Become a Teacher in Colorado

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Teaching in Colorado Snapshot

$56,370Secondary School Teacher Salary
$54,670Elementary School Teacher Salary
$9,089Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing's most recent data 2016


201 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-6600

Explore Sponsored Degree Options in Education

Sponsored Online programs
University Name Type of Program Learn More Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching Learn more about USC Rossier The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.


Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Colorado

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 update: 04/27/2020)


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. 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.



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 require student teaching as part of the teacher preparation program.

Upgrading from an initial to a professional certification requires a teacher induction program consisting of “supervision by mentor teachers, ongoing professional development, and training, including ethics, and performance evaluations.” The Colorado Department of Education provides a list of Approved Educator Preparation Programs.


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 appropriate Praxis Subject Assessment. Colorado has approved the adoption of Praxis exams for most content areas.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting Teach.coms' Ultimate Guide to the Praxis Exams and read more about teacher certification tests on

Initial Teaching Certifications

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.

Read more about getting your teaching credential on

Discover an 8-week Online Teaching Short Course from Harvard's Bok Center

Learn more about an 8-week short course from Harvard's Bok Center

Earn recognition of your ability to develop and deliver a memorable teaching experience when you receive a premier certificate from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX, upon successful course completion.


Alternative 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.

Colorado Teacher Certification Information & Links

Transferring Your Certification

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.

To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in Colorado, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in Colorado

Colorado Teaching Jobs

The Colorado Board of Education partners with Colorado.Teachers-Teachers to run a teaching job site where aspiring teachers can easily filter jobs by subject area and by location.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

Colorado Teacher Salary and Incentives

The average salary for an elementary school teacher in Colorado is $54,670, and for secondary school teachers is about $56,000, according to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary schedules vary by school district. Colorado offers loan forgiveness as an incentive to teachers working in low-income schools. Learn more about teacher salaries on

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 care, and annual leave and sick days.

Learn more about benefits for teachers.

Colorado Teacher Shortage Areas

  • Music
  • Business Education
  • Early ChildhoodEducation
  • English as a Second Language
  • General Shortages
  • Special Education 
  • Counseling
  • Psychologist
  • Nurse
  • Social Worker
  • Foreign Languages 
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences

Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2020–2021, 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.

Financial Aid in Colorado

Colorado residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant that 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 on

Career Advancement

Professional Development for Colorado Teachers

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.

Colorado public policy strongly supports induction for teachers through mentoring and professional development. For more information about Colorado’s induction program, visit the Department of Education’s page on moving from an Initial License to a Professional License.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in Colorado

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 degree 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 may have more job security and the potential for higher pay. Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

Explore Featured Program Options in Education

Featured Online programs
University Name Type of Program Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.
Harvard University Advanced Certification in Teaching 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.


Last Updated May 2020