Become a Teacher in Colorado

Colorado Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $52,390
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $54,460
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics External link  report.

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 08/09/2018.

This page is sponsored by our partner Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Colorado.

To become a certified teacher in Colorado, you will need to fulfill these requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Colorado teaching credential application.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating with new information on a regular basis.


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Step One: Colorado Prerequisite Coursework

The first step to getting certified as a teacher is choosing a specialization and/or grade level and earning your bachelor’s degree.

Here are some examples:

  • Early Childhood Education major
  • Elementary Education major
  • Secondary Education major OR choose specific subject major
  • At post-secondary education, you must pick a specific subject major

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Colorado, however, does not have any undergraduate credit hour requirements.

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Master’s Requirements

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Learn more about getting your MAT online with USC Rossier School of Education.

Step Two: Colorado Teacher Preparation

Next, you’ll need to complete an approved teacher preparation program. Visit CDE’s Educator Preparation page to find a state-approved teacher preparation program in Colorado. After, make sure to fill out an approved program verification form to verify the completion of an approved program.

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork involved in an accredited teacher preparation program. The curricula often include instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design, and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. View the Certification Map Colorado Alternative Certification Programs page to learn about obtaining your alternative teacher certification in Colorado.

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Step Three: Colorado Required Tests

Next, you’ll need to complete the PLACE and Praxis II exams. The Colorado Department of Education accepts the content knowledge test via PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators) and the Praxis II exam. The PLACE exam was developed for Colorado state educators. The Praxis II exam is a nationwide test accepted throughout the majority of the United States. Both tests are designed to assess the knowledge and skills necessary to become a qualified educator in the state of Colorado. Colorado has approved the adoption of Praxis exams for most content areas, and Praxis will be the primary licensing exam for Colorado teachers following the administration of the final PLACE exam on May 6, 2017.

Visit the Colorado Department of Education for more information on state testing requirements and registration dates.

Accepted Praxis II Exams in ColoradoPLACE Educator Content Assessments
Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Grades 7-12
Business Grades 7-12
Business/Marketing Grades 7-12
Drama Theater Arts Grades K-12
Early Childhood Education Ages 0-8
Elementary Education Grades K-6
English Language Arts Grades 7-12
Family and Consumer Sciences Grades 7-12
Health Grades K-12
Instructional Technology Grades K-12
Marketing Grades 7-12
Mathematics Grades 7-12
Music Grades K-12
Physical Education Grades K-12
Science Grades 7-12
Social Studies Grades 7-12
Speech Grades 7-12
Technology Education Grades 7-12
Visual Arts Grades K-12
World Languages Grades K-12
Early Childhood Education
Elementary Education
Special Education (General; Severe Needs)
Early Childhood Special Education
Content Specific Subjects

Step Four: Colorado Application Requirements

Finally, submit a completed licensure application to get the show on the road! You can create an Educator Account with CDE’s eLicensing database to begin your licensing application.

Make sure you have all your supporting documents! Here is the Colorado Department of Education’s checklist of things you need to submit along with your license application for first-time applicants:Identification



  • If applicable, obtain all copies of active or expired teaching licenses.
  • Document employment history for the past five years.
    • Include employer/business name, dates of employment, a reason for leaving, work addresses, supervisor names, and contact information.
    • Include teaching experience from more than five years ago, if you have it.


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Colorado Certification Reciprocity

If you would like to teach in another state with your pre-existing license, Colorado will recognize teaching credentials from all states participating in NASDTEC’s reciprocity agreement. Contact the Colorado Department of Education’s Licensure Requirements for Out-of-State and Foreign Applicants FAQ page to find out more about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

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Colorado Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Colorado provides differential pay and loan forgiveness for teachers teaching in high needs schools but provides no support for teachers teaching in shortage subject areas.
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Colorado has strong induction policies in place.
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $52,390
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $54,460
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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Colorado Certification Resources & Links

Office of Professional Services and Educator License
6000 E. Evans Avenue
Building #2 Suite 100
Denver, Colorado 80222
(303) 866-6628 – Email the Colorado Department of Education

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