PTO: Secondary Education - Minor

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PTO: Secondary Education - Minor (temporary certification)

The Professional Training Option (PTO) is a Florida Department of Education approved pathway for non-education majors to complete the Professional Education component, one of the requirements to become a certified teacher in the state of Florida. Please be advised that students seeking the PTO must be majoring or minoring in a teachable subject.

The PTO minor consists of 18 credit hours passed with a C or higher with an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher. Upon successful completion of the coursework and passing the required Florida Teacher Certification Exams (FTCEs), including the General Knowledge Test (GKT) and the Subject Area Examination (SAE), students’ UM transcripts will indicate that they have completed a Florida state-approved PTO program. Students will then be eligible to apply for a 3-year Temporary Teaching Certificate in the state of Florida. In order to apply for a Professional Teaching Certificate, one full year of successful teaching in an accredited school, as well as passing the Professional Education Test FTCE, is required. Please note: Students must have passing scores on the two required FTCEs prior to graduation in order to be eligible for the PTO Stamp.

Curriculum Requirements

TAL 103 Psychological Foundations of Education 3
TAL 330 Introduction to the Education of Exceptional Individuals 3
TAL 305 Classroom and Behavior Management 3
TAL 404 Content Area Literacy in the Secondary Classroom 3
TAL 506 Issues and Strategies for ESOL 3
Select one of the following as appropriate for the subject area and approved by the advisor: 3
Education and the Arts
Instruction and Assessment in the Secondary School.
Instruction and Assessment in Secondary English Language Arts
Instruction and Assessment in Secondary Mathematics
Instruction and Assessment in Secondary Science
Instruction and Assessment in Secondary Social Studies
Total Credit Hours 18


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  • How can a Professional Training Option help me to expand my career options?

    If you are majoring in a teachable subject, adding the PTO minor can help you to expand your career options by making you eligible to earn your teaching certification. There is a nationwide teacher shortage, which means that college graduates who have their teaching credentials have excellent job prospects. Students who have completed the program (2013-2019) have been hired in the Florida school system with a 100% placement rate.

  • Why is the PTO a better alternative than other alternative pathways to teaching?

    In the PTO program, you will take many of the courses that secondary education majors take to earn their teaching certification, making you well-prepared to teach at the middle- and high-school level. While some alternative teacher preparation programs promise to prepare you to become a teacher in a brief summer program, the PTO will provide you not only with coursework covering the foundations of education, but also with meaningful field experiences in diverse placements where you will have the opportunity to hone your skills in a hands-on environment.

  • Can I fit the PTO classes in with my existing major?

    Yes! Most students can complete the PTO in 3 semesters, so if you’re a freshman, sophomore, or even a junior, our academic advisors will help you to plan your PTO program to fit in with your existing major.

  • What type of certification do I get with the PTO?

    With the successful completion of the PTO minor, you can earn your temporary teaching certificate in the state of Florida.

  • With the PTO, can I teach anywhere in the United States?

    The temporary teaching certification earned in the PTO program can be converted into a permanent, 5-year renewable certificate if you teach for one year in a Florida school. This credential is recognized by most states and several foreign countries. The Office of Teacher Preparation and Accreditation in TAL can help you to transfer your credentials to another state.

  • What if my major is not a teachable subject, but my minor is?

    In addition to the requirement that students pass the Subject Area Exam of the Florida Teacher Certification Exams, they must have a set number of credits (which varies by discipline) that includes specific coursework. For example, to teach high school math, students must have 30 credit hours in math, including 6 credit hours in calculus, as well as credit hours in geometry, statistics, and algebra. To teach middle school math, students must have 18 credit hours in math, including credit hours in calculus, geometry, and statistics.

  • What grades would I be eligible to teach with the PTO?

    You would be eligible to teach middle and high school (grades 6-12) in your major area.

  • Will I get real classroom experience at UM as part of this program?

    Yes! In the PTO program, you will take multiple classes that include field experience, where you are placed in diverse local classrooms.

  • How can I find out if teaching is what I really want to do?

    A good place to start is with TAL 103: Psychological Foundations of Education. This introductory course provides a survey of topics in education. Additional courses in the PTO minor provide you with opportunities to work with students as part of your coursework, which can help you decide if a career in education is for you.

Program Contact

Gina Astorini
Associate Dean of Undergraduate
Academic Services