If Colorado licensure is the topic, forget what you know about the meaning of the word reciprocity, because it’s likely not what you think.While it is true that Colorado has signed NASDTEC’s reciprocity agreement with a majority of other states, our signature on this agreement indicates one thing only: that we will recognize that another state has granted an educator a license.
What Reciprocity Is Not
1. A synonym for the word transfer.Licenses do not “transfer” across state lines.
2. Reciprocal. Any holder of a educator license issued by another state must meet or exceed Colorado’s requirements for the license and/or endorsement area sought. Period.
3. A 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 in the applicants’ content area(s) of preparation. All other endorsements may be added upon application and meeting the requirements for each.
What Reciprocity Is
1. Helpful. If an applicant meets the requirements for a Colorado license and has at least three years’ of continuous licensed experience in the content area(s), reciprocity allows us to issue a professional license. Those who meet the requirements with less than three continuous years’ of licensed experience receive an initial license.
2. Beneficial. If a licensed applicant is found to meet all-but-the-requisite-content-exam(s) requirements, reciprocity allows us to issue an Interim Authorization, thereby allowing the candidate to teach while also giving him or her a year’s time to prepare for and take the required exam(s).
When is an Interim Authorization issued?
An Interim Authorization is issued to a first-time applicant* who holds a license issued by another state, but who does not have three or more consecutive years of 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.
If an applicant has multiple endorsements on the out-of-state license, yet does not meet the requirements for one of those endorsements, an interim authorization will be issued with all applicable endorsements. The applicant has only to fulfill the requirement(s) lacking for the one endorsement.
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.
*One caveat: A handful of interim authorizations have been issued in response to renewal applications from holders of expired Colorado Initial Teacher License holders with elementary and/or special education generalist endorsements. In each of these cases, the teacher had not taken or passed the requisite content exams for the endorsement area(s) and had let the license lapse. State statute allows for the renewal of expired initial licenses, yet stipulates that the applicant meet the expectations established for the endorsement area(s) – in this case, passage of the board-approved content exams for elementary and special education.