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Credentialing Guide for Out-of-State Applicants

Important Clarifications for Applicants Who Hold Out-of-State Credentials

Educator licenses do not “transfer” to Colorado across state lines. While the term "reciprocity" is often used when discussing state licensure, any holder of an educator license issued by another state, including a professional license of any kind, must meet or exceed Colorado’s requirements for the license and/or endorsement area(s) sought.

There is no guarantee that an applicant will receive a Colorado-issued license or that an applicant will receive all of the endorsements issued by the other state. Colorado issues licenses based upon the applicants’ content area(s) of initial preparation, if we issue a comparable or equivalent endorsement. (If not, we certainly will work with you to determine the appropriate content area(s).) Other endorsements may be added upon application and meeting the requirements for each. 

Will I need to take a content exam? 

Many out-of-state candidates ask if there are required exams in Colorado.  The answer to this depends on the requested license and content endorsement area(s). Any test requirement will be determined upon review of a complete application so that your degree, previous test information and educator preparation programs may be considered. 

If I qualify, what type of Colorado credential will I receive ?

All applications from educators who hold credentials in other states/countries will be evaluated based on the documentation provided in the application, including educator preparation program, official transcripts, licensure history and work experience. 

 Professional License: If an applicant meets the requirements for a Colorado license and has at least three consecutive years of full-time, licensed experience in their content area(s), Colorado may be able to issue a professional-level (5-year) license.

Initial License: Those who meet the requirements with less than three consecutive years of full-time, licensed experience may receive an initial-level (3-year) license.

Interim Authorization: If a applicant holds or is eligible to hold a license in another state/country and meets all-but-the-requisite-content-exam(s) requirements,  Colorado may be able to issue an Interim Authorization, thereby allowing the candidate to work in Colorado schools while also giving him/her a year’s time to prepare for and take the required exam(s). (Please note: Interim Authorizations cannot be issued to applicants applying for Special Services Provider (SSP) licenses, as these educators must fully meet requirements for an initial or professional license.)

When is an Interim Authorization issued?

An Interim Authorization is issued to a first-time applicant who holds or is eligible to hold a license issued by another state, but who does not have three or more consecutive years of full-time, licensed experience in the content area(s) of preparation, who has not demonstrated content mastery via the Colorado State Board of Education-approved content exam(s) for those endorsement area(s), or both.

 An interim authorization may be renewed only once. Upon successful completion of the content exam(s), an applicant may then apply for an initial license.

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Professional Services & Educator Licensure
6000 E Evans Ave
Building #2, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80222
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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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