There are more than 2,600 emergency certified teachers approved to work in Oklahoma public school classrooms across the state, according to state data. The state Board of Education has approved 2,673 emergency teaching certificates for the current school year — 390 in June and 2,283 since July 1. 

Emergency certified educators are required to have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. 

Most applicants already have a teaching certificate in another subject area — say an early childhood educator teaching physical education. But many of these teachers have no formal training in teaching, like someone with a degree in accounting teaching math or someone with a business degree teaching English.

Emergency certificates can be renewed beyond two years if the teacher shows the state they are working toward certification and their district agrees to renew their contract.

Schools cannot use emergency certified teachers to fill special education positions. 

The 2,673 approved so far for this school year surpasses the August totals for any other year, according to data compiled by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. A record number of emergency certificates were approved in 2019-20; that year, there were 2,319 by August.

Emergency Certified Teachers

The 2,673 emergency teachers approved so far for this school year surpasses the August totals for every other year, according to data compiled by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. A record number of emergency certificates were approved in 2019-20. However, that that year there were 2,319 by August.
School YearEmergency Teaching Certificates
2011-1232
2012-1397
2013-14189
2014-15505
2015-161,063
2016-171,160
2017-181,975
2018-193,038
2019-203,321
2020-212,801
2021-22*2,673

Jennifer Palmer has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2016 and covers education. Contact her at (405) 761-0093 or jpalmer@oklahomawatch.org. Follow her on Twitter @jpalmerOKC

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