Become a Teacher in Colorado
Colorado Department of Educationhttp://www.cde.state.co.us/
201 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80203
Become a teacher in Colorado
Colorado Teacher Shortage areas
Earning your Colorado teaching credential will require the completion of the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as completing an accredited certification program. Colorado offers an Initial License, valid for three years, for beginning teachers; you must complete a Teacher Induction Program to qualify for a Professional License, which must be renewed every five years. In addition to Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary certifications, Colorado has certifications for Special Education Generalist and Special Education Specialist. Learn more here about getting your Colorado teaching credential.
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Every state requires at least a bachelor’s degree for teacher certification, but some have additional undergraduate credit hour restrictions. Colorado requires that the bachelor’s degree include a teacher preparation program. For Elementary educator licensure, there are no specific coursework requirements. Special Education Generalist, Early Childhood, K-12 and Secondary licenses require 24 credit hours of required content. A passing score on the PLACE assessments (below) can substitute for the credit hour requirement. The Special Education Specialist Initial license requires some graduate work or a full master’s degree, depending on what type of special needs students you plan to work with.Return to the top
Unlike most states, Colorado does not require a Basic Skills test. All that is required is a Subject Area Competence test, which can be fulfilled by the PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators) or Praxis II: Subject Test.
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Getting a teaching certificate usually involves the completion of an accredited certification course with both pedagogical theory and classroom practice components. These courses can be complete either on-site or online. Colorado requires 800 hours of student teaching as part of the teacher preparation program. Upgrading from Initial to Professional Certification requires a Teacher Induction Program consisting of “supervision by mentor teachers, ongoing professional development and training, including ethics, and performance evaluations.” A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Colorado can be found here.Return to the top
Colorado also has both one and two-year alternative certification programs. These programs are open to teachers with a Bachelor’s from a regionally-accredited university who have not completed any other certification program involving student teaching. For more information, visit the Colorado alternative preparation website.
The Troops to Teachers program offers a way for veterans to transition to a teaching career.Return to the top
Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Colorado, visit the Teach.com reciprocity page . Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Colorado Department of Education.Return to the top
It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A Master’s in Teaching will give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a Master’s program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay. In the Denver Public Schools, a teacher with a Master’s degree can earn $6,000-$8,000 more per year than one without an advanced degree.
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Colorado residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.
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The average salary for an elementary school teacher in Colorado is $49,150 and $50,920 for secondary school teachers. Salary schedules vary by school district. This Colorado Springs salary scale shows a salary increase for every sixteen units of graduate credit, as well as every year of experience, resulting in a range of $31,887 -- $43,290 for just a Bachelor’s, and $33,749 -- $54,194 for a Master’s or similar amount of graduate credit.
Colorado offers differential pay and loan forgiveness as an incentive to teachers working in high needs schools.
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Colorado maintains the Public Employee Retirement Association to assist public employees such as teachers in funding their retirement. Additionally, there are many benefits offered to Colorado teachers such as health care, dental and annual leave and sick days.
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Colorado’s professional development program aims to improve teaching and administration, and thereby the quality of the students’ education. Every five years, a teacher is required to complete a minimum of 5 credit hours of development activities. To learn more about professional development in Colorado, check out Colorado’s professional development page.
Colorado public policy strongly supports induction for teachers through mentoring and professional development. For more information about Colorado’s induction program, click here.Return to the top
The Colorado Board of Education runs a teaching job site called TeachInColorado.org where aspiring teachers can easily filter jobs by subject area and by city.
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