The Oregon Teaching and Certification Resource

For those interested in learning how to become a teacher in Oregon, there are many pathways that lead to Oregon teacher certification. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) oversees the teacher certification process in the state, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Oregon

No matter what type of Oregon teacher certification applicants seek, the state requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an Oregon teacher certification program. Additionally, there are a number of examinations to pass as well as a state and federal background check.

The state of Oregon offers several different licensure options for candidates wishing to earn Oregon teacher certification. Candidates following a traditional route to certification will first be issued an Initial Teaching License. After earning four years of full-time classroom teaching experience and completing advanced professional development, teachers can become eligible for the Professional teaching license. Those who earned a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible to certification through an alternative route to teaching in Oregon.

For experienced teachers with out-of-state certifications, reciprocity in Oregon may be possible if all requirements are fulfilled. For more detailed information on reciprocity or information on the Oregon teacher certification renewal process, please contact the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Oregon

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in OR through 20262

Anyone pursuing teaching certification in Oregon must complete a state-approved teacher certification program from an accredited school. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission maintains a list of approved teacher education programs on its website. Out-of-state schools may also be acceptable provided that the program holds regional accreditation. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Oregon schools page.

Additionally, most schools look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization was formed through the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Although CAEP accreditation may not be mandatory for teacher certification in Oregon, accreditation from CAEP has a distinguished reputation.

Oregon Teacher Education Requirements

Candidates for Oregon educator certification must complete an approved teacher preparation program and hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited school. Certain levels of certification require that the candidate hold a master’s degree or higher. Candidates who have not completed an Oregon teacher certification program but have at least a bachelor’s degree may qualify for alternative route certification.

Oregon Teacher Testing Requirements

Oregon State SealOregon was the first state in the nation to adopt the National Evaluation Series (NES) teacher certification tests from Pearson. This series, called the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) is designed to assess candidates’ pedagogical knowledge and subject-area expertise. The exams allow candidates the option of testing online and receiving results immediately. Teaching license applicants must take the exam that aligns with the endorsement(s) they will be seeking. Contact the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission for further details.

Additionally, after meeting education requirements, all Oregon teachers must pass the Oregon Civil Rights Exam, “Protecting Students and Civil Rights in the Education Environment.” The Civil Rights Exam is in addition to the subject matter exams specific to the teaching license and endorsement(s) sought. For more information on tests required for Oregon teacher certification, refer to the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Additional Oregon Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most states, Oregon requires anyone applying for an Oregon educator’s certificate to submit to a full state and federal background check by providing fingerprint cards. This process should be completed using the TSPC fingerprinting forms.

Oregon Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once the above steps towards Oregon teacher certification are completed, applicants must send all required information to the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. Required supporting documentation for an application for an Oregon teaching license includes:

  • Verification of background clearance.
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended.
  • Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Oregon.
  • Payment of certification processing fee.
  • Verification of passing scores on the required subject and content examinations.

Candidates should apply through the TSPC eLicense portal. Visit the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission website for further details on teacher certification in Oregon.

Oregon Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

There were an estimated 578,947 students attending Oregon’s 1,243 K-12 public schools during the 2016-2017 academic year.3 Based on an estimated 29,756 teachers, this gave Oregon a student-to-teacher ratio of about 19:1.3

According to projections, there will be 970 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 400 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 740 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Oregon through 2026.2 Excluding special education, elementary school teachers in the state earn an average annual salary of $67,910, middle school teachers an average annual salary of $75,280, and secondary school teachers an average annual salary of $72,640.4 The Oregon Education Association includes updates on job opportunities, policy changes and budget allocation for Oregon educators and is a good resource for newly certified educators interested in teaching in Oregon.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers7,100$30,400
Preschool Teachers, Special Education290$75,600
Kindergarten Teachers1,050$72,830
Elementary School Teachers15,430$67,910
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School1,360$76,880
Middle School Teachers6,300$75,280
Middle School Teachers, Special Education590$80,680
Secondary School Teachers10,390$72,640
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education780$84,350
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education120$51,250

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Oregon

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Oregon broadly has the following shortages5:

  • English as a Second Language (English as a Second Language), K-12
  • General Shortages (General)
  • Mathematics (General), 9-12
  • Science (General), 6-12
  • Special Education (General), K-12
  • World Languages (Spanish), Pre-K-12

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Oregon?

Answer: To become a high school teacher in Oregon, you must get a teaching certificate through the state with endorsements for the subject area(s) and grade level(s) you wish to teach. The basic requirements for certification are completion of a baccalaureate program and teacher preparation program. These must include student teaching experience.

Question: How do I become a preschool teacher in Oregon?

Answer: To become a public preschool teacher in Oregon, you will likely need a degree in early childhood education that is part of a teacher preparation program. Then you will need to pass the state exams required before applying for certification and becoming a preschool teacher.

Question: Is there a teacher shortage in Oregon?

Answer: According to the US Department of Education, Oregon reports general teacher shortages and subject teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year in areas including: special education, math, English as a second language (ESL), science, Spanish, and general shortages. Teachers in these areas may be able to find jobs more easily than other teachers.5

1. Oregon State Teacher Standards and Practices Commission: https://www.oregon.gov/tspc/Pages/index.aspx
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Oregon: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_or.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/