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General Requirements for Licenses & Authorizations

Listed below are the various licenses and authorization types with a high-level summary of the requirements for each:

  • You must hold an assigned social security number (issued by the US Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber) in order to apply.
  • Review the checklist for detailed requirements for each license/authorization type.

License Types

Teacher/Special Services Provider/Principal/Administrator

(administrator = superintendent, director of special education or director of gifted education)

Initial (issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Completion of an approved preparation program which leads to licensure in the state in was approved and meets or exceeds Colorado's requirements (Note: one must hold or be eligible to hold a license in the state of preparation)
  • Demonstration of content-area knowledge by degree, 24 semester of specific coursework and/or exam(s), depending on content area. (Review the endorsements page for specific requirements for the license type and endorsement area(s) sought)
  • Student teaching/practicum/internship that meets or exceeds Colorado's requirements
  • Please note: Applicants for an initial principal license must also have three or more years of full-time experience under a state-issued teacher or special services license in a K-12 (elementary and/or secondary) school.

Professional (issued for 7 years):

  • Initial Colorado license-holder (or meets the requirements for a Colorado initial license)
  • Completion of a Colorado State Board of Education-approved induction program
  • Out-of-state applicants with a valid license may qualify with three years of full-time, fully licensed teaching experience in the content area requested within the past seven years

Master Certificate (issued for 7 years):

  • Professional Colorado educator license-holder
  • Teacher: valid National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate OR demonstrated excellence in the standards outlined in 3.08(1)(b) of 1 CCR 301-37.
  • SSP/Principal/Administrator: portfolio review of documentation of ongoing professional development and training, advanced competencies or expertise, or outstanding achievements in their field

Alternative Teacher (Colorado only)

(issued for 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on alternative program):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Demonstration of content-area knowledge for an approved endorsement area (either by degree, 24 semester hours of specific coursework or Colorado State Board of Education-approved content exam)
  • Enrollment in a Colorado State Board of Education-approved alternative teacher preparation program
  • Employment as a classroom teacher

See Principal Authorization (below) for alternative principal.


Authorization Types

Substitute (issued for 1, 3 or 5 years):

  • 1-year: school district verification of high school diploma or higher degree and experience working with children
  • 3-year: bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • 5-year: valid or expired Colorado teacher license or valid out-of-state teacher license

Career and Technical Education (issued for either 3 or 5 years):

  • Qualifications for the area(s) of expertise as determined by the Colorado Community College System’s board for technical education. Please refer to the specific worksheet for the CTE authorization desired.

Adjunct Instructor (issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university in a content area not available through an approved preparation program (ex., psychology, sociology, engineering, et. al.) or five years’ experience in area of specialization
  • School district verification of the need for the individual to provide students highly specialized academic enrichment in the area of expertise
  • Note: This authorization is meant to fill specific district and school-based needs. This authorization is available to individuals who are filling specific areas of content knowledge that are not traditionally filled through educator preparation programs. For example, a university professor who has a doctorate in macroeconomics is needed to teach a concurrent enrollment course in economics. Educator preparation programs do not have traditional educator preparation pathways for a teacher of economics. Another example is a French literature teacher for an advanced placement high school class. Educator preparation programs do not have pathways for French literature, nor is there an endorsement in French literature. Individuals in situations such as these would qualify for an adjunct authorization.

Adult Basic Education (issued for 5 years):

  • Associate’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Adult basic education training, coursework (EDU 131, 132, 133 and 134) and experience

Educational Interpreter (issued for 5 years):

  • Associate’s or higher degree in educational interpreting or related field from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Passing scores on the EIPA written and performance exams

Emergency (issued for 1 year):

(Teacher, School Counselor (see also TEE), Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, Principal or Administrator (Superintendent))

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university (special service providers must hold the degree required to practice the specialty requested)
  • Enrollment in an approved preparation program that leads to fulfillment of the requirements for an initial license
  • School district verification of its need for the individual to provide students services that would otherwise be unavailable due to the lack of a fully licensed individual

Exchange Educator Interim (issued for 1 year):

  • Educator license or certificate from another country
  • Participation in a district-recognized educator exchange program

JROTC Instructor (issued for 5 years):

  • JROTC certification or JROTC program director certification

School Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (issued for 5 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree in speech-language pathology or communication disorders--or bachelor’s degree and 24 semester hours of specific SLP coursework--from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Completion of an approved SLPA preparation program and internship

Special Services Provider Intern (issued for 1 year):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Enrollment in a special services provider program requiring an internship

Temporary Educator Eligibility (TEE - issued for 1 year):

(All special education fields and all special services providers (except orientation and mobility specialist and speech-language pathology assistants))

  • SpEd fields: bachelor’s or higher degree; enrollment in an approved program
  • SSPs: degree required for the specialty; enrollment in an approved program or internship for the specialty or registration for an applicable exam

Interim (issued for 1 year):

(teacher, principal or administrator (superintendent) only)

  • Hold or eligible to hold a license in another state
  • Need to pass a Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam to meet Colorado’s content requirements

Principal (for alternative principal preparation; issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Employment as a principal, assistant principal or like position for which a principal license is required in order to fulfill the duties of the role
  • Participation in Colorado State Board of Education-approved individualized alternative preparation program designed by the school district and aligned to the Principal Quality Standards

Native American Language and Culture Instruction (issued for 5 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university in an area of native languages or five years’ experience of verified, demonstrated expertise in a native American language of a federally recognized tribe and confirmation that the individual will be teaching in cooperation with a licensed teacher