How to Become a Preschool or Kindergarten Teacher in Oregon

Find out what is required in the state of Oregon for preschool and kindergarten teacher certification. There are several steps for future teachers to complete, including ORELA testing and the application process.

The state of Oregon currently offers a single endorsement - PK-3 - for those wishing to teach preschool and kindergarten-aged children. After completing all of the steps needed for certification, teachers will be qualified to teach any of the grades in the endorsement area.

Oregon Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers in Oregon (2017)* $29,620 (Preschool), $69,330 (Kindergarten)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Early Childhood Education
Testing Requirements ORELA exams: Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment, Early Education subject test

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree from an In-State School

The first step for anyone looking to teach preschool or kindergarten in Oregon is to graduate from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program with a degree in Early Childhood Education. There are several state schools and private universities with programs that fit the requirements for teacher preparation programs in Oregon, so students have many potential paths. Though every program will offer slightly different classes, all will prepare students through education-based courses and an eventual teaching internship. Some sample courses students might take include:

  • Purpose of Education in a Democracy: this kind of course will give context to the importance of education in the US and shine a light on educational issues.
  • ESOL Education: this sort of class will build a base knowledge of working with English Language Learners (ELLs).
  • Civil Rights in Education: this kind of class would help students understand how to teach a diverse group of students.
  • Infant and Child Development: human development courses like this will help students get a grasp on how children learn and grow.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Step 2: Take All Required ORELA Tests

The testing system in Oregon is the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) system. One ORELA exam is required for all teachers: the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam. This 90-minute test is designed to make sure all teachers understand the importance of Oregon's learning standards. The exam is made up of 60 multiple-choice questions and a passing score is 240. The fee for this exam is $95. Like all ORELA exams, the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment test can be taken at any testing center in the state.

Aspiring preschool and kindergarten teachers will take the Early Childhood Education exam, which is 3 hours long and made up of 150 multiple-choice questions. The fee for this test is $95, and the passing score is 220. This exam tests teachers' understanding of child development, language and literacy development, learning across the curriculum, and professional relationships. The ORELA website has more detailed information about each exam, so teachers should do their research and consult an academic advisor prior to signing up for a test.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

The last step before certification is to submit an application. If teachers have all required information (transcripts and test scores), this process should be relatively simple. Teachers will need to get fingerprinted and submit the fingerprinting fee of $57. When all of these materials have been provided, teachers will be eligible for their Early Education certification.

Study Resources for Future State Teachers

There's no reason not to start studying for the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment and Early Education ORELAs. Check out the resource below for more information and for practice problems.

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