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Renew a Professional Special Services, Principal or Administrator License

Preparing to Apply

This checklist is for ...

Individuals seeking to renew an active (or expired) Colorado professional special services, principal or administrator license.

Attn: Principals and Administrators: Any principal or administrator applying to renew a principal or administrator license that expires on or after 08.01.2024 must have completed the ETrain evaluator training to do so. Your credential cannot be renewed without this certificate.

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.


  • Completion of 90 contact hours (six (6) semester hours) of applicable professional development activities:
    • For active licensees, applicable activities must have been completed within the seven years of your active license.
    • For those with expired licenses, applicable activities must be completed within the seven years immediately preceding the submission date of your application to renew.
  • Effective June 30, 2025 (extended by Colorado HB 21-1104), a minimum of 10 contact hours of professional learning must be related to increasing awareness of laws and practices relating to educating students with disabilities in the classroom, including but not limited to Child Find and inclusive learning environments.
  • OPTIONAL: English Learner Professional Learning designation -  Should you wish to fulfill these standards (for designation on your certificate), you may do during this renewal process by:
    • Completing a CDE-approved program
    • Completing the EL matrix, aligning any completed coursework or PD activities to the required standards and elements
      • Each element as it relates to its associated standard specifically must be addressed.
      • A minimum of 45 hours is required to satisfy this requirement.
    • These 45 hours indeed fulfill half of the 90 contact hours required for renewal.
    • Individuals who also hold a teacher license with a CLD, CLDB, LDE or LDEB endorsement have already fulfilled this requirement.
    • Individuals who are not ready to submit for the designation at this time may do so at any time (at no charge) by logging in to COOL and selecting the "add designation" button in the credential details section of their dashboard.
Plan Ahead

Application Fee:


License Expires:

7 years from date of issue

Gather the Necessary Information/Documentation

In the application you will need to include:

  • A valid form of government-issued identification. 
  • Documentation needed to renew your license, to include one or more of the following:
    • Verification of 90 contact hours (six (6) semester hours) of applicable professional development activities as outlined in the "Qualifications" section above.
      • Copies of official transcripts are required for verification of college/university coursework
      • Certificates of completion for professional development activities
      • 1 semester hour = 15 contact hours  | 1 quarter hour = 10 contact hours | 1 CEU = 10 contact hours
      • More information can be found in the following Renewal FAQs
    • If including 45 contact hours for the English Learner designation:
  • Updated work experience
  • A copy of your state license or national certification (required for O&M Specialist, OT, PT and RN)
    • Important Note: Registered nurses must maintain an active DORA license to practice nursing in Colorado in addition to the CDE-issued special services license/school nurse. Those holding multi-state licenses issued by another state must apply for a Colorado DORA-issued RN license within 60 days, as per the Nurse License Compact.
  • Documentation for any self-disclosures related to the following:
    • Prior criminal history
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Issues related to licensure or employment

Then ...

  • Log in to COOL to create your licensure account (if you have not already done so.)
  • Submit fingerprints (via the dark blue "CDE licensure" icon) to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
    • Ensure you have a current background check on file. You have 30 days from the time CDE receives your background check to apply for a license.
    • If you have submitted fingerprints for CDE credentialing in the past, but allowed all credentials to lapse or did not submit within the 30-day window, you must submit a new set of fingerprints to CBI for licensure purposes.
    • The status of your background checks will be noticed in your COOL account and within your application(s).

Have everything ready to go?

When you have gathered all required documentation,* have submitted fingerprints to CBI for CDE licensure purposes and have reviewed the licensure process, log in to COOL and select the "renew" button in the credential details section of the license you wish to renew on your dashboard. If for some reason this option is not available to you, please submit a support ticket so that this issue can be resolved directly.

Final Reminders

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we again reiterate these important reminders:

  • You have 30 days from the time CDE receives your background checks to submit an application or you will need to submit a new set of fingerprints for licensure purposes at the time of application.
  • By submitting an application, you are verifying that you have submitted fingerprints for CDE licensure purposes, provided all requested documentation and answered all questions truthfully.
  • Within 45 days of receipt (usually far sooner!), CDE will evaluate the application.
    • Upon determination of qualification, CDE will notify the applicant and the corresponding certificate will be available for view or print in the individual's COOL account.
  • If for some reason CDE is not able to access all documentation in the application, the application will be deemed "incomplete" and CDE will notify the applicant via email and specify the information needed to complete it. This includes notification that we have yet to receive your background checks!
    • An applicant has 60 days from the date of this notification to cure the deficiency (i.e., provide the necessary information or submit background checks) or submit to the department a written request for reconsideration stating the basis for the request. Additional time is not granted to those who receive this notification due to background checks. Any additional deficiency noticed also will need to be cured within the original 60-day period.
      • Requests for reconsideration do not apply to background checks.
      • CDE will provide a written response within 30 days of any request for reconsideration.
    • An applicant who fails to cure the deficiency or request reconsideration within these 60 days will be deemed as having withdrawn the application, and such withdrawal shall not be subject to appeal or review.
  • State statute prohibits the refunding of any application evaluation fee.
  • Once you have submitted an application, check your COOL account regularly for notifications on its status and/or to print a copy of your certificate.




For questions, submit a Licensing Support Request form or call 720-739-3304 (7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday).