Florida’s school system is the 4th largest school system in the nation, with plenty of opportunities for teachers. Miami-Dade County schools are among the eight best arts education systems in the United States, according to a recent report by the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities.
To become an art teacher in Florida, complete the following steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program|
|Apply for a License|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your License|
|Pursue Graduate Work|
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming an art teacher in Florida is earning a bachelor’s degree and completing a teacher prep program at a state-approved school. By Florida State law, future art teachers must complete one of the following paths:
Plan One: a bachelors or higher degree with an undergraduate or graduate major in art
Plan Two: a bachelors or higher degree with thirty semester hours in art, to include credit in all the areas below:
- Two-dimensional art such as drawing, painting, design, graphics, and photography
- Three-dimensional art such as sculpture, ceramics, metals, textiles, woods, and plastics
- Art history
A list of state-approved teacher education programs, with information on each one, is available here. Classes designed to prepare you for being an art teacher will vary by school, but they usually cover the history of art, various art-making techniques, theory and principles of arts education, a student teaching component, and a portfolio review. More general teacher prep classes will also cover the principles and pedagogy of effective teaching, how to create dialogue in the classroom, and, depending on the program, learning to teach the basics of reading, writing, and math.
Florida also offers a path to certificate for those without an education degree, known as Florida’s Professional Development Certification Program, acompetency-based, on-the-job training program. More information is available here.
Step 2. Complete Testing
Florida has a unique state-only system of testing requirements. The Florida Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) determines your testing requirements after you submit an application for certification. But in general, if you have graduated from a Florida state-approved teacher preparation program, you must pass all three portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) to qualify for a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate. This includes passing scores on:
- The General Knowledge Test
- The Professional Education Test
- Subject Area Examination for Art K-12
The FCTE General Knowledge Test, a computer-based test of basic skills that includes multiple choice tests and an essay component, comprises the following:
- Essay Subtest (50 minutes)
- English Language Skills (ELS) Subtest (40 minutes)
- Reading Subtest (40 minutes)
- Mathematics Subtest (I hour 40 minutes)
The fee for first-time test takers is $130. Passing scores are as follows:
Essay Subtest: 6 out of 12; ELS, Reading, and Mathematics Subtests: a scaled score of at least 200 per subtest. Examinees must pass all 4 subtests to pass the whole test.
The FTCE Professional Education Test is a 2.5 hour, computer-based test of pedagogy and professional practices that includes approximately 120 multiple-choice questions. A passing score is a scaled score of at least 200, and the first-time fee is $150.More information on the FCTE can be found here.
The Subject Area Examination for art teachers in kindergarten through Grade 12 is a 2.5 hours computer-based test of approximately 120 multiple-choice questions. The fee is $200, and a passing score is a scaled score of at least 200. Test prep materials are available here.
Step 3. Apply for Your License
Florida educators must be certified to teach in public schools and in many private schools. Florida offers only two types of Educator Certificates:
- Temporary Certificate, valid for three school years and nonrenewable
- Professional Certificate, valid for five years and renewable
If you have graduated from a Florida state-approved teacher preparation program, you must pass all three portions of the Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) to qualify for a Professional Florida Educator’s Certificate. If you have not passed all three portions of the FTCE, you qualify for a Temporary Certificate, which allows you time to complete the certification tests while teaching full time.
The requirement for a Temporary License include:
- A bachelors degree
- Complete all application process requirements
- Employment in a Florida school
- Cleared fingerprints
- A $75 fee
- A demonstration of mastery of Subject Area Knowledge. For those with a bachelor’s degree, this is a passing score on the Art K-12 subject area exam mentioned above. Applicants may meet Subject Specialization requirements with a 2.5 GPA for a requested subject.
You may apply for the Temporary License online. Art teachers should include Art (K-12) as their subject specialization.
Requirements for a Professional License include:
- Completing all application process requirements
- Holding at least a bachelors degree
- Demonstrating Mastery of Subject Area Knowledge. (For those with a bachelor’s degree, this is a passing score on the Art k-12 subject area exam mentioned above.)
- Demonstrating Mastery of General Knowledge (a passing score on the Florida General Knowledge Test will suffice)
- Demonstrating Mastery of Professional Preparation and Education Competence (Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program from a Florida institution and achievement of a passing score on the Florida Professional Education Test will suffice)
- Cleared fingerprints
- A $75 fee
There are a variety of ways to satisfy these requirements, and details are available here.
You may apply for the Professional License online. Art teachers should include Art (K-12) as their subject specialization.
Other pathways to the Professional License, without first having a temporary license, require following one of these routes:
- Having a valid Standard Certificate Issued by another State (see information on reciprocity here
- Having a valid Certificate Issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)
- Graduating from a Teacher Education Degree Program or Educator Preparation Institute Program and Passing Florida Certification Examinations
- Two Semesters of Full-Time College Teaching Experience, Passing the Florida Professional Education Test, and Passing the Florida Subject Area Examination.
Detailed information on other routes to a professional license is available here.
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License
The Professional License is the highest license art teachers in Florida can hold, and must be renewed every five years. The method to renew (online or on a paper form) depends on the type of school where you are employed; details are available here.
Before renewing, you must complete six (6) semester hours of college credit to include at least one (1) semester hour in teaching students with disabilities (SWD). College level credits used for certificate renewal must be awarded by an accredited or approved institution, or the American Council on Education (ACE), and must be reflected on an official transcript. Appropriate topics for renewal classes are listed here.
Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work
Art teachers often choose to pursue graduate work in education, which strengthens their teaching practice and may result in a raise. A number of schools in the Florida currently offer graduate programs in educator preparation of various types, including arts education. These include:
- Master of Arts in Arts Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching
- Master of Sciences in Art Education
- Masters of Science in Art Therapy
- Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)
- Graduate Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction
- Graduate Certificate in Teaching
- Doctor of philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in teaching
- Doctor of education degree (Ph.D.)
Florida Art Teacher Salaries
According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Florida (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $35,166, which is in line with the national average of $36,141. The state’s Department of Education reports that the average salary paid to a Florida public school teacher in the 2012-13 school year was $46,583, an increase of $104 from the average salary the previous school year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:
|Occupation title||Employment||Annual mean wage|
|Elementary School Teachers||69,740||$47,410|
|Middle School Teachers||31,360||$47,720|
|Secondary School Teachers||41,470||$49,230|
However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:
|Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL|
|Elementary School Teachers||2,170||$48,780|
|Middle School Teachers||1,080||$48,010|
|Secondary School Teachers||1,120||$50,180|
|Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Metropolitan Division|
|Elementary School Teachers||5,500||$50,290|
|Middle School Teachers||2,750||$50,840|
|Secondary School Teachers||3,870||$53,850|
|Elementary School Teachers||910||$45,960|
|Middle School Teachers||450||$44,160|
|Secondary School Teachers||460||$51,880|
|Elementary School Teachers||5,570||$50,130|
|Middle School Teachers||2,470||$48,850|
|Secondary School Teachers||2,720||$51,050|
|Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Metropolitan Division|
|Elementary School Teachers||6,770||$48,170|
|Middle School Teachers||2,900||$48,360|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,500||$55,080|
|Elementary School Teachers||1,050||$45,510|
|Middle School Teachers||650||$45,090|
|Secondary School Teachers||1,020||$45,970|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL|
|Elementary School Teachers||10,600||$43,730|
|Middle School Teachers||4,670||$44,650|
|Secondary School Teachers||5,780||$43,760|
There is no statewide salary schedule, and salaries vary by school and school district. The statewide averages for the minimum and maximum salaries by degree level appear below, as reported by the Florida Department of Education:
The Miami-Dade school district has the highest average salary at $55,596, while the Gadsden district has the lowest at $35,754.
Further information on postsecondary art teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: