If you’re second-guessing your current career path, you’re not alone. More teachers than ever before are entering the field as a second career instead of right out of college. A 2020 study found that people who enter teaching as a second career may find it less challenging and have a greater commitment to the work. So don’t discount your dreams — you may bring fresh, vital energy to nearby schools, supporting the students who need you most.
If you’ve always wanted to be a teacher, you might feel confused by all the regulations governing who can enter the field, when, and under what circumstances. SNU’s alternative certification program can help you become a teacher more quickly.
Here’s how to get alternative teaching certification in Oklahoma.
Is a career in teaching right for you?
Adult education is booming as more people learn the value of a college degree. The pandemic has shown how valuable good teachers are, making now a great time to shift into a career in education.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but life got in the way. Or maybe a recent experience — mentoring a colleague, volunteering with children or serving as a substitute teacher — helped ignite a passion for education. People follow many different paths to careers in teaching, and there is no right or wrong time to become a teacher.
Before you take the leap, though, you must ensure teaching is right for you. If the answer to the majority of these questions is yes, teaching could be the right career leap:
- Can I find joy in a job well done, even when there is not an immediate reward?
- Do I genuinely enjoy spending time with children or teenagers?
- Am I passionate about a certain subject?
- Am I committed to helping all learners, including those who struggle, act out or have disabilities?
- Am I patient?
- Do I have good communication and social skills?
- Can I envision myself collaborating with parents, even when doing so is difficult?
- Do I have real-life experience that could serve me well as a teacher?
- How do I feel about my own education? Are there things I didn’t like or things I learned that I would like to bring to my work as an educator?
- Am I comfortable working until the job is done — not just until a certain time each day?
- Am I comfortable working with an unpredictable schedule in return for summers off?
- Can I afford to live on the average teacher’s salary in my area?
- Am I good at accepting feedback from colleagues and supervisors?
- Do I understand and sympathize with the wide variety of experiences students have, and the wide range of circumstances that may impact their education?
What is Oklahoma’s alternative teaching certification program?
Oklahoma is facing a teacher shortage that could affect the well-being of students, families and the entire state. Consequently, Oklahoma has devised a number of alternative paths for otherwise qualified people to pursue careers in teaching.
One of the most popular is the Alternative Placement Program for Teacher Certification. This program allows people with non-education degrees from accredited institutions to pursue careers as educators. They must show their competency in a subject matter by meeting one or more of the following criteria:
- Either an academic major or 30+ relevant credit hours in a certification area; or an academic minor or 15+ hours of credit in a certification area, plus a year of work experience
- At least 3 years of work experience or relevant volunteer experience, along with a written recommendation from a supervisor
- Publication of an education-related article in a trade or peer-reviewed journal
In some cases, the State Department of Education may allow educators to document their qualifications via other means.
How do I get an alternative teaching certification in Oklahoma?
For many people considering a second career in education, the most challenging aspect of the requirement will be getting a four-year degree from an accredited college. While several programs can help you reach this goal, a program specifically tailored to adult learners pursuing alternative certification is usually the best option to meet state requirements without disrupting your life.
Before choosing a program, ask the following:
- Who teaches the classes, and do they have a strong background in education?
- Do local schools respect degrees from this institution?
- Is this institution accredited, and if so, by whom?
- What support and flexibility does this program offer for adult learners? Can I take classes at night or online?
- How much does the degree cost, and what financial aid support does the school offer?
- Does the school extend support to students with disabilities or to veterans?
- What is the school’s graduation rate? What about their post-graduation employment rate?
- What is the average length of time it takes to complete the program?
- Does the school offer rolling start dates? How long till you can enroll?
- What are the application requirements, and how much work will it take to meet those requirements?
- What do current or former students have to say about their experience at the school?
Discover SNU’s alternative certification program.
SNU’s alternative certification program immerses you in an education-centric program that puts you on the fast track toward certification.
Specifically tailored for the unique needs of adult learners, classes take place totally online. You can learn from the comfort of your own home, and even get textbooks delivered to your door. Your instructors will be current education professionals who can offer real-world insight into the challenges and triumphs of life as a teacher. Each course lasts six weeks, and you take just one course at a time, freeing your time and your effort to focus on a single class.
Some other benefits include:
- An innovative cohort model that means you study alongside other students at similar stages of their career
- Comprehensive support with financial aid
- Classes cost only $490 per credit hour
With rolling start dates, you can start school on your own timeline. The courses you’ll take include:
- Education psychology
- Collaborative-interdisciplinary teaching practices
- Classroom leadership
- Reading assessment and instruction
- Secondary teaching methods
SNU is deeply committed to the future of education. We understand that quality educators can shape the future, help struggling students live meaningful lives, and forge better, more connected communities.
We’d love to help you pursue your dream of becoming a teacher. To learn more about our adult education programs, check out our free guide, “What to Expect from an Online Degree Program.”