How to Become a Preschool Teacher in Oregon

An ECE Oregon Degree & Career Guide

Your Early Childhood Teacher Requirements and Career Guide

Oregon public schools are some of the worst in the country. They ranked number 40 out of 50 in the Quality Counts 2018 Highlights Report for education. Despite having state-funded early childhood education (ECE) programs, over half of the young kids in Oregon do not have access to these programs. They also have a graduation rate lower than the US average, but it is gaining momentum and improving each year. The state seems to have recognized their issues and are taking steps to resolve the education standard that is lacking throughout the state. And, somehow, despite their poor educational teaching performances, teachers in Oregon are paid quite well compared to other states with poor results.

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Steps to Becoming an Early Childhood Teacher in Oregon

Oregon has a similar process to becoming an early childhood education preschool teacher as the rest of the country; however, the process is also unique. You will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree for most ECE positions. Some employers may only require an associate’s degree. Once you complete your teaching credentials, you will have numerous employment opportunities. It is also important to note that Oregon has a relatively high homeschooling rate compared to the rest of the country that often employ early education professionals.

Step 1. Earn Your Degree

You will be required to complete a bachelor’s degree for the vast majority of ECE positions in public and private schools and for ECE programs. You will also have to complete a teaching program that is approved by the Oregon Department of Education. Many accredited colleges and universities offer licensure and endorsement programs that are also required by the state. Keep in mind that most reputable higher learning institutions will offer online courses so that you can keep working or caring for your children as you complete your state mandatory educational requirements.

There is one unique thing about Oregon’s education requirements. Though you can earn a teaching license with a bachelor’s, and many do, this license will expire after a few years. After it expires, you will need to upgrade the license in order to continue teaching. This upgrade requires you to complete graduate-level credits. Because of this, many Oregon teachers begin working towards a master’s degree almost as soon as they begin teaching. That way, when the 6-year mark rolls around, they are ready for their next license.

Another option is available for those who already have a bachelor’s, in teaching or otherwise. You can get a master’s with a focus on early education and be prepared to receive your upgraded standard license as soon as you graduate and start teaching.

Step 2. Pass Your Exams

Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, you will be required to complete an educational skills test or a pre-professional skills test to become a teacher. Oregon uses the national standard of the PRAXIS Core Academics Skills for Educators exam, which includes sections covering: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

You will also have to complete the early childhood education endorsement exam. You can skip this if you can prove that you have been a full-time teacher in another state for at least five years. The endorsements for early childhood educators are: Early Childhood Education, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten. Whatever classes you plan to teach, you will need the endorsement that goes along with it. All teaching professionals must pass a fingerprint and background check.

Step 3. Apply for Your License

New teachers must apply for a preliminary teaching license. This first license will only be valid for three years. You will be required to complete a renewal license every five years after the initial license expires. This license is appropriate for both full-time teachers and substitute teachers. If you are a substitute teacher and you do not possess a preliminary license, you must obtain a separate substitute teaching licensure. To apply for this license, you will be required to complete a variety of exams, from a basic skills exam to a civil rights exam.

Step 4. Renew and Upgrade Teaching License

Because the preliminary/initial license is only valid for three years you will be required to renew your license. To renew this license, you will be required to complete professional development units (PDU). This is somewhat new in Oregon. All teachers, including substitute teachers, are subject to the PDU requirements. You might also require an Initial II License. These possess the same requirements as the Initial I License, and you must complete either another degree or graduate-level coursework. A Professional Teaching License requires the same as an Initial II License along with completing an advanced degree, 4 full-time years teaching or 6 part-time years teaching.

Potential Credentials, Requirements, and Certifications Needed in Oregon

If you are a substitute teacher without an initial teaching license, you will be required to possess a restricted substitute teaching license or a substitute teaching license. The restricted license limits substitute teachers to teach only 60 days throughout the entire year. A full substitute teaching license allows potential substitute teachers who complete at least one teaching program to teach. The restriction on this license is that you cannot hold the same teaching position for more than three months consecutively.

If you move to Oregon and were a teacher in another state, you might be able to skip some of the certifications and requirements. Out-of-state teachers must have been fully licensed in their previous state during their years of teaching. A PEER form must be completed by the previous employer or school district. And you will be required to provide a copy of the previous valid licensure you held throughout your employment in that state.

Teachers who wish to pursue careers in school administration, director jobs and counseling positions will require at least a master’s degree. In some school districts and for some employers, you might require a doctoral degree. If you wish to teach at a college or university, you will require a doctoral degree; however, community college instructors may only require a master’s degree.

Accredited Early Childhood Educator Teacher Preparation Programs

Regional accreditation of the college or university of your choice is essential. If you do not receive an early childhood education degree from a regionally accredited higher learning institution, you are unlikely to be employed by reputable schools or organizations. Keep in mind that the regional college or university accreditation does not apply directly to the degree program. The best degree programs will also be accredited and endorsed by state departments and national organizations. It is also important to note that some certificate programs and schools in Oregon do not lead to teaching licensure, as required by the state, to be able to teach. You should consider all of these facts before you choose a college or university.

Here are some accredited Education programs in Oregon:

  • Oregon State University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bilingual and Multilingual Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s, Dr., & Post-grad Certificate
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Post-grad Certificate
    • Educational Administration and Supervision; Master’s
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • The University of Oregon - regional accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • Education department accredited by NCATE
  • Portland State University

    Degrees Offered:

    • School Counseling and Guidance Services; Master’s, Dr., & Post-grad Certificate
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Master’s
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Mental Retardation; Post-grad Certificate
    • Educational Leadership and Administration; Master’s, Dr., & Post-grad Certificate
    • Special Education and Teaching; Master’s & Dr.
    • Student Counseling and Personnel Services; Post-grad Certificate
    • ESL Teacher; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • Portland State University - Regional accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • The Graduate School of Education - The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
    • The Counseling Program - the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
    • CAEP Accreditation
  • University of Portland

    Degrees Offered:

    • Educational Leadership and Administration; Dr. & Post-grad Certificate
    • Elementary Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s
    • Reading Teacher Education; Post-grad Certificate
    • Special Education and Teaching; Post-grad Certificate
    • ESL Teacher; Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • The University of Portland - Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • The School of Education - The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
    • Education department accredited by NCATE
  • Western Oregon University

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bilingual and Multilingual Education; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Early Childhood Education and Teaching; Bachelor’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Education/Teaching of Individuals with Hearing Impairments Including Deafness; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Reading Teacher Education; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • Special Education and Teaching; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate
    • ESL Teacher; Master’s & Post-grad Certificate

    Accreditation By:

    • Western Oregon University - Regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    • Education Programs - National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Council on Rehabilitation Education in compliance with the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission
    • Education department accredited by NCATE

Specialization Additional Certifications

You can choose an emphasis or minor to specialize in along with your major. Many colleges and universities with only offer a teaching degree or an education degree rather than an early childhood education degree. In these instances, you can choose ECE as a minor or emphasis. You can also focus on special education and pre-kindergarten. You might want to consider that special education teachers are often highly in demand and they pay significantly better than traditional teaching positions. The same is true of teachers who specialize in areas that promote science, technology, engineering, and math. If you have a specialization in STEM subject matter, you will be highly employable in early childhood education.

It is also a good idea to join a variety of professional organizations to assist with your career development. These organizations will help you to network and collaborate with other teachers, stay current on new trends, and seek out new employment opportunities. In Oregon, some of the biggest professional organizations are the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Oregon PTA. You should also consider joining national teaching associations for access to the latest trends and even more innovative ideas on the best way to reach and engage each student you work with.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Salaries in Oregon

OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Preschool Teacher$25,500$25,000$27,600
Elementary School Teacher$36,600$45,400$59,000
Professor of Education$81,200$102,000$109,000
School Principal$73,400$79,100$86,600
Special Education Teacher$32,600$58,000$58,600
ESL Teacher$40,000$50,900$65,300
School Psychologist$54,100$61,000$73,200

Videos To Help You Find The Right Career Choices

  • Reality PD | Pre-School | Explain content clearly

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD-aiOeZc84

  • Elementary School Teacher Career Information : Elementary School Teacher Pros & Cons

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2izH5QBpyIc

  • Special Education K-2 Teacher

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an3ngVFbJC0

  • What makes a good teacher great? | Azul Terronez | TEDxSantoDomingo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrU6YJle6Q4

  • Teaching Special Education

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCMHWf-K6ys

  • Occupational Video - Early Childhood Educator

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DJzMTQjsOA

Obtaining Financial Aid for The Pursuit of Your Degree

If you wish to become a part of the education solution in the state of Oregon and to positively influence young minds for decades, enroll with an accredited college or university today. Make sure the program leads to licensure within the state, and remember, the earlier you gain work experience the better. A teaching career is highly rewarding, and the job outlook remains positive for early childhood education nationwide.

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