Certification Process Streamlined for Teacher Candidates

5/12/2022 2:50:00 PM

Contact: Rep. Danny Sterling
Phone: (405) 557-7349

The path for teacher candidates to become certified teachers has become more direct after House Bill 3658 was signed into law last week. 

Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, authored House Bill 3658 to streamline the certification process and address the teacher shortage. HB3658 removes the requirement that teacher candidates must pass the general education portion of the Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Act. Candidates must still successfully complete the subject area portion of the examination in their desired area of specialization. 

"Schools across the state continue to face a teacher shortage, and many of them have dozens of open positions with few qualified applicants," said Sterling, a former principal of Tecumseh High School. "Eliminating this obsolete portion of the certification process will increase the pool of applicants for these roles and place more educators in our classrooms, improving outcomes for all students." 

The bill was carried in the Senate by Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, a former public school educator and principal. 

“As Oklahoma continues to struggle through the ongoing teacher shortage crisis, it’s critical that we modernize the teacher certification process, making it more efficient by eliminating roadblocks like this unnecessary portion of the competency exam,” Pemberton said. “Oklahoma currently requires three expensive tests be passed for standard certification. We already eliminated an unnecessary general education test that was like the ACT or SAT that all students had to take to enroll in college, and we shouldn’t require a similar test like that after they finish their college degrees either. It’s unnecessary, inefficient and a waste of our teacher candidates’ time and money. ” 

HB3658, which had an emergency clause, was signed into law May 5 and took effect immediately.