Skip to main content

Exploring the Path to Teaching: Addressing Common Questions

Teacher and pupils working at desk together at the elementary school

In Oklahoma and across the United States, there's a pressing issue: a shortage of teachers. This shortage has left many classrooms understaffed and put additional strain on educators already in the field. Despite these challenges, compassionate and called professionals still look for ways they can make a difference in their classrooms and in their communities. At Southern Nazarene University (SNU), there are many options available for both future teachers and current educators. 


Why Do You Want to Be a Teacher?

If you're considering a teaching career, this is a fundamental question. People become teachers for various reasons. Some want to help students learn. Others want to make a positive impact. Some love a particular subject. Teachers shape the futures of their students and pour into their lives. 

Masters of Arts in Teaching Professor, Dr. Jenny Jasper, Ed. D shared, “One statistic says that the name "Teacher" was used to refer to Christ 60 times in the Bible, and this is the very last devotion she does with all of her students. Dr. Jasper says it is a joy to show and to tell students about the world's greatest teacher and how, by living like him, we can aspire to be the best leaders in the classroom ourselves by just loving our students and treating them with the kindness and understanding that Jesus showed when he taught others.”

Is Teaching a Good Career Choice?

People considering becoming teachers in Oklahoma often think about their salary, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. They consider how much money they will make and how much time they will have for themselves. Exploring these aspects can provide clarity for those considering entering the profession, but most teachers express how much they love their jobs and how they would never want to work in any other profession.  One of the benefits of being a teacher is the high career satisfaction most teachers report.

Recent M.A. in Educational Leadership graduate Ryan Boren shared, “A few months after graduation, the door opened for me at Shawnee High School, and this was without a doubt the best professional decision I have ever made. I am a Teacher and a Coach at the school where I was educated, and I love it. Just like any job, there are ups and downs; however, the ups are far more often, and not a single time this year, when my feet hit the floor in the morning did I think, "Dang, I have to go to work today."

What Steps Do I Need to Take to Become a Teacher?

Pursuing a career in teaching involves obtaining the necessary degree and navigating teacher certification requirements and licensure procedures. Oklahoma is one of about 20 states with an alternative teacher certification pathway that can help aspiring teachers get started faster. SNU helps teachers complete the necessary steps to obtain their alternative teacher certification in Oklahoma.

SNU recently added a B.A. in Teaching to its degree programs, which is specifically designed to help paraprofessionals or teachers aides gain their bachelor's degree to be a teacher in Oklahoma and begin the process of Alternative Certification.  

The Alternative Certification process is something that SNU will help program graduates walk through and is covered in detail on the Oklahoma Department of Education website. 

What Are the Different Types of Teaching Jobs?

Teaching offers diverse opportunities, from elementary school to high school, special education, and various subject areas. Understanding these options can help individuals align their passions with their career aspirations. 

One key area of focus is Special Education. In the 2021-2022 school year, over 117,000 students in Oklahoma needed special education services. The right services can revolutionize these students' educational experiences, ensuring they receive a quality education and are well-prepared for the future. 

Southern Nazarene University, in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, also offers a Special Education Bootcamp for teachers who want to become special education teachers in Oklahoma and for those who want to continue their education.

Special Ed Career Trend Report

Dr. Lynette Thompson, program director for M.A. in the Administration of Special Education and Bootcamp, emphasizes: "Both the academic experience and practical experience (of the programs) provide a solid foundation for learners who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of students with special needs."

How Much Do Teachers Get Paid?

Salary considerations are practical when evaluating any career choice and exploring national and regional averages can provide insight into the financial aspects of teaching. As with any profession, your degree can make a big difference in your salary!

According to the Bureau of Labor, the average teacher salary in Oklahoma is over $58,000 per year. By comparison, a school principal with a master's or doctorate degree has a considerably higher salary, as the national average is over $101,000 per year. Many educators have an alternative certification to begin teaching and then complete their master's degrees while working full-time.

Although increased salary is a consideration, most educators who complete a graduate or doctoral degree do so because they desire to be more impactful within their districts, and locating the right program can make all the difference. A Master's in Educational Leadership or a Doctorate in Administration and Educational Leadership from SNU can help open doors for educators within their school districts.

Recent Doctorate of Administration and Educational Leadership Graduate Dr. Lance Crawley shared, “The Ed.D. program in Educational leadership is excellent! I would encourage any school administrator seeking to start a doctoral program to seriously examine Southern Nazarene's offering. “

Empowering Aspiring Educators

By addressing these common questions, we aim to empower individuals considering a career in teaching. Teaching remains a noble profession filled with opportunities to inspire, educate, and make a lasting impact on future generations.

“The pathways we offer to enter the classroom as a teacher are outstanding! Our courses are accelerated and user-friendly. The instructors are career educators who care about preparing teachers with strong, positive and practical experiences in learning,” says Dr. Stephoni Case.

SNU's teaching programs are well respected throughout Oklahoma, including SNU's alternative teacher certification and SNU's special education programs. In addition, educators who graduate from SNU join a network of over 600 professional educators who are SNU graduates and teachers!

Feel like now’s the time to take control of your future? Apply to SNU today—it  only takes 5 minutes!

Request More Information

Have questions about SNU or need help determining which program is the right fit? Fill out the form and an enrollment counselor will follow-up to answer your questions!

Text With an Enrollment Counselor

Have questions, but want a faster response?  Fill out the form and one of our enrollment counselors will follow-up via text shortly!