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How To Become a Teacher in Colorado

If you are interesting in information on how to become a teacher in Colorado, the following will guide you through the process of assuring you meet all the requirements and have the necessary assessments and paperwork completed to attain your teaching license in the state of Colorado. Please pay particular attention to the educational requirements for each area of teaching. If you do not meet those requirements currently, you may want to take a look at some of the top online education degree programs. These will allow you to continue working while attaining the necessary degree to become a teacher in Colorado.

Colorado Teacher Certification Roadmap

Types of Teacher Certifications

Colorado offers inital certifications to the following:

  • Teaching License
  • Special Service Provider License
  • Principal
  • Administrator

Colorado Teaching License-Approved Programs

Teaching endorsement are available in the following areas:

  • Elementary
  • Special Education Generalist
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Secondary
  • Agriculture/Renewable Natural Resources
  • Art
  • Business Education
  • Drama
  • English Language Arts
  • Family and Consumer Studies
  • Foreign Language (French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish)
  • Marketing
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Speech
  • Technology Education (Industrial Arts)
  • Trade and Industry Education
  • K-12
  • Art
  • Health
  • Instructional Technology Teacher
  • Linguistically Diverse
  • Linguistically Diverse Bilingual Specialist
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • School Librarian

Colorado Teaching Certificate Requirements

Here are the requirements you'll need to become a teacher in Colorado. Basic requirements include:

  • Appropriate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completion of an approved educator preparation program
  • Fingerprinting and criminal background check

Requirements for a Colorado Initial Teaching License

  • A bachelor degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Completion of a Colorado state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Prove competency for Elementary, Early Childhood Education, K-12, or Secondary Education as follows:
    • Elementary education teachers must pass the Colorado State Board of Education approved elementary content test
    • Special education generalist and early childhood education teachers demonstrate proficiency in one of two ways:
      • Course credit equal to 24 semester hours in courses identified by endorsement worksheets or a state approved academic degree program that corresponds to coursework requirements
      • A passing score on the Colorado State Board of Education assessment for Special Education Generalist or Early Childhood Education
    • Secondary and K-12 applicants must demonstrate content proficiency in one of two ways:
      • Course credit equal to 24 semester hours in courses identified by endorsement worksheets or state approved academic degree program that corresponds to coursework requirements
      • A passing score on the Colorado State Board of Education assessment in the endorsement area
  • Completed an online application for Colorado teaching license

Requirements for a Colorado Professional Teaching License

After you attain an initial Colorado Teacher's License, you may wish to gain a professional license. The requirements to attaining a professional teacher license is to complete a Colorado State Board of Education approved induction program. Induction programs are usually offered by the public school where you teach, but may also be offered at some private and charter schools. The induction program may also be offered by school districts, approved facilities, or the Colorado Boards of Cooperative Educational Services. The induction program includes supervision by mentor teachers, ongoing professional development and training, including ethics, and performance evaluations.

Education Requirements

In order to become a teacher in Colorado, you must possess a baccalaureate degree or higher. If you do not meet this requirement, here are the top online education degree programs that will allow you to work while working toward becoming a teacher.

Colorado State Board of Education Assessments

Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators

If you want to receive your initial educator license in Colorado, you are required to take and pass one or more of the Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators (PLACE) assessments. This applies if you are a candidate for a license in teaching, special services, principal, or administrator. Click here for information on the PLACE assessments.

Praxis II Content Tests

Colorado accepts the PRAXIS II Subject Assessment exam for teachers to prove competency in a content knowledge area and meet the testing requirement for specific areas of teaching. Here is a list of Praxis II tests accepted in Colorado

Fingerprinting and Criminal History Check

All applicants for a Colorado teaching certificate must complete fingerprinting by a local Law Enforcement Agency and submit it to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for the completion of a criminal history check. Once the local law enforcement agency has taken your fingerprints, you may mail your fingerprint card along with a $39.50 money order or certified check made out to CBI to:

Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
690 Kipling St., Suite 3000
Denver, CO 80215
303-239-4208

For additional information, refer to the CDE fingerprinting guide.

Colorado Teacher Salaries

In general, Colorado teachers start out around $31,000. This salary increases based on the number of years teaching and your education level. Here are some resources for Colorado teacher salaries:

Certification Reciprocity

Colorado will accept most out-of-state teacher degree programs as well as out-of-state teacher licenses but you must have completed an approved educator preparation program in another state, be eligible for licensure in that state and meet Colorado’s minimum requirements. If you satisfy those requirements, you may apply for an Initial Colorado Teacher License under reciprocity. In addition, Colorado is an approved program state, which means you will be endorsed in the approved-program areas you completed at your out-of-state college or through your out-of-state alternative program. For more information, contact the Colorado Department of Education, or take a look at the Colorado Teacher License Requirements for Out-of-State and Foreign Applicants.

Colorado Alternative Teacher Certification

There are several alternative paths to become a teacher in Colorado. Here are a few programs you may want to consider if you do not meet all the requirements for an Initial Colorado Teacher's License.

Alternative Teacher Licensing Program

The state of Colorado offers an alternative Teacher Licensing Program state-wide. The program requires that you have a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and demonstrate proficiency with 24 semester hours in the area of endorsement. Here are a list of areas of endorsement for alternative teacher license. Once your alternative teacher license application is approved and you have passed a background check, you may teach full-time under the supervision of a professional support team. While you teach, you will take additional coursework through one of the Alternative Teacher Programs Designated Agencies. This will allow you to apply for an Initial Colorado Teacher’s License.

Troops for Teachers

The Colorado Troops for Teachers office helps qualifying military personnel with a bachelor's degree to make a transition to teaching as a second career.

Become a Substitute Teacher in Colorado

If you have a college degree but don't qualify for a teaching certificate, you may consider becoming a substitute teacher in Colorado. You may substitute teach while you attain your teaching credentials through an accredited online program.

Resources for Teacher Certification in Colorado

Educator Licensing
Colorado Department of Education
201 E. Colfax Ave. Room 105
Denver, Colorado 80203-1799
(303)866-6628

Interested in how to become a teacher in another state? Return to the How to Become a Teacher main page, or click on one of these neighboring states below.