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Oregon Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Recently Oregon schools rolled out new Chrome Books and iPads to many of its students. As technology based tools become a common replacement for books and pencils, you have the opportunity to help students see the connection between art and technology as a new art teacher in Oregon.

You may even be able to be the bridge between the two if you are able to embrace programs that teach graphic design, 3D computer drawing, publishing, and other similar skills. Art is no longer restricted to physical elements. As a new art teacher in this century, you now have at your disposal digital pens and paints. It’s an exciting time to be an art teacher in Oregon. Here are a few basic steps to start you on your new journey:

Choose Your Degree Plan
Take and Pass the Competency Exams
Applying for Licensure
Continue Your Education

 


 

Step 1. Choose Your Degree Plan

Undergraduate Degree and Teacher Educational Program

The most common and direct route to becoming an art teacher in Oregon is to choose a degree program that has a teacher educational program embedded into it. These types of degrees not only give you the general education you need in art, they also provide the necessary tools you need to teach in the classroom. As a new student, you will find that your first two years are mostly spent on courses that are all lower-division general education such as:

  • Sciences
  • Math
  • English and Literature
  • Public Speaking
  • Writing
  • Critical Thinking
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

As you move into your junior and senior year, you will begin to take many more art courses. Generally most of your courses will focus on training for the classroom and teaching art. And of course you will also have your student teaching component. There are typically two phases to student teaching. One is more observational where you are watching and learning. The second phase you are actually doing the work under the watchful eye of a mentor teacher.

Alternate Options

If you already earned a bachelor’s degree at some point in your life and have decided to become a teacher you will need to fulfill the teacher education portion of the licensing requirements. Here are three possible scenarios you may choose from to fulfill that obligation:

  • Some schools are willing to hire teachers on a Restricted Transitional License. In this case they will provide a mentor-teacher for you that will oversee your work in the classroom.
  • Apply for the No Child Left Behind NCLB Alternate Route Teaching License through a school that has offered you a contract and is willing to work with you under that program.
  • Seek a master’s degree with a teacher’s preparation component attached.

 


 

Step 2. Take and Pass the Competency Exams

In order to become an art teacher in Oregon you will need to take the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). These test are given at Pearson Education centers. You will need to be tested in several areas in order to prove you are ready to earn your Oregon state license to teach. The areas include basic skills, core area skills, and a student and civil rights exam.

Basic Skills

The Essential Academic Skills Exam is made up of three areas: math, reading and writing. Each area has its own timeframe and scoring. The tests are designed to include both multiple-choice questions and constructed-response requirements. You are allowed to take all the tests at one time or you may take them individually.

Art Exam

As an art teacher, you will be required to take a core subject test to prove your proficiency in art. The art exam is a three-hour test comprised of 150 multiple-choice questions.

Student and Civil Rights Exam

The Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Examination, the test has sixty multiple-choice questions and is designed to test you in areas such as:

  • Ethical standards and discrimination in school and how to prevent it in our institutions.
  • Knowing the court precedents that have been handed down in cases regarding discrimination.
  • Giving teachers tools that help them learn how to be aware of other cultures and know how to have open dialog and to promote equality among students.

To apply for your state exams here are basic steps to follow:

    • Create an account on the ORELA site.
    • Determine what tests you need.
    • Study for the tests.

 


 

Step 3. Applying for Licensure

Now that you have passed your exams, you will need to determine which license you qualify for. There are several types of licenses available in the state of Oregon. Each one has its own set of requirements and restrictions.

  • A Restricted Traditional License (NCLB) is available to students who choose to participate in an alternative pathway to licensing.
  • Initial I Teaching License is the standard teaching license available to you when you pass a degree program with a teachers preparation program attached and you have passed your exams.
  • A Transitional Teaching License is available for you if you are coming from out of state and have never been licensed as a teacher but have completed all the educational requirements.
  • An Initial Teaching License is available for you if you are coming from out of state and have been licensed as a teacher and have completed all the educational requirements.
  • A basic Teaching License is available if you work at least halftime in an Oregon school. You will need to send in the Professional Educator Experience Report (PEER form) verifying your experience as well as proof the you have met all other requirements.
  • Five Year Teaching License is available if you are currently working at least halftime and are contracted in an Oregon school. You must send in a Professional Educator Experience Report (PEER form) that verifies your experience. You also must show proof that you have met all otherrequirements. You will need to submit the Application for License or Registration (C-1 form).

In order to apply for your Oregon State Teaching License you will need to start by deciding which license you are applying for then follow the process by filling out all the necessary forms, paying the fees, and having your fingerprints processed.

 


 

Step 4. Continue Your Education

After you’ve been issued your first license, you will need to continue seeking Professional Development Units (PDU) to recertify. There have been changes in the requirements and the PDUs have been scheduled for a phase-in program for 2014-2015 school year for full (non-substitute) licensure:

  • For all teachers with licenses expiring in 2014 you will be required to complete a total of 50 PDUs.
  • For all teachers with licenses expiring in 2015 and beyond, you will be required to complete a total of 75 PDUs for the 3-year license. If you have the 5-year license you will be required to complete 125 PDUs.

Professional Development Units can be earned in many ways. Coursework at any accredited college or university is a great option and will go towards a higher degree. One semester credit is equal to thirty PDUs. The course you take must be in the 100 course numbers or higher.

There are also other options, if you choose. For instance the Library of Congress offers webinars and seminars for professional development. Oregon State Department of Education has many workshops throughout the year as well. Another good source is your own school district. Check with your principal’s assistant or HR department for a list of any up and coming seminars or workshops sponsored by your school.

 




 

Oregon Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Oregon (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $33,549, slightly lower than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 12,090 55,200
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 5,420 55,920
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 9,080 55,820

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Bend, OR
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 590 54,970
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education ** 52,120
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 420 56,800
 

Corvallis, OR

Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 300 56,760
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 140 54,680
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 100 58,930
 

 

Eugene-Springfield, OR
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 650 55,850
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 790 55,730
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 670 51,400
 

 

Medford, OR
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 780 55,630
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 230 53,240
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 550 57,360
 

 

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 7,010 57,230
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,780 57,970
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 5,320 58,240
 

 

Salem, OR
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,170 56,590
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,120 58,160
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 920 55,380

Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. A survey of the salaries in Oregon public school districts for 2013-2014 may be found here. The salary schedule for Portland public schools may be found here.

Information on postsecondary art, music, and drama teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Eugene-Springfield OR
220
70750
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA
1780
66530
Salem OR
180
62840

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