Find an Education Path For Teaching in Oregon, (OR)

Becoming a licensed teacher requires numerous steps that are not difficult to follow once you know what they are. The path you take is determined by what you want to teach and by the level of education and preparation you have attained. Please choose the highest level of education that you have reached, and we will guide you through the steps necessary to move forward towards a teaching career in Oregon.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

The information below will help you discover which steps to take to become a credentialed teacher in Oregon.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

Earning a high school diploma or a GED certificate is a major step for any student who wants to become a teacher. First-year college students who attend a two-year or community college can either concentrate on fulfilling general education courses needed to transfer to a four-year university, or they can work toward an Associate degree or a certificate that will lead to a child-related job right after they graduate. High school graduates who apply to and enter four-year universities as a freshmen, must complete general or core requirements during the first two years. It is in their junior and senior years that students pursuing the education coursework for their Bachelor’s degree. Some Bachelor’s in Education degrees also provide a teacher Preparation program that is mandatory for a teaching license.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Students who take core lower-division courses at a two-year college may be able to transfer directly into a Bachelor of Education degree program. Successfully completing certain college classes before entering a four-year university may provide, not only general education coursework, but also prerequisites for degree programs that combine a Bachelor’s degree with the Teacher Preparation program prospective teachers must complete to be eligible for an Oregon Teaching License.

  1. Some Oregon-accredited two-year colleges offer a degree called the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree (AA/OT), which was created to ease the transition between two-year colleges and four-year universities. Transfer students with the AA/OT degree will have met general education requirements accepted by most public four-year institutions and some private Oregon-approved institutions. Students may also choose the more flexible Direct Transfer, which allows aspiring teachers to work with academic advisors at the two-year and four-year colleges to design a study plan that can be applied directly to their Bachelor’s degree.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment shortly after graduation. A certificate or Associate degree in Early Childhood Education, may qualify you to begin working as a teaching assistant or child caretaker with infants, toddlers and pre-school children at Head Start, preschools, childcare organizations or before- and after-school programs.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Completing a Bachelor’s degree is an essential step for all students who want to become teachers in Oregon. A teaching candidate must satisfy all state-mandated requirements before applying for and being issued a first stage or Initial I Oregon Teaching License. Some students apply for licensure after receiving their Bachelor’s degree in Education; others choose to continue their education by enrolling in a Master’s degree program that will provide further knowledge about teaching. If a college graduate who wants to teach in Oregon has a non-Education Bachelor’s degree, the subsequent steps toward certification will often depend on the prospective teacher’s undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include coursework and classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  2. Passing the state’s mandatory licensing tests is a major requirement for licensure in Oregon. The Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) program has designed tests that measure a candidate’s knowledge and skills in relation to an established standard of performance. The National Evaluation Series (NES) is a national certification testing program for teachers that evaluates academic skills, reading instruction, and common elementary, middle, and secondary grade-level subjects. Oregon now uses the NES tests for certification in almost all content and subject areas. The Multiple Subjects Examination is a customized test that measures a candidate’s knowledge and skills in relation to Oregon learning standards. This examination includes three subtests: Language Arts, Social Science and the Arts; Mathematics, Science, Health and Physical Education; Language Arts, Social Science, the Arts and Reading Instruction.
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you received your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied some certificate programs’ recommended academic requirements. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. In Oregon, individuals who have already completed a non-education related Bachelor’s degree, can choose from a few different pathways leading to teacher licensure. For example, you can enroll in a graduate-level teacher preparation program that will allow you to earn a Master’s degree and to complete the coursework necessary to be eligible for a first-stage teaching license. Another option is to find a post-baccalaureate licensure programs for candidates who already hold Bachelor’s degrees. These programs are offered by a number of Oregon-approved universities. State-approved Teacher Preparation curricula and mandated assessment exams must be successfully completed before a post-baccalaureate graduate qualifies to apply for an Initial I Teaching License.
  6. The basic steps toward licensing include: earning an Education-focused Bachelor’s or Master’s degree combined with an Educator Preparation program, or a degree plus post-baccalaureate Teacher Preparation curricula approved by the state of Oregon; fulfilling student teaching requirements and other experiential hours; and passing all of Oregon’s required teacher licensure knowledge, skills and subject matter exams. Once you have succeeded in completing these steps and have been recommended by your university, you will be eligible to apply for and be issued an Initial License to teach in Oregon.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program

Prospective teachers can choose from a few different Master’s degrees in the education field. The Master of Education (Ed.M. or M.Ed) and the Master of Science with an Education major are good options for individuals seeking an Early Childhood, Elementary or Secondary Teaching License or another professional degree in education. In Oregon, The Master of Arts in Teaching is for students who want to become Elementary school teachers. These Master’s degrees typically lead to the Initial Teaching License for new teachers, unless the graduate students are already licensed teachers and are seeking to increase their knowledge or add another subject to their license in order to increase their salaries and career opportunities.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with a Teacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Earning an Educational Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) may increase your opportunities for a better job and a higher income. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information necessary to discover the best university and education program to meet your needs.