Become a Teacher in Colorado

Colorado Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $49150
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $50920
Teacher Salary vs. State Average: 114%
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

This page is sponsored by 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 all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

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

A few quick notes on Colorado's teaching landscape: 

  • 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

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework

Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) 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: 3/22/2016

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.

Visit The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs database to verify whether or not your institution is accepted.

Step Two: 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 includes 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.


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. Click here to learn about obtaining your alternative teacher certification in Colorado.

Step Three: 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. 

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

Accepted Praxis II Exams in Colorado PLACE Educator Content Assessments
Elementary Education
English Language, Lit., and Composition

School Psychology
General Science
Social Studies
Speech-Language Pathology
Early Childhood Education
Elementary Education
Special Education (General; Severe Needs)
Early Childhood Special Education
Content Specific Subjects

Step Four: 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's a complete checklist of things you need to submit along with your license application for first-time applicants:


  • Submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).


  • List the names and addresses of the colleges/universities you've attended.
  • Obtain copies of your official transcripts indicating that you have earned a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree.
  • Complete the Approved Program Verification Form.
    • Download the Verification Form 
    • Out-of-state alternative applicants must also obtain an official signed letter from your State Department of Education confirming that you completed a state-approved program and the program requirements for the alternative program you completed.
  • Obtain the results for any CDE-accepted PLACE or PRAXIS II exams you have passed.


  • If applicable, obtain all copies of active or expired teaching licenses.
  • Document employment history for the past 5 years.
    • Include employer/business name, dates of employment, reason for leaving, work addresses, supervisor names, and contact information.
    • Include teaching experience from more than 5 years ago, if you have it.


  • If applicable, obtain supporting documentation on the following:

Step Five: License Endorsements

In addition to your teaching license, if you would like to earn additional endorsements to your valid Colorado teaching license, you can either complete at least 24 hours of course credit or pass the appropriate Colorado State Board of Education-approved content exam.

Visit the CDE's Endorsement for Teaching Licenses to find out more.

Colorado Certification Reciprocity

If you would like to teach in another state with your pre-existing license, Colorado will accept teaching credentials from all but the following states: Alaska, Iowa, and Kentucky. 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.

Additional Resources

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


Return to top