How to Become a Teacher in Oklahoma

Several pathways are available to those who need to know how to become a teacher in Oklahoma.

To begin with, you’ll need to earn a bachelor degree, either via a brick-and-mortar college or with online degree programs. The Oklahoma Department of Education is in charge of issuing teaching credentials; applications can be found at the department’s website.

Traditional Pathway to Teacher Certification in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Education has specific requirements to obtain a teaching certificate in that state by a traditional pathway:

  • Complete an approved teacher-training program in an accredited school.
  • Earn a bachelor degree.
  • Pass three competency exams: The Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination (OPTE) and the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).
  • Submit fingerprints and agree to a criminal background check.

Alternate Pathways to Teacher Certification in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has a need for teachers and has established alternate ways for teachers to become certified.

Troops to Teachers. The Department of Defense works in cooperation with the Oklahoma Department of Education to help veterans who have a bachelor degree get into the teaching profession. The program is funded by the federal government and helps those separating from the Armed Forces obtain teaching jobs and assists them with obtaining credentials.

Alternative placement. Candidates who have a bachelor degree and have passed all the competency tests but are missing some of the other requirements may teach in Oklahoma schools. Individuals have to apply to the Department of Education and express their intent to teach in an Oklahoma school and be accepted into an alternative placement program.

Proof of holding a teaching certificate in another state. This requires submitting all documents relevant to the teaching certificate including copies of college transcripts and diplomas. Teachers can submit proof of passing competency exams in the state where they hold a certificate and ask for the requirement of passing the Oklahoma competency tests to be waived. If all these requirements are met, a one-year provisional certificate will be issued. After one year of teaching with the provisional certificate, a full credential will be issued.

Teach for America. Those who are accepted in the Teach for America program may be assigned to teach in an Oklahoma school.

Benefits of Becoming a Teacher in Oklahoma

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for teachers nationally will increase by approximately 7 percent by the year 2020. This is a slower growth rate than for other careers but the growth rate varies depending on the geographical area and school district requirements for teacher and student ratios.

Oklahoma is one of the geographical areas where the demand for teachers is increasing at a greater rate than average. Statistics show a job growth for elementary and secondary teachers from 2004 to 2014 of more than 14 percent. Between now and 2018, the need is expected to grow by 17 percent.

The average salary for a teacher in Oklahoma is $50,000. The pay increases with more education. Starting salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor degree is $34, 751. The top salary for a teacher with a master degree and 19 years of experience is $52,579. There is also a good retirement plan and other benefits in addition to the annual salary.