Pre-Professional Certificate Program Pre-Teacher Education

PSU teacher education student working with a class

Pre-Teacher Education Pre-Professional Certificate Overview

Portland State University educates prospective K-12 teachers in the Graduate School of Education, through the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) and the Special Educator Program (SPED). Both GTEP and SPED are split into separate tracks to emphasize either elementary (K-5) or secondary (middle/high school) education, and both result in a master’s degree (Master of Education or Master of Special Education) and an initial teaching license.

Undergraduates at Portland State University may prepare for competitive admissions by consulting with appropriate advisors, by achieving high academic standards in the recommended and required courses for specialization, and in courses in liberal arts, and by documenting the successful experience with children in public schools. Passing scores on teacher exams mandated by the Oregon Teachers Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) are also required for entry into the GTEP.

Early childhood and elementary education: Students who want to be elementary teachers choose from a wide range of majors to complete their undergraduate degrees. Pre-Education advisers have traditionally recommended interdisciplinary majors – such as Arts and Letters, Social Science, General Science, and Liberal studies – because they can include multiple subjects that are highly relevant to the elementary curriculum. However, specific disciplinary majors can also be fitting for the goal of progressing into GTEP. Such disciplines include (but are not limited to) English or History (especially those wishing to teach at the upper elementary level), Psychology, and Child and Family Studies. Prospective elementary teachers should consult with a Pre-Education Advisor.

Secondary (middle/high school) education: Prospective middle and high school teachers may receive general introductory pre-professional advising with a Pre-Education Advisor; however, subsequent advising for pre-secondary education should be with the academic adviser for the secondary education content area in which they wish to teach. These specialized advisors are familiar with all GTEP admission requirements for their respective content areas, and the Graduate School of Education relies on their recommendations to determine whether an applicant has sufficient understanding of the subject matter they wish to teach.

Academic majors and their respective secondary endorsements are as follows: biology (biology and general science); physical education (physical education); history, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, political science, geography, and economics (social studies); health (health); mathematics (mathematics); English (English language arts); art (art); world languages and literatures (foreign language); music (music); chemistry (chemistry); physics (physics); business and economics (business); drama (drama); speech (speech).

Special education: All prospective special educators, whether they wish to teach special education at the elementary or secondary level, should consult with a pre-education advisor. Students who are interested in teaching special education at the secondary level as well as teaching a specific subject in their middle or high school should also meet with the content area advisor for that subject (see above).

Pre-Teacher Education is a pre-professional track (not a major), common majors for pre-teacher education students include Science, Biology, Chemistry, Special Education, History, Art Practice, and Mathematics.

Degree Details

  • PPT
    Pre-Professional Track
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Pre-Teacher Education Pre-Professional Certificate: Why PSU?

Portland State University's College of Education was the first educator preparation program in Oregon, the first on the West Coast, and one of the first ten in the nation to be fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Our reputation as a high-quality teacher preparation university has helped us build an extensive network of partnerships with schools and school districts in the Portland metro area. PSU teacher candidates are sought after by principals both for student teaching field placements and for hiring.

PSU holds a strong commitment to equity and social justice. Our deep welcome and inclusive environment of all nurtures fearless confidence in students to themselves interrupt oppression and injustice and see quality, culturally sustaining education as an important avenue toward a just society. We strive to embody these principles in our practices and continually seek to improve our efforts to work for equity. Your program at PSU will encourage you to frame your career in terms of working for justice and opportunity for all people.

What can I do with a certificate in Pre-Teacher Education?

Students who complete the Pre-Teacher Education track go on to earn their Oregon Preliminary Teaching License. Many complete the Special Education bachelor's degree program at PSU which includes an endorsement in Special Education. We also offer several other programs in education:

  • Elementary Education Minor
  • Elementary Education Science Minor
  • Mathematics for Middle School Teachers Minor
  • Secondary Education Minor
  • Special Education Major and Minor

Lower Division Suggested Courses

  • LING 233 Language and Mind
  • COMM 220 Public Speaking
  • MTH 211, 212, 213 Foundations of Elementary Math (required)
  • B 201/204 Fundamental Biology w/lab
  • CH 104/107 Introductory Chemistry w/lab
  • ESM 101 or 102 Environmental Sciences I or II (includes lab)
  • G 201/204 Geology w/lab
  • PH 101/104 Essential Laws of Physics w/lab
  • SCI 201 Natural Science Inquiry
  • BST 203, 204  Introduction to African-American History
  • ECON 101 Contemporary Economic Issues
  • GEOG 210 Physical Geography or
  • GEOG 230 Environment and Society: Global Perspectives
  • HST 201 & 202 U.S. History
  • PS 101 American Government
  • PSY 200, 204 General Psychology
  • SOC 200 Introduction to Sociology
  • WS 101 Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • ED 150 Teaching as a Career

Upper Division Suggested Courses

  • ART 312 Art in the Elementary School
  • CI 432 Computer Applications for the Classroom
  • ED 420 Intro to Education (Highly recommended, has 30-hr practicum)
  • G 355 Geosciences for Elementary Educators
  • G 450 Earth/Space Science for Middle School
  • LIB 428 Children’s Literature (required)
  • MUS 381 Music Fundamentals
  • SCI 311 Teaching Everyday Science (includes lab)
  • G 430 Life of the Past (includes lab)
  • G 341 Geology of Oregon Country (includes lab)
  • PSY 311 Human Development
  • SOC 337 Minorities
  • SPED 417 Introduction to Special Education
  • SPED 418 Survey of the Exceptional Learner


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).