How to Become a Teacher in Oregon
This guide walks through how to become a teacher in Oregon, including the state's teaching license requirements.
Updated June 10, 2022
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Teachers educate young learners in more than 1,200 public K-12 schools in Portland's public school district and Oregon's rural districts. But how do you become a teacher in Oregon?
Oregon sets several requirements for public school teachers. Educators must hold a bachelor's degree, pass licensure examinations, and complete student teaching training. Many Oregon teachers complete an educator preparation program in the state. Others enroll in online colleges. Whether you earn your degree in Oregon or another state, Oregon offers pathways toward a teaching license.
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Ready to start your journey?
Our guide walks through how to become a teacher in Oregon, including the education, work experience, and examination requirements. It also provides data on in-demand teaching fields and average salaries for teaching in Oregon.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Oregon?
Like other states, teachers in Oregon public schools need a license or certificate issued by the state. The Oregon Department of Education manages the state's public education system. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission issues licenses. With a teaching certification, Oregon educators qualify for positions in public K-12 schools. Some private schools also require a license.
Oregon offers different levels of teaching certification. First-time applicants receive a preliminary teaching license. With experience, educators can upgrade to a professional teaching license. Prospective educators trained in Oregon or out-of-state can receive their teaching license. Oregon offers reciprocity for teachers licensed in other states.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
In Oregon, licensed educators must hold a bachelor's degree. Most teachers complete a bachelor's in education, which includes an educator preparation program. Teachers who major in another subject complete an alternative pathway to licensure.
During an education major, undergraduates take courses in pedagogy, assessment methods, and evidence-based teaching practices. Teaching majors also take coursework in their subject area. For example, math teachers complete college-level math classes, while social studies teachers take social sciences courses.
Oregon teachers also meet endorsement requirements during their undergraduate program. That includes a practicum in the teacher's subject area and a subject mastery test. The state's Department of Education approves multiple educator preparation programs. Applicants who completed an out-of-state teacher preparation program can also qualify for teaching certification in Oregon.
Gain Student Teaching Experience
Before receiving a preliminary teaching license, Oregon educators gain student teaching experience. Most meet this requirement during their undergraduate degree. For example, education majors complete student teaching hours at local public schools.
Oregon's practicum requirements include pedagogical training in the teacher's subject area and a supervised practicum at a public school. The state requires at least 60 hours of a supervised practicum in the subject area. The supervisor must be a teacher who holds a professional teaching license or higher with an endorsement in the subject area.
Pass Required Certification Tests
Candidates for teaching certification in Oregon also need to pass assessments based on their grade level and endorsements. The Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments website lists the test requirements for different areas. For example, elementary school teachers take two subtests that cover elementary education offered by the National Evaluation Series. Secondary teachers complete a subject-area examination to receive an endorsement.
Other teaching areas may require different examinations. For example, licensure in Latin and some career and technical education subjects requires passing scores on Praxis exams. And Oregon's bilingual and dual language specialization options require passing scores on Oral Proficiency Assessments.
Apply for Certification
Educators can apply for their license after meeting the educational, student teaching, and testing requirements.
Oregon educators must submit their completed applications online through eLicensing. The requirements include a completed application, official transcripts showing all degrees earned, and a program completion report. Teachers licensed in another state provide a copy of their out-of-state license. Candidates also provide scores for their subject matter tests to add endorsement areas to their license.
When educators submit their applications, the Department of Education conducts a background and fingerprint check. Applicants who meet these requirements receive their preliminary teaching license, which remains valid for three years.
How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Oregon?
Oregon teaching licenses expire after a set time. Teachers must complete a renewal process to maintain a valid license.
Initially, teachers receive a preliminary teaching license. This license remains valid for three years. Educators must complete 75 professional development units by the end of the three years to renew their license.
Educators can also apply for a professional teaching license. This license recognizes experienced teachers who meet advanced requirements. Candidates for the professional teaching license must meet two requirements. First, they must teach for a minimum of four full years or the equivalent. Second, they must complete an advanced professional development program. These include a graduate degree in education or national board certification.
Professional teaching licenses remain valid for five years. Educators must complete 125 professional development units to renew this license.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Oregon
Oregon educators benefit from a strong career outlook. The state employs educators in multiple teaching careers and related education careers. And teaching in Oregon pays off.
Oregon teachers earn salaries above the national average. While high school teachers across the U.S. reported a median pay of $63,870 in May 2020, Oregon high school teachers earned a higher salary of $73,510. And while elementary school teachers earn a median salary of $60,660 nationally, Oregon elementary school teachers make a median salary of $71,420.
Educators can increase their earning potential with a master's in education. During a master's program, teachers strengthen their pedagogical and leadership skills. A master's degree also helps teachers move into administrative roles. Current teachers considering going to graduate school can enroll in online programs designed around the schedule of working educators.
In-Demand Teaching Careers in Oregon
Special education teachers teach students with disabilities. They may specialize in a particular grade level or disability category, such as hearing impairments, visual impairments, or autism spectrum disorders. Special education teachers create individualized education programs for their students and work closely with parents and staff to help learners meet their goals. Oregon reported a statewide shortage of special education teachers at the K-12 level for the 2021-22 school year.
Median Annual Salary: $61,500
Mathematics teachers educate students in concepts like numerical literacy, algebra, statistics, and calculus. Most math teachers work at the secondary level, where they need a math endorsement on their Oregon teaching license. Oregon reported a state-wide shortage of math teachers at the high school level for the 2021-22 academic year.
Median Annual Salary: $51,500
English as a Second Language
English as a second language teachers, also called English language learner teachers, work with students who speak a non-English primary language at home. They educate students in basic English while also teaching subject material. Oregon reported a state-wide shortage of English as a second language teachers at the K-12 level for the 2021-22 year.
Median Annual Salary: $46,410
Science teachers typically work at the secondary level, where they teach subjects like earth science, biology, chemistry, and general science. In Oregon, science teachers can add an endorsement to their license to teach science. Oregon reported a state-wide shortage of science teachers at the middle school and high school level for the 2021-22 year.
Median Annual Salary: $48,760
World language teachers instruct Oregon students in multiple languages. They teach basic grammar and literacy concepts at lower grade levels and advanced language at upper-grade levels. Oregon reported a state-wide shortage of Spanish-language teachers at preK-12 level for the 2021-22 year.
Median Annual Salary: $50,890
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Oregon
How do I get teaching certification in Oregon?
Oregon educators must meet several requirements to receive a teaching license. First, they need a bachelor's degree. Oregon also requires licensed teachers to complete an educator preparation program. These programs must include student teaching experience under a licensed educator. Finally, candidates for a teaching license need to pass assessment tests.
Oregon mandates different tests based on the educator's teaching fields. Educators add endorsements to their license with passing test scores. Oregon offers a preliminary teaching license and a professional teaching license. Educators need at least four years of full-time teaching experience to qualify for a professional license.
Can I teach in Oregon without certification?
Oregon has more than 1,200 public schools. Teachers at these K-12 schools need a license issued by the state. Without a teaching license, educators may qualify for positions at private schools.
However, public school teachers earn higher salaries than private school teachers. For example, high school teachers at public schools report a median pay of $63,400 nationally, while those at private schools earn $58,550. Public schools also employ many more teachers. Nationally, 82% of high school teachers work in public schools, while only 14% work at private schools. As a result, prospective educators considering how to become a teacher in Oregon should consider earning a teaching license.
How long does it take to become a teacher in Oregon?
It takes at least four years to become a teacher in Oregon. That's because Oregon teachers must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for teaching jobs. Oregon, like other states, sets educational requirements for public school teachers.
In addition to holding a bachelor's degree, which typically takes four years, candidates must complete an educator preparation program. Most teachers meet this requirement by majoring in education or teaching. During an educator preparation program, undergraduates complete student teaching experience. After meeting these requirements, graduates pass licensure examinations and apply for a preliminary teaching license.
What can I do with teaching certification in Oregon?
Educators with a teaching certification in Oregon qualify for jobs at the state's public K-12 schools. Public schools employ most teachers -- at the high school level 82% of teachers work in public schools, and only 14% work at private schools.
With a preliminary teaching license, Oregon educators can work at public elementary, middle, and high schools. The preliminary license remains valid for three years. Educators can renew the license or upgrade to a professional license, which remains valid for five years. Teachers licensed in other states can apply for a reciprocal license in Oregon.
How do I become a substitute teacher in Oregon?
Oregon substitute teachers apply for a license from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. Substitute teachers must hold a bachelor's degree. Those who complete a teacher preparation program qualify for a three-year substitute teaching license that qualifies them to teach in preK-12 schools.
Oregon also offers a restricted substitute teaching license for educators with a bachelor's degree who have not completed a teacher preparation program. These licenses require employer sponsorship. During the 2021-22 academic year, Oregon offered an emergency substitute teacher license for people without a bachelor's degree. The emergency license also requires employer sponsorship.
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