We study synchronization in populations of phase-coupled stochastic three-state oscillators characterized by a distribution of transition rates. We present results on an exactly solvable dimer as well as a systematic characterization of globally connected arrays of N types of oscillators (N=2,3,4) by exploring the linear stability of the nonsynchronous fixed point. We also provide results for globally coupled arrays where the transition rate of each unit is drawn from a uniform distribution of finite width. Even in the presence of transition rate disorder, numerical and analytical results point to a single phase transition to macroscopic synchrony at a critical value of the coupling strength. Numerical simulations make possible further characterization of the synchronized arrays. © 2007 The American Physical Society.