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Oregon Alternative Teacher Certification

There are several different pathways to licensure available for individuals wishing to pursue alternative teacher certification in Oregon. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission oversees alternative teacher licensing options in the state, which are outlined below.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

To pursue alternative teacher certification in Oregon, candidates must typically possess at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher certification program. For select licensing categories, an associate’s degree may be acceptable. Teacher certification programs can be completed in as little as one year as a post-graduate certificate. Candidates may also elect to pursue a master’s degree in education, or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program. Certain types of alternative licensure allow candidates to teach for a limited time period while completing certification requirements, which include passing the same basic content-area exams as traditional-route teachers in the state.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Oregon

Oregon offers several alternative routes to teacher licensure for those who have a bachelor’s degree in subjects other than education. These alternative pathways are designed so that qualified prospective teachers may pursue certification based on their previous education and background even if they have not yet attended a formal teacher preparation program. You can read more about these alternative pathways below. More detailed information on alternative route teaching licenses in Oregon is available through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Limited License

A Limited License to teach in Oregon may be issued to individuals who demonstrate skill in a highly specialized area in which a traditional endorsement is not available. For example, a Limited License may be granted in areas such as dance, computer applications, or obscure languages. The individual applying for the license must have special expertise and at least an associate’s degree. This form of Oregon teacher licensing requires the sponsorship of an Oregon school district, which must also provide a mentor for the candidate pursuing licensure.

Three-Year Professional Technical License

Candidates who desire to teach career and technical education courses may be eligible for a Three-Year Career and Technical Education Teaching License. Individuals with extensive experience in areas such as child care, construction, welding, nursing, accounting, or other technical areas may qualify for this type of license. Educators who complete teacher certification requirements in Oregon while holding this license may apply for a Five-Year Professional/Technical License, which is a renewable teaching license.

Restricted Transitional License

The restricted transitional license is designed for those who are making a late career change, such as a chemist working to become a science teacher or a writer working to become an English teacher. Candidates for this category of teacher certification must possess at least a bachelor’s degree and be sponsored by a school district. As with the Limited License, the sponsoring school district for a Restricted Transitional License candidate must provide a mentor. While holding this type of license, candidates must make consistent progress towards completing an approved teacher preparation program, which may be a post-graduate certificate or master’s degree from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) approved programs list.

Highly Qualified Candidates

Prospective teachers who meet the requirements for “Highly Qualified” status under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) may receive Oregon certification for up to three years while they complete a state-approved teacher preparation program under the Approved ESEA Alternative Route Teaching License program. A school district must sponsor the applicant for this type of licensing, and the applicant must be able to demonstrate a high level of competency in the content area(s) for which the license is issued. To retain highly qualified status, candidates must receive intensive professional development that is sustained and classroom-oriented through the sponsoring school district.

Testing Requirements for Oregon Alternative Certification

Alternative route teacher licensure in Oregon requires candidates to pass the same basic exams as traditional route teachers. However, candidates with a master’s or doctoral degree may receive waivers for all or part of the exam requirements. In addition, candidates who apply for transitional licensure may teach in a classroom setting for a limited time while pursuing full certification. The exams typically required of applicants are:

  • The Oregon Civil Rights Exam
  • An accepted Basic Skills Exam, such as the Praxis I or ORELA
  • Subject matter exams appropriate to the endorsement area sought

For more information about examination requirements, be sure to consult the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission website.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Teachers who hold out-of-state teaching certificates may be eligible for a Transitional Teaching license from the state of Oregon while they fulfill the standard requirements for Oregon licensure. To find out whether you are eligible for teacher certification in the state via one of these alternative routes, see our guide to interstate reciprocity or contact the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC).

Additional Resources

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these programs:

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