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Not licensed but want to teach?

Learn how you can teach in Colorado with an alternative teaching license.

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In 2022, Colorado public schools had over 8,000 open teaching positions. (1) With an alternative teaching license, you’ll work in an in-demand field and support Colorado students at the same time.

What is alternative licensure?

An alternative licensure teaching candidate leads a class of high school students.

In a nutshell, alternative licensure lets you teach while you complete a teacher preparation program. 

With an alternative teaching license, you can: 

  • Earn a salary while you complete your teaching program.
  • Gain experience while you learn the tools of the trade.
  • Finish a teaching program for less money and less time than a standard program.

Start with your college degree.

A Colorado alternative licensure candidate sits in her classroom, filling out paperwork on a clipboard

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to start your path to the classroom today. Alternative licensure could be a good fit if any of these apply to you: 

  • You have a bachelor’s but have not completed a teacher preparation program.
  • You’re mid-career but want to make a difference.
  • You’re a community member with life experiences you could apply to the classroom.
  • You’re a school staff member who wants to get your teaching license faster.

How to apply for an alternative teaching license

An alternative teaching candidate leads a bilingual class of elementary students.

There are a few steps to getting your alternative teaching license. Here’s the short version:

  1. Earn at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  2. Apply for teaching jobs in a Colorado school district. Check out the district job boards below to find the position that’s right for you!
  3. Enroll in an alternative licensure program. (2) Many school districts work directly with alternative licensure programs to train teachers.

Our (free!) Alternative Licensure Guide has more details about eligibility, steps to get started and resources to help along the way!

Download the Guide

Apply for a teaching job

Explore job boards from districts across Colorado that partner with an alternative teaching program!

Get free career advice

Have questions? Talk to an alternative licensure specialist over phone, video or email! Choose a date and time, then click to sign up. Don't see a calendar? Try logging out and refreshing your page, or email colorado@teach.org for assistance.

Learn what to expect and how to prepare for your session.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s next

Start Teaching Before You Earn Your License

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to start teaching right away with an alternative teaching license.

Read More


  1. Colorado’s Educator Shortage Survey Results, Colorado Department of Education. https://www.cde.state.co.us/educatortalent/edshortage-surveyresults 
  2. Alternative Teacher Candidates: What You Need to Know, Colorado Department of Education. https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/altteacheroverview