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Teaching License Updated August 8, 2014

Colorado Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Colorado

By Room 241 Team August 8, 2014

If you have the desire to teach students in a classroom setting, giving them the knowledge to make the best choices in their lives, then you might want to become a Colorado-licensed teacher. Teachers provide an important service to our school children to help them succeed at life. If you wish to become a Colorado teacher, find out the basic requirements concerning the necessary education and exams you must complete so that you can obtain your Colorado teaching certification.

Requirements for certified teachers in Colorado

To become a Colorado-licensed teacher, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an regionally-accredited educational university or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution that offers higher education. You must also complete a board-approved educator preparation program.

Once you complete the proper education, you can receive endorsements in the grade level and subject topic of your choosing. You may continue to add endorsements to your certification that allows you to teach classes at these grade levels and subjects. With endorsements, you will be able to take your Colorado teaching certification exams.

To receive your initial certification, you must take two exams: the PRAXIS series test and the PLACE test. The PRAXIS series tests have several different licensure areas to choose from to get your certification. You may choose to take the elementary education licensure exam, secondary education licensure exam, or the instructional support personnel licensure exam in audiology, speech language pathology, and school psychologist. The PLACE exams are for teachers, principals, special services, and administrators seeking their license. If you are getting your alternative license, you must also take the PLACE exam.

When you complete and pass your examinations, you must submit a set of your fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation so they may perform a background check. Once the background check is completed, you can obtain your certification.

Colorado jobs for licensed teachers

You will find a variety of different teaching jobs available to you in addition to obtaining your initial Colorado teaching certification. Here is a brief list of teaching licenses that you can apply for in Colorado:

  1. Initial License: Teachers can apply for initial certification once completing the board-approved educator preparation program.
  2. Professional License: Teachers who have their initial license and have completed an approved induction program may convert their initial certification into a professional license.
  3. Alternative license: This type of license involves teaching full-time while completing an alternative program to qualify for an Initial Colorado Teacher’s License.

If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Colorado for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Art/Music/Drama
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Foreign Languages (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
  • Mathematics (Grades 7 – 12)
  • Natural Sciences (Kindergarten – Grade 12)
  • Special Education

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in Colorado

Colorado participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.

Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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