Site Index | CDE Offices | Staff Directory

Alternative Teacher Candidates: What You Need to Know

The alternative teacher pathway is intended to allow districts to hire candidates with specific content knowledge and who hold an undergraduate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and need teacher training based on the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards. Alternative teacher preparation programs can vary in length from 1 year to 3 years. While serving as a teacher, alternative candidates put what they learn into practice immediately.

Using This Page

This page lists the steps you'll take to obtain an alternative educator license in Colorado. It also includes links to resources that help you complete each step. Resources will open in a new window or tab, depending on your browser settings.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the below expectations and timelines for alternative pathway applicants, as the alternative licensure process is quite different from the requirements for other types of credentials. Most notably: 

  • You must complete, at minimum, steps 1, 2, and 3 as listed below before you can submit your application to begin the alternative pathway. It is not necessary to fully meet the other requirements for an alternative license in order to apply.
  • Documents required for step 4 may be uploaded to your application at a later date (within 1 year of your original application date) once you have obtained a teaching position and enrolled in your alternative program.


1. Complete Degree 

Icon with a mortar board image

Complete a four-year bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited college or university

2. Background Check

Icon with a magnifying glass image

Pass CBI and FBI criminal history background checks

  • As part of the background check, you must submit your fingerprints to CBI. (CBI will work directly with the FBI to obtain a national criminal history report.)

3. Choose Endorsement Area and Demonstrate Competence 

Icon with a briefcase image

Determine the content area you want to teach and if you are qualified.

4. Obtain Position and Agreement

Icon with a teacher image


  • A classroom teaching position that matches the endorsement area you selected in step 3
  • An agreement with a state-approved designated agency that offers an approved alternative teacher preparation program
  • A statement of assurance (SOA) completed and signed by you, your district/employer and your designated agency

Note: Even if you have not yet completed this step, you can still submit an application to get started on the alternative pathway. (Please see the Apply section below for details.)


Icon with a computer image

Once you have completed at least steps 1, 2, and 3 above:

  • Applications submitted prior to a candidate's employment and program enrollment (step 4) will be evaluated to ensure content requirements for the selected endorsement area (steps 1, 2 and 3) are met. 
    • Determination of requirements met will result in an online "alternative license pending employment/program" status, which you, the candidate, employing districts and alternative programs may easily confirm through the eLicensing system. (CDE no longer provides a "statement of eligibility (SOE)" memo.)
    • You will have one calendar year to complete step 4 and obtain an alternative teacher license.
    • CDE will continue to honor SOEs issued prior to Dec. 1, 2017, provided that the endorsement area identified is still current at the time of submission of an employment contract and statement of assurance (SOA).
    • Candidates holding valid SOEs -- or whose account statuses reflect "alternative license pending employment/program" -- may log in to their accounts to submit copies of a contract and an SOA via the "upload missing documents" link.




Quick Links


Contact Us

Professional Services & Educator Licensure
6000 E Evans Ave
Building #2, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80222
Contact Licensing

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
Contact CDE

WCC Access