Oregon Alternative Teacher Certification

Jun 20, 2018

Craving a career change but already have your degree? Your options are not limited. This article can show you how you can use your current education to become a teacher in Oregon.

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Oregon alternative teacher certification is very similar to certification as a regular teacher. To learn more, check out the steps below.

Requirements for Oregon Teachers

Average Salary for Teachers in Oregon (2017)* $29,620 (Preschool), $69,330 (Kindergarten), $65,640 (Elementary School), $73,630 (Middle School), $69,660 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements ORLEA Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Education Environment and associated ORLEA exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

As mentioned before, the certification steps for becoming a regular teacher and obtaining alternative licensure are nearly identical. With that in mind, the only difference is the education. Often, people choose to switch careers after they have already completed school. In order to be a teacher of any kind in Oregon, you must obtain a bachelor's degree. This is the minimum degree level you can have to gain licensure. Depending on what you study, you may find that it may be wise to consider a license endorsement as a teacher in that subject. For instance, a statistician may find they want to teach math to high school kids.

Step 2: Complete Teacher Preparation Program

This step is where your path merges with other teachers. You'll be working toward a preliminary license just as other teachers do. There is no restricted license unless you do not complete this step. Complete a teacher preparation program after your bachelor's degree. This may be completed as a post-baccalaureate certificate program or a master's degree program. If you do take it with a master's degree program, you must complete this degree program to have it count toward your licensure. You will also need to complete a teaching internship as part of this program so that you can gain hands-on experience with students.

Step 3: Complete Required Exams

The Oregon exams are put together and offered by the NES company. These specific exams are called the ORELA (Oregon Educator Licensing Assessments). All prospective teachers are required to complete at least the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment, or Civil Rights, exam. This 90-minute exam has 60 multiple choice questions offered via computer. You must score over 240 to have it count toward you licensing requirements.

After the Civil Rights exam, you'll need to take the ORELA that is associated with the subject you want to teach. There are several subjects that are tested through this company, but some may be offered through Praxis if yours is not currently offered through ORELA. There are even exams directly focused on elementary education general education requirements. Exam fees and structures will vary depending on the assessment.

Step 3: Have a Background Check

Alternative teachers must also be fingerprinted just as regular teachers. This is a requirement with the state of Oregon. You'll need to sign up with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and pay $57 for a background check. You will then be contacted by a FieldPrint site to set up a digital scan of your fingerprints - a $12.50 fee is associated with this. You will then have your fingerprints run through both the Oregon and FBI databases to check for criminal activity.

Certification Resources for Oregon Teachers

Studying for ORELA exams may become overwhelming without the proper study guides and materials. Here, we've included a link that can help you prepare for any of the ORELA or NES exams that come up during your licensing process.

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