Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2016–2017, and was determined by examining the most recent data about unfilled teaching positions; positions filled by teachers certified by irregular, provisional, temporary, or emergency certification; and teachers teaching in subject areas other than their area of preparation.
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Colorado
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com 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: 10/13/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Colorado, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Step Four: Submit a Colorado teaching credential application.
Continue below for more information.
Earn Your Colorado Teaching Credential
Earning your Colorado teaching credential will require the completion of the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as 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 about getting your Colorado teaching credential through the Colorado Department of Education Office of Educator Preparation, Licensing and Enforcement.
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.
Step Two: Colorado Teacher Certification Programs
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 completed either on-site or online. Colorado requires 800 hours of student teaching as part of the teacher preparation program.
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 the appropriate Praxis Subject Assessment.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.
The 8-week Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.
BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.
Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.
Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.
The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Colorado
Colorado also has an alternative certification program. These programs are open to teachers with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university who have not completed any other certification program involving student teaching. For more information, visit the Colorado alternative licensing website.
The Troops to Teachers program offers a way for veterans to transition to teaching careers.
It is no longer enough to just have years of experience in 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 degre in the field of education can 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 may achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay. In the Denver Public Schools system, a teacher with a master’s degree earns an average of $6,627 more per year than one without an advanced degree, according to 2015–2016 data from the National Council on Teacher Quality.
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.
The average salary for an elementary school teacher in Colorado is $50,330, and for secondary school teachers is $52,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary schedules vary by school district. This 2016-2017 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 $34,750–$56,540 for just a bachelor’s, and $39,700–$70,175 for a master’s or similar amount of graduate credit.
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 care, and annual leave and sick days.
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 five credit hours of development activities. To learn more about professional development in Colorado, visit the Colorado Department of Education's professional development page.