How to Become a Teacher in Oregon

Becoming a certified teacher in Oregon is a great choice for anybody with the education and experience it takes to get started in this profession. Year after year, teachers have the power to positively impact the future, one student at a time.

The following steps will help you become a teacher in the great state of Oregon.

Choose What You Want to Teach

One of the most important decisions you must make is deciding on the area you want to teach. Do you have a specialty in a specific area of education? For example, do you have a passion for language arts or physical education? If so, you should consider teaching high school or middle school. If you prefer to work with younger students on a variety of fundamental subjects, you can consider teaching elementary school. Some requirements vary depending on the area you decide to teach.

Complete Your Bachelor's in Education Requirements for a Teaching Certificate in Oregon

In order to become a certified teacher in Oregon, the state Department of Education requires you to hold a bachelor's degree at minimum from an accredited college or university. In addition, you will need to complete a teacher preparation program that is approved by the state board. You will want to select a program that offers the content area focus that you plan to become certified in

If you do not have a bachelor's in education yet, you will most likely be able to take part in a joint program. A joint program basically blends together all the coursework you need for a bachelor's degree as well as a teacher preparation program.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

In order to receive traditional teaching licensure in the state of Oregon, you must complete an accredited teacher preparation program. As long as the program is accredited, the teacher preparation programs can be completed online or on-site.

Teacher preparation programs typically consist of two main elements: college coursework and fieldwork. Your college courses will cover topics such as subject-based teaching methods, differentiated instruction strategies, integration of technology, and more. The fieldwork aspect of the program usually includes classroom observations, student teaching under the guidance of a licensed teacher, and/or internships. Student teachers have the opportunity to lead a real classroom under the supervision of a master teacher. During your time as a student teacher, you will prepare lessons, implement those lessons, monitor classroom discipline, grade assignments, and often communicate with parents. Each of the above mentioned areas must be mastered in order to successfully complete a teacher preparation program.

As mentioned earlier, if you do not yet have a bachelor's degree, there is a great possibility that you can blend together your bachelor's degree and teacher preparation requirements.

If you find that you already possess a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, you can still complete a post-baccalaureate or alternative teacher preparation program. This route will still eventually lead to a teaching license in the state of Oregon. Many colleges and universities even offer joint master's degree programs.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Oregon

There are three types of alternative licenses in Oregon if the traditional routes do not apply to you.

Restricted Transitional Teaching License

The Restricted Transitional Teaching License is for individuals who are making a mid-career change. For example, this license can be issued to individuals who are attorneys wishing to become Social Studies teachers or engineers who wish to become mathematics or science teachers. For this route, applicants must have a bachelor's degree and expertise in the subject-matter they wish to teach. In addition, a school district must sponsor you and provide a mentor. While teaching, the individual must enroll in a teacher preparation program before the expiration of the first year of the license.

Limited Teaching License

The Limited Teaching License is for individuals who have special expertise in a subject area which is usually a subset of a larger endorsement area. This type of limited license is often issued in areas such as choir, drawing, jazz, swimming, etc. For this limited license, applicants must have at least an associate's degree and a mentor from a school district.

Career & Technical Education I Teaching License

The Career & Technical Education I Teaching License allows individuals from an industry to instruct in an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) - approved career and technical education program. Individuals who apply for this license have to pass an exam by an Instructor Appraisal Committee. In addition, individuals must have sufficient industry experience and an associate's degree at a minimum. Some waivers for work experience or degree may be available to you with approval by the ODE.

Pass the Required Tests for Oregon

There are tests that teaching candidates in Oregon must pass before becoming credentialed to teach, a Civil Rights Exam, a Basic Skills Exam, and a Subject Mastery Exam.

ORELA / PRAXIS/ Basic Skills

The Basic Skills Exam is a test that assesses your understanding in basic reading, writing, and mathematics. It is normally fulfilled by passing one of the following tests: (1) ORELA: Essential Academic Skills (EAS) Exam; or (2) Praxis: Core Academic Skills for Educators; Reading (5712), Writing (5722), and Mathematics (5732).

ORELA / PRAXIS /Subject Test

The Subject Matter Exam must be passed in the area specific to your license or endorsement. This requirement is usually fulfilled by passing the ORELA exam in your area.

Before you take any test, it is important that you check to be sure that you are taking the correct test with the appropriate testing company. You can ask a school or program advisor in order to find out specific requirements for your licensure area.

Sponsored Content

Apply for your Oregon Teaching License

Application Requirements

When applying for your Initial Teaching License to teach in Oregon, you will need to submit the following:

  • Application for Educator License or Registration, Form C-1
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Fingerprint Card & Fingerprint Handler Sheet sealed together by the authorized person who completes your prints
  • Fingerprint processing fee
  • Documentation to support your application, including official college transcripts that show proof of a Bachelor's Degree and a completed teacher education program
  • If applicable, copies of any teaching certificates you may have
  • Passing test scores

Contact Information

Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
250 Division St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-1012

Oregon Department of Education
255 Capitol Street
NE Salem, OR 97310-0203
Phone: (503) 947-5600

Find a Teaching Job in Oregon

"The Oregon Department of Education fosters excellence for every learner through innovation, collaboration, leadership, and service". With that said, after completing the above steps, you will be ready to put your best practice forward and begin your career as a teacher in Oregon!

Oregon Public Schools

Like much of the rest of the country, Oregon has a high need for teachers who are qualified to instruct students in math, foreign languages, sciences, and special education. Teaching jobs are posted online through the state Department of Education's Human Resources portal. Interested applicants can apply electronically.

Labor Unions

Once hired, teachers typically join a teacher's labor union in order to lend their individual voice to legal, political, and professional decisions made at a district, state, and national level. In Oregon, teachers may join the Oregon Education Association (OEA) or the Oregon State Education Association (NEA).

Retirement Benefits

Finally, teachers who are public employees have mandatory contributions throughout their career to the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP). Upon retirement, the OPSRP grants a monthly annuity, commonly called a pension, to retirees or their surviving spouses.

Oregon Private Schools

Applicants looking outside the state's public education system are encouraged to apply to any of the 502 private schools across the Oregon. Servicing about 58,000 students, these schools have an average student to teacher ratio of 12:1. Approximately half have of the schools have a religious affiliation and some are gender segregated. Other private schools may have a mandate of academic excellence. Those who wish to seek employment in a private school should apply directly to the school.

Teacher Shortage in Oregon by Subjects or Discipline (2021-2022)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in Oregon has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) report for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Special Education K-12
  • Mathematics 9-12
  • ESOL K-12
  • Science 6-12
  • Spanish PreK-12
  • General Shortages (Grant, Umatilla, Lincoln, Klamath, Morrow, Coos, Douglas, Malheur, Curry, Jefferson, Linn, Wasco Counties)

Number of Public and Private School Teachers By Grade

The following Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) table highlights the number of teachers in Oregon in both private and public schools, by grade level, as of May 2021:

Grade Level Number of Teachers
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education 4,990
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 13,830
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 5,470
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 7,450
Special Education Teachers, Preschool 330
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,460
Special Education Teachers, Middle School 540
Special Education Teachers, Secondary School 710

Continue Your Education and Professional Development

While new teacher orientation and mentorship is a valuable part of teacher education, this process actually marks the start of a teacher's long-term commitment to bettering their practice through professional development. Opportunities for professional development vary wildly in scope, quality, and information. However, one thing is clear - engaging in professional development means that a teacher boosts student achievement and achieves salary and career goals more effectively. Some valuable kinds of professional development offerings are as follows: mentoring for new teachers by those with more experience in the classroom, special education, administration, classroom management, and curriculum.

Professional Development in Oregon

Oregon's state Department of Education lists a number of professional development opportunities across the state and provides resource documents and mandates regarding PD as a means to school, district, and state improvement of educational goals and needs.

In addition to this information, the database lists a number of partners for professional development purposes. Teachers are encouraged to contact these organizations as needed: Mentoring Educators, Chalkboard, Stand for Children, Oregon DATA Project, ReadOregon, and The Teaching Learning Connection (TLC).

Earn a Master's in Education or Teaching to Meet Continuing Education Requirements and Increase Your Salary Potential

While a master's in education or teaching is not required to teach in Oregon, if you're interested in advancing your career, boosting your paycheck, and meeting continuing education requirements, a master's degree is a sure bet.

Your Preliminary Teaching License is valid for three years and is renewable. You can advance to a Professional Teaching License once you have four years of full-time experience and have completed 75 continuing professional development units (PDUs).

You'll then maintain the Professional Teaching License by completing 125 PDUs every five years. Learn more from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission about license requirements and renewal here.

While you can satisfy the required PDUs through the completion of a number of activities, pursue your master's degree and you'll be able to satisfy the requirements for one licensure cycle after completing just one course if you currently hold the Preliminary Teaching License, or two courses if you currently hold a Professional Teaching License (1 semester hour of college credit = 30 PDUs).

Earning a Master's in Education or Teaching Comes with a Significant Pay Increase

You'll also qualify for a larger paycheck with the addition of a master's degree. For example, as of the 2022-2023 school year, teachers in the Eugene School District earned a minimum salary of $42,336 with a bachelor's degree, while teachers with a master's degree earn a minimum salary of $47,210 - a significant increase of about $4,800.

Sponsored Content

2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Teachers (Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School) and Special Education Teachers, (Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary, Middle, High School) reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2023.