Colorado Teaching Certification


Colorado Ed. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary*$54,670
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary*$56,370
Avg. Admin. Salary*$94,150
Teacher Retention (?)91%
Vacation Wks/Yr15

Learn how to become a teacher in Colorado (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

Getting Involved…

Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country’s overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how Colorado measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).

Step 1
Learn About Your Governor’s Track Record

Learn about your Governor’s views and voting record with regard to education. (see Colorado Governor’s website).

Step 2
Give Your Knowledge Power By Voting

Hold your public servants accountable. It is our duty as residents of Colorado.

Help Make Education A Priority

Initial Colorado Teaching Certification

Colorado’s educational system is slated to see a dramatic increase in funding as part of a push to raise the standard of education in the state in response to increased public attention brought about by the case known as Lobato vs. the State of Colorado, a lawsuit filed in 2005 claiming that the state was not meeting its financial obligation to the public school system. The judge presiding over the case recently determined that the state has failed to adequately fund public schools in accordance with the state’s constitution, which requires a “thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state.” The judge agreed that the current lack of adequate funding violates Colorado’s constitutional pledge and has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. This has been celebrated as a huge win for the students and teachers of Colorado’s public school system who can expect to see funding increase by as much as $4 billion annually. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in Colorado.

Education Requirements

The Colorado Department of Education (303) 866-6628 expects all teachers in the state to have at least a bachelor’s degree before pursuing post-baccalaureate education and master’s degrees through the completion of approved Colorado educator preparation programs. Available endorsement areas in which Colorado’s teachers may become licensed are:

  • Elementary
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Secondary (in special content areas)
  • K-12 (special content areas)
  • Varying levels of Special Education

Additional educational requirements for teacher licensure in Colorado exist for certain licenses. For example, if you plan to become licensed in Early Childhood Education, Secondary, K-12, or as a Special Education Generalist, you must demonstrate competency in your content area by proving completion (via degree or transcript) of 24 credit hours within your content area or by “testing out.” See the examination section below for details on qualifying by exam.

Approved Colorado educator preparation programs offer different degrees based upon the college or university’s requirements and policies. Some may offer bachelor’s degrees at the completion of the program, while others confer graduate degrees. A listing of schools, the degrees they offer and the levels of Colorado teacher licensure to which each degree corresponds may be found here under “Helpful Resources”.

If you graduated from, or are you currently enrolled in, a university or college in a state other than Colorado, you may still be eligible for a teacher’s license in Colorado. Make sure that your school is an “accepted institution of higher education.” Under Colorado Department of Education licensing rules, this means that the school offers at least a bachelor’s degree and is recognized by one of the following regional accreditation associations: Northwest Accreditation Commission; Western Association of Schools and Colleges; New England Association of Schools and Colleges; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Additionally, the out-of-state teacher preparation program you complete must be equivalent to the teacher preparation program standards of the Colorado Department of Education. If the out-of-state teacher preparation program you complete renders you eligible for a teacher’s license in that state, generally the Colorado Department of Education will deem it to be equivalent to their standards for licensure.

If you attended school in a foreign country, your transcripts must be evaluated by an approved foreign transcript evaluation service to verify course equivalence prior to applying for a Colorado teacher’s license. The Colorado Department of Education accepts credential evaluations from agencies that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).


An overview of Colorado’s teacher licensing examination requirements may be found here.

Basic skills testing:
Colorado’s educator assessment program is limited to content tests only. Therefore, there is no longer a requirement for applicants for teacher licensure to pass basic skills tests.

Content area assessment testing:
The Colorado Department of Education accepts the PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators) or Praxis II content examinations for teacher licensure.

PLACE Exams: You must earn a score of at least 220 on one of the following content exams in order to be eligible for educator licensure in that area:

  • Agriculture
  • Art
  • Business Education
  • Drama
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • Family and Consumer Studies
  • French
  • Gifted and Talented
  • German
  • Health
  • Instructional Technology
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Linguistically Diverse
  • Linguistically Diverse Bilingual Education
  • Marketing Education
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Reading Specialist
  • Reading Teacher
  • Russian
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Special Education (Generalist)
  • Special Education (licensure is available in various fields of Severe or Profound Needs)
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Speech
  • Technology Education (Industrial Arts)

Praxis II Exams: Content exams are available in the following areas. You must achieve the corresponding score to pass each test:

  • Audiology (score of 600)
  • Elementary Education (147)
  • English Language, Literature and Composition (162)
  • Mathematics (156)
  • General Science (152)
  • Social Studies (150)
  • Speech-Language Pathology (600)

Exemptions: If you hold an out-of-state teacher’s license and have three consecutive years of full-time teaching experience in the requested licensing area, you are exempt from taking the examinations.

Additional information: If you wish to become licensed in Early Childhood Education, Secondary, K-12, or as a Special Education Generalist, and did not demonstrate competency by completing 24 credit hours within your content area, you may take the SPED Generalist Exam, Early Childhood Education Exam, or the appropriate content area exam to qualify for exemption from these educational requirements.


During your Colorado educator preparation program, you will participate in student teaching. This will involve placing you in a classroom setting corresponding to the area in which you seek licensure. The length of your student teaching program will vary depending upon the school you choose, but it may be up to a year long. A supervising classroom teacher will act as your mentor during this time and will be available for advice and guidance.

Your mentor will most likely have you prepare lesson plans, lead the class, and perform classroom observations during your student teaching program. At the end of the program, your mentor will provide your school with written reports documenting your time, progress and performance in student teaching.

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have completed your educational, examination and student teaching requirements, you may apply for initial teacher licensure in Colorado. This must be done online through the Colorado Department of Education eLicense Program, as written applications are no longer accepted by the Colorado Department of Education. Any supporting documents that you send to the Colorado Department of Education, including letters or email, must have your full name and date of birth on them. This includes:

  • Official, sealed college transcript(s) [put your name and date of birth on the sealed envelope containing the transcript(s)]
  • An institutional recommendation signed by the university or college’s certification officer or dean of education

Mail the required documents to the Colorado Department of Education, Educator Licensing Unit, 201 East Colfax, Room 106, Denver, Colorado 80203.

Your content exam scores (PLACE or Praxis II) should already be online and available to the Colorado Department of Education. Application fees will also be paid online at the time of your application.

Criminal History Background Check

Before submitting your online application for teacher licensure in Colorado, you must submit to fingerprinting and complete a criminal history background check. By law, your local law enforcement agency must assist you in this endeavor. Print this form and take it to your local law enforcement agency. Your fingerpriint card must be completed in its entirety and is to be submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), 690 Kipling Street, Suite 3000, Denver, CO 80215. You must also pay a $39.50 processing fee by check, money order or credit card form. If you have any questions, call the CBI at (303) 239-4208 or visit their website.

Contact Information

If you require more information on Colorado teacher preparation programs, contact the colleges and universities that house them.

For more information on Colorado teacher licensure, contact the Colorado Department of Education Educator Licensing division at (303) 866-6628.

* 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data – Conditions in your area may vary.

**Teacher Retention Sources – U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”),
and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.