Teacher Licensure in Oregon

Oregon is committed to improving its public schools and has set goals based on a national plan called “Partnership for 21st Century Skills,” created to help close the gap between the knowledge and skills taught in schools and what students actually need to succeed in the world. Oregon teachers are encouraged to integrate 21st century skills, tools and teaching strategies into their classrooms.

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Becoming an Oregon Teacher

Prospective teachers need to determine what grade levels, ages and/or subjects they want to teach; what academic and professional courses and degrees are required; where they will complete their academic and experiential education, and what their paths to licensure will entail.

Grade Levels

  • Elementary teachers may not need to choose a subject area, but they will need a strong education in all content areas they will be teaching.
  • Aspiring middle school teachers should obtain a major in their primary teaching area; adding a minor in an additional subject second area will be helpful.
  • Prospective educators who want to teach high school should choose a major in the subject they plan to teach.
  • Secondary teachers are encouraged to pursue teaching endorsements in more than one area.
  • An endorsement is the subject matter (content area) or specialty field in which an individual is licensed to teach.

Types of Teaching Licenses

The basic teaching licenses Oregon offers are:

Initial I Teaching License

The Initial I Teaching License is valid for regular teaching at one or more levels, in one or more specialties.

  • The Initial I Teaching License will be awarded when the candidate completes a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program at an approved college or university.
  • The license specifies the age/grade levels and subject area endorsements.
  • The Initial I Teaching License may be renewed two times for three years as long as the applicant shows progress toward completing the state’s renewal requirements.

Initial II Teaching License

There are two routes available to qualify for an Initial II license.

Bachelor’s Degree Option

  • If the Initial I Teaching License was granted based on a completed teacher preparation program culminating in a bachelor’s degree, the applicant may be eligible for an Initial II Teaching License once the following conditions are met:
  • Complete a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree or higher in the arts and sciences or an advanced degree in the education from a regionally accredited institution.


  • Complete relevant graduate level coursework, including:
    • At least ten semester-hours in subject matter coursework.
    • At least ten semester-hours of graduate-level coursework related to education.
    • At least ten semester-hours of graduate-level electives.

Post-Baccalaureate Option

An applicant, who was granted an Initial I Teaching License and has completed a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program, may be eligible for an Initial II Teaching License.

The teacher candidate must complete mandated options, including one of the following:

  • Six semester hours of graduate level academic credit from a regionally accredited college or university.


  • Graduate level credit satisfying the following conditions:
    • Be completed after the Initial I Teaching License has been issued.
    • Be relevant to the teaching license or to public school employment.
    • May include pedagogy or content related to an existing or to a new endorsement or authorization.

The Initial II Teaching License may be renewed every three years upon completion of specific academic and experiential requirements mandated by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).

Continuing Teaching License

A teacher may choose to pursue the Continuing Teaching License instead of obtaining an Initial II Teaching License. To be eligible, an applicant must accomplish the following:

  • Meet all requirements of the Initial I Teaching License.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree or higher in the arts and sciences from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Teach for five years, at least half time, on any non-provisional license appropriate for the teaching assignment.

The Continuing Teacher’s License is valid for regular teaching at one or more grade levels, in one or more specialties or subject areas, and for substitute teaching.

Alternative Licenses in Oregon

  • The Restricted Transitional License is issued to individuals with a Bachelor’s degree who are making a mid-life career changes.
  • The Limited License is for individuals who have an associate’s degree from a community college, and expertise for which no endorsement exists in Oregon.
  • A Substitute Teaching License is available to candidates who have at least a Bachelor’s degree and have met Oregon’s school system requirements.


Teacher licensure requirements vary from state to state, many of which have reciprocity agreements for accepting teaching licenses from other states. Oregon, which has reciprocity with nearly all states, may temporarily accept another state’s teaching license, while the teacher completes all the additional requirements for an Initial Teaching License.

Required Exams for Teacher Education Programs

  • Basic Skills Test

Candidates are required to pass a Basic Skills test, either the Praxis I or the CBEST, before their junior year.

  • Content Tests

Candidates must pass appropriate Content Tests prior to student teaching. Different content tests, such as the Praxis II or Multiple Subjects Exam vary, depending on grade level being taught.

Oregon Teacher Preparation Programs

To pursue a teaching license in Oregon, prospective educators can pursue their required academic and experiential education in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Complete a four-year undergraduate degree.


  • Complete a separate Teacher Education Program at the same or a different institution, either on campus or online.


  • Obtain a B.A. or B.S. undergraduate degree, followed by a fifth-year teacher preparation program that includes earning a Master’s Degree.


  • Complete an Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Program that combines academic courses leading to a Bachelor’s degree with a Teacher Preparation Program and experiential requirements.