As with many professions, becoming a teacher in the United States requires a minimum degree requirement of a bachelor’s in order to be eligible for employment. Fortunately for many Oklahomans, several top programs in education can be easily found in their resident state.
The four largest state institutions for Oklahoma teacher education are Northeastern State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma-Rainbolt, and the University of Tulsa. While all of the programs offer state-approved curriculums that will enable students to obtain an Oklahoma teacher license, each program offers a unique approach to teacher preparation, and will be discussed in greater detail in the paragraphs below.
Northeastern State University’s College of Education is known as one of the largest teaching schools in Oklahoma. A full 13% of the college’s nearly 9,000 students are enrolled in its elementary education and teaching program, making the program the most popular on campus. Offering 10 separate degree tracks across three campuses, the college claims to carefully align its undergraduate programs in early childhood, elementary education, and secondary education with the Oklahoma General Competencies for Licensure and Certification. The college utilizes its Teaching & Urban Reform Network (TURN) program to link teacher candidates with top performing urban schools throughout the Tulsa Public School District to help prospective teachers practice in an urban environment.
Oklahoma State University’s College of Education is housed in the second largest university in the state of Oklahoma, and is one of the most culturally diverse colleges on the OSU campus. Ranked in the top 100 schools for education in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the college has an enrollment of 2,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students in education, as of 2012. Students seeking an Oklahoma teaching license are required to complete 124 hours of study and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 for continued enrollment.
The University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education offers undergraduate degrees in education to students who have already earned a minimum of 24 semester hours from an accredited college or university. Housed under the college’s Instructional Leadership & Academic Curriculum umbrella, the college is ranked in the top 100 schools for education by U.S. News & World Report. Admission into the college requires an application and intensive interview process, and students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Undergraduate areas of education study offered by the college include early childhood and elementary education, as well as mathematics, special education, and foreign languages.
The University of Tulsa’s School of Urban Education is housed in the university’s Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences. Offering a Bachelor of Science in Education, the college identifies its mission as educating men and women of diverse backgrounds and cultures to receive Oklahoma teacher certification and to become top professional educators in the state. Students are given the option to declare a major in science, mathematics, elementary education, or deaf education alongside the college’s required education curriculum. Students are additionally required to demonstrate proficiency in a second language by completing a language course prior to graduation.