Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Oklahoma
Early Childhood Education in Oklahoma
Oklahoma, a state known for both its Native American and pioneer history, receives only average grades for overall education but earns stellar marks for early childhood education. It is ranked 31st in the nation for its education system, receiving an overall state grade of “C+”, according to Education Week’s 2013 annual rankings. However, the state earned an “A” in the Standards, Assessments, and Accountability category, and is also recognized as a national leader for its preschool program.
President Barack Obama praised Oklahoma for its commitment to early childhood education in last February’s 2013 State of the Union address, as it has offered universal access to preschool since 1998 and, as of 2013, serves 74% of four-year-olds. These participation rates are among the highest in the country, resulting in many academic gains for children. Overall, there are many opportunities available to teachers who want to make a difference in the state of Oklahoma.
Obtaining Oklahoma Teaching Credentials
The Oklahoma State Department of Education includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.
Certificates are eligible to graduates of approved teacher-preparation programs who:
- have completed higher-education training
- meet the Oklahoma State Board of Education requirements
- have passed the appropriate examinations (OGET, OSAT, OPTE)
- have background checks on file
- have submitted applications along with the appropriate processing fees
Applicants holding out-of-state credentials, or who have been approved by Teacher Certification, may also be eligible. Individuals participating in the Teach for America, American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTA), Troops for Teachers or either of the Paraprofessional programs may also be eligible for certification.
To apply, submit one of the following:
- Application for Certificate to Teach Four-Year-Olds and Younger
- Application for Certificate to Teach Infants, Toddlers, and Three-Year-Olds
- Application for Oklahoma School Certificate
- Application for the Oklahoma Alternative Placement Program (available to individuals with non-teaching degrees who meet certain experience and coursework requirements)
Applications may be submitted online through the Teacher Certification System, as well.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact the licensing department, should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.
ECE Degree Programs in Oklahoma
There are about 30 early childhood education degree programs in Oklahoma.
is a private, metropolitan university offering an associate degree in early intervention, as well as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Master’s degree options are also available.
is a large four-year higher education school that offers undergraduate minors in early childhood and elementary education. A variety of master’s degree options are also available.
is a public research university offering bachelor’s degrees in early childhood and elementary education. It also offers master’s degrees and doctorates in both areas, as well as a variety of other specialized advanced degrees.
is a four-year liberal arts college that offers an associate degree in child development as well as bachelor’s degrees in early childhood and elementary education.
Finding a Teaching Job in Oklahoma
There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.
Public schools employ the vast majority of career seekers in early childhood education. Teach Oklahoma is powered by Teachers-Teachers.com, a free but top-notch recruitment service for teachers that allows them to create online resumes, search for jobs, correspond with employers and more.
Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community, as well.
Oklahoma’s Organizations for Teachers
There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Oklahoma sharing similar visions.
The Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) was founded in 1889 and has over 40,000 members. It aims to improve the profession, as well as local public schools. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with 3 million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.
The Early Childhood Association of Oklahoma (ECAO) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It strives to help children from birth through age eight, as well as their families. The organization is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.
There is also a variety of organizations for teachers based on specific areas of interest, including the Oklahoma Reading Association (ORA), Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM), Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA), and the Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies (OKCSS).
Outstanding Oklahoma Education Bloggers
The NewsOK education section covers hot topics, issues and events in Oklahoma schools, as does the Tulsa World education page. Oklahoma teachers also share insightful information through their personal blogs.
Preschool Possibilities is written by a preschool educator with both classroom and administrative experience who likes to collaborate with other early childhood educators.
Mrs. Hoffer’s Spot is maintained by a kindergarten teacher who enjoys reflecting on her classroom experiences, whether rewarding or challenging or both.
Nancy Nolan’s Kindergarten is the creation of a kindergarten teacher of over 20 years, who shares many lesson plan ideas and resources for elementary teachers.