How to Become a Teacher in Oklahoma
Deciding to become a teacher in Oklahoma can be a rewarding, yet overwhelming experience, especially if you are not sure what the requirements are. If you're wondering how to get an Oklahoma teaching certificate, it requires going through the following steps:
- Receive a degree from an accredited college or university that provides an educator preparation program
- Complete a teacher certification preparation program which is approved by the governing organization (Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability). This can also be accomplished through alternative and non-traditional routes.
- Meet other Oklahoma State Board of Education requirements.
- Complete required competency exams and get passing scores. These include the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT), and the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT).
- Oklahoma state criminal background history on file with the Oklahoma State Board of Education.
- Complete an application for certification with the appropriate fees paid, once requirements have been met. This could also be satisfied by holding an out-of-state certification with requirements by the State Board of Education met.
Oklahoma Educator Certification Programs
For the state of Oklahoma, the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) governs the accreditation of educator preparation programs. They work in conjunction with the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), and other educational preparation program members to create top-notch educational programs that prepare future educators.
This organization issues teacher certifications based on specific criteria to ensure teachers are qualified. Qualifications may include knowledge of specific competencies aligned with national standards, coursework in areas of potential certification or subject area focus. Candidates must also have the opportunity to interact with students, families, and other professionals during various field experiences. Also required are site visits during field experiences as well as first-year teacher surveys.
Throughout the state of Oklahoma, candidates will find various approved educator preparation programs, where they can complete their requirements for teaching within the state. Some of these institutions include:
- The University of Oklahoma--located in Norman, Oklahoma, the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education offers a variety of specializations based on the individual students' interests. The school of education is focused on providing a well-rounded education that is rich in cutting edge technology that future teachers can then incorporate into their classrooms.
- Oklahoma State University--the school of Teaching, Learning and Educational Sciences located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, offers a wide range of specializations through high quality educational experiences. Students in this department have the opportunity to learn from highly qualified professors in various fields of study.
- Oklahoma Christian University-- this private university located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, offers top of the line educational opportunities to those future educators who desire to have a Christian-based experience. The school of education provides the opportunity to learn in an environment that challenges students academically to become future teachers in schools across the state.
- Oral Robert University-- located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this Christian university offers students the opportunity to learn in a diverse setting, that prepares them fully to teach in public or private schools. This college of education provides a wide range of tracks to follow for students to get the most out of their educational experience.
Education Requirements for Oklahoma Teachers
For those seeking educator certification in the state of Oklahoma, most preparation programs follow the Oklahoma educator credentialing system recommendations for coursework and fieldwork. In most cases this includes either an undergraduate degree in the specified subject area for those interested in teaching at the secondary level or even a certain subject at the elementary level. Additionally, for those wishing to become certified in early childhood, elementary, or special education, general subject area studies are required. This includes 12 course hours in the four core subjects of language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
Candidates are also required to complete coursework in various areas related to education specific subjects, such as classroom management, safety, discipline, mental health, substance abuse, and many others alike.
Field experience for candidates include at least 60 hours of various opportunities in a classroom before they student teach. In addition, 360 hours or 12 weeks, is required for student teaching at a full-time level.
Oklahoma Teacher Certification Tests
Those candidates seeking Oklahoma teaching certification are required to pass specific exams before becoming licensed to teach in a classroom setting. The Office of Education Quality and Accountability (OEQA) is the governing body that oversees the required exams for Oklahoma teacher certification.
All candidates must take and pass the following exams to be considered for certification in the state of Oklahoma:
- Oklahoma General Test (OGET)
- Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT)
- Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT)
While individual colleges and universities may require additional examinations for admission into the school or specific program, the requirements by the OEQA are designed to ensure that candidates are fully prepared to teach in a classroom setting, once they have completed the educator preparation program in which they are enrolled.
Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET)
The Oklahoma General Education Test, or the OGET, is designed to test general knowledge and skills in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and information literacy and research. The test is computer-based and has a total of 100 questions to be completed over a four hour period. A passing score of 240 is required for all candidates. While most of the questions are multiple choice in format, there is typically one question that asks candidates to create an original written response to a specific question or prompt.
It is highly recommended that candidates take time to develop an appropriate study plan before taking this exam. While the educator preparation programs are designed to prepare candidates, it should not be the only source of information. Studying for the specific competency areas will ensure that the test is passed the first time around.
Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT)
The Oklahoma Subject Area Test, or OSAT, assesses candidates on specific knowledge and skills within the discipline they chose to study. This test is designed to determine whether test-takers are prepared to teach at the beginning level in a classroom setting. Candidates, depending on their field of study, can choose to take a wide range of these subject area exams. The full list is available on the website of the OEQA.
This test for majority of the subject areas is also a computer-based exam, with 80 multiple-choice questions, and one more, being a constructed response question. The passing score is also 240.
For candidates desiring to take the Elementary OSAT, these are broken down into two subtests:
- Subtest 1: assesses test-takers on Reading and Language Arts
- Subtest 2: includes Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health, Fitness, and the Arts.
In addition, if test-takers are interested in teaching foreign languages, they will have to take the specific OSAT test that is designed for the language they are studying. While most of these exams have varying content to assess, they are mostly focused on listening, reading, vocabulary, and written competencies.
Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT)
The Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers is designed to test the pedagogy of test-takers and how it impacts student learning. This Praxis test assesses candidates on their ability to practice as beginning level teachers in a classroom setting.
The exam is broken down into four task areas that require the candidate to produce specific artifacts, either written or video based. The areas for the tasks are:
- Task 1: Knowledge of Students and the Learning Environment
- Task 2: Assessment and Data Collection to Measure and Inform Student Learning
- Task 3: Designing Instruction for Student Learning
- Task 4: Implementing and Analyzing Instruction to Promote Student Learning
Candidates can see all the Praxis test requirements for this exam on the EST website. The website gives the test-taker information on what is required, how it is set up, how to register, and how to receive their Praxis score report after the test.
Additional Requirements for Oklahoma Teacher Certification
One of the requirements in the Oklahoma educator credentialing system is to have a criminal history background check completed and on file with the Oklahoma State Board of Education. This background check should be completed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. In addition, a national criminal history background check should have been completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Applying for Oklahoma Teacher Certification
Once a certification candidate has completed the required steps, they can apply for certification with the governing body, the OEQA. This means that the candidate should hold a degree from an accredited educational institution, complete an educator preparation program, and have taken the three required exams. In addition the background check should be completed and be on file with the board of education.
When all requirements are met, the candidate must create an Oklahoma Educator Single Sign-on account, to begin the process of applying for certification. In the Oklahoma Educator Credentialing System, the candidate will pay the processing fee and submit the application. Depending on the time of year the application is submitted, it can take up to eleven weeks to process and receive certification.
Alternative Teacher Certification - Oklahoma
Although many people choose to take the traditional route to become educators in the state of Oklahoma, there are some who may need to take an alternative teacher certification route. For this reason, there are other ways to get a teacher certification in Oklahoma.
Alternative teacher certifications -Oklahoma consist of various programs designed to help individuals get certified. Programs include alternative placement for those with non-education degrees, career development for paraprofessionals with degrees, career professionals with or without degrees, Troops to Teachers for former military personnel, and programs geared toward those with Head Start experience who would like to teach in preschool programs.
Other non-traditional paths include a program for those with degrees outside of education who desire to become special education teachers, the ABCTE program which helps those changing careers to get certified, and Teach for America, which is designed to help recent graduates and other professionals to get their teaching credentials if they commit to teaching in a specific school district or area for at least two years.
There is also Emergency Certification, which is a path that is taken by administrators when they deem it necessary, and have tried every possible way to find a candidate who is fully qualified. The appointment must be approved by the state board of education.
Oklahoma Certification for Out-of-State Teachers
Individuals who currently hold teaching credentials in another state are also eligible to apply for an Oklahoma teacher certification as long as the subject area is equivalent. To determine eligibility for certification, candidates must submit an application along with supporting documents to provide proof of educator preparation program completion, as well as state certification documentation.
|How do I get certified in Oklahoma if I have an out-of-state certificate?||Check with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for details.|
|Does Oklahoma have a NASDTEC Interstate Agreement?||Yes, Oklahoma participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.|
|Does Oklahoma offer full reciprocity for out-of-state teachers?||No, since candidates are initially given a provisional certification in the aligned subject area. After one year of service, they are given a full standard certification in their area of expertise.|
|Is there additional coursework that candidates have to complete?||No, Oklahoma does not require additional coursework for one to be certified as an out-of-state candidate.|
|Are there assessments that have to be taken for out-of-state candidates?||No additional assessments have to be taken for those applying for reciprocity.|
|Is there a different process for those who are more experienced?||No, the process is the same for both experienced and inexperienced candidates.|
|Are there special reciprocity considerations for those with advanced certifications in another state?||No, Oklahoma has two certification types: provisional and standard. Out-of-state candidates must teach for one full year before they can be considered for the standard certification.|
Professional Development Requirements for Oklahoma Teachers
The Oklahoma State Department of Education offers various professional development opportunities for educators throughout the year, among which are many opportunities for teachers to learn within the subject area they teach as well as many others. Additionally, since professional development is required for renewal, teachers have ample opportunities to complete these requirements throughout the school year, typically either on their campus or other locations.
Teachers who wish to advance their careers have many opportunities to do so. In some cases, this is done by choosing to add certification to their credentials. For most, this means studying and passing the appropriate exam based on the subject they are looking to add. In other cases, such as wanting to become an administrator, additional coursework is required and often times, a master's degree from an accredited educational institution. There are also additional assessments that are required for these advancement opportunities.
Oklahoma Educator Employment Outlook and Salary
The projected job growth for the state of Oklahoma is about 7% for teachers by the year 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Since enrollment is expected to rise over the next several years, the projection of jobs for teachers will increase.
While salaries typically differ depending on the amount of education and experience an individual educator has, the average salary for various teaching positions across the state are listed below, and are according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for the state of Oklahoma.
|Teaching Post||Average Salary|
|Middle School Teachers||$49,030|
|High School Teachers||$50,000|
Specific salary ranges and amounts can be found on the individual school districts website. This will also include any stipends that are allowed for certain positions as well as years of experience for the salary ladder.
The state of Oklahoma currently has more than 500 districts with almost 2,000 total traditional schools, more than 30 charter schools, and around 6 virtual charter schools. There are more than 600,000 students reportedly enrolled in the districts around the state, and approximately 42,000 educators. The average salary for teachers across the state is about $53,617.
Zenobia Denny, M.A. has been a dedicated educator for over 10 years. She holds teaching certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, and ESL. She has taken and passed numerous Praxis and TExES exams, including the TExES Principal Certification exam. Zenobia completed an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Walden University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Gifted and Talented.