Colorado Teaching License (Complete Guide)
Learn how to earn a Colorado teaching license in our comprehensive step-by-step guide. Bookmark this page or download the PDF.
To get licensed to teach in Colorado:
- Determine what you want to teach.
- Choose the right endorsement area.
- Review your pathway to licensure.
- Determine the time and resources needed.
- Review other resources, if you're still exploring.
Note: We do our best to keep all information updated, but because licensing requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with your educator preparation program and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) before applying.
“I want to make a call to my colleagues and friends with diverse backgrounds. You can bring your whole, unique self into the classroom. Students need it and they love it and they embrace it. So that’s my call. Come as you are. Just come.” ⎻Dr. Anne Keke
Which statement fits you best?
Consider a Critical Needs Subject or Shortage Area
You’ll have more job opportunities—and make a bigger impact—teaching in a high-need area. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may also be able to start teaching (and start getting paid) sooner through an alternative licensure program.
The Colorado Department of Education lists the following hard-to-staff areas that may qualify for teacher loan forgiveness or other district-level incentives:
- Business/Marketing (Grades 7-12)
- Early Childhood Education (Ages 0-8)
- Early Childhood Special Education (Ages 0-8)
- Elementary Education (Grades K-6)
- Instructional Technology (Grades K-12)
- Math (Grades 6-8, 7-12)
- Music (Grades K-12)
- P.E. (Grades K-12)
- Science (Grades 7-12)
- Social Studies (Grades 7-12)
- Special Education Generalist (Ages 5-21)
- Special Education: Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Ages 0-21)
- Technology Education (Industrial Arts) (Grades 7-12)
- Visual Art (Grades K-12)
- World Languages (Grades K-12)
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (Grades K-12)
- Teachers in rural schools (All ages & grades)
Some programs offer scholarships or forgivable loans to pay for your education preparation program if you commit to teaching in hard-to-staff areas:
- The Colorado Rural Teaching Fellowship offers $10,000 of financial assistance to future educators in the final year of teacher preparation who commit to teaching in a rural school district.
- You may also be eligible for student loan relief from Uncle Sam if you’re willing to commit to teaching for several years in high-need areas, thanks to the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
- The value of the Colorado Rural Teaching Stipend is up to $4,000 for the semester of student teaching. Stipend recipients are expected to complete student teaching in a Colorado rural school district and then apply to and work in a rural school district.
- The Rural Alternative Licensure Stipend (RALS) provides recipients with up to $6,000 to pay for a variety of program-related costs (e.g., Alternative Licensure program-, PRAXIS-, Alternative License-, Initial License-, technology- and travel-related costs).
Colorado Teaching Endorsements
Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a licensure endorsement area.
Pro Tip: You can add endorsement areas in different grade levels and subject areas throughout your teaching career. You don’t have to get all your endorsements at once.
“As a teacher, you can change lives every day by revealing the joy of reading to your students, exploring important scientific discoveries or opening up new exciting career paths. TEACH Colorado will be a one-stop shop to help anyone explore a fulfilling career as a teacher.” —Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes.
Your Pathway to Teaching
Earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university.
Colorado accepts degrees from a large number of universities, but you should confirm that yours is a regionally accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree you earn should be in a field closely related to what you want to teach. To be accepted into a Colorado educator preparation program, you generally need a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 for all undergraduate courses.
Keep in mind that you can earn your degree and your teaching license at the same time, so if you’re an undergraduate, see step 2 below.
Paying for your program can feel like a lot. That's where our financial aid guide comes in: get our favorite tips to find grants, scholarships, loan forgiveness opportunities and other strategies to cover your costs.
Complete a state-approved educator preparation program.
You can meet this requirement either as part of your undergraduate coursework, or by completing a master’s or licensure-only program after you graduate.
Generally, you’ll need a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 for all undergraduate courses and passing scores on the Praxis Core Academic Skills Tests or SAT or ACT. Each program sets its own requirements for admission and completion.
Through your preparation program, you will:
- Take coursework related to the specific subject and grade levels you want to teach, along with courses on teaching best practices (pedagogy).
- Participate in hands-on, clinical experiences in a variety of classroom settings, where you can observe and practice with instructors, mentors and teachers who are effective and experienced.
Need a little support to prepare your teaching program applications? Our teacher prep program application guide has all the info you need to ace your exams, request your transcripts, write an excellent essay and more.
TEACH Colorado can help you reduce your teaching program application costs! We’ll reimburse up to $100 for any expenses required for you to apply to a teaching program (like application fees, transcript fees and more). Get the details on our Fee Reimbursements page.
Know teacher testing requirements
Most Colorado educator preparation programs require teacher candidates to pass specific tests that evaluate your knowledge of teaching and the subject area you wish to teach. Your educator preparation program will determine the timing of when you will take these assessments.
Stressed about testing? You're not alone! Our testing guide covers everything from exam registration to study materials to what to expect on test day.
Submit an application to the state and pay the application fee.
After you meet the requirements above, it’s time for you to formally apply for your teaching license. First, confirm with your educator preparation program that you are eligible to apply. After that, check out the Colorado Department of Education website to apply for your license.
Pro Tip: By creating an online account with the Licensing Office, you can apply for your license online, pay fees, check the status of your application or print unofficial copies of your license.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a teacher in Colorado?
In order to become a teacher in Colorado you must have earned at least a bachelor's degree and completed an approved teacher preparation program. The average time frame is 2-4 years.
What is the starting salary for Colorado teachers?
The average starting salary is $59,258. Learn all about Salary & Benefits.
Is Colorado a good state for teachers?
If you’re in this to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed, then there’s an opening for you in a Colorado classroom.
Colorado students need great teachers who:
- Represent their backgrounds, experiences and cultures.
- Prepare them to thrive, today and tomorrow.
Here’s why you should teach in Colorado.
Adding it Up
Teaching is the greatest opportunity to shape the trajectories of young people’s lives—and the future of our world. While the experiences you’ll have are priceless, you may be wondering what it costs to get licensed to teach in Colorado.
The total costs will vary depending on the educator preparation program you attend and the tests required for your licensure area. Below are some of the costs you can expect while applying for your license:
- Initial educator license: $90
- Out-of-state initial educator license: $110
- Content-specific exams: Starting at $120
Pro Tip: It's understandable to have your eye on the cost of educator preparation programs, but there are lots of scholarships, loan forgiveness and other funding opportunities that may lower program costs for future teachers. Check out Financial Aid & Scholarships to learn more.
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