How to Become a Teacher in Oregon

Oct 20, 2021

Since 2017, the state of Oregon has been experiencing teacher shortages in several areas including science, Spanish, mathematics, and bilingual education. Anyone interested in teaching in Oregon can follow the steps to certification and become endorsed.

Oregon Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Oregon (2019)* $32,430 (Preschool), $74,700 (Kindergarten), $69,980 (Elementary), $70,660 (Middle), $71,780 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements ORELAs: Protecting Student Civil Rights in the Educational Environment, subject tests

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree from an In-State School

Anyone looking to teach in Oregon must first choose an age group and subject area they wish to teach. These preferences will inform their choice of approved, accredited teacher preparation program, which is necessary for certification. There are many options of preparation programs to choose from, so any student can find one that best fits their preferences. Depending on what age range a student prefers to teach, they will choose either an early childhood program, an elementary program, a middle program, or a secondary program. These programs will vary due to subject specialization, but most will require core classes like:

  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Curriculum Design
  • Psychology
  • Child and Adolescent Development

Students will also participate in teaching internships in order to gain experience with the age group they plan to teach. This type of experience will provide invaluable experience to draw on in a classroom setting.

Students who completed their teacher preparation education at a college outside Oregon will have to get a teaching license in the other state before applying for a license in Oregon.

Step 2: Take All Required ORELA Tests

Next, future Oregon teachers will take all required Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). All Oregon educators need to take the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam. This test is designed to make sure new teachers are prepared to uphold Oregon's learning standards. Before taking any exams, teachers should check with their advisors to make sure they enroll for the right ones. There are 60 multiple-choice questions in this 90-minute exam, and teachers can take it any time at a testing site in Oregon.

Then, teachers need to take the subject exams that relate to the age group and subject they wish to teach. Teachers of younger children will take two comprehensive exams covering multiple subjects, while teachers of middle school and secondary school will be required to take exams covering specific subjects. There are many subject exams to choose from, including Mandarin, English Language Arts, Health, and Physics. The tests vary in length and cost, but detailed guides to each one can be found on the Pearson ORELA website.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

Once all ORELA exams are finished, teachers can apply for a Preliminary Teacher License from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. This application will require information about transcripts and test scores. Teachers will need to pass a federal background check, as well. Teachers will use FieldPrint Live Scan for this, and they will have to provide a $57 check or money order to the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Study Resources for Future Oregon Teachers

There are lots of resources for students looking to start studying for the ORELAs. Check out the study guides below to get a feel for test content and study strategies.

  • ORELA Early Childhood Education: Study Guide & Practice
  • ORELA Elementary Education: Study Guide & Practice
  • ORELA English Language Arts: Study Guide & Practice
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