If you want to work as an Oregon certified teacher, you have many educational and licensing options before you. Understanding these options is the first step toward obtaining your teaching certification in Oregon, a credential that opens the door to many employment opportunities.
Two educational routes exist for becoming an Oregon-certified teacher. In many Oregon colleges, an undergraduate teacher preparation program is offered. In other institutions, you may be able to find graduate-level teacher instruction programs.
An undergraduate teacher preparation program is a common choice if you would like to teach at an early education or elementary school level. If you are hoping to teach middle school or high school students, then you may be required to enter a program that provides teacher preparation along with a second major in a content area like English, history, or mathematics.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, then you may enroll in a graduate-level teacher preparation program. In Oregon, these programs require one year of attendance, and they are most frequently presented in a cohort format where all students enter the program and proceed through it as a group.
If getting a teaching certification in Oregon is your dream, then you must also pass three tests. The first of these is a civil rights exam that measures your understanding of the role of civil rights in the educational environment. Next, you must pass a Basic Skills Exam, most commonly the Essential Academic Skills Exam administered by Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). This test covers fundamental reading, writing, and mathematical ability. Lastly, you must complete at least one subject matter exam in a content area of your choice. Currently, most of these tests are administered by ORELA, although some subject matter areas are still being tested using the PRAXIS II testing series.
All candidates for teaching positions in Oregon must also submit fingerprints and be able to pass a criminal background check.
Most first-time teachers in Oregon are issued an Initial I Teaching License that shows authorization to teach certain grade levels and relevant subject endorsements. This license may be renewed up to two times for three-year periods. With continued experience and education requirements, you may then apply for an Initial II Teaching License, also renewable for three-year periods. This license can be renewed repeatedly as long as the candidate continues to work on a professional development plan. Some teachers in Oregon move on to the Continual Teaching License, which designates their advanced educational achievements. This license must be renewed every five years.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Oregon for the 2015-2016 school year:
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Oregon participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all of the requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.