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Alternative Pathway - Principal Authorization

Preparing to Apply

This checklist is for ...

Applicants who meet the requirements for and are seeking a principal authorization under which to complete alternative principal preparation in Colorado

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.


** Note: If pursuing individualized preparation, you must submit your plan to CDE for pre-approval before submitting this application.

Plan Ahead

Base Application Fee:


License Expires:

3 years from date of issue

Gather the Necessary Information/Documentation

You will need the following* to submit a complete application for a principal authorization:

  • A valid form of government-issued identification. 
  • A copy of an official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university that reflects a bachelor's or higher degree.  [Unofficial transcripts are never accepted. Do not include them in your application.]
    • Transcripts from institutions outside the US must be in English or include an authentic English translation and have been evaluated by a NACES member organization for course-by-course equivalency.
  • A copy of the approved individualize principal preparation plan vetted by CDE's Educator Development Office, if applicable
  • A copy of your employment contracting confirming your employment as a principal or assistant principal
  • A completed Statement of Asssurance
  • All prior work experience.
  • 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 an application 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, select the "APPLY for LICENSE" button and complete and submit a PRINCIPAL application (via which you will be able to apply for a principal authorization).

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.
  • Should the application be found incomplete, CDE will notify the applicant to specify the information needed to complete it.
    • Notifications will be sent via email and available in your COOL account profile.
    • An applicant has 60 days from the date of inital 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, updates 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).