Oklahoma Alternative Teacher Certification

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has instituted alternative routes to Oklahoma teacher certification for those who qualify. Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. These routes are intended to help attract career professionals who have a bachelor’s degree to the classroom in critical shortage areas. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional route certification. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, read more about the alternative routes to teacher certification in Oklahoma below.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Individuals who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in a content area that directly corresponds to a teaching license endorsement area may be eligible for alternative certification. Candidates must usually have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and have worked in their specialty area for no less than two years. Alternative programs typically lead to a post-graduate certificate and teacher certification. Candidates may also elect to pursue a master’s degree in education, or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Oklahoma

There are several different pathways to alternative teacher certification in Oklahoma. These pathways offer some flexibility based on candidates’ education and experience.

Alternative Placement Program for Teacher Certification

The Alternative Placement Program is the main alternative pathway to standard licensure in Oklahoma. Those following this route must have a bachelor’s degree with a major in an endorsable area with at least a 2.5 GPA and two years of work experience related to the degree earned. Candidates must complete an application for the Alternative Placement Program. After receiving approval, candidates must then take the appropriate Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).

Next, candidates complete the state’s background check process to receive an initial alternative certificate. With this certificate, candidates may teach in a classroom setting while pursuing the professional development hours recommended during the application review process. Candidates must also pass the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) during this stage. The alternative certificate is only valid for three years and cannot be renewed. Candidates must complete all additional licensure requirements during this time to convert to a Standard Certificate.

Provisional Career and Technical Education Certificate

The Provisional Career and Technical Education certificate pathway is for those interested in teaching career and technical education subjects. To be eligible, candidates must have at least two years of full-time work experience in the subject to be taught. Candidates may also be required to hold an acceptable industry credential, if available in the subject area. If these requirements are met, an individual may apply for a Provisional certificate. Candidates must attend a Divisional New Teacher Academy and complete a training plan to earn standard licensure, but may teach under the Provisional certificate while meeting these requirements. Note that those who do not have a bachelor’s degree must earn their degree while holding the provisional license in order to qualify for a standard teaching certificate.

American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)

Oklahoma is one of the states that recognize American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) certification as a pathway to state-level teacher licensure. Candidates for this pathway must meet ABCTE’s admissions requirements and complete its mentorship and testing program. After the program is complete, candidates may apply for a five-year teaching certificate in Oklahoma.

Emergency Certification

Emergency Certification is available at the request of the employing school district. This type of certification is limited to circumstances when an appropriately qualified educator cannot be found to fill an open position. Candidates must have a background appropriate to the subject(s) to be taught and pass a criminal background check as well as the appropriate Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).

Testing Requirements for Alternative Certification in Oklahoma

Prospective teachers are required to pass the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) for each endorsement area and the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) before becoming eligible to receive a standard Oklahoma teaching certificate. The order in which these exams should be taken may vary based on the pathway to licensure, so be sure to review the most current information available through the Department of Education.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Teachers who hold standard licensure in another state may be eligible for provisional licensure in Oklahoma if they have completed a bachelor’s degree program, an approved teacher preparation program, and can verify teaching experience. The provisional certificate allows candidates to teach while taking the Oklahoma tests for educators. For more information, see our guide to teaching license reciprocity or contact the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Oklahoma

All prospective teachers in Oklahoma must complete an approved teacher preparation program. The following school-based preparation programs typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (SDE):

  • East Central University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Mid-America Christian University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Oklahoma Baptist University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Oklahoma Christian University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Oklahoma State University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Southern Nazarene University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • University of Central Oklahoma* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • University of Oklahoma* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Oklahoma State Department of Education: https://sde.ok.gov/teacher-certification/