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The Adult Basic Education Authorization (ABEA) is the only credential issued by the CDE Office of Educator Preparation, Licensing and Enforcement for educators who work with adult learners to improve literacy skills, English language proficiency and/or to prepare them to pass a high school equivalency exam.

The ABEA, unlike some other credentials issued by CDE’s Educator Talent Licensing Office, is not required in order to teach adult basic education in Colorado. It is, however, the policy of the Office of Adult Education Initiatives (AEI) to require the ABEA of all instructors teaching in programs receiving federal funds through the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA). In this context, the ABEA serves to ensure that instructors in those programs are “well-trained” as stipulated by AEFLA.1 As a result, instructors must either already have the ABEA when they join an AEFLA-funded program, or be willing to obtain it within three years of joining an AEFLA-funded program.

The Office of Educator Preparation, Licensing and Enforcement issues the ABEA with authority from the State Board of Education under Item 13 of the Colorado Revised Statutes 22-60.5-111 and the Colorado Code of Regulations 301-37-4.16.

The ABEA serves to foster professionalism in Colorado’s adult basic education workforce by:

  • standardizing the basic knowledge and skills individuals need to teach in adult basic education programs in Colorado;
  • recognizing and validating the expertise and knowledge of experienced adult educators; and
  • requiring participation in professional learning activities to maintain and update knowledge and skills.

More information about how to obtain the Adult Basic Education Authorization is available in AEI’s ABEA Handbook.

ABEA Course Availability

Courses related to the Adult Basic Education Authorization are offered by a variety of different institutions. At this time, ABEA courses are being offered at the undergraduate level by Colorado Mountain College, and Front Range Community College. Graduate level ABEA courses are being offered by Colorado State University's Adult Education and Training department.

1WIOA Section 231(e)(9) whether the eligible provider’s activities are delivered by well-trained instructors, counselors, and administrators who meet any minimum qualifications established by the State, where applicable, and who have access to high quality professional development, including through electronic means.