Teaching Programs in Oklahoma
It is no secret that Oklahoma teachers are fighting the good fight right now. In 2018, teachers went on strike, ultimately earning raises and additional funding for their schools. Additionally, the state’s education department is seeking a 7% increase in funding for 2021, with $19 million of that going toward increasing the number of counselors and a significant portion focusing on student supports and more teaching staff. If you want to be part of a rapidly changing educational system, being a teacher in Oklahoma may be right for you.
How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Oklahoma?
There are more than 40,000 teachers in Oklahoma. You can become one of them by following one of these four pathways.
Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Department of Education Teacher Certification office oversees educator credentials. They provide a traditional pathway for those who graduate from an approved Educator Preparation Program.
To become a teacher in the traditional way, learners must:
- Graduate from an accredited institution with an approved program for their chosen subject, including an Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA)-approved teacher education program.
- Pass the Oklahoma General Education and Subject Area Tests and the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination. OEQA provides study resources for these exams.
- Be fingerprinted and pass a background check, which requires a $57.25 processing fee as of 2020.
- Apply for certification and pay a $50 fee.
Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher
Oklahoma’s Alternative Placement Program is for those who have a bachelor’s degree but haven’t gone through an approved teacher education program. To qualify for this certification, you must:
- Submit an Alternative Placement Application, transcripts, a resume, and a $50 fee to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
- Fulfill any additional requirements if you are not approved.
- Upon approval, pass the Oklahoma General Education and Subject Area Tests.
- Go through a fingerprinting and background check, which costs $57.25.
- Partake in six to 18 professional education credit hours OR 90-270 actual hours of professional development as allowed by an Oklahoma school district. Exact amounts are based on your previous degrees and experience, and these must be completed within three years of entering the program.
- Finally, apply for the Alternative Placement Renewal Application, which costs $50.
Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in Oklahoma
A Technology Center Certificate may be available to individuals who have at least an associate’s degree and two years of successful full-time experience in the field they want to teach. They should hold an approved industry credential (NOCTI or OSAT) or 15 credit hours in professional education courses or 225 approved ODCTE professional education clock hours.
Teachers Moving to Oklahoma from a Different State
Credentialed teachers from outside Oklahoma are eligible for provisional certification. A five-year standard Oklahoma teaching certificate may be issued upon successful completion of a year of teaching verified by the employing Oklahoma school. Like traditional and alternative teachers, they need to pass a background check and pay any relevant fees for licensure.
Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for Oklahoma Teachers
In 2018 Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill raising teacher’s salaries. The state’s national ranking moved from 49th to 34th. Additional increases are under discussion. While the teacher job growth rate is between 3% and 4% nationwide, it is much higher in Oklahoma.
|Career||BLS 2018 Mean Salary||Projected Job Growth 2018 to 2028|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||$40,450||7%|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||$41,660||7%|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||$42,540||7%|
|Postsecondary Teaching||*$60,458||Projections for job growth vary depending on geographic region and subject area.|
Job growth data from O*Net (2020).
Teacher Training Programs in Oklahoma
Like many states, Oklahoma has identified institutions of higher learning that are in alignment with the state’s standards and goals. Below are a few of the approved Educator Preparation Programs.
Beginning in 2008, all new students were given the option of participating in the “Guaranteed Tuition Rate Program.” This allows them to lock in a specific price for four years of undergraduate studies.
The University of Oklahoma (Norman)
The University of Oklahoma (OU) is a public research university well-known for having a top college football team. They have 20,000+ students on three campuses in traditional, online, and hybrid degree programs.
The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is divided into three departments: Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, and Educational Psychology. The Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum program houses their teacher preparation program, and the school offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Nonresident graduate: $957.65 per credit hour
University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond)
The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is a public university near Oklahoma City. With 16,000 students, it’s the third largest university in the state.
The College of Education and Professional Studies (CEPS) houses Oklahoma’s first teacher preparation academy. The department of Curriculum & Instruction offers Bachelor of Science degrees in early childhood education and elementary education; graduate programs include Master of Education degrees in bilingual, early childhood, and elementary education. You can also add on a certification in math specialist, and the school offers a fully online Master of Education program in Library Media Education.
Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa is a small, private Christian liberal arts university. The College of Education boasts that almost all graduates find employment immediately following graduation. Their student teaching system allows students to return to campus for two-week sessions in which they receive additional training specific to their classes’ needs, and the small class sizes allow students to have personalized education. Undergraduate students can focus on both core and elective courses, while graduate students can pursue a Master of Teaching, Doctor of Education, or a graduate certificate in Special Education. They also offer accredited online master’s degree programs in administration, which focus on either Christian or public schools.
An unusual aspect of ORU to keep in mind when choosing your educational path is that each student must pass a physical education class every semester and engage in an individual fitness program.
Cameron University’s department of education not only has its own, in-house degrees, but it also works with other departments in the institution to prepare future teachers of English, music, and social studies. Students can also pursue a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in literacy, special education, teaching and learning, and reading/reading specialist, as well as a Master of Science (M.S.) in educational leadership, leading to principal certification. At the undergraduate level, you can earn a B.A. in social studies education exclusively online, and many other education and general education credits can be taken digitally. While no master’s programs in education can be taken solely online, several can have a significant portion completed in this manner.
Many nonresident students are eligible for tuition waivers, covering the difference between resident and nonresident costs.
The Department of Educational Instruction & Leadership houses elementary and special education, though other certifications are available in partnership with other departments within the school. The school offers three graduate programs:
In addition to the Durant campus, courses are offered at many of the school’s extension campuses. High school juniors and seniors can also take for-credit courses without paying tuition.
Oklahoma Teacher Resources
Oklahoma State Department of Education
The Oklahoma State Department of Education provides a page of resources for Oklahoma educators. Teachers can find classroom materials for English, language arts, math, science, social studies, and citizenship, as well as instructional strategies, and more. There are also resources for professional development and assessments.
Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA)
Quality interactive digital resources for pre-K through high school are available from the Oklahoma Library of Digital Resources. Access is provided through OSSBA. Oklahoma teachers curated the materials and created sample lessons that align with Oklahoma Academic Standards.
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has a K-12 Teacher Resources page. The site has links for information about the Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP), a legislative program that reimburses eligible student loan expenses or provides a cash benefit to individuals who graduate from an approved education program for math or science and agree to teach in an Oklahoma public school for five years.
The site also has links to professional development, classroom resources, college readiness preparation materials, and more.
Oklahoma Public School Resource Center
Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) is an organization with a mission to drive transformation and increased academic achievement in Oklahoma’s public schools. Membership subscriptions include unlimited access to OPSRC consulting, professional development, and leadership training. For an additional fee, schools can get a low-cost school website that includes technical support. Sites can include teacher pages, class schedules, homework assignments, daily email summaries of upcoming homework to parents and students, school news, social media, and various school forms.