Become a Teacher in Colorado


Colorado Department of Education

201 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80203

(303) 866-6600

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    Become a teacher in Colorado

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            Earn Your Colorado Teaching Credential

            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: 1/06/2015

            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.

            Learn more about getting your teaching credential.

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            Prerequisite Coursework in Colorado

            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.

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            Required Tests for Colorado

            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.

            Read more about teacher certification tests.

            You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

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            Colorado Teacher Certification

            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.

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            Alternate Teacher Certification in Colorado

            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.

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            Certification Reciprocity in Colorado

            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 reciprocity page . Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Colorado Department of Education.

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            Benefits of a Masters in Education in Colorado

            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.

            Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education.

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            Masters in Education Financial Aid

            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.

            Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree.

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            Colorado Teacher Salary and Incentives

            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.

            Learn more about teacher salaries.

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            Colorado Teacher Benefits and Retirement

            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.

            Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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            Professional Development for Teachers in Colorado

            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.

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            Colorado Teaching Jobs

            The Colorado Board of Education runs a teaching job site called where aspiring teachers can easily filter jobs by subject area and by city.

            Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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            Colorado Teacher Certification Information & Links

            Colorado Department of Education Colorado Teaching Jobs