Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Oregon

Math teachers in Oregon are vital to ensuring that high school graduates in the state are prepared for jobs in the fields of science, engineering, technology and finance. The Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission is the agency responsible for evaluating and vetting Oregon’s future math teachers to ensure they are up to the task.

Complete the following steps to earn an Oregon teaching license so as to become a math teacher:

Complete a Math Teaching Degree Program
Pass the ORELA Tests
Apply for an Oregon Teaching License
Renew and Upgrade Your Teaching License

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Math Teaching Degree Program

One of the basic requirements for math teacher jobs in Oregon is the completion of at least a bachelor’s degree in a mathematics field along with an approved teacher education program. Oregon recognizes three routes to fulfilling this requirement:

  • Traditional route, for undergraduate students just starting out
  • Alternative routes, for candidates who already have at least a bachelor’s degree in math
  • Out-of-state routes, for candidates who completed their education in a different state

Traditional Route

The traditional route to meeting Oregon’s math teacher certification requirements starts with a state-approved math teacher preparation program at the undergraduate level. This pathway typically results in a bachelor’s degree in the field of mathematics, and will begin with classes such as:

  • Discrete mathematics
  • Calculus
  • Algebra
  • Statistics and probability
  • Geometry

An approved teacher preparation program will also involve pedagogical courses offered through your college or university’s education department:

  • Pedagogical basics
  • Fundamentals of teaching
  • Learning psychology
  • Solving math problems via questions
  • Math class student teaching

The teacher education program will lead up to a final segment of student teaching, where you will be placed in a math classroom to work alongside an experienced teacher who will help you make the transition from college student to math teacher. If you complete this pathway the first credential you will apply for is an Initial I Teaching License.

Alternative Routes

You may already have at least a bachelor’s degree in math, but may find that you have not completed an approved teacher education program. This is often the case with candidates who are making a career change. In this case you have three options available for attaining a teaching license:

  • Find a school that is willing to hire you and provide a teacher to mentor you – in this case you should apply for a Restricted Transitional License
  • If you can demonstrate competency in mathematics as defined by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act – generally understood to include having at least a bachelor’s degree in this subject – you can obtain an NCLB Alternate Route Teaching License by applying jointly with your school district
  • You can always choose to go back to school and complete a traditional education program as part of post-bac study or a master’s program

Out-of-State Applicants

If you are an out-of-state candidate who has completed a math degree and teacher education program in a different state you will have two options to obtain an Oregon teaching license:

  • If you have never held a regular teaching license you can apply for a Transitional Teaching License in Oregon
  • If you have held an unrestricted teaching license in a different state you can apply for Oregon’s Initial Teaching License

 


 

Step 2. Pass the ORELA Tests

You will need to pass three tests to become a math teacher in Oregon, known as the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). These exams are administered by Pearson Education, and include:

  • Civil Rights Exam
  • Essential Academic Skills Exam
  • Mathematics Exam

Civil Rights Exam

Officially known as the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Examination, this test is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions that assess five important subjects:

  • Legal foundations of federal and state laws that uphold civil rights and ethical standards, as well as those that prohibit discrimination in education
  • Previous federal and state court decisions that have set these precedents
  • Methods to ensure cultural awareness, equality, and an openness to all students in an educational environment
  • Implications that student diversity has on teaching and learning; how to interact with diverse students in ways that encourage self-confidence and fulfillment of educational goals
  • Ways to ensure equitable access to programs, courses, and experiences; non-discriminatory grading

Essential Academic Skills Exam

The Essential Academic Skills Exam is comprised of three main sub-tests and serves as an evaluation to ensure you have the basic skills to be an effective teacher in any subject area. You can take any, all, or some combination of these tests at once or separately:

  • Reading sub-test – one hour to complete 45 multiple-choice questions on:
    • Meaning of words and phrases
    • Supporting details and the main idea
    • Intended meaning, purpose, audience, point of view
    • Critical evaluation
    • Organization of information in written and graphic form
  • Writing sub-test – 75 minutes to complete 36 multiple-choice questions (75% of score) and 1 written assignment (25% of score) covering:
    • Audience, purpose, and organization in writing
    • Sentence formation
    • English mechanics, grammar, and usage
    • Demonstration of all these abilities in a written assignment
  • Mathematics sub-test – one hour to complete 45 multiple-choice questions on:
    • Number properties and operations
    • Algebra
    • Principles of measurement and geometry
    • Probability and statistics
    • Mathematical solutions, reasoning, and communication

Note that if you have already passed one of the following exams you can be exempt from the ORELA Essential Academic Skills Exam:

  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Reading, Writing, and Mathematics
  • California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST)
  • Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B)

Mathematics Exam

Passing the mathematics exam will allow you to add a mathematics endorsement to your teaching license. There are two basic levels of mathematics endorsements, and for each of these levels there are two grade groups you can teach:

  • Basic mathematics endorsement for:
    • Middle level, grades 5-9
    • High school, grades 9-12
  • Advanced mathematics endorsement for:
    • Middle level, grades 5-9
    • High school, grades 9-12

The ORELA math exam will allow you to add a basic or advanced mathematics endorsement by passing one of the corresponding tests:

  • Middle Grades Mathematics Exam for a basic endorsement – 255 minutes to complete 150 multiple-choice questions on the subjects of:
    • Discrete mathematics, probability, and statistics – 25%
    • Geometry and measurement – 25%
    • Functions and algebra – 33%
    • Operations and number sense – 17%
  • Mathematics Exam for an advanced endorsement – 255 minutes to complete 150 multiple-choice questions covering:
    • Functions, patterns, and algebra – 24%
    • Calculus and trigonometry – 19%
    • Number sense and mathematical processes – 19%
    • Discrete mathematics, probability, and statistics – 19%
    • Geometry and measurement – 19%

 


 

Step 3. Apply for an Oregon Teaching License

Once you have completed your testing and have your academic transcripts, you will need to submit these along with an Educator License Application to the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission in Salem on 250 Division Street Northeast, zip code 97301. Make sure to specify the correct type of license based on your own circumstances:

  • Initial I Teaching License if you completed a traditional pathway to licensure
  • A Restricted Traditional License or NCLB License if you have chosen one of these alternative routes to qualify for a license
  • A Transitional Teaching License if you completed your education in a different state and have never been a certified teacher
  • An Initial Teaching License if you are a licensed teacher in another state

Also make sure to include the correct endorsement depending on what level of mathematics you intend to teach:

  • Basic mathematics endorsement
  • Advanced mathematics endorsement

 


 

Step 4. Renew and Upgrade Your Teaching License

Your Initial I Teaching License is valid for three years and may only be renewed twice. There are two levels of progression for your teaching license in Oregon:

  • Initial I Teaching License
  • Initial II Teaching License

Working towards a master’s degree is one of the most common ways Oregon math teachers renew and upgrade their teaching license. To renew your Initial I Teaching License you will need to demonstrate that you are making progress towards an Initial II Teaching License or complete 3 semester credits of graduate-level coursework that meets all of the following conditions:

  • Related to your teaching license or public school employment
  • Is offered by an accredited college or university
  • Is recorded on an official academic transcript

You can upgrade your Initial I Teaching License to either an Initial II or Continuing Teaching License, however to obtain a Continuing Teaching License you must be eligible for an Initial II. To upgrade to an Initial II you will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Earn at least a master’s degree of arts or sciences, such as an M.A.T., M.Ed., or MATL
  • Earn an advanced professional degree
  • Complete 10 semester credits of graduate-level coursework in each of the following areas:
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Additional electives that are relevant to your license or employment in a public school

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