UPDATE December 9, 2012: After the Oklahoma State Department of Education updated their website, many of the links below stopped working. I have updated the links so that they now lead to the information you need. In some cases, the links now go to a non-SDE website. In those cases, I have made note of what site I'm sending you to. (And yes, I ended that in a preposition. Ha!)
Some of us know at an early age that we want to teach. So we prepare throughout college and enter our first classrooms shortly thereafter.
Then, there are those of use who take a less direct path. Like me.
I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was seven. But then I writing sidetracked me and I ended up with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and several years experience as a newspaper reporter.
And that's not all.
After giving birth to two wonderful children and spending 10 years helping work at home moms like myself start and manage their businesses, I realized I really enjoy teaching.
So I considered my options.
The first option: Go back to school and earn a teaching degree, either a second bachelor's degree or a master's degree. Problem? College degrees cost lots of money and I'm still paying for the first one.
The second option: Parlay my bachelor's degree and subsequent newspaper experience into a alternative certification. This option provided to be much less expensive, though it required some commitment and a bit of cash.
If you're interested in becoming an alternatively certified teacher, you'll need to meet certain qualifications:
- You must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 from a college or university accredited by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
- You will need to have majored in a field of study that corresponds to an area of Oklahoma certification for a Secondary Certificate, elementary/Secondary Certificate, or a Career and Technology Education Certificate. You can see the list on the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators site itself.
- You must have at least two years of work experience related to the subject area of specialization if you have only a bachelor's degree with no graduate work in a related area.
Does this sound like you? If so, I recommend you start the process by heading to the Oklahoma Alternative Certification FAQ page.
- Fill out the Alternative Placement Program application.
- In your packet that includes the application, include an official transcript from each college or university you have attended.
- Include a current resume indicated your related work experience and the date resume prepared.
- Include a $50 check payable to the Oklahoma Alternative Placement Program.
You will receive written notification stating whether or not you're been accepted into the certification program within about six weeks. Do nothing until then.
Once you've received your notification, you can sign up for the Oklahoma General Education Competency Examination (OGET). This is a four-hour text that includes multiple choice and constructed response sections.
After you've passed the OGET, you can take the Oklahoma Subject Area Competency Examination(s) related to your field of study and work experience.
Passed the tests? Congrats! But you're not done yet.
You must now complete an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation background check and a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint-based criminal history check. You'll receive a fingerprint card that you can take to your local sheriff's department for completion or to the State Department of Education offices near the State Capitol. You'll need to mail in the card, along with the application for the Teacher Competency Review Panel, your current resume (again), a written explanation of why you want to be a teacher and a $100 application fee.
Yes, you read that right.
You'll need to go before the review panel for an interview. But, as a former painfully shy person, I can tell you it's not that bad. The panel consists of one person and the interview is short and friendly. At least, that was my experience.
Once you've been approved by the review panel, you'll receive your license. Viola!
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my Master's of Education in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students' voices and choices.