Oklahoma Teacher/Educator License Defense

More than 650,000 students are enrolled in Oklahoma's 1,720 public schools across 512 school districts. Over 41,000 teachers serve these students. Thousands more teachers work in Oklahoma's 25 colleges and universities. Educators provide a valuable service to students, whether they are in elementary school, high school, technical school, college, or graduate school. Teachers work hard to earn their credentials. Requirements for licensure take years to complete and include specialized education programs, exams, and in-classroom training.  

Unfortunately, one complaint made to the Oklahoma Board of Education can put into question a professional educator's license, career, and reputation they worked hard to build through the years. This is a fight no educator should take on alone. If you're an educator in Oklahoma facing allegations of professional misconduct, you need a strong team beside you, guiding you through the Board's disciplinary process and ensuring your rights are protected.  

If your Oklahoma teaching license or certification is in jeopardy due to a complaint, you must vigorously defend yourself and your future. You need the nationwide Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. Contact us today at 888-535-3686 or through our online form, and let us fight for you.  

Certification/Licensure Process for Educators in Oklahoma 

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is the state office charged with determining the policy and directing the administration and supervision of the public school system. The Oklahoma State Board of Education is the governing body of the public school system. The Department of Education's Office of Teacher Certification ensures that educators in the state are properly credentialed and provides technical assistance to school districts, teachers, and college administrators regarding certifications.  

The Oklahoma State Board of Education offers four different paths to certification: traditional, alternative, other non-traditional paths, and emergency certification. The traditional path requires teacher candidates to do the following:  

  • hold an education degree from an accredited institution of higher learning,  
  • successfully complete a teacher education program approved by the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (OEQA),  
  • meet all the requirements established by the Oklahoma Board of Education,  
  • successfully pass the three required competency exams,  
  • have a current clear Oklahoma criminal history record search from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on file with the Oklahoma State Board of Education 
  • have submitted an application to Teacher Certification with the appropriate processing fee.  

Teachers who hold a full out-of-state certificate and meet the Oklahoma State Board of Education standards can also be certified to teach in Oklahoma.  

Oklahoma also offers alternative paths to certification for aspiring teachers with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in any area who did not complete a state-approved teacher educator program. The department also offers other non-traditional paths for educators to obtain certification in the state with ABCTE (American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence), Teach for America, Special Education Micro-credential, and Special Education Non-Traditional. Emergency certifications can only be requested by a school district administrator and must be approved by the State Board.  

Types of Teaching Licenses in Oklahoma 

Here's an overview of some of the common types of teaching certificates that are available in Oklahoma: 

Standard Teaching License: This is the most common type of teaching certificate in Oklahoma. To obtain a standard certificate, educators typically need to complete a bachelor's degree and an approved teacher preparation program and pass the required exams, such as the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET) and the Oklahoma Subject Area Test (OSAT) for their chosen subject area. 

Alternative License: Oklahoma offers alternative pathways to certification for individuals who have a bachelor's degree but have not completed a traditional teacher preparation program. Alternative certification programs allow candidates to become certified teachers while working in the classroom. These programs may have additional requirements and coursework. 

Emergency License: In some cases, the OSDE may issue emergency certificates to individuals who have not met all the standard certification requirements but are needed to fill teaching positions, especially in areas with teacher shortages. Emergency certificates are typically temporary and require the holder to work toward meeting standard certification requirements. 

Career and Technical License: Oklahoma offers Career and Technical (CTE) educator certification for individuals interested in teaching in career and technical education programs. These programs often have specific requirements related to the subject area and work experience in the field. 

Special Education License: Educators interested in teaching special education may need additional certifications or endorsements, depending on the specific area of special education they wish to teach, such as Mild/Moderate Disabilities or Severe/Profound Disabilities. 

Temporary Teaching License: Temporary certificates are sometimes issued for substitute teachers or individuals who are in the process of meeting standard certification requirements. 

Administrative and Leadership Licenses: For those interested in school administration, Oklahoma offers administrative certificates for principals, superintendents, and other school leadership positions. These typically require additional coursework and experience. 

Other Endorsements and Certifications: Oklahoma also offers various endorsements and certifications for teaching in specific areas or grade levels, such as early childhood education, middle-level education, or teaching English as a second language (ESL). 

Grounds for Sanctions Against Teachers/Educators in Oklahoma 

The OSDE charges the Oklahoma State Board of Education with disciplining educators when someone files a complaint of professional wrongdoing against them. All teachers and educators in Oklahoma are expected to adhere to professional standards and ethical conduct in their roles as educators. Failure to meet these standards can lead to sanctions or disciplinary actions. The grounds for sanctions against teachers and educators in Oklahoma may include the following: 

Incompetence or Ineffectiveness: Teachers and educators must provide quality instruction and meet the educational needs of their students. If an educator is consistently ineffective in their teaching or fails to demonstrate competence in their subject area, it can be grounds for sanctions. 

Neglect of Duty: Neglecting one's professional duties, such as failing to prepare lesson plans, not attending classes regularly, or not fulfilling administrative responsibilities, can lead to disciplinary action. 

Unprofessional Conduct: Unprofessional conduct encompasses various behaviors that are inconsistent with the standards of the teaching profession. This may include engaging in inappropriate relationships with students, using inappropriate language or behavior in the classroom, or exhibiting conduct that undermines the educational environment. 

Criminal Activity: Conviction of certain crimes, especially those involving children, can result in sanctions or revocation of an educator's license. These crimes may include child abuse, sexual misconduct, drug offenses, or any felony. 

Substance Abuse: Substance abuse issues that affect an educator's ability to perform their duties or that pose a risk to students' safety can lead to sanctions. 

Falsification of Documents: Providing false information on employment applications, resumes, or other official documents can result in disciplinary action. 

Failure to Maintain Certification: Educators are typically required to maintain their teaching certification through professional development and continuing education. Failure to do so can result in sanctions. 

Ethical Violations: Violations of the Oklahoma Code of Ethics for Educators, which outlines the ethical standards expected of educators, can lead to disciplinary action. This includes behaviors such as plagiarism, cheating, and unethical conduct in professional relationships. 

Violations of State or Federal Laws: Any violations of state or federal laws that impact an educator's fitness to teach, including laws related to child welfare and education, can result in sanctions. 

Failure to Report Abuse or Neglect: Oklahoma law requires educators to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Failure to fulfill this duty can lead to sanctions. 

Lack of Moral Character: Demonstrated lack of moral character, which may include actions inconsistent with the expectations of a role model for students, can be grounds for disciplinary action. 

Non-Compliance with Special Education Laws: Failure to adhere to federal and state special education laws and regulations can result in sanctions, particularly if it adversely affects students with disabilities. 

Adjudication Process for Teachers/Educators Facing Licensing Issues in Oklahoma 

The adjudication process for teachers and educators facing licensing issues in Oklahoma typically follows a set of steps designed to ensure due process and fairness. When someone calls an educator's conduct or qualifications into question, the Oklahoma State Board of Education initiates a process that may include investigations, hearings, and possible sanctions. Here is an overview of the adjudication process for educators facing licensing issues in Oklahoma: 

Complaint or Allegation 

The process often begins with a complaint or allegation made against an educator. This complaint can come from various sources, including parents, students, colleagues, or administrators. The complaint may relate to misconduct, ethical violations, incompetence, or other issues that could affect an educator's licensure. 


The Board of Education may investigate to gather information and evidence related to the complaint. This may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, and collecting relevant information. The investigation aims to determine whether sufficient evidence supports the allegations. 


If the Board of Education determines that there is a valid complaint that merits further action, the educator will be notified of the allegations against them. They will receive a formal notice outlining the specific charges and the basis for those charges. 


The educator has the opportunity to respond to the allegations. They can submit a written response to the Board of Education, presenting their side of the story, providing evidence, and addressing the charges made against them. 

Hearing Request 

In some cases, the educator may request a hearing before the Board of Education. This request must be made within a specified timeframe. A hearing provides the educator with an opportunity to present their case, cross-examine witnesses, and have legal representation. 

Pre-Hearing Conference 

Prior to the hearing, there may be a pre-hearing conference where both parties (the educator and the OSDE) discuss the case, exchange evidence, and address procedural matters. 


The hearing itself is conducted by the Oklahoma State Board of Education or an administrative law judge. During the hearing, both sides present their evidence, call witnesses, and make arguments. The hearing is typically open to the public. 

Board Decision 

After the hearing, the Board of Education reviews the evidence and makes a decision regarding the educator's licensing status. This decision can include sanctions, such as suspension or revocation of the teaching license, or it may result in no action being taken if the allegations are not substantiated. 


If the educator is dissatisfied with the board's decision, they may have the right to appeal the decision through the courts, seeking a judicial review of the process and outcome. 

What Types of Sanctions Do Oklahoma Teachers Face? 

The Oklahoma State Board of Education has the authority to impose a range of sanctions on educators in Oklahoma who are found in violation of standards or guilty of professional misconduct. The specific sections or sanctions that the Board of Education may impose can vary depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Here are some of the actions or sanctions that the Board may take: 

Revocation of Licensure: The Board can revoke an educator's teaching certification, which means the individual is no longer authorized to teach in Oklahoma. 

Suspension of License: The Board may suspend a teacher's certification for a specific period during which they are not allowed to teach. 

Probation: The Board may place educators on probation, during which they are allowed to continue teaching but are subject to certain conditions, such as additional training or supervision. 

Other sanctions educators may face include: 

  • Reprimand 
  • Fines 
  • Additional training or education 
  • Ethics training 
  • Regular monitoring 
  • Restitution 
  • Denial of certification or license 

The specific sections or sanctions imposed by the Oklahoma State Board of Education will depend on the facts of the case, the severity of the violation, and the potential for rehabilitation or remediation. Educators who are subject to the Board's actions typically have the opportunity to appeal these decisions or seek legal counsel to navigate the process.  

How Can a Professional License Defense Lawyer Help Me if I'm Facing Disciplinary Action? 

A professional license defense lawyer can provide valuable assistance if you are facing disciplinary action regarding your professional license, including teaching certifications, as in the case of educators in Oklahoma. License defense lawyers are experienced in the specific laws, regulations, and procedures governing your profession and licensure. They can provide you with a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities and guide you through the complex legal process. 

A lawyer will review the details of your case to assess the strength of the allegations against you and identify potential defenses. They will help you understand the potential outcomes and consequences of the disciplinary action you are facing. Your attorney will ensure that your due process rights are upheld throughout the disciplinary proceedings. They will help protect you from unfair treatment or violations of your legal rights. 

A professional license defense lawyer will develop a strategic plan for your defense. This plan may include gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and crafting persuasive arguments to support your case. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the licensing board or regulatory agency to reach a favorable resolution, such as a reduced penalty or a settlement agreement. 

If your case proceeds to a formal hearing or administrative proceeding, your lawyer will represent you effectively, presenting your case, cross-examining witnesses, and making legal arguments on your behalf. If you receive an adverse decision, your attorney can help you file appeals and navigate the appeals process, seeking to overturn or modify the decision. 

Why You Need an Oklahoma Teacher/Educator License Defense Attorney from the Lento Law Firm 

If someone made an accusation against you and put your Oklahoma professional teaching license in jeopardy, you must act immediately to save your license, career, and reputation. You need the Professional License Defense Team from Lento Law Firm on your side. Our lawyers have worked with teachers like you in Oklahoma and across the nation. We know how to build a strong defense in your case, and we're ready to fight for you. Contact the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team today at (888) 535-3686 or use our online form to discuss your case. 


Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues nationwide.
The Lento Law Firm will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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