Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Oregon

Oregon public school teachers must hold state licensing. A person can become a teacher based on completion of an Oregon program or attainment of an out-of-state license. A bachelor’s degree is among the basic requirements. (The one exception is for individuals who provide instruction in certain career and technical fields under restricted license.)

Although standards are similar to those of other states, there are some in-state requirements. Oregon teachers are licensed for PreK-12, but endorsements delineate their actual scope of practice.

The initial license is termed preliminary. The individual must complete an Oregon-approved program or a program in another state that meets basic standards as delineated in OAR 584-210-0060, ‘Reciprocal Teaching License’. (An out-of-state candidate will apply for licensing in Oregon only after receiving an out-of-state license.)

There are multiple program options, including undergraduate programs and Master of Arts in teaching (MAT) programs. Prospective teachers can search for approved programs on the website of the Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (

It is not yet mandatory that Oregon educator preparation programs to hold Council for Accreditation of Educator Programs (CAEP) accreditation, but it will become so in the future.

Oregon Teaching Endorsements

Teachers may be generalists or specialists. The following are among the endorsement options available in Oregon:

  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Drama
  • Elementary — Multiple Subjects
  • Foundational English Language Arts
  • Integrated Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education: Generalist
  • Speech (Forensics)
  • World Language: Chinese
  • World Language: Spanish

Teacher candidates who seek foundational endorsements take assessments designated as “middle grades”. Oregon foundational science, social studies, and language arts endorsements may be considered a re-envisioning of previous endorsements designated as middle school. The Teacher Standards and Practices Commission has provided a chart listing current endorsements and their correspondence with older ones (

License-qualifying Oregon programs have the responsibility of ensuring that standards are met for the particular endorsement. The student need only be concerned with the approval status of the program.

Out-of-state teachers who hold licensing beyond the provisional level can generally expect to receive corresponding Oregon endorsements (provided that a corresponding endorsement does exist).

Oregon also recognizes specializations. These are not standalone, but recognize exceptional skill in areas that provide added value. Examples include dual language, autism spectrum disorders, American Sign Language, and early childhood education.

Bilingual and dual language candidates go through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Interview or Oral Proficiency Interview – Computer process.

The Assessment Process

Oregon students can expect to complete edTPA, a portfolio-based assessment, in conjunction with student teaching. The assessment takes several weeks and includes video and other artifacts. The Oregon Department of Education has provided a number of resources (

Prospective teachers must take a combined ethics and student rights assessment, the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam. In-state candidates take it before student testing or internship.

In almost all instances, prospective teachers also take a subject area assessment. Most assessments are part of the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) series. ORELA is administered by Pearson/ NES.

There are a few subject areas where candidates take Praxis assessments. Among them are Speech (Forensics) and several special education designations.

There are also several subjects that do not have subject area assessments; an example is World Languages: Russian. Prospective students can receive information from their programs.

The Teacher Standards and Practices Board has provided an overview of subject testing ( Information about most Oregon assessments is available from Pearson ( ETS can provide information about Praxis tests used in Oregon (

The Oregon licensing authority may accept similar tests used for licensing purposes in other jurisdictions and may waive testing requirements for reciprocal candidates who have considerable previous experience.

Out-of-State Teachers

A teacher must complete required assessments and other minor state-specific requirements in order to receive a preliminary license.

Individuals who apply on the basis of out-of-state programs can be granted reciprocal licenses. They can expect to meet additional requirements before becoming eligible for higher licenses. In some cases, a reciprocal applicant will be found to meet requirements for a higher license.

Adding Endorsements and Specializations

Teachers may choose to add endorsements. An individual who wanted to add an endorsement in a subject such as chemistry would need to meet a content requirement and a pedagogy requirement, but would have multiple options for each. The content requirement might be met through testing. A teacher who wished to add an elementary multi-subjects endorsement would need to complete an approved program; this is also the case with a number of other teaching endorsements including special education generalist and ESOL. State code describes requirements for the various available endorsements.

Restricted Teaching Licenses

A restricted teaching license may be issued to an individual who holds a bachelor’s degree and has considerable experience in a subject area but has not yet completed a teaching program. The individual must have a sponsoring district – in other words there must be a district that want his or her services and is willing to provide mentorship.

The Application Process

Applications and fees are submitted online. Supplemental documents can be accepted through any of several channels.

The licensing authority will require transcripts. Reciprocal applicants will provide copies of licenses, results of assessments, and verification of applicable experience.

Fingerprints are required before student teaching. They are also required before licensure -- with one exception. Individuals who have had their fingerprints taken for student teaching in the relatively recent past may not need to have them taken again. Applicants must have their fingerprints made electronically through the approved vendor, at least in most cases.

Additional Information

Oregon educators are under the authority of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission ( Rules change periodically. Information can be accessed online. TSPC can be reached at 503-378-3586.