Aspiring teachers can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in education entirely online. Distance learning programs allow students to work full-time and fulfill personal obligations while earning their degree. Online programs also allow students to graduate at an accelerated rate and enter the workforce sooner than their on-campus counterparts.
Students who earn their education degree from an accredited school outside the state can still obtain an Oklahoma teaching certificate. Candidates for an Oklahoma teaching license must submit official transcripts, competency exam scores, and proof of having completed at least 360 student-teaching hours. In some cases, the state may require letters of recommendation and other documentation.
Licensing requirements vary by state, so students attending an institution outside Oklahoma should verify that their coursework meets state standards. Avoid potential complications by researching the program before enrolling and ensuring the curriculum aligns with Oklahoma's licensure requirements.
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How to Become a Teacher in Oklahoma
Professionals with Oklahoma teaching certification can teach K–12 in certain subject areas statewide. However, teaching licenses do not automatically transfer to outside states. Each state has specific teacher certification requirements.
Likewise, teachers moving to Oklahoma must obtain a new state teaching certificate. The time required to earn an Oklahoma teaching certificate depends largely on the standards and processes of the state where the teacher is licensed.
To apply for Oklahoma teaching certification, teachers licensed in other states must provide the Oklahoma Department of Education with their current teaching certification, evidence of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, college transcripts, and PRAXIS scores. The department reviews these materials to determine whether further education or training is need before a teacher is qualified to teach in Oklahoma.
How to Get a Oklahoma Teaching Certification
Earning a teaching certificate in Oklahoma is a crucial step toward becoming a K–12 educator. To qualify for licensure, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree. Below is an overview of the licensing process, including state requirements. Learn more at the Oklahoma State Department of Education website.
Provide proof that you hold a bachelor's degree
Candidates must have a bachelor's in education from an accredited institution. They should have also completed a teacher education program specific to the area in which they are seeking Oklahoma teaching certification. This requirement ensures that licensed educators possess the knowledge, skills, and training needed to effectively instruct students.
Hold a 3.0 GPA
Candidates must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all program-focused coursework, including undergraduate and graduate work.
Complete approved student-teaching hours
All candidates for an Oklahoma teaching certificate must have completed at least 360 hours or 12 weeks of student teaching. This experience should include serving in classrooms and working directly with students under the guidance of a mentor. The student teaching experience provides students with practical skills related to lesson planning, classroom management, and assisting students with assignments.
Receive a passing grade on required exams (CEOEs)
The state requires all teachers to pass three certification exams: the Oklahoma General Education Test, the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination, and the Oklahoma Subject Area Tests. Those entering specialized fields, such as early childhood education or special education, may need to take additional exams. Candidates must also take the OSAT in their desired concentration; those who plan to teach multiple subjects must take multiple OSATs.
Pass background clearance by Oklahoma
The state may conduct a background check to ensure student safety. Candidates must have their fingerprints taken and must consent to a background check. A criminal record does not automatically disqualify candidates from certification, but the state will likely require additional information.
Submit application for teaching certification
Candidates submit an official application to the Oklahoma Department of Education. They must also provide college transcripts, competency exam scores, proof of student teaching, and their out-of-state credential, if applicable. The Department of Education notifies applicants if additional information is needed.
Payment of all fees
The state requires a $50 fee to apply for an Oklahoma teaching certificate.
Student Teaching in Oklahoma
The student-teaching experience is a key requirement for Oklahoma teaching certification. Most education programs place students in a local school under the guidance of a mentor. Online learners typically complete student-teaching requirements in a local classroom approved by their program advisor.
Learners should review all course materials to prepare for student teaching and should communicate with their mentor teacher beforehand. Many student teachers prepare ice-breaker activities to get to know their students.
Student teachers begin by observing the mentor teacher and assisting with classroom activities. Eventually, their responsibilities eventually evolve to include leading class discussions and working individually with students. The mentor teacher provides feedback and creates official assessments of the student teacher's performance.
Learners typically complete student-teaching requirements during their final semester. Most programs require students to complete classroom hours before graduation, although some allow students to finish required hours shortly after graduation.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Oklahoma
While professionals with an Oklahoma teaching certificate earn less than the national average, they benefit from the state's low cost of living. Oklahoma has one of the lowest costs of living in the country, which offsets the relatively lower teacher pay.
The highest-paid K–12 educators in Oklahoma teach at the high school level. However, salaries do not differ significantly by grade level; the average kindergarten teacher makes almost as much as a secondary teacher. Educators with more experience typically earn higher salaries.
|Occupation||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|Elementary School Teachers||16,750||$41,150|
|Middle School Teachers||7,600||$42,380|
Excludes Special Education Teachers, May 2016
Scholarships for Oklahoma Teaching Students
Teachers are in high demand in Oklahoma, and education students have access to numerous scholarships. Below are a few opportunities for education majors attending Oklahoma colleges and universities.
- Future Teachers Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be Oklahoma residents and must have a GPA or ACT score within the top 15% of their graduating high school class. They also must be pursuing a teaching degree and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 throughout their college studies to maintain their scholarship.
Amount: Up to $1,500 per year
- Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program
Who Can Apply: This program is open to Oklahoma science and mathematics teachers who are continuing their education and to students earning an education degree in science or math. The program reimburses student loans.
- Oklahoma State TEACH Grant
Who Can Apply: This grant is available to Oklahoma State University students planning to become elementary or secondary teachers. Recipients agree to serve at least four years at a school that serves high numbers of low-income students.
Amount: Up to $4,000 per year
- Anita S. Bednar Education Endowed Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be majoring in education at the University of Oklahoma and must meet the school's minimum GPA requirement to be considered.
- Carl P. and Erma W. Dunifron Education Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be residents of Oklahoma, must be enrolled in the University of Oklahoma College of Education, and must demonstrate financial need.
- Hannah Foreman Davis Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to Oklahoma residents who are enrolled full-time in the University of Oklahoma College of Education. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must demonstrate financial need.
Resources for Teachers in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Department of Education: The Oklahoma State Department of Education ensures that institutions maintain high academic standards, allocates state and federal funds, and oversees child nutrition, educator effectiveness, and assessment programs. The department is responsible for teacher certification, school accountability, student transportation, student personnel records, and the implementation of federal programs. The agency offers resources for educators and upholds standards for curriculum and instruction.
- Oklahoma Public School Resource Center: The OPSRC provides professional development opportunities in areas such as leadership, curriculum content, and classroom management. The organization helps educators incorporate technology into the classroom and provides legal services to teachers, school staff, and district administrators. Membership is open to public schools throughout Oklahoma, but the organization focuses specifically on the needs of smaller schools.
- Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education: The Oklahoma State Regents ensures that the state's higher education institutions, including its 25 public colleges and universities, maintain high academic standards. The State Regents allocates state and federal funds and offers grants and scholarships. It also provides resources to help education majors fund their studies, including scholarships, financial counseling, and financial aid assistance.
- Oklahoma Education Association: OEA is the state's official teachers association. The association advocates for public education within state agencies, the governor's office, and the court system. The association's 40,000 members include teachers, librarians, administrators, and other school staff. Members have access to professional development programs, conferences, and an anti-bullying program. Virtually all professionals with a teaching certificate in Oklahoma are OEA members.
- Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration: CCOSA is a nonprofit organization that helps administrators effectively lead schools and districts to improve communication with parents, staff, and the public. The organization includes several professional groups that advocate for public education. Members receive professional development opportunities, legislative advocacy, regular updates, access to an annual conference, and life insurance.
Networking Opportunities in Oklahoma
Educators benefit from participating in networking events with peers. Connecting with other educators helps professionals improve their knowledge, develop new instructional techniques, and advance their careers. A network of peers also provides support as educators confront common challenges associated with K–12 education.
Founded in 1988, this nonprofit professional association comprises current and retired teachers, business leaders, and others involved in education. The organization hosts regular meetings and networking events, during which members share best practices and resources.
Organized primarily through an active Facebook page, this group holds regular events to promote education and the teaching profession. Members advocate for increased public education funding and work to improve morale in classrooms. OTU was founded by a small group of Tulsa educators in 2017 and now has members throughout Oklahoma.
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