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All About Early Childhood Education in Oregon
Oregon is more than just a place to live; it’s a place to enjoy. Oregon is one of the best places in the world for outdoor activity. There is another adventure, though, with vistas and adventures more spectacular than any that you can see outdoors – namely, being an early childhood teacher.
Oregon has a state-funded early education program, available through Head Start. The only problem is that it remains unavailable to too much of the population. Oregon ranks 30th out of 39 states for access to a state-funded pre-K program: the 2010-2011 enrollment was only eight percent. When it comes to programs for three-year-olds, the state’s ranking makes a better showing, at 13th out of 24 states.
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Oregon has improved other areas, too: rankings for state per-child resources jumped from fourth to third, and as of 2011-2012, it meets eight of the 10 quality benchmarks, compared to seven a few years ago.
The Head Start Child Development Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF) was established in 2012 to replace an earlier program, and is working to set standards for early childhood. The program is in the process of aligning with common core standards for K through 12. State and federal funds are provided to all Head Start agencies, ranging from community action agencies, public schools, and government agencies to colleges and universities. Agencies that do not receive funding from Head Start are awarded state funds.
Oregon had 5800 early childhood educators as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an average annual salary of $25,900.
How to Become an Early Childhood Educator in Oregon
Many states require a bachelor’s degree to teach in early childhood settings. Oregon, however, only requires an associate degree to start teaching. Even so, a bachelor’s degree still gives graduates an edge in the market.
An associate degree allows an educator to be employed in many Head Start Programs, private organizations and day cares. A bachelor’s degree completes the list with public schools.
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Getting an Early Childhood Degree
. This two-year program prepares a student to work with children from birth through age eight in venues including child care centers, preschools and Head Start Programs, among others. An Early Childhood Education Certificate Program is also available.
offers two early childhood programs: early childhood for age three through fourth grade, and early childhood/elementary for age three through eighth grade. These programs lead to a bachelor’s degree and assist with all the needed steps to becoming fully licensed and certified.
. This is actually a degree completion program for students starting with associate degrees from local community colleges. Graduates are qualified to teach preschool, in Head Start, and in many other settings.
Teacher Certification in Oregon
An Initial teacher license is valid for three years until the first renewal (for five years after that), and is valid for both full time and substitute teaching, rendering a separate Substitute license unnecessary. Prerequisites include:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Completion of an approved teacher program, or having a current license from another state
- Passing either the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) or the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST)
- Passing subject-matter exams in endorsement areas (such as early childhood), or proof of five years of full-time teaching in another state
- Passing background clearance and fingerprinting
The initial license is not renewable, but the holder may advance to one of three other licenses:
- Initial I License: requires a non-provisional teaching license and passing scores on civil rights exam, basic skills exam, and subject matter exam
- Initial II License: all Initial I requirements with the addition of one of the following alternatives:
- Completing an additional degree
- Completing graduate level coursework equivalent to a degree
- Continuing teaching license: all Initial II requirements, and additionally having an advanced degree along with a bachelor’s, five years of relevant teaching experience (part-time or full-time), and completing one of the five competence area options
A Restricted substitute teaching license is for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but who have not completed an education program. It is valid for teaching 60 total days a year.
A Substitute teaching license is for candidates who have completed a teaching program but do not have a regular teaching license. An educator with this license may not teach in the same position for more than three consecutive months.
Teachers with a renewable license must complete professional development units (PDU). PDUs are relatively new in the state of Oregon. The requirements vary depending on the year the license was issued. PDUs are required for Substitute and Restricted Substitute licenses.
The Teach Standards and Practices Commission’s license guide, already linked to above, has much more information and can help you decide which license is best for your situation.
Where to Look for a Job in Early Childhood Education
The Oregon Labor Market Information System can be most helpful when you are searching for a position.
Careerbuilder is another website that may be useful. An example listing is a recent position in Wilsonville, Oregon, where Mentor Graphics was looking for an early childhood teacher. The position was full-time and called for running a classroom with a curriculum in an all-day program. An associate degree or higher in early childhood education with experience was preferred.
Children’s Creative Learning Centers, founded by Fran Durekas, is well known in Oregon for its commitment to children and families. A full-time teacher’s job here requires a CDA, an associate degree, or higher.
Knowledge Universe, the largest private early childhood education provider in the U.S., is always looking for teachers who are passionate about creating a better world through learning. A Portland, Oregon, listing was seeking a full-time prekindergarten teacher.
Professional Organizations for Teachers in Oregon
The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union representing about 45,000 educators working from pre-K through grade 12, with the mission of uniting the public education profession and advocate for professionals to ensure quality education for students in Oregon.
Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children has over 1300 members. This organization aims to support teachers of children from birth to eight years by having conferences and sponsoring teaching workshops throughout the state.
The Oregon PTA aims to bring parents and teachers together to work at all levels to support and improve Oregon schools. The goal is to advocate for children, support parents, and work for better public education.
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Education Blogs in Oregon
Books That Heal Kids is a blog maintained by an elementary school counselor who received her master’s degree in education in 2005. Her passion to find great books that help heal children started when, as a new counselor, she realized the books on the shelves were out of date and no longer relevant to the needs of the children she talked to. She reviews many great books for young children and suggests ways to put them to use.
Bloom Preschool Blog is the product of collaboration by teachers from Bloom Preschool in Bend, Oregon. The blog includes insights and highlights of days in a preschool, and provides an inside look at a preschool program that can spark ideas in readers.
Motherhood Planning is a blog written by a mother of two children. With an English literature degree from Southern University College and further study of early childhood education at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, she has developed materials on early childhood learning, as well as fun activities to do with children, recipes to share with them, and advice on health care issues.