this requires at least an eight out of 12. The essay tests your ability to give a piece of writing a purpose and audience, as well as building a thesis and varying sentence structure. The English language skills section focuses on vocabulary and language structure, while the reading subtest is all about identifying main ideas. Finally, the math portion focuses on operations, geometry, algebra, and statistics.

To teach science in Florida, candidates can choose to specialize in a specific area of science, and this includes biology, chemistry, and earth-space. To become certified in this area, the candidate must pass another FTCE exam, and this also applies to those who already have a degree in science but no education background. Each of these computer-based exams is made up of 120 multiple-choice questions, requires a score of at least 200, and can take about two and half hours to complete. The FTCE: Biology exam emphasizes the proper use of microscopes, types of microscopy and laboratory procedures. The FTCE: Chemistry exam focuses on mixtures, unit measurements, and various chemical properties. Finally, the FTCE Earth-Space Science exam tests your knowledge of finding patterns in nature, utilizing scientific data, and developing hypotheses.

Those on the alternative path to certification will also have to take the Professional Education Test. In two and half hours, examinees will answer 120 multiple-choice questions. The test focuses on evaluating students' learning, selecting materials, and planning lessons.

Links to Help Florida Science Teacher Candidates

The links below may help you prepare for your certification exams as you work to become a science teacher in Florida.

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