Emergency certification

Emergency certification is a process for Oklahoma school districts to fill a position when there is no candidate available who meets the state’s certification requirements. To be approved for emergency certification, a district must go through an application process proving that exhaustive efforts to fill the position with a certified teacher have been unsuccessful. All applications must be approved by the State Department of Education. The certificates allow individuals to be employed as teachers for up to two years before they complete the education or training requirements for regular or alternative certification. 

The State Department of Education issued just 32 emergency certifications in 2011-21; by 2018-19, that number had soared to over 3,000 as the state struggled to recruit and retain qualified teachers. A new record was again set in 2022-23, with over 4,100 emergency certifications issued by the State Department of Education.