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Roads to certification

Teacher stands at whiteboard while children in front of her raise their hands

Oklahoma state certification is required to teach, but don’t worry if you don’t have a degree in education. With a bachelor's degree in any area, you can pursue alternative certification and begin your teaching career with Team Tulsa. We will provide plenty of support and professional learning opportunities to help you develop your craft along the way. Find out which path to certification is right for you and apply now to join our team.

Which route to certification is best for you?

I have been offered a teaching position but am not yet certified

Emergency certification*

Emergency certification requirements:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any area, with a grade point average of 2.5 or above.
  • Apply for, interview for, and receive a recommendation to hire for a teaching position.

Emergency certification process:

  1. ​​​​Meet with a Tulsa Public Schools talent specialist to complete the emergency certification request process.
  2. Create a certification account.
  3. Apply for emergency certification through the certification account (have debit or credit card ready for $50 processing fee).
  4. Register for the appropriate Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) at ceoe.nesinc.com.
  5. Provide original transcripts, an updated resume, and undergo fingerprinting, which is done in the Talent Management Department and requires a fee of $53.94 payable by check or money order only.
  6. Receive approval for certification at the next state board meeting.
  7. Receive temporary emergency certification and bring certificate to Talent Management upon receipt.
  8. Complete the appropriate non-emergency route to certification.

*Please note that all offers of employment are conditional and contingent upon successful background screening and drug testing.

I have not yet been offered a position and am not certified

Alternative certification

You can complete this process before you are offered a teaching position if you hold a bachelor's degree and are seeking to teach at the secondary level.

Alternative certification requirements:
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the subject area in which you are seeking certification with a grade point average of 2.5 or above.
  • Two or more years of work experience in your certification area.

Alternative certification process:

  1. Complete an application for admission into the state’s Alternative Certification Program
  2. Successfully pass the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET) and Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT).
  3. If never before certified, complete fingerprinting within three months of your request for certification. Fingerprinting can be done in the Talent Management Department and requires a fee of $53.94 payable by check or money order only.
  4. Complete an application for provisional certification
  5. Receive three-year provisional certification.
  6. Complete education coursework (18 hours for holders of bachelor’s degrees, 12 hours for holders of master’s degrees).
  7. Apply for standard certification, which is renewed every five years. 

I have experience as a teacher's assistant or paraprofessional and want to become a teacher

Paraprofessional or teacher's assistant-to-teacher route

You can complete this process before you are offered a teaching position if you hold a bachelor's degree and are seeking to earn certification in early childhood, elementary, or special education.

Paraprofessional or teacher's assistant-to-teacher route requirements:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree, in any area, with a grade point average of 2.5 or above.
  • At least one year of experience working as a teacher’s assistant or paraprofessional OR one year as an emergency certified teacher.

Paraprofessional or teacher's assistant-to-teacher route process:

  1. Successfully pass the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) and Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE).
  2. Complete paraprofessional-to-teacher application
  3. Receive a provisional certification.
  4. If never before certified, complete fingerprinting within three months of your request for certification. Fingerprinting can be done in the Talent Management Department and requires a fee of $53.94 payable by check or money order only.
  5. Renew certification each year for up to three years.
  6. Complete education coursework (18 hours for holders of bachelor’s degrees, 12 hours for holders of master’s degrees).
  7. Apply for standard certification, which is renewed every five years. 

I want to become a special education teacher and do not yet have a certification

Special Education Boot Camp

The Oklahoma State Department of Education offers a certification program specifically for those interested in becoming special education teachers. You do not have to have an offer of employment as a special education teacher to participate.

Special Education Boot Camp Requirements:

  • Minimum of a bachelor's degree with a grade point average of 2.75 or higher.
  • Commit to pursuing a master's degree or certification in special education.

Special Education Boot Camp Process:

1. Complete the application to attend Boot Camp. Application is approved by the Boot Camp provider.
2. Attend an approved Boot Camp.
3. Successfully complete Boot Camp requirements.
4. Obtain employment.
5. Apply for provisional certification.
6. Receive a completion certificate.
7. Acquire 6 credits of prescribed coursework per year.
8. Renew the provisional certificate.
9. Pass the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET), Special Education Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) and Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE).
10. Receive standard certification as a special education teacher.
11. At the end of the third year, candidates must meet the criteria for a standard teaching certificate.

I need to transfer out-of-state certification to Oklahoma

If you hold a full teaching credential in any state, you are eligible for provisional certification in equivalent subject areas with the possibility of having to take Oklahoma tests.

Please submit the following materials to the Teacher Certification Office of the Oklahoma State Department of Education:

  • Application for Oklahoma School Standard Teaching Certificate
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities. Transcript must denote degree earned and the date degree was conferred.
  • Proof of Teaching form and copy of teaching certificate valid during dates of experience listed, if applicable.
  • Copy of all teaching certificates (copy the back if it holds any valid information).
  • A $50 processing fee (check, cashier’s check, or money order) made payable to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
  • Fingerprints are submitted to the the state electronically. You can have your fingerprints scanned at the Tulsa Public Schools Education Service Center (3027 S New Haven Ave, Tulsa, OK 74114). Please bring a check or money order made out to Tulsa Public Schools for $53.94. For additional information refer to Fingerprint Information.

If you have completed an approved program from another state and did not get certified in that area, please complete and submit the Verification of State-Approved Teacher Education Program from Non-Oklahoma College/University form.  If Oklahoma has a comparable certification area you may be able to obtain the equivalent Oklahoma certification area by passing the appropriate Oklahoma examination(s).

For more information about transferring out-of-state credentials, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Education at 405-521-3337.

I am or want to be a traditionally trained teacher

The traditional route to becoming a teacher is to earn an undergraduate degree in education. You can choose from several programs at local colleges and universities that will prepare you to become a teacher. However, you can also become a teacher if you have previously earned a bachelor’s degree and apply to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) for teacher certification (detailed below).

What should I look for in a teacher preparation program?

A quality teacher preparation program will integrate recent research, theory, and best practices to meet the educational needs of school districts. It will also provide a curriculum that recognizes:

  • the multi-cultural composition of the population served;
  • the centrality of standards-based education;
  • the role of schools in society;
  • the importance of existing knowledge about learning and teaching; and
  • the role of technology in instruction.

Which program is right for me?

We partner with universities in Oklahoma to ensure teacher interns are well trained and committed to working in a diverse, urban school district. Teacher interns are partnered with a highly qualified Team Tulsa member to provide a hands-on classroom experience.

 

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