Applications for a Florida Educator Certificate
Individuals who apply for a Florida Educator Certificate must meet certain standards before a certificate will be issued. An applicant has to meet academic qualifications, be at least 18 years of age, be of good moral character, and must not have been convicted of a disqualifying offense. Once an application for certification and the required state and federal fingerprint based criminal history reports have been received, the Bureau of Educator Certification will refer to the Office of Professional Practices Services any application on which the applicant has acknowledged a criminal history or an administrative sanction against a professional license. The Bureau of Educator Certification will also refer an application to Professional Practices Services if a criminal history is revealed on the state or federal criminal history report or if there is notification from another state education agency that disciplinary action has been issued against another state issued educator certificate.
When an application is received by the Office of Professional Practices Services, the applicant will be notified of the referral and is required to provide the necessary information in order to continue through the application process. An applicant who fails to provide the required information will not be issued a certificate.
For more information on the application process or to submit an electronic application for certification, please visit the Bureau of Educator Certification.
FAQ for Applicants for a Florida Educator Certificate
When is an application referred to Professional Practices Services?
The primary reasons for an application to be sent to the Office of Professional Practices Services are when an applicant has a criminal history or administrative disciplinary action against a professional license.
How does an applicant know if his or her application will be sent to Professional Practices Services?
An application will not be referred to Professional Practices Services until the required state and federal fingerprint-based criminal history results are received by the Bureau of Educator Certification.
When the Bureau of Educator Certification issues an academic statement of eligibility to an applicant, it often will advise the applicant that clearance from Professional Practices Services will be required.
When an application is received by Professional Practices Services, the applicant will be sent a certified letter advising the applicant of the information required to continue to process the application.
Will a criminal charge or professional sanction prevent an applicant from receiving a Florida Educator Certificate?
Having a criminal history or administrative sanction against a professional license does not automatically disqualify one from receiving a Florida Educator Certificate, but such incidents will prompt a review by the Office of Professional Practices Services.
Are there any offenses that disqualify someone from receiving a Florida Educator Certificate?
Yes. Section 1012.315, Florida Statutes, established a list of criminal offenses that, if convicted, make a person ineligible for a Florida Educator Certificate.
What offenses will be investigated by Professional Practices Services?
All criminal charges reported on an application for certification or revealed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or Federal Bureau of Investigation reports will be reviewed by Professional Practices Services. The failure of an applicant to properly acknowledge a criminal history is considered application fraud and can result in disciplinary action up to and including the denial of an application.
What if the offense was sealed or expunged by the criminal court, or if it was a juvenile offense?
If you can give an affirmative response to the question on the application, you must acknowledge the record, whether or not the record is sealed, expunged or juvenile. There are two sections on the application, one to indicate sealed, expunged or juvenile records and one to indicate those records that are not sealed, expunged or juvenile.
What should I do if I received a certified letter from Professional Practices Services?
It is important to respond to the letter from Professional Practices Services if you wish to receive a Florida Educator Certificate. Failure to respond to the certified letter and to provide the required information will result in the application being invalidated.
Do I still need to respond to Professional Practices Services if I provided all of the information being requested to my employer?
Yes. Providing documents to your employer is a separate process from the review conducted by the Department of Education. Your employer does not provide documents required for review by the Department of Education. Should you fail to provide the documents as requested by the Department within the allotted time frame, your application will be invalidated.
What documents will I need to provide to the Office of Professional Practices Services?
Typically an applicant will be required to provide the following documents related to criminal history records:
- Arrest or incident report. This is usually the narrative description of the incident written by the arresting law enforcement agency.
- Information or Indictment. This is the charging document of the court and gives the specific offenses charged.
- Disposition. This document reflects the actions at court and usually includes the plea, the court’s decision and sentencing or requirements.
- Affidavit of Violation. This document provides the reason for a probation or parole violation.
- Pretrial Diversion/Intervention or Deferred Prosecution Agreement. This document details the obligations of a diversionary agreement.
Applicants are also asked to provide their own personal statement of the incident and any other documents that will provide perspective on the incident and the applicant.
In cases where the applicant has been the subject of disciplinary action against a professional license, the applicant will be required to provide the documents related to the administrative proceedings.
Where can the court documents be acquired?
The arrest or incident report can be obtained from the arresting agency such as the police, sheriff or highway patrol or sometimes from the Clerk of Court. The Information and Disposition can be obtained from the Clerk of Court.
How long does an applicant have to provide the Office of Professional Practices Services with the required documents?
The documents must be received by the Office of Professional Practices Services within 90 days of the date the certified mail was received.
What happens if the applicant does not provide the required documents to Professional Practices Services?
The Office of Professional Practices Services will notify the Bureau of Educator Certification that the applicant failed to provide the required information and the application and statement of eligibility will be invalidated.
If the application and Statement of Eligibility are invalidated, can the applicant still work?
If an applicant's Statement of Eligibility and application are invalidated, he or she is no longer eligible for employment in a position which requires a Florida Educator Certificate. A person can re-apply if the application and statement of eligibility are invalidated.
What happens once all of the required documents have been received by Professional Practices Services?
The documents are reviewed and processed and will result in a decision to issue the certificate or not issue the certificate.
How long will it take to know the outcome of the review?
An applicant should know the determination within 90 days of the date from which the Office of Professional Practices Services received all the required documents.
What can an applicant do if the application is denied?
If it is determined the application is denied, the applicant is sent three documents via certified mail:
- Letter of Denial
- Notice of Reasons for the Denial
- Election of Rights
The applicant may appeal the decision by submitting the Election of Rights form within 20 calendar days from the day he or she receives the certified mail.
What happens if I don’t submit an election of rights in response to a denial of an application?
The application is denied.
Can a person re-apply if he or she does not appeal the Denial of an application?
Yes; however, the applicant will be required to complete the entire review process again and the decision to deny the application may be upheld.