Become a Teacher in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Highlights



Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $41,900
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $42,960
Vacation Weeks per Year 17
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 16.24
Expenditure per Pupil $7,829

Teacher salaries are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.


OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

sde.state.ok.us/
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4599
(405) 521-3301

Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.

  • Art
  • Business
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Computer Science
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • Foreign Languages
  • Health Education
  • Humanities
  • Library Science
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • School Counselor
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Oklahoma

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/19/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Oklahoma, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit an Oklahoma teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Oklahoma Teaching Credential

To earn your teaching credential in Oklahoma, you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program.

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Oklahoma

Teacher education programs from accredited colleges or universities prepare students to become teachers through rigorous coursework, as well as practical fieldwork. Curricula most commonly emphasize foundational knowledge and skill, pedagogy, and educational technology. In addition, teacher education programs seek to prepare students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Practical fieldwork allows students to apply what they have learned in a classroom setting through field observations, student teaching, and internships.

Generally speaking,  states require that certified teachers hold, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Some states also require coursework in particular subjects or specific undergraduate credit hours for certification in specialty areas. Oklahoma does not have particular course or credit hour requirements, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have its own specific prerequisites, curriculum, and requirements for graduation. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Oklahoma State Department of Education for more information.

Step Two: Oklahoma Teacher Certification Programs

A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Oklahoma can be found through the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability.

Step Three: Required Tests for Oklahoma

In order to become certified to teach in Oklahoma, you must satisfactorily complete three competency-based teacher tests:

  1. The Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET)
  2. The Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT);
  3. The Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE).

Learn more about Oklahoma teacher certification exams on the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators website, or read more about teacher certification tests on Teach.com.

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.


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Alternative Certification in Oklahoma

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in education, and who have not earned a traditional teaching certificate, can receive alternative teaching certification by satisfying certain requirements.

The Alternative Placement Program for Teacher Certification allows those who hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in a field of study corresponding to an area of Oklahoma certification, as well as a 2.5 GPA and two years of professional experience in their degree field, to work towards certification through testing and professional education. Oklahoma also officially recognizes certification through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), Teach for America, and Troops to Teachers.

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Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Oklahoma

Public school teachers are generally not required to have a master's degree,, but educators across the country are realizing more and more the value of an advanced degree. It’s never a bad idea to go to graduate school, whether you’re pursuing a master's degree.

Since the No Child Left Behind and the Every Student Succeeds Acts, greater emphasis has been placed on teacher performance, teacher qualification and the results teachers achieve in the classroom. A master’s degree can carry a lot of weight in the new teaching job market, and those who have their master’s degrees are regarded as experts in their field.

Teachers with a master’s degree are more likely to be hired, promoted, and better compensated for their work. In Oklahoma, teachers with their master’s degree begin their careers making $1,200 more than teachers holding only their bachelor’s, according to the State Minimum Salary Schedule.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on Teach.com. 

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Certification Reciprocity in Oklahoma

If you hold a full teaching credential in a state other than Oklahoma, you are eligible for provisional certification in equivalent subject areas in Oklahoma – possibly without the need for retesting.

Learn more about certification reciprocity in Oklahoma on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website, or read more about teacher certification reciprocity on Teach.com. 

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Financial Aid in Oklahoma

There are several forms of aid available to teachers pursuing their Master’s in Teaching. The TEACH Grant, for example, offers financial aid in return for teaching full time in a high-need field at a low-income school for at least four academic years. Similarly, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program allows teachers to teach full-time at a low-income school for five years in exchange for forgiveness of up to $17,500 of student loans. The college or university where you plan to attain your master’s degree may also offer its own aid.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree on Teach.com.

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Oklahoma Teacher Salary and Incentives

With an average public school teacher salary of $44,128, Oklahoma ranks 48th among states for educator compensation, according to The Washington Post and National Center for Education Statistics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average public elementary school teacher in Oklahoma makes $41,900, while the average public secondary school teacher makes $42,960. The Bureau estimates that teachers in Oklahoma earn 101% of the state average for all occupations. For more information, consult the Oklahoma State Department of Education, which publishes its salary schedule for teachers online.

Learn more about teacher salaries on Teach.com.

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Oklahoma Teacher Benefits and Retirement

The Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System is responsible for retirement benefits for educators in the state. Additional benefits vary within the state, usually by district. For example, Tulsa Public Schools offer health insurance, life insurance, disability, paid time off, retirement benefits and more. Oklahoma public school teachers also have around 17 weeks of vacation, as well as three to four years to tenure for those on the tenure track.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on Teach.com.

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Professional Development for Oklahoma Teachers

The Oklahoma State Department of Education hosts a variety of professional development resources, programs and events that cover a range of topics, from classroom excellence to advanced placement to summer education.

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Oklahoma Teaching Jobs

The Oklahoma State Department of Education websites hosts a page advertising jobs in the state. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission also directs users looking for work to OKJobMatch, which includes teaching positions. Similarly, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association Hiring Consortium lists statewide jobs in education online.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on Teach.com.

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