Florida Is Encouraging Military Veterans Without a College Degree To Become Teachers To Address Staff Shortages

Toby Hazlewood

"Helping those who have served to find great jobs" says DeSantis

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Florida is experiencing a shortage of teachers in its public schools, in spite of initiatives to increase salaries and to offer bonus payments as incentives.

To combat the shortage, the state has enacted a new measure first announced late in 2021 - military veterans can now qualify for a 5-year certificate allowing them to become teachers, even if they don't have a college degree.

The initiative was first announced in November 2021, when Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis launched an $8.6 million program to offer greater career and workforce training opportunities for veterans and their spouses.

Qualified and ready to serve (again)

Those who have served in the forces are taking up the opportunity. Provided veterans have a minimum of 60 college credits and a 2.5 grade point average they can apply for a 5-year temporary certificate to teach.

Candidate veterans will also have to pass a subject-matter exam to ensure they have sufficient knowledge of the subject they are intending to teach.

Over 9,000 teaching vacancies in Florida

Data from the Florida Education Association reported earlier this month suggests that there are 9,500+ vacant teaching and support staff jobs across the state. This may in part be due to less people wanting to enter the profession. Their data showed that participation in teacher college programs decreased by 23% between 2008 and 2016.

Commenting on the initiative when it was first launched, Governor DeSantis reflected that it was a way of paying veterans back for their service:

“We owe the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to our military veterans, and I am focused on ensuring Florida is the best state in the nation for those who have served to find great jobs, start or grow businesses and support their families.”

Whether initiatives to increase pay and encourage more Floridians to become teachers remains to be seen. In the meantime, qualifying veterans may just be helpful in filling the gaps as well as offering them a new and rewarding career after their time in the military.

Do you think such programs are a good thing or should Florida be more concerned with why fewer people than ever want to go into teaching? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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