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The Oklahoma Teaching and Certification Resource

For anyone looking to become a teacher, Oklahoma is a great state to work in education. All public school teachers are required to obtain an Oklahoma teacher certification before working as a professional teacher in the state. Similar to most US states, there are various pathways that lead to certification depending on experience and education. The Teacher Certification Section within the state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Oklahoma

There are multiple options available for prospective teachers pursuing teacher certification in Oklahoma. Like most states, eligible candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program from an approved institute and pass the required tests administered by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation. Alternatively, those candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in an approved subject area may be eligible for certification provided they work to complete the remaining certification requirements during their first years of teaching in Oklahoma public schools. Furthermore, all applicants for teaching certification in Oklahoma will be required to submit their fingerprints and undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

For experienced teachers with out-of-state certifications, Oklahoma reciprocity may be possible provided that applicants meet all of the remaining requirements. For more information on reciprocity and the Oklahoma teacher certification renewal process, contact the state’s Department of Education for specific details.

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Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Oklahoma

One of the most important steps towards Oklahoma educator certification is completing an approved Oklahoma teachers certification program. States approve schools based on accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies that operate under the supervision of the US Department of Education.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) is responsible for accrediting Oklahoma schools. Applicants should evaluate potential teacher preparation programs based on the NCA accreditation. Additionally, schools offering online teaching certification programs should also be accredited by one of the six accreditation agencies that corresponds to the school’s headquartered state.

Many states will also look for an accreditation from the national accreditation organization, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the recent merger between NCATE and TEAC, two former accreditation agencies. Although this accreditation may not be mandatory for state approval, it is a highly regarded marker of quality in terms of curriculum and process in the teacher education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Oklahoma.

Quick Guide

Oklahoma Teacher Education Requirements

In order to obtain an Oklahoma teacher certification via the traditional route to certification, candidates must have completed a teacher education program at an accredited university approved by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP). Prospective teachers who have not met this requirement but wish to become certified via the alternative route to teacher certification may still be eligible provided they hold at least a bachelor’s degree in their content area.

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Oklahoma Teacher Outlook as of 2012
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 2,791 annual job openings in education and library related fields in Oklahoma through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 46,571 public school and 3,900 private school teachers employed in Oklahoma. The average beginning teaching salary in Oklahoma is $31,661 and the average overall teaching salary is $44,343, the 3rd lowest average among US states according to the National Education Association. The low average wages reported by the NEA are reflective of a relatively low cost of living state wide and should be considered within that context. The NEA also notes a moderate teacher shortage statewide, especially in special education and high school math and science. For information on state budget allocation and education policy in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Education Association, a localized branch of the NEA. For more details regarding state certification, please contact local education and teaching schools for free information.

Oklahoma Teacher Testing Requirements

Oklahoma State SealCandidates for Oklahoma teacher certification must take and pass three assessments administered by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP): the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT), and the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination (OPTE). These tests are designed to assess the candidates’ propensity for higher order thinking skills, basic knowledge in areas such as the sciences and liberal arts, expert subject-area knowledge, and competency in the areas of effective teaching and learning principles.

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Additional Oklahoma Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most states, Oklahoma requires teaching applicants to submit to a state and federal background check by fingerprint clearance. Applicants can have official fingerprints taken at the Oklahoma State Department of Education or one of their satellite sites located around the state.

Oklahoma Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once the steps towards teacher certification in Oklahoma have been completed, applicants should send in their applications to the state’s Department of Education. The application process may take up to six weeks, so candidates should send in their applications with ample time before the start of the next hiring period.

  1. Background clearance from fingerprinting process
  2. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  3. Verification of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
  4. Passing score on required subject and content tests
  5. Completed application for teaching certification in Oklahoma
  6. Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee

Oklahoma State Department of Education
Teacher Certification, Room 212
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4599

Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on Oklahoma teacher certification.

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Oklahoma Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 5,560 $26,450
Kindergarten Teachers 2,050 $41,010
Elementary School Teachers 16,350 $42,120
Middle School Teachers 7,780 $43,080
Secondary School Teachers 12,070 $44,030

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Oklahoma

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Oklahoma?

Answer: The requirement for being a high school teacher in Oklahoma is to have a certificate issued by the state. For the certificate, requirements include a bachelor’s degree and a course of study in education. You must also have at least two secondary student teaching experiences, and pass a background check.

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References:
1. Oklahoma State Department of Education: http://ok.gov/sde/teacher-certification
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.

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