Oregon Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t already have your bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional certification in Oregon. While the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission has not established any paid alternative preparation program options for core classroom subjects, the master’s degree pathway to licensure is available for individuals wishing to pursue alternative teacher certification in Oregon. There are also alternative routes to licensure in highly specialized and career and technical education subjects. Continue reading to learn more about these options.

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

In select subjects, Oregon offers alternative routes to teacher licensure for those who have a bachelor’s degree. 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. 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, and must also pass the state Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam. The applicant must be sponsored by an Oregon school district at the time of application. The school must also provide a mentor for the candidate pursuing licensure.

Restricted CTE License

Candidates who desire to teach career and technical education courses may be eligible for a Restricted CTE license. The candidate must have at least an associate’s degree and a passing score on the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Exam. Candidates must also be sponsored by the employing school district. Educators who complete teacher certification requirements in Oregon while holding this license may apply for a Professional CTE license, which is a renewable teaching license.

Restricted License

The Restricted 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, have substantial preparation (such as work experience) in their teaching area, 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 will typically be a master’s degree from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) approved programs list.

Testing Requirements for Oregon Alternative Certification

Alternative route teacher licensure in Oregon requires most 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 acceptable basic skills exam such as the Praxis Core or Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (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 reciprocal license from the state of Oregon while they fulfill the standard requirements for Oregon licensure, provided that they have completed an educator preparation program and have standard certification in another state. 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).

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Oregon

Prospective teachers in Oregon must complete an approved teacher preparation program. The following school-based nontraditional teacher preparation programs that typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree have been approved by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC):

  • Bushnell University (Master’s)
  • Corban University (Certificate)
  • Eastern Oregon University (Master’s)
  • George Fox University (Master’s)
  • Lewis & Clark College* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Oregon State University-Bend* (Master’s), Cascades (Master’s)
  • Pacific University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Portland State University (Master’s)
  • Southern Oregon University (Master’s)
  • University of Oregon (Master’s)
  • University of Portland* (Master’s)
  • Warner Pacific University (Master’s)
  • Western Oregon University* (Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission: https://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/index.aspx