Education and Teaching

Teacher in classroom

The education and teaching pathway includes the many occupations focused on learning, student support, and school administration. It includes working with students across the lifespan in many different capacities.

Learn About the Many Careers In Education

List of teaching professions

Academic Pathways in Education

Teaching licensure requirements do change periodically and vary by state. For more information on teacher preparation programs and licensure in Oregon, see the Oregon Teacher Standard and Practices Commission website and the Oregon Department of Education. If you are interested in exploring all Oregon program options at once, click here to open the "Choose Local": Oregon EPP Preliminary Licensure Program Inventory.

The Education program at COCC provides the lower division coursework for students preparing for a career in early childhood through Grade 12 education. Students can complete their first two years of course work at here at COCC and then transfer to another institution at Junior status. Once students transfer they will be able to work toward their final degree and teaching licensure. Education Advisors at COCC will help students create an academic plan to meet their transfer and licensure goals. 

To speak directly with Education faculty about the Education Pathway at COCC contact Angie Cole: or Amy Howell:

  • Preschool - Early Childhood Education

    COCC 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.

    For students planning to continue their education to earn a Bachelor’s degree: The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) with a focus in Early Childhood Education 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; with the appropriate course planning, all lower-division major requirements may also be met. Students should work closely with an advisor to select the best degree option and review specific transfer requirements.

    Oregon State University - Cascades Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences - Early Childhood Option: The Early Childhood option prepares students to promote lifelong development, learning, and wellbeing of children and families. Through a focus on the early childhood period from prenatal through age 8 years, students examine dynamics among children, families, schools, communities, and cultures that have lasting impacts throughout life. New! The Early Childhood Career Development Program will help you get up to 45 academic credits toward your HDFS degree at no cost.

  • Educational Assistant

    Applicants to educational assistant positions must meet and provide proof of one of the following requirements:

    • Two years of college (to include 90 quarter hours with passing grades)
    • Associates degree
    • Successful completion of the Paraprofessional Assessment exam with a score of 455
    (Requirements for Bend La Pine School District.  Check other district websites for local information)
  • Elementary School Teacher

    To become a certified teacher in the state of Oregon you must earn, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In order to receive a teaching license in Oregon, you must complete a teacher education programs approved by the state, which will consist of college coursework and fieldwork. This requirement typically is met with an elementary education major for those teaching at the elementary level.

    The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) in Elementary Education at COCC or other community colleges is 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.

    Oregon State University-Cascades: Bachelor of Science in Teaching, Specialty Option: Elementary Education. Students select one of three emphasis areas that are in high demand: English as a Second Language; Special Education; or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). You'll complete one course in each of the three emphasis areas as a foundational part of your core coursework and take an additional two courses in one area. The program requirement will result in 9 credits that can support future endorsement completion and/or job placement
  • Middle & High School Teacher

    To become a certified teacher in the state of Oregon you must earn, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In order to receive a teaching license in Oregon, you must complete a teacher education programs approved by the state, which will consist of college coursework and fieldwork. This requirement typically is met through a master’s degree program for middle and high school teachers. 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 Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) with a focus in Secondary Education at COCC and other community colleges is designed for students who wish to transfer to a four-year university and to become a middle or high school teacher or to pursue a career in education. The degree includes courses related to the education field and to a specific subject area that a student will want to teach. Students should work closely with an education advisor and potential transfer universities to select appropriate courses for an efficient transfer process.

    OSU-Cascades: Master’s of Arts in Teaching. Students complete the one-year, full-time program or two-year, part-time program after graduating from a Bachelor degree program.

    Endorsements offered at OSU-Cascades: The purpose of an endorsement on a teaching license is to indicate the subject areas (content knowledge) for which the educator is authorized to teach.

    Elementary: Multiple Subjects (grades K-8)
    Language Arts (grades 5-12)
    Foundational Mathematics (grades 5-9)
    Advanced Mathematics (grades 5-12)
    Science: Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics (grades 5-12)
    Social Studies (grades 5-12)
    English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

  • Community College or University 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.
  • Special Education Teacher

    To become a certified special education teacher in the state of Oregon you must earn, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In Oregon, most college programs offer Special Education specialization at the Master’s degree level.  See specific schools and programs for detailed degree and pre-requisite requirements.

    Portland State University: The Special Education program at Portland State University provides students with an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s as well as a Master's degree in special education and a Preliminary Teaching License with an endorsement in special education. The PSU Bachelor's program is the only undergraduate teacher preparation licensure program in special education in the state of Oregon. Graduates of the Special Educator License + BA/BS program are eligible for an Oregon Preliminary Teaching License with an endorsement in Special Education. This license enables candidates to teach students ages three through 21 (grades pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade) with a wide range of disabilities.

  • School Principal or Administrator
    The Principal License is issued to educators who have
    completed a principal licensure preparation program and hold a master’s degree. The Principal License qualifies its holder to serve as a principal, vice-principal, associate principal, or an equivalent position that serves as the administrator of a public school in a prekindergarten through grade 12 Oregon public school district or education service district. The Principal License is the preliminary administrative license for the state of Oregon and signifies that the holder is prepared for leadership in the school-level context
  • Librarian

    Most librarians have a Master's degree in Library Science (MLS) or library and information science (MLIS). You need two years to complete a MLS after you earn a bachelor's degree. In a master's degree program, you study library science, material selection, and reference tools.

    School librarians usually need a bachelor's degree in education and courses in library science. Some schools require librarians to be certified both as a teacher and a school librarian. Other schools require a MLS degree with a focus in school library media. Yet other schools require a master's degree in education with a focus in school library or educational media. To enter a master's program in library science, you need a bachelor's degree. The degree can be in any area (Reference: Oregon Career Information System).

    In Oregon, school librarians complete a four-year (or fifth year) teacher education program in educational media. Some school librarians also have a teaching certificate and complete additional hours in library science.
  • ESL Teacher (English to Speakers of Other Languages)

    Oregon State University-Cascades offers coursework toward an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement, open to OSU-C Masters in Teaching candidates and Oregon licensed teachers. Endorsement requirements: Complete 6 courses, submit a portfolio, and pass the NES ESOL Exam.

  • Speech Therapist
    To work as a speech pathologist, you typically need to have a master's degree in speech pathology and pass a licensing exam.
    Speech pathology programs are two-year graduate programs that award a master's degree. In a speech pathology program you learn anatomy, normal speech and language development, and the nature of speech disorders. You also learn to evaluate and treat speech disorders. (Reference: Oregon Career Information System)
  • Outdoor Educator
    COCC Outdoor Leadership Program: Students can earn a concentrated one-year certificate through the annual cohort (capped at 24 students) or combine the cohort with a year’s worth of prerequisite studies to yield either an Associate of Science degree (transfers to Oregon State University) or an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree. Through outdoor classrooms and field experiences client-oriented exercises, and a series of five-day expeditions in the mountains and rivers of Central Oregon, students refine new competences in navigation, outdoor living skills, expedition planning, and risk management as they participate in canoe touring, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and other wilderness pursuits.

Academic Pathways in School Mental Health

There are three categories of school-based mental health professionals that are licensed by TSPC and can get hired in school buildings as a licensed educator: School Counselors, School Psychologists and School Social Workers. Each of these professionals plays a unique role in a school system. Click here to see an overview of each of the roles.

  • School Counseling
    The Preliminary School Counselor License is issued to educators who have completed a school counselor preparation program and hold a Master’s degree. It is valid for any school counselor position in a prekindergarten to grade 12 school. In order to apply to a school counseling master’s program, students need to complete a Bachelor’s degree as well as required pre-requisites. 

    Oregon Training Programs
    Bushnell University
    George Fox University
    Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education
    Oregon State University​ (Corvallis and Cascades)
    Portland State University​
  • School Psychology
    The minimum requirement to be credentialed as a school psychologist is a specialist-level program of study in school psychology (e.g., EdS, MS+, SSP CAGS) that consists of a minimum of 3 years of full-time study at the graduate level, at least 60 graduate semester hours or the equivalent (e.g., 90 quarter credit hours), and a supervised internship taken for academic credit. The supervised internship must include a minimum of 1,200 clock hours, with a minimum of 600 hours in a school setting and completed across 1 academic year on a full-time basis or 2 consecutive academic years on a half-time basis. Students complete a Bachelor's degree before applying to a graduate program.

    Oregon Training Programs
    Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education
    University of Oregon
  • School Social Work
    The Preliminary School Social Worker License is issued to educators who have completed a school social worker preparation program and hold a master’s degree. It is valid for prekindergarten to grade 12 school administration in any school social worker position.

    Oregon Training Program
    Portland State University

Earn College Credits in High School

High school students can jump start their college education by taking college classes while still in high school. At COCC, high school students can earn college credit through two options: College Now and Concurrent Enrollment (including Expanded Options):

  • Suggested COCC classes for High School Students Interested in Careers in Education
    Click on course link to review course description and pre-requisites:

    HD 100CS College Success (3 credits): Suggested first class for all new college students

    HD 110 Career Planning (3 credits): Suggested course for exploratory students

    Education & Teaching
    ED 103 Outdoor Teacher Training (1 credit): Opportunity to volunteer at Camp Tamarack and gain experience in an outdoor learning environment.

    Early Childhood Education
    ED 140 Introduction to Early CHildhood Education (4 credits)
    ED 112 Children's Lit & Curriculum (3 credits)

    K-12 Teaching & Licensure
    ED 200 Introduction to Education (3 credits)

  • College Now (Take college classes at your high school)
    College Now: COCC works with area high schools to offer college level courses taught by high school instructors, exclusively for high school students. 

    Click here to see the College Now classes offered at your high school.

    Talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking College Now classes. 
  • Concurrent Enrollment (Take college classes through COCC)
    Concurrent Enrollment: Take online or on-campus college classes at COCC while enrolled in high school.

    Expanded Options: Available to some Central Oregon high school students. The high school pays for associated tuition, fees and books. High school counselors approve Expanded Options classes for students.  So talk to your high school counselor if you are interested in taking Expanded Options classes.

    Check out the Concurrent Enrollment website for more information
  • Are you ready to take college classes? What you need to know
    It is important to make an informed decision before taking college classes as a high school:

    There can be future financial aid implications for unsatisfactory academic progress (grade of D or F) in a college class. Unsatisfactory academic progress includes a cumulative college GPA below 2.0 and a completion rate below 66.67% of credits at the end of each term. Withdrawing from a class after the drop deadline can impact completion rate.

    When you apply for financial aid, the Financial Aid office at the college you plan on attending evaluates all prior grades and credits on your transcript. This includes grades and credits you earned or attempted for college credit while you were in high school. Unsatisfactory academic progress on your transcript may impact your future financial aid eligibility.

    In addition, students are limited to financial aid eligibility for 150% of the published credit length of a selected academic program. All credits listed on your transcript, including college credits attempted in high school, count toward the 150% limit for your selected program. Additionally Oregon Promise only covers up to 90 credits.  So high students don't want to load up on unnecessary credits that may impact future funding.

    The bottom line is that is it important for high school students to work with their school counselors and a COCC Academic advisor to make sure they are taking "credits with a purpose" towards an academic program. Additionally, high school students need to make informed choices about the academic load they can manage to ensure that they are creating success in their dual enrollment classes.

Explore Real World Experiences in Education

A great way to explore whether an academic and career path is a good fit for you is to find opportunities to get real world experience early on in your journey: career fairs, entry-level training and jobs, internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, and more.

Real World Experiences in Teaching & Education

Scholarships for Students Interested in Education

  • OSU-C: Early Childhood Career Development Program

    The Early Childhood Career Development Program is designed for those interested in or currently working with young children. You’ll provide care and enrichment for infants to children age 5. A classroom teacher and your faculty mentor will help you learn skills in early learning that you can apply immediately to a job in Central Oregon.

    Participating students receive:

    • $15.50/hour while working in your career field for 20 hours a week
    • Up to 45 academic credits, saving up to $12,000 in tuition and fees (based on enrollment)
    • Career placement advising after completion, helping you find a teaching position at a Little Kits Early Learning Center or partner child care center in Deschutes County
    • Experience that meets state ELD qualifications to be an early learning child care teacher

    This program is for individuals who are committed to early childhood education and aspire to work at least 20 hours per week in the field for two years following completion. High school graduates interested in a career in early learning are eligible to apply.

  • Partners in Practice: Neighbor Impact

    Partners in Practice (PIP) is a scholarship award program offered by a partnership between Central Oregon Community College, the Early Learning Hub of Central Oregon and NeighborImpact Child Care Resources. The program includes key components including flexible class offerings, intentional outreach, course relevancy, alignment with state and regional goals, diverse opportunities for professional growth and whole student support, all of which is available for early childhood education providers, employees and volunteers.

    If you have been considering professional development growth in the early childhood education sector this would be the perfect opportunity for you to pursue and achieve your academic goals! Partners in Practice offers evening, weekend and online college classes for early childhood professionals, whether you’re pursing a one- or two-year certificate, working toward a degree or simply expanding your knowledge.. These cutting-edge courses support you in your pursuit to deliver the best for the children you serve and help you work toward statewide goals, such as increasing your step on the Oregon Registry.

  • Shape Oregon's Future: Scholarship Opportunities
    SHAPE Oregon’s Future: Become a Teacher initiative provides guidance to anyone interested in becoming a teacher. Click on "Financial Resources" for multiple scholarship opportunities for students interested in becoming educators.  Check out all the opportunities.