Alternative Teaching Certification in Colorado

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree (or higher), you may be eligible for alternative licensure as a teacher in Colorado. During an alternative licensing program, you may teach full-time while completing educational requirements necessary for teacher licensure. Through alternative licensure programs, you may become a licensed teacher in these areas. One-year and two-year programs are available from designated agencies, some of which lead to a master’s degree.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Colorado.

Alternative Certification Requirements

Education Requirements

Before being accepted into an alternative teacher licensure program, you must show proof of possessing at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, you may demonstrate content competency by either completing 24 credit hours in the content area in which you wish to become licensed (with a minimum GPA of 2.6) or by passing an examination (see below). Evaluation worksheets are available to evaluate your credits and see whether they meet approval for a particular licensure program.

Once accepted into the alternative licensure program, you must complete all educational requirements while working full-time as a teacher in your content area.


To demonstrate competency in your content area, you may pass the PLACE or Praxis II content exam corresponding to that area if you did not meet the educational requirements above. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Education will accept CLEP testing or DSST testing to fulfill course requirements.


You may apply online for an Alternative License at the completion of all program prerequisites. You must seek employment as a teacher prior to acceptance into an alternative teacher licensure program. Check with Colorado school districts to find available teaching positions.

Depending upon your alternative program, you will be in the program either for one year as a teacher of record, or for two years, working under a mentor teacher for the first year and as a teacher of record for the second. You must work full-time and teach at least 51 percent of your time in your content area.

When you have completed all of the alternative program requirements, you may apply online for an Initial Teacher License.

Criminal History Background Check

The first step in the alternative teacher licensure process is to complete the criminal history background check and fingerprinting. This must be completed before you will be accepted into the program. Print this form and take it to your local law enforcement agency. Your completed fingerprint card must 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

For more information about Alternative Teacher Licensure programs in Colorado, contact the Colorado Department of Education at (303)866-6628 or these Designated Agencies offering the programs.