What’s the difference between Community College and a 4-year University?

Oregon Teaching License

The difference between Community College and a 4-year University can impact your journey to become an educator: while you can start at either, ultimately Oregon requires all licensed teachers to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree offered at either a public or private 4-year university.

Community College vs University

Benefits of starting at a Community College

While you must earn a bachelor’s degree at a university, there is nothing that says you have to start there. You can take you first two years at one of Oregon’s 17 Community Colleges offering an Associates’ Degree. Benefits for this approach include:

  • Lower tuition costs than universities charge
  • Seventeen campus locations throughout the state
  • Convenient if you want to stay in your home communities and commute for classes
  • Access to core classes that transfer to Oregon public university Bachelor’s Degree
  • Access to services specifically for first generation in college students

Thanks to state legislation, Oregon’s community colleges have partnered with Oregon’s public university Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to develop specific Major Transfer Maps in Elementary Education specifying specific coursework that transfers to any Oregon public university, saving you time and money.

Note: Some courses may also transfer into a Secondary Education degree but it is best to meet with a university advisor for additional requirements.


Both community colleges and 4-year universities have an application process and fee that you can start while still in high school.

Note: you will still need to apply to the Educator Preparation Program at your chosen university, either before completing the Major Transfer Map or near the end of your second year attending a university.

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