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AddSped Prerequisite Coursework

Candidates must hold a current teaching license, and an Oregon non-provisional teaching license to be eligible for recommendation for the AddSped endorsement.

The program has one required prerequisite course, SPED 418/518 Survey of Exceptional Learners. This course is offered at Portland State University and online every term prior to the start of the program coursework in the winter. Many applicants have taken an equivalent course as part of their previous teacher-licensing program. Applicants may request faculty to review an equivalent course as a substitution for this prerequisite. The course SPED 418/518 or approved substitution must have been taken within the past seven years.

Registering for the prerequisite course.


It is advisable to begin prerequisite courses as soon as possible. If you plan on taking eight or fewer credits per term at Portland State University and are not currently a student you may register as a Quick Entry non-admitted student. A first-time registrant must submit a Quick Entry Application Form to the Office of Admissions and Records so that a registration file can be created. The application is available on-line or at the Office of Admissions and Records in 105 Neuberger Hall. There is a one-time $25 fee for this process. Quick Entry/Non-Admitted students are not eligible to receive financial aid. Please allow 48-72 hours for your registration record to be created. Consult the Schedule of Classes for course offerings and registration information at:

Course Substitutions
You may have previously taken a course(s) that can serve as a substitution for a prerequisite. An approved substitute course must have been completed within seven years prior to beginning the special educator program.

If you want a course you have taken reviewed, in order to determine if it can serve as a substitute for a prerequisite, fill out and submit the Special Education Course Substitution form to the department. You must attach to the form the following documentation:

  • The course syllabus (if available)
  • The official course description from the university or college bulletin/catalog.
  • A copy of your transcript showing when you took and course and course grade (an unofficial copy is OK)

A faculty committee will review and respond to your request in writing. You can pick up a copy of the Special Education Course Substitution Form in room 204 of the Graduate School of Education or we can mail it to you.

If you have taken the prerequisite coursework at any Oregon state college or university within the past 7 years they should appear on your transcripts and will not require an equivalency waiver. HOWEVER, if you have taken courses at a private college or out-of-state college or university that you feel would be equivalent to the prerequisites, you will need to submit an official Course Substitution Form.

Tests required prior to licensure (students apply for licensure at the end of the program)

Special Education Content Knowledge test (Required)
National Evaluation Series (NES) test offered through Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). The test for Special Education may be taken during or at the completion of the program, but must be taken prior to recommendation for licensure. Content will be taught during the program.


Elementary Content Knowledge test (Recommended)
National Evaluation Series (NES) elementary test offered through Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). The Special Education endorsement does not require this test for licensure, but this test will be required for Highly Qualified Status in Special Education if teaching content in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 8.

It is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to register for these tests and provide photocopies of test scores to the Special Education Department.