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How to Become an ESL Teacher in Oregon

There are several steps required to become a certified ESOL teacher in the state of Oregon. Read about educational requirements, ESOL testing, and how to complete the application process.

In the state of Oregon, PK-12 teachers can choose to become endorsed in English to Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL. This program is Oregon's version of an ESL program, and it enables teachers to handle a diverse number of situations in the classroom.

Oregon Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Oregon (2017)* $29,620 (Preschool), $69,330 (Kindergarten), $65,640 (Elementary), $73,630 (Middle), $69,660 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education with an ESOL Endorsement
Testing Requirements ORELA: Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment
ORELA: English to Speakers of Other Languages
ORELA: Applicable content area test(s)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree & Complete Teacher Preparation

Every teacher in the state of Oregon will need to graduate with an accredited bachelor's degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. Approved education degree programs leading to licensure include the required teacher preparation. All education degree programs will be slightly different, depending on the subject area and age group a student wishes to teach. Programs require student teaching and include education courses on topics like child development, classroom management, and diversity in the classroom.

Earn the ESOL Endorsement

Additionally, future ESOL teachers need to complete course and practicum requirements for the ESOL endorsement. Endorsement programs should be based on the standards from the Oregon Administrative Rules, which are language; culture; planning, implementing, and managing instruction; assessment; professionalism; and technology. Some ESL classes that students may be required to take include:

  • Foundations of ESOL
  • Instructional Approaches
  • Linguistics for Teachers
  • Multicultural Issues in Education

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Step 2: Take All Required ORELA Tests

The next step for future ESL-endorsed teachers in Oregon is to complete all required Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). All teachers need to take the ORELA: Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment. This test is designed to make sure that all teachers are prepared to uphold Oregon's learning standards. The test is 90 minutes long and composed of 60 multiple-choice questions to be taken on the computer. A score of at least 240 is required, and the fee is $95.

Teachers must take subject assessments in their primary areas as educators. For instance, a high school mathematics teacher would take the Mathematics exam, while a preschool teacher would take the Early Childhood Education exam. There is a detailed list of all possible exams on the ORELA website, and teachers should be sure to confer with an advisor prior to signing up for a test.

To earn the additional endorsement, prospective ESOL teachers must take the English to Speakers of Other Languages exam. The ESOL exam is also computer-based and available at testing centers throughout Oregon. It is 150 multiple-choice questions, 3 hours long, and $95 to take. A score of at least 220 is required.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

Finally, teachers are ready to submit their certification applications. First, they'll need to submit fingerprints for a background screening and pay $55 online. Next, teachers will need to verify their transcripts (from both their degree program and their teacher preparation program) and test scores through Oregon's e-licensing process. Teachers must pay a $140 fee for their license, and then they will be ready to receive their Preliminary Oregon Teaching License.

Study Resources for Future Oregon Teachers

Any student looking to get a head start on studying can find detailed, helpful guides to prepare for the ORELA exams. Look at the resource below to start practicing prior to signing up for the required ESOL exam.


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