Emergency Certification Guidance


Dear Administrators,

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.

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
  • The application is for an individual who has already held any emergency teaching certificate for two years.
    Pursuant to state administrative rules, there is a two year limit on an individual holding emergency certification.

Effective July 2019 – Pre-Kindergarten through Third Grade

Applications for an individual who will teach in the grade range of pre-kindergarten through third grade, and who does not have a relevant degree or relevant work experience, may be recommended for approval to the State Board, subject to the following:

  • The individual must complete OSDE offered or approved regional training on or before November 15, 2019. Information pertaining to the OSDE offered or approved regional training will be sent to the requesting school district and individual if and when the certificate has been approved and issued.
  • The individual must meet all other requirements for an emergency certificate (see above).
  • The emergency certificate will have an expiration date of December 31, 2019. If the approved regional training is completed by November 15, 2019, the certificate may be extended to June 30, 2020.

    Applicants for an emergency certificate of an individual who will teach after November 2019, and/or who will not be able to meet the November 2019 training requirement, will be required to appear at the State Board meeting to request the certificate. Both the applying school district and the individual certification is requested for must appear at the meeting.

Effective July 2020 (applies to emergency applications for the 2020-2021 school year regardless of application date) – Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade

An application for an individual who is requested for and will teach in the grade range of pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will not be considered for recommendation to the State Board unless the individual meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of an academic major in Early or Elementary Education, Child Development, or a closely related field
  • Successful completion of an academic minor in Early or Elementary Education, Child Development, or a closely related field, plus documentation of 6 months relevant full-time work or volunteer experience
  • Successful completion of a relevant Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT)
  • At least one year of closely related full-time work experience, such as:
    • Serving as a teacher, teacher assistant or paraprofessional in the same grade range in an accredited public or private school
    • Working closely with young children in a professional setting
    • For early childhood emergency certification applicants, licensed work experience in an early childcare setting such as Head Start
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Last updated on August 1, 2019