The PhysTEC project leverages the reform and community building efforts to build a model for increasing the quality and quantity of physics teachers. PhysTEC recruits top introductory physics students and offers them a no-strings-attached teaching ‘test drive’ to evaluate teaching as a career through the Learning Assistant (LA) program. The LA program provides students with an opportunity to teach in a non-threatening environment (at FIU it is often within reformed physics laboratories) augmented by an education seminar. In the seminar, LAs ground their teaching experiences with inquiry-centered interactions and research-based readings to understanding the intellectual challenges of the teaching profession. LAs who elect to pursue teaching careers are supported both financially and educationally with a newly reformed secondary teacher education track within the physics program. This new track is grounded in inquiry and constructivist pedagogy within the context of the science delivered by a multidisciplinary College of Education / College of Arts & Sciences team, thus providing excellent research-based curriculum to the student.