The Oklahoma Teaching and Certification Resource
All public school teachers are required to obtain Oklahoma teacher certification before working as a professional educator in the state. The Teacher Certification Section within the state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below to help you learn how to become a teacher in Oklahoma.
How to Become a Teacher in Oklahoma
Prospective Oklahoma teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program from an approved school. Candidates must also pass the required tests set by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP). Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree but did not graduate from a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Oklahoma.
- I want to be a teacher in Oklahoma, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Oklahoma’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Oklahoma
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in OK through 20262
One of the most important steps towards Oklahoma educator certification is completing an approved Oklahoma teacher preparation program. You can see a list of approved schools through the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. To compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs, you can use the sortable table on our Oklahoma schools page.
Schools that are headquartered out-of-state must be accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. In addition, out-of-state teacher preparation programs must be approved by that state’s Board of Education for the preparation of teachers.
Many schools also look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the merger between the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Although this accreditation is not mandatory for state approval, it is a highly regarded marker of quality in terms of curriculum and process in the teacher education sector.
Oklahoma Teacher Education Requirements
In order to earn Oklahoma teacher certification via the traditional route, candidates must complete a bachelor’s degree and 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.
Oklahoma Teacher Testing Requirements
Candidates for Oklahoma teacher certification must take and pass two assessments administered by the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP): the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) and the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT). These tests are designed to assess higher-order thinking skills, basic knowledge in core content areas such as the sciences and liberal arts, expert subject-area knowledge, and competency in effective teaching and learning principles. Oklahoma does not accept Praxis subject area test scores in lieu of its own examinations for traditional pathway candidates.
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. For up-to-date information on completing this process, refer to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Oklahoma Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once the steps towards teacher certification in Oklahoma have been completed, teacher candidates must apply to the state’s Department of Education for a license. Supporting documentation for the application should include:
- Background clearance from fingerprinting process.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
- Verification of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
- Passing score on required subject and content tests.
- Completed application for teaching certification in Oklahoma.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
Oklahoma Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
There were an estimated 693,903 K-12 students attending Oklahoma’s 1,792 public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.3 With 41,089 public school teachers, this gave Oklahoma a student-to-teacher ratio of about 17:1.3
Projections suggest that there will be 1,280 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 580 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 870 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Oklahoma from 2016 to 2026.2 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $40,450, for middle school teachers $41,660, and for secondary school teachers $42,540.4 For information on state budget allocation and education policy in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Education Association.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||90||$41,390|
|Elementary School Teachers||17,840||$40,450|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||2,100||$42,630|
|Middle School Teachers||7,560||$41,660|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||950||$42,600|
|Secondary School Teachers||11,400||$42,540|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||1,220||$45,530|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||740||$45,730|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in Oklahoma
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Oklahoma broadly has the following shortages5:
- Academically Advanced (Information Technology and Advanced Placement), 5-12
- Art and Music Education (Visual and Performing Arts), Pre-K-12
- Career and Technical Education (Business, Marketing and Information Technology (BMIT)), Pre-K-12
- Career and Technical Education (General), 5-12
- Computer Science (General), 5-12
- Early Childhood (General), Pre-K-3
- English as a Second Language (General), Pre-K-12
- Health and Physical Fitness (Physical Education), Pre-K-12
- Language Arts (English), 5-12
- Mathematics (General), 5-12
- Science (General), 5-12
- Social Studies (General), 5-12
- Special Education (All Exceptionalities), Pre-K-12
- Support Staff (Counseling), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (General), Pre-K-12
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Oklahoma?
Answer: To become a high school teacher in Oklahoma candidates must earn a teaching certificate. This requires a bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher preparation program. You must also have at least two secondary student teaching experiences and pass a background check as well as the state’s exams for educators.
Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Oklahoma?
Answer: Oklahoma does not have any statewide requirements for substitute teachers, so you should check with your local school district for more information on their requirements for subs. The state does offer certification for substitute teachers; you will need to apply through your local school district if you are interested.
Question: Does Oklahoma need teachers?
Answer: Yes! For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma has projected teacher shortages in areas such as art, career/technical education, early childhood, physical education, special education, social studies, math, and science.5 Teachers in these areas and others may have more job opportunities.
1. Oklahoma State Department of Education: https://sde.ok.gov/teacher-certification/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Oklahoma: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ok.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/