Educators in Oregon are required to have a valid teaching license. In order to obtain an Oregon teaching license, candidates must have a bachelor's degree and have gone through an accredited teacher preparation program. Often, the educator preparation program is taken alongside or as a part of a candidate's major in college. Candidates must then pass all of their required exams to obtain Oregon teacher certification. The Praxis Core is often a requirement of teacher preparation programs, however, the Praxis Subject Assessments are what are required for state licensure. The Praxis exams needed will be based on the subject that the candidate is hoping to teach. There are also ORELA Exams that may be required at the time a candidate is pursuing a license.
Once candidates have a valid Oregon teaching license, they are able to begin applying for employment within the Oregon School Districts. After employment has been achieved, candidates are able to start their career as an Oregon Educator.
Oregon Teaching Preparation Programs and Education Requirements
Oregon offers a variety of ways to become a teacher. Candidates will need to first decide which age range they would like to teach: elementary or secondary. The traditional path of an undergraduate to teacher certification would involve the candidate being accepted into a university that has an accredited teacher preparation program. Oregon has many universities that meet national and state accreditation requirements. The most common way to teach elementary education is through an undergraduate four-year degree program that is combined with a teacher preparation program. Elementary Education teachers will receive educational and developmentally appropriate classes in addition to a student teaching session. Those aspiring to teach middle or high school will need to decide which subject they would like to teach and major in that. Secondary education teachers in Oregon will major in the subject area they desire to teach, then pursue a master's degree in teaching to fulfill the teacher preparation program requirements of education classes and student teaching.
Alternative Oregon Teaching Certification
Educators looking to teach in the state do have alternative teaching routes if they don't currently have an Oregon teaching credential, bachelor's degree, or didn't go through an Oregon teacher preparation program. There are still ways to obtain a license! The three ways to obtain an alternative teaching license are through a Restricted Transitional License, Limited License, or a Three-Year Professional Technical License. The bullet points below will give an overview of each of these three licenses.
Restricted Transitional License: This is for those who already have an established career and are looking to leave their current field to become a teacher. This may be a Scientist who wishes to become a biology teacher, or a journalist looking to teach English. These candidates must possess a Bachelor's degree, and have a mentor in the school that they are employed through. This license is valid for three years, but is not allowed to be renewed.
Limited License: If candidate's only have an associate's degree, this is a great option for them. This license is for those who specialize in a certain area that doesn't have any official sort of endorsement, but is an area a school is wishing to add to their team (for example, a dance team or ROTC). This license is valid for three years and is renewable, but it is only allowed to be used in the specific district that the candidate was hired for.
Three-Year Professional Technical License: This license is for candidates who work in the industry and wish to teach, e.g., journeymen, technicians, or those in management, construction, childcare, and similar fields. This license requires candidates to have recent work history in various industry fields. There is also an exam given by an Instructor Appraisal Committee that candidates will need to pass. The license is valid for three years, but it can not be renewed. However, for those who have used up the three-year license and wish to complete further program requirements, they may be eligible to apply for a five year license option.
Oregon Praxis and Other Certification Exams
In order to become a certified teacher in Oregon, there are exams that candidates are required to take. The Praxis Exams are one such test; these exams cover specific content for different subjects. The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Exam is not required for a teaching license in Oregon. Some teacher preparation programs require candidates to take this exam early on in the program to ensure that they have the basic level of knowledge to continue on in the program. The Praxis Core has a reading, writing, and mathematics section. The Praxis test score requirements for reading, writing, and mathematics are 156, 162, and 150, respectively. These sections verify that the aspiring educator possess enough knowledge of core academic skills to pursue their desire to teach.
Oregon does require specific Praxis tests for teachers in order to be licensed in certain areas. This is often the case for middle and secondary teachers who will be teaching in one specific subject such as math or English. There are also Praxis exam requirements for special education, reading specialists, career and technical education, etc. The passing Praxis score for each specialized test varies. For example, a qualifying score for certification in Special Education for the Visually Impaired is 163, while a qualifying score for certification in Agriculture Science is 147. These specialized content Praxis exams exist to ensure the candidate striving for certification in a certain area is knowledgeable enough in that subject to teach students in Oregon.
How to Become a Teacher in Oregon From Out-of-State
In order to become a teacher in Oregon from out of state, candidates must obtain a license from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (TSPC). In order to apply for a license, candidates must have a degree, gone through an educator preparation program in a different state, and have passed all needed background checks. Candidates can not apply if they have had the same type of Oregon non-provisional license in the past.
If candidates meet all of these requirements, they are eligible for a reciprocal teaching license. The reciprocal teaching license is valid for one year. This license is intended for educators from out of state to be able to have a transition time into the Oregon schools while still being able to teach. During this one year, the Reciprocal Teacher is expected to accrue any missing requirements. This license allows the educator to teach full time or to be a substitute, without having to get a substitute teaching license. With a standard substitute teaching license Oregon educators can teach for three years before needing to renew their license.
Candidates may also be required to take an ORELA Exam. The Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment is usually a required ORELA Exam, but TSPC has temporarily suspended it until further notice.
Applying for Your Oregon Teaching Job
Once you have obtained your Oregon Teaching License, it is time to begin the application process. Before you officially begin, be sure of the following:
make sure that you have been fingerprinted and that the record is up to date
make sure that you have passed a background check
After your clearance has been approved, you can start applying. Oregon has a statewide teacher application. Some districts may require more information than what is on the statewide application, so keep that in mind when researching districts that are hiring. The statewide application is available to download for free online. Once you have sent the statewide application to a district, it remains active in that district for one year.
When filling out the application, candidates should be sure to answer the questions accurately and honestly. When the application asks to indicate preferences, be sure to do so. This is the candidate's opportunity to flaunt their skills. Candidates should check off any and all areas they are licensed to teach in and list any other experiences that may help them stand out among the crowd of other professionals. Having multiple licensed areas or experiences are some ways to stand out. Solid references are another way to distinguish a candidate. Having solid references that speak to the candidate's strengths from past experiences is a great way to make an outstanding first impression before the first interview.
Using Your Oregon Teaching License to Grow Your Career
Upon receiving a Preliminary Oregon Teaching License, educators are officially able to begin their careers as teachers. Once educators are hired at their first teaching job, they get to put their skills to use. A Preliminary license is for beginner teachers who have not yet had much experience in the classroom outside of student teaching. This is the time for new teachers to put the knowledge they learned in their teacher educator program to use. Candidates who gain experience in the classroom and advance in their competencies while having this license (valid for three years), will be able to apply for the next level of teacher licensing in Oregon.
Once educators have some experience under their belts, they can apply for a professional teaching license. This license is for experienced educators who have proved successful in the first few years of their teaching careers. Moving forward, educators may want to apply for a Teacher Leader license, which is only for candidates who have exemplified great levels of teacher leadership in their schools. Teachers can also see what endorsements they can add to their license. Leveling up your license, pursuing endorsements, and furthering education are all great paths to take to become a better teacher, and to potentially move up in the school's administration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you become a teacher in 2 years?
To become a teacher in Oregon, candidates typically will need a four year degree. However, Oregon does have several alternative licensing options for those with an associates degree or experience in a separate field.
Does Oregon accept an out of state teaching license?
Educators from out of state are able to apply for an Oregon Reciprocal Teaching License. This license allows teachers from out of state who have a bachelor's degree, have gone through a teacher preparation program, and have passed all necessary background checks a one year license to teach full-time. During this time, teachers are able to work while fulfilling any state specific requirements that Oregon has.
Does Oregon require the Praxis test?
Oregon does not require the Praxis Core Exam for teacher licensure. However, Praxis specific exams are required for teacher licensing for those teaching specific subjects in the middle or high school level. Oregon offers teacher certification tests through three companies: The Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA), Praxis through Educational Testing Service (ETS), and The Oral Proficiency Assessments (including OPI and OPIc) offered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
What are the requirements to become a teacher in Oregon?
To receive a traditional teaching license in Oregon, candidates must have a bachelor's degree, completed a teacher preparation program, and passed any necessary exams. Aspiring teachers must also pass a background check.