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Teaching Educational Pathways

Teaching licensure requirements do change periodically and vary by state. For more information on teacher preparation programs and licensure in Oregon, go to the Oregon Teacher Standard and Practices Commission website.

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Become an Oregon Educator

The Willamette ESD and Salem-Keizer Public Schools developed an comprehensive resource website for students interested in becoming Educators in Oregon.  It includes the following:

  • Teaching career exploration

  • Educational pathways for teachers in Oregon

  • Financial aid resources for future educators

  • Assistance for future educators

Education Certificates & Degrees

Note: College & university program information listed below is subject to change.  Research specific program information on school websites and college catalogs. 

Educational Assistants

Education Assistants,  also called paraeducators, work under the direction of a licensed or certified teacher. They provide a range of supports for classrooms and schools. They monitor classrooms, lunch or recess for students who need specialized or concentrated attention. They can also assist an individual or groups of students with special needs reach their academic or behavioral goals or lend a hand with classroom management.

Education & Training

Employment requirements vary by school district.  Some districts only erquire a high school diploma or GED.  Others may require two years of college, an Associates degree, or successful completion of the Paraprofessional Assessment exam.  Check school district job postings for specific requirements.  Additionally, prior experience working with students, children, people with disabilities, or in a school setting is beneficial.

Preschool or Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education focuses on children from birth to 8 years old. Academic programs prepare students with the skills to succeed in early childhood development careers:

  • Early childhood education centers

  • Preschools & pre-kindergarten

  • Infant and toddler care

  • Family child care programs

  • Head Start

  • Educational assistant roles

  • Early intervention programs

  • Home-family support roles (such as family advocate, child protective services worker, parent educator, or home visitor)

  • Professional support roles (such as early childhood administrator in a childcare or Head Start program, staff trainer, peer/program mentor, or advocate at the community, state, or national level).

COCC Education & Training

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Early Childhood Education

Prepares students with a strong emphasis in the theories, curriculum goals, developmentally appropriate teaching and guidance strategies necessary to lead an early childhood classroom program or work as a paraprofessional in the public schools. The AAS degree is fully articulated with Southern Oregon University's Early Childhood Development program: Allows students to transfer directly as a junior into the Early Childhood Development program with no loss of credits to pursue a bachelor's degree.

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) with a focus in Early Childhood Education

Designed for students planning to continue their education to earn a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Coursework meets the state of Oregon transfer degree requirements, allowing students to transfer to an Oregon public university and some out-of-state universities having met all lower-division general education requirements.

Elementary Education

In order to teach in a public K-12 school, educators are required to obtain an Oregon teaching license through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (TSPC). This requirement typically is met with an elementary education major for those teaching at the elementary level.


To become a certified elementary teacher in the state of Oregon you must earn, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

There are many Bachelor degree programs in elementary education in Oregon.  Students may choose to advance their education with a Master's degree or additional graduate degree in education.  Students who have a Bachelor's degree in another field may choose to earn their elementary teaching license with a Masters degree.

Get Started at COCC with a Transfer Degree (AAOT)

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) in Elementary Education

Designed for students who wish to transfer to a four-year university and to become an elementary teacher or to pursue a career in education. Instructors work closely with students and seek to connect them early with transfer partners to ensure an efficient pathway to potential licensure.

Middle & High School Education

In order to teach in a public K-12 school, educators are required to obtain an Oregon teaching license through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (TSPC) Middle and high school teachers typically gain subject mastery through their undergraduate Bachelor's degree.  This is followed by a state-approved teacher-preparation program which is typically at the Masters degree level (or a second undergraduate degree program in secondary education).  Examples of endorsement or subject areas students may choose to pursue during their undergraduate students include math, science, language arts, health, physical education, music, social science or world languages.

Get Started at COCC with a Transfer Degree (AAOT)

Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) in Secondary Education

Designed for students who wish to become a middle or high school teacher. Middle and high school teachers ordinarily gain subject mastery through their undergraduate major, followed by a state-approved master’s level teacher-preparation program. The AAOT degree includes courses related to the education field and to a specific subject area that a student will want to teach. Students will develop an academic plan for a Bachelor's degree program in their subject of choice as well as prepare to apply to graduate school.

Oregon Secondary Education Teaching Programs

Special Education

In order to teach in a public K-12 school, educators are required to obtain an Oregon teaching license through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (TSPC). Students may earn their Special Education Teaching License through a Bachelor's or Graduate degree program.

Oregon Special Education Programs

ESOL: English to Speakers of Other Languages

Oregon ESOL Endorsement Programs

Higher Education Professor

Faculty at community colleges typically are required to have at least a  Master’s degree in their area of teaching.

Faculty at the university level typically have a research or professional doctorate (PhD) in the field they intend to teach.

Principal or Administrator

In order to work as a principal or administrator in a public K-12 school in Oregon, educators are required to:

  • Earn a teaching license and gain a minimum years of required teaching experience

  • Complete a graduate level Oregon Principal or Administrator's license preparation program

  • Obtain a Principal or Administrator's License through the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commissions (TSPC).

See below for schools that offer Principal or Administrator programs.

Want to know more about the different types of school and district leadership roles, check out the George Fox University website.

Additional Oregon Education Programs

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Licensure Prep

Are you interested in sharing your industry expertise by teaching in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program? Clackamas Community College provides a Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) approved teacher preparation program for CTE licensure in all six CTE Career Areas:

  • Agriculture, food and natural resources systems

  • Arts, information and communications

  • Business and management

  • Health and biomedical sciences

  • Human resources

  • Industrial and engineering systems

This program meets the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) professional development requirements for industry experts seeking an Oregon Restricted or Preliminary CTE license to teach in secondary CTE (middle and high school) programs.

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