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.
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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 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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.