Become a Special Education Teacher in Oklahoma

A special education teacher must be well prepared with the required education, preparation, and specialized qualifications to provide the best learning environment for students with disabilities. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Getting Certified to Teach Special Education in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) sets the standard and oversees the application process to become a special education teacher in Oklahoma. In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) required all public schools to provide a standard education for all learners. Because of this, the application process to become a special education teacher requires the candidate to complete requirements that qualify them to teach children with special needs.

Education/Experience Required' Bachelor's Degree
Exam Requirements Oklahoma General Education Test (174),
Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination PK-8 (075) or 6-12 (076),
Oklahoma Subject Area Test
Certification Renewal Period 5 Years
CEU Required for Renewal 75 points or 3 - 5 Semester Hours, depending on employment experience
Average Salary $42,630 (Elementary),
$42,600 (Middle School),
$45,530 (High School) as of May 2018- Oklahoma
Estimated Job Growth 8% (National)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Description

Because the ESSA only holds public schools accountable for providing special education programs, the majority of special education teachers will work for a public school. Special education teachers provide students that have a disability an education that conforms to meet the needs of the student. There are many different types of disabilities and a special education teacher must be qualified to deal with students that are affected by learning, emotional, physical, and mental disabilities.

Education and Preparation

A special education teaching certification candidate must possess a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university that includes a specialization in special education and includes an Educator Preparation Program that prepares the candidate with the training and instruction required by the OSDE. If the candidate's degree program is not a special education degree, the candidate will need to have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university that was earned with the minimum required combined GPA of 2.75. The candidate must also pledge to earn a Master's degree or special education certification before a standard certification is issued and must complete an OSDE Boot Camp that focuses on special education. The candidate that does not hold a special education degree is also required to submit a letter of recommendation for certification from a school district or university.

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Exam

Candidates must pass the Oklahoma General Test (174) and the Oklahoma Professional Teaching Examination PK-8 (075) or 6-12 (076), depending on the grade level they will teach. A special education teacher is also required to take the Subject Area Test in Special Education. Several different special education certifications can be tested depending on the candidate's expertise. The special education subject specializations include testing for certification in blind and visual impairment, deaf and hard of hearing, mild to moderate disabilities, and severe and profound disabilities. Test information and test preparation materials may be found on the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators website.

Fingerprinting

In order to ensure that all teaching candidates are thoroughly investigated for criminal history, they must be fingerprinted. The fingerprinting background investigation will check all state and federal databases to search for criminal records on the candidate. Fingerprinting can be done at the OSDE main office, any OSDE satellite office, local sheriff's office, or local police department. The cost of fingerprinting $53.94 and are valid for one year. It will be up to the school district in which the educator is employed to determine if renewal of fingerprinting background check is necessary.

Apply

Candidates that completed a bachelor's degree, that includes a teacher preparation course, will submit an application for certification along with a $50 processing fee to the OSDE. Candidates that do not hold a special education degree must apply for a provisional certification. The provisional certification can be renewed up to two times to allow the candidate time to gain experience in a special education classroom and complete the special education certification or Master's degree that was pledged as a requirement. Once the candidate has fulfilled their pledge, they can apply for standard certification.

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