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Given the importance of physical education (PE) to the lives of school-aged children, the Oklahoma state Senate passed bill 1876 in 2010. It directed each school district to establish specific goals and objectives for the PE curriculum used in their respective districts. In particular, it requires that 50% of all PE activities be performed at a moderate or vigorous level.
Certified PE teachers are tasked with promoting the health and safety of children and helping them to establish lifelong patterns of healthy behavior.
Follow these steps to become a PE teacher in Oklahoma for students in grades PK-12:
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Including a PE Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming a PE teacher in Oklahoma is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. You can take the standard path by studying PE, Health, and Safety in a teacher’s preparation program. There are also alternative paths to become a PE teacher if you already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
The Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP) provides a list of approved schools in Oklahoma that train teachers in PE, Health, and Safety. As of 2014, 16 schools in Oklahoma had approved programs.
You will need to pass the appropriate tests and have documentation of a clean criminal history before you can complete the certification process.
Alternative Placement Program
If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-teaching area, you may be able to become certified to teach PE in Oklahoma through the Alternative Placement Program. You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for this program:
- Have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA
- Have a major in a field that corresponds to an area of one of the following types of Oklahoma certificates:
- Document one of the following in your degree field area:
- Two years of work experiences
- Completion of post-baccalaureate coursework
Before you can be admitted to the Alternative Placement Program, you will need to submit the following to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (DOE):
- Application with a $50 processing fee
- Official transcripts from all of your colleges or universities
- Current resume
The DOE will send you a letter either approving you to seek certification through this program or else notifying you of additional requirements that you will need to meet. Once you receive approval, you will need to take the appropriate tests. After you have passed them, you will need to document your clean criminal history and submit those records. You will also have to perform the following:
- Request a Teacher Competency Review Panel Assessment and pay a $100 fee
- Provide a written explanation or statement of why you want to become a teacher
Once you have met the requirements, you will be advised of the date and time to appear before the Teacher Competency Review Panel. Once approved, they will give a recommendation to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. You will then receive your credential for an Initial Alternative Certificate.
Alternative Standard Certificate – Since your Initial Alternative Certificate is not renewable, you will need to obtain additional professional education and pass another exam to obtain your Alternative Standard Certificate. You must do this within three years of getting your initial certification.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you will need to take 18 semester or 270 clock hours in one or more of the following course options:
- Classroom Management
- Educational Technology
- Reading in PE, Health, and Safety
- Developmental Psychology
- Psychology of Learning
- Teaching Methods
- Substance Abuse Symptoms Identification
If your degree is a master’s or doctorate, you only need to take 12 semester or 180 clock hours.
Step 2. Take the Appropriate Oklahoma Assessments
The OCTP has developed tests that you have to take to become licensed as a PE teacher in Oklahoma. These exams are scheduled to occur twelve times each year.
If you are obtaining certification through the Traditional Path, you need to take all three tests. They include the following:
- Oklahoma General Education Tests (OGET): general education knowledge and critical thinking
- Oklahoma Professional Teaching Exam (OPTE): professional skills and knowledge
- Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) for PE
For an Initial Alternative Certificate, you need to take the OGET and the OSAT for PE to be considered for the program. Once you have this certificate, you will need to pass the OPTE to receive your Alternative Standard Certificate.
You can obtain a study guide for the PE OSAT. It describes the following test competencies that you will be expected to be thoroughly familiar with:
- Consumer, Community, and Environmental Health
- Health-Related Physical Fitness
- Healthy Growth, Development, and Relationships
- Motor Skills and Movement Activities
- Safe Living and Risk Reduction
- The Health and Physical Education Program
Step 3. Obtain a Criminal History Record Search
Both types of initial licenses—the Traditional and the Alternative—require that you show that you do not have a criminal record. You need to have your fingerprints taken and checked against databases maintained by the following agencies:
- The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation
One option is to get a laser scan of your fingerprints at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. You can have this done between 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. in Oklahoma City. Go to Room 212 on 2500 North Lincoln Boulevard and expect to pay a $59 processing fee.
Step 4. Apply for Your Oklahoma PE Teacher’s License
Traditional Path – You can obtain an application to apply for a Traditional Path certificate online. If you have questions, you can call 405-521-3337. You will need to include the following items along with your application:
- Official transcripts
- Proof of Teaching form
- $50 processing fee
Be sure to sign and date the application form. Then, mail it to the address above at zip code 73105-4599.
Alternative Placement Program – You must apply to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements to be admitted into the Alternative Placement Program. In addition, you will need to provide official transcripts from all of the colleges or universities that you have attended.
Alternative Standard Certificate – After you have completed the professional education requirements to upgrade to an Alternative Standard Certificate, you will need to apply for this upgrade. You must pay $50 and provide documentation of your professional education. Evidence of college coursework is submitted on an official transcript, while your school district will need to verify development hours.
Step 5. Meet the Requirements to Renew Your Oklahoma PE Teacher’s License
You must be in compliance with the income tax laws of Oklahoma to get your Traditional Path certificate renewed. If you are not, the Oklahoma Tax Commission will contact you. You can expect to pay $50 to renew a standard certificate. It will be valid for five years.
Phys Ed Teacher Salary in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has found that the median and average Oklahoma PE teacher salary is $39,690 and $42,790 respectively. Beginning salaries have been found to range between $20,470 and $31,530 depending on location and level of educational degree. Experienced PE teachers have been found to earn $54,920 in the top 25% and $66,650 in the top 10%, on average.
One of the most important ways to look at salary data is geographically. Below the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission provides PE teacher salary data by city and/or county:
Top 25%: $58,810
Top 10%: $73,000
Top 25%: $53,170
Top 10%: $63,380
Central Workforce Investment Area
(Logan, Canadian, Oklahoma, and Cleveland Counties)
Top 25%: $58,807
Top 10%: $73,005
Tulsa Workforce Investment Area
(Osage, Pawnee, Creek, and Tulsa Counties)
Top 25%: $53,190
Top 10%: $64,662
Additional information regarding the salaries of PE teachers in Oklahoma can be seen below: