Tinker Living FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions by CAF families posted to Tinker AFB
Q: What is the time zone in Oklahoma?
A: Oklahoma is located in the Central Time Zone (CT) which is the same time zone for Canadian locations like Winnipeg and Regina.
Q: What is the climate like in Oklahoma?
A: Oklahoma lies in a temperate, humid, subtropical climate. Oklahoma City is relatively dry, 84 rainy days a year and sunny, the sun shines 69% of the time. The city is windy, ranking higher than Chicago, "The Windy City".
Winters are relatively mild with temperatures usually above freezing temperatures, however highly variable. One day may be 4 C (the average temperature in January) and the next day 21 C! There can be snow which usually doesn't last long, however freezing rain and ice storms are more common than snow storms.
Summers are hot and humid, it is 32 C (90 F) on 70 days a year and 38 C (100 F) on 10 or more days. Most subdivisions have a shared community pool which is a popular choice when not hiding indoors with air conditioning!
Fall is very pleasant with warm temperatures in the 80s to low 90s into mid-October.
Spring is the season with the most turmoil weather systems. Oklahoma City lies in a zone of frequent conflict between warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cold, dry air from Canada. This "dryline" often spawns strong to severe thunderstorms, large hail and tornadoes. Flash flooding can be a risk in the spring as well.
If you ask most Canadians living in Oklahoma, they quite enjoy the weather here, especially in comparison to the harsh Canadian winters.
Q: How often do tornados hit in OKC?
A: Tornado season is usually March to June, with April and May being the worst months. Oklahoma State has an average of 55 tornados each year, 15 of them are significant. For a table of tornadoes which have occured in the OKC area since 1890, please CLICK HERE .
Knowledge and preparation are the keys to staying safe with tornadoes. Storm shelters (tornado shelters) are common and advised for all Canadians residing in the area. They are usually located in the garage and are an underground bunker that holds your family and pets safely. Some homes have a closet tornado shelter. Oklahoma City has 182 tornado warning sirens located across different counties and are activated when the National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning. The weather is taken very seriously in OKC and is evident watching the local news and listening to local radio stations. Current weather alerts, watches and warnings are available from local weather apps downloaded onto your cell phone. Tornadoes can be predicted days in advance and staying up to date with the current forecast is important to avoid getting into a dangerous situation.
A few popular local OKC weather apps include:
KOCO Weather (KOCO5)
Please see below for a brief online presentation on local Tornado Preparedness
Q: Can spouses work while on an OUTCAN posting?
A: Yes. All Canadian dependents are required to have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the US. Once you receive your EAD, you can then get a Social Security Number and you will be eligible for US employment.
Q: What is the employment situation like for spouses in Oklahoma City?
There are numerous entry level jobs available throughout the city. Canadian training and certifications for various professionals are accepted locally. There are Canadian teachers and nurses employed here.
The wages are usually lower than the Canadian equivalent; minimum wage in OK is $7.25 US an hour. The bright side is the US taxes are lower.
Q: What are the schools like in Oklahoma City?
A: Oklahoma ranks 27 out of 51 public school systems in the USA (2015). There are numerous school districts within the city and reputations of the best districts change frequently with the growing subdivisions and new school construction. All public schools in every district are ranked and graded each year. Helpful websites to determine which school is best for your dependents:
Private School Review
Public School Review
OK State Department of Education
The curriculum is called Commom Core, for more information please CLICK HERE.
Most schools in Oklahoma start in August and end the last week of May.
French schooling and French Immersion programs are not available in Oklahoma. A few high schools offer French language courses. French language tutoring for school aged dependents is available through Children's Education Management (CEM). For further information, please CONTACT CEM.
Tutoring in the second official language
To help ensure that basic instruction in the second official language is provided to dependant students while abroad, 50 hours of second official language tutoring is provided per school year (except for children in junior kindergarten). Such requests must be approved by the employee’s FSD Client Advisor.
Catholic Schools are present in most districts and are considered private schools. For more information on private school funding eligibility, please CONTACT CEM . There are numerous other private schools in the OKC area, some are religion and non-religion based, which would be paid for by the family.
Buses can be limited at some schools in the city and are not a guarantee. It is important to take this into consideration especially if the spouse wants to work and will be responsible for school drop off and pick up. Some schools offer on site before and after school care.
High School populations are large. The smallest high school in Edmond, OK had 2127 students in grades 9-12 in 2016.
Some schools permit children to bring products containing peanuts to school, which might be an issue for children with nut allergies.
Some families find that after moving to the US, their children may be recommended for tutroring, especially in mathematics, due to major differences in the math curriculum between Canada and the USA. Funding requests for tutoring expenses can be made through Children's Education Management. For more information, please CONTACT CEM
Tutoring in subjects
Requests for tutoring in subjects where the educational level of the dependant is below that of the class or grade must be reviewed and approved by Working Group B. This type of tutoring may only be approved when the need for tutoring is attributable to Foreign Service and only during the first year at the new school. Tutoring which is required due to an academic deficiency is a parental responsibility. To submit a request for tutoring in subjects, employees must prepare a case and send it to their FSD Client Advisor.
Your child must be 4 years old by September 1 to attend the public prekindergarten program at local schools in Oklahoma. OUTCAN education standards are based on the Ontario Education System which offers full time junior kindergarten to children aged 3 years and 8 months, meaning that they will turn 4 before the end of the year. Dependent children who are denied enrollment in the public schools due to the age requirement, are eligible to private school funding through Children's Education Management. For more information, please CONTACT CEM.
There is a School Liaison Officer (SLO) who serves as the Tinker AFB point of contact for all military child education matters. The SLO develops and coordinators proactive partnerships between local schools (public, charter, and home schools) to provide information and referral to families with school-aged children. To contact the School Liaison Officer, please phone: 405-734-3683 or EMAIL.
Q: Are there opportunities for my family to interact in the French language and culture in Oklahoma City?
Yes, however it is very limited. The prevalence of French language is not even on the list of languages spoken in Oklahoma City. There is an organization in the city called Alliance Francaise d'Oklahoma City with a mission to teach, promote and advocate for French language programs and foster cultural and educational exchanges that develop community between Central Oklahoma and the French-speaking world. For more information on Alliance Francaise d'Oklahoma City, please CLICK HERE.
As previous stated above in schooling, French Schools and French Immersion Programs do not exist in Oklahoma City. French tutoring is available through Children's Education Management.
Q: What is the Childcare situation like in Oklahoma City?
A: Quality childcare centers are sometimes difficult to find in OKC. There are numerous facilities, however some of the standards fall below Canadian standards. Tinker AFB has 3 childcare centers, however they only offer fulltime childcare and often have a waiting list, especially for infants and babies. The childcare centers in the area with the best reputations often have up to a year waiting list, so it is advised to do your research early and get your name on a list before starting your job hunt.
The majority of schools offer onsite before and after school care and numerous childcare centers provide transportation to and from the school and the center for working parents.
There are also drop in childcare centers, Mom's day out programs at various churches, an updated babysitting list of local Canadian spouses and teenagers and interested locals found through Care.com. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Q: Do the members deploy frequently?
A: Tinker Air Force Base is a deployable unit. Deployments, excercises and training can take members away from their families. CAF members and their families should be prepared for the realities associated with work related absences.
Q: What are the housing options like in Oklahoma City?
A: All CAF members are encouraged to rent a house while posted OUTCAN and on base housing is NOT available at Tinker AFB. Rental availability and quality housing are not issues in the area, as there is plenty of new construction and subdivisions being built and developed. Many subdivisions are gated with a security coded gate at the entrance and a shared community swimming pool.
It is highly recommended to secure a rental house that has a tornado shelter. You can negotiate with your landlord to have one put in.
Q: What is the Healthcare system and process like in Oklahoma?
A: There is a Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) or base clinic on Tinker AFB. It is called the 72nd Medical Treatment Facility. The services are equivalent to a family practice clinic in Canada. There is a pharmacy, lab and other specialty clinics available, however due to short staffing issues; the majority of the specialty clinics are only available to active duty members. The base clinic does not provide prenatal care or deliver babies. Women have to find a profider off base, which is easy to do. All visits to the base clinic and prescriptions from the base pharmacy are free, through TRICARE insurance. There is no exchange of money or paperwork required.
Dependents can choose to see a medical provider in the community (off base) and then Allianz (Sun Life) Insurance is the primary insurer for all of these appointments, including referrals from a base physican. Billing and health care claims through Allianz can frustrating and time consuming. Education on the process is essential for your peace of mind and health care of you and your family. Although the claim process can be a nuisance at times, the health care in OKC is fantastic and there are numerous clinics, hospitals, specialists and doctors to choose from. Access and waiting times are almost non-existent.
Dental care is covered through Great West Life, just like in Canada. The only difference is that when OUTCAN, the claim process must be submitted through the mail, on paper.
Q: What are some of the major differences between Canada and Oklahoma?
A: Some of the major differences include:
- Authorized open and concealed carry of handguns by permit holders
- Talking on your cell phone while driving is allowed, texting is permitted at stop lights
- Strong military support and numerous military discounts
- Poisonous snakes, spiders and bugs
- Earthquakes (907 in 2015 with the majority being magnitude 3 or less)
- Hot temperatures
For more information on other Frequently Asked Questions, please check out
National FAQ Documents
: Employment, Healthcare, Having a Baby in the US, etc.