OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, announced this week that the National Compact Commission has completed work on the Interstate Teaching Mobility Compact (ITMC) to improve licensure portability for educators. The project, funded by the Department of Defense, is a cooperative agreement with the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) to allow states to work with CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts to develop model interstate occupational licensure compact legislation.
Interstate compacts are constitutionally authorized, legislatively enacted, legally binding agreements among states. The ITMC will allow teachers to use an eligible license held in a compact member state to be granted an equivalent license in another compact member state. While Oklahoma already recognizes valid out-of-state teaching certificates thanks to Senate Bill 1125 passed in 2020 by Pugh, he plans to file additional legislation next session to make Oklahoma the first state nationwide to utilize the new ITMC.
“This compact will create reciprocity among participant states and reduce the barriers to license portability and employment nationwide. Oklahoma has been a national leader in universal and reciprocal licensing and certification, and now other states will be able to follow our lead,” Pugh said. “Having this interstate compact for teachers will attract more of these outstanding professionals to our classrooms, helping close the gap on our ongoing teacher shortage.”
Once Oklahoma approves the compact, out-of-state teachers can apply to teach within the state and the Department of Education will be able to use the compact information system to confirm the individual’s eligibility to teach in the state. A teacher with a valid, unencumbered license is eligible to use the compact if they hold a bachelor’s degree; have completed all requirements of a state-approved program for teacher licensure; and undergo a criminal background check. They must not have any pending disciplinary proceedings that would prevent licensure in Oklahoma. After completing a background check, the teacher would be granted the closest equivalent license and would then be able to teach immediately without completing any other state specific requirements except as a condition of later license renewal. The compact does allow some exceptions to these requirements in the case of Career and Technical Education teachers and licensed teachers who are eligible military spouses.
The commission also approved compacts for social work, cosmetology, massage therapy, and dentistry/dental hygiene. There are currently close to a dozen other professions with interstate compacts, including nursing and advanced practice nursing; emergency medical service officials; physical therapists; psychology; audiology and speech-language pathology; occupational therapy; and counseling. Pugh also pointed out that driver licenses are technically also interstate compacts.
“I’m proud of the work our commission put into helping support these industries and America’s workers. We must do all we can to get rid of bureaucratic red tape for professionals,” Pugh said. “We’re hopeful all 50 states will take advantage of the teaching compact as well as the others we developed in additional key fields.”
For more information, contact: Sen. Pugh: (405) 521-5622 or Adam.Pugh@oksenate.gov