How to Become a High School Teacher in Oregon

Jan 02, 2019

Read about the requirements for becoming a licensed secondary school teacher in Oregon. Find out how to turn a passion for a subject area into a license with a step-by-step guide for certification below.

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Secondary school teachers in Oregon can take on a variety of subjects, including the sciences, liberal arts, and mathematics. In the 198 districts across Oregon, secondary teachers are expected to prepare students with a well-rounded education.

Oregon Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Secondary Teachers in Oregon (2017)* $69,660
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education, Content Area
Testing Requirements Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam, subject exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

The first step for future high school teachers in Oregon is to pick the content area they hope to teach. When the content area, like math or social studies, has been chosen, students need to graduate with a bachelor's degree from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. Because each teacher will specialize in different areas, each degree program will highlight different courses. However, each program will give students a solid foundation of pedagogical principles concerning assessment, literacy, curriculum instruction, and more. Programs will include some courses like:

  • Purpose, Structure, & Function of Education in a Democracy
  • Civil Rights and Multicultural Issues in Education
  • Technology Education
  • Learning, Teaching, Assessment

Students will also participate in teaching internships to get a better understanding of how to implement pedagogical principles.

Step 2: Pass All Required Tests

There are several routes for test-takers in Oregon, but each route starts with the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam. This test is designed to make sure all educators understand Oregon's learning standards, and it is 90 minutes long. It can be taken on the computer for $95, and teachers need to score at least a 240 or higher.

Next, students can choose between taking Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA), Praxis assessments, or American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) exams. Each of these options offers specific subject endorsements. For example, ORELA offers the most options for subject endorsements areas, including biology, chemistry, health, and social studies. Praxis offers different endorsements, including agricultural science, business marketing, and Latin. ACTFL testing offers a bilingual specialization. Depending on the endorsement a secondary teacher wants to have, they may take any of the applicable exams. As a general rule, ORELA exams are the most widely accepted - a Praxis exam cannot be substituted for an endorsement area offered through ORELA.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

When all exams are complete, the next step is for teachers to apply for a Preliminary Teacher License from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. Teachers need to have transcripts and test scores in addition to passing a federal background check. The state of Oregon uses FieldPrint Live Scan for that process. Teachers will have to pay a $55 fee to the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. When these steps are complete, teachers will receive their Preliminary Teacher License.

Study Resources for Future Oregon Teachers

No matter what types of test you need to take, there are plenty of online resources to help. Take a look at the guide to Praxis exams below and some sample guides for ORELA tests.

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