Emergency Certification Guidance

In an effort to provide clarification and additional information to school districts about emergency certification, including current requirements in applicable state and federal laws and regulations, as well as the process moving forward, the Oklahoma State Department (OSDE) is providing this Emergency Certification Guidance. This guidance is intended to be general in nature, but should you have any questions or want to further discuss this information, please contact the Office of Certification at (405) 521-3337.

Oklahoma law, at 70 O.S. § 6-187(F) provides that the State Board of Education may issue an emergency certificate, as needed. Provided, however, prior to the issuance of an emergency certificate, the district shall document substantial efforts to employ a teacher who holds a current non-emergency certificate. In the event a district is unable to hire an individual meeting this criteria, the district shall document efforts to employ an individual with a non-emergency certificate in another curricular area with academic preparation in the field of need. Only after these alternatives have been exhausted shall the district be allowed to employ an individual meeting minimum standards as established by the State Board of Education for the issuance of emergency certificates.

As a reminder, to be considered for recommendation to the State Board of Education (State Board), a completed application and all required supporting documentation must be submitted to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) Office of Certification at least two weeks (14 calendar days) prior to the next scheduled State Board of Education meeting. 

If a background check is required, the applicant must have a cleared certification background check on file at the OSDE at least 7 days prior to that month's State Board of Education meeting to be placed on that month's agenda.

An application for Emergency Certification will not be considered for recommendation to the State Board of Education if any of the following apply:

  • The application is for an individual who will teach special education.
    Federal law prohibits the emergency certification of special education teachers.
  • The application is incomplete. The OSDE will not consider or review documentation that may be part of an application until a complete application has been submitted by the requesting district. To be complete, an application must include:
    • The Application for Emergency Certificate, completed in full on Single Sign-On
    • A completed and clear certification criminal history check on the individual the emergency certification is requested for, if the individual has not been certified in Oklahoma within a year of the emergency application. (This item must be received at least 7 calendar days prior to the next scheduled State Board of Education meeting.)
    • Documentation that the district has made substantial efforts to employ a teacher who holds a standard teaching certificate, as required by law
    • The transcripts (all post-secondary) and most recent resume of the individual certification is applied for, uploaded on Single Sign-On
    • The fee for an Emergency Certificate ($50), remitted to the Office of Certification through Single Sign-On
    • For Early Childhood and Elementary requests, the specific grade(s) to be taught by the prospective emergency certified teacher must be identified


NOTICE:  Requests for new emergency certificates in the PK-3rd grade range will be required to complete an OSDE administered or approved training.  Please contact our office with questions


DETAILS: Senate Bill 1115, effective November 2020, allows for a district to submit an emergency certificate request for those already issued at least two prior emergency certificates, provided:

**All 3rd emergency requests and beyond require a $50 fee and should be entered as a NEW request**

  • The individual has been granted an emergency or provisional certificate for two years;
  • The individual has not successfully completed the required competency examinations;
  • The individual submits a portfolio of work to the Board, which includes evidence of progress toward standard certification during each preceding school year; this may include exams passed or taken OR college credit courses taken in teacher education, related to the assigned certification pathway.
  • The employing school district board of education agrees to renew the individual’s contract to teach for the ensuing fiscal year; and
  • The superintendent of the employing school district submits the reason the emergency or provisional certificate should be renewed and provides evidence of the district’s inability to hire a teacher holding a standard certificate.

ATTENTION: Check the emergency portal for unread messages detailing missing documentation/information, keeping your candidate from making the State Board Meeting agenda.  Due to the current volume of applications, emails, phone calls, etc., the Teacher Certification Section does not have the capacity to contact districts about incomplete application packets.  It is the responsibility of the requesting district to ensure all documentation is received by the OSDE and their applicant/s are on the State Board Agenda.


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Last updated on March 1, 2024