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Oklahoma Teacher Certification Requirements

To pursue a teaching career in Oklahoma, a teacher candidate must complete a series of education and testing requirements. Read this article to learn about the detailed steps a candidate must take to teach in Oklahoma.

Path to Teaching Licensure in Oklahoma

Oklahoma offers certificates for public school teachers in several areas, including early learning, elementary, and secondary education. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, teaching candidates must possess a bachelor's degree, graduate from an approved teacher education program, and pass required tests before they can apply for a teaching certificate.

Education Required B.A. or B.S. degree in education that includes an approved teacher-preparation program
Exams Required OGET: Oklahoma General Education Test (174);
Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam: Grades PreK-8 (075) and relevant Oklahoma Subject Area Test(s) OR
Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam: Grades 6-12 (076) and relevant Oklahoma Subject Area Test(s)
Certificate Validity Period Standard Certificate is valid for five years
Average Salary (2018) $29,310 (preschool); $40,120 (kindergarten); $40,450 (elementary); $41,660 (middle); $42,540 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, nationwide) 7% (preschool); 3% (kindergarten and elementary school); 3% (middle) and 4% (high school)*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Teacher Preparation Programs

Students who possess a high school diploma or a G.E.D. can apply for admission to most approved teacher education programs. It is important to contact the admissions offices for individual schools because the process and requirements for admission may vary.

The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA) provides a list of fully accredited programs in Oklahoma. Currently, there are over 20 colleges and universities that offer approved bachelor's degrees in education. These programs require in-class coursework typical of any four-year degree that covers core courses in arts, humanities, math, and science. These programs also include professional coursework in learning, teaching, assessment, and educational history as well as specialized coursework in a teaching candidate's subject area.

As a part of the professional coursework, candidates must complete a supervised residency which typically requires 12 weeks of student teaching in a classroom to gain real-world experience planning, delivering, and assessing instruction.

Testing Requirements

The Oklahoma Commission for Test Preparation (OCTP) sets testing requirements for all licensed teachers across the state. The OCTP currently requires three tests.

The Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET) consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that test critical-thinking skills in mathematics, reading, and communications. It also includes one essay question that assesses writing skills.

The Oklahoma Subject Area Tests (OSAT) measure a candidate's subject knowledge in their specific teaching field. These tests vary across disciplines but are typically divided into two sections that include a set of 80 or so multiple-choice questions and one essay or constructed-response question.

The Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE) must be passed at either the elementary or secondary level. The OPTE tests professional knowledge and skills and consists of 75 multiple-choice questions and 3 constructed-response questions. All tests are computer-based. The OEQA provides registration information and schedules for each test.

It is important to know that, unlike several states, the Oklahoma State Department of Education does not accept passing scores on Praxis tests in place of its state-approved testing requirements.

Background Checks and Applying for a License

Teaching candidates must also pass fingerprint and background checks with both the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once this process has been completed, a teacher should apply for a Standard Certificate through the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The certificate is valid for 5 years and there is a $50 application fee.