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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 2 years (though special education generalist candidates may take a third year, if necessary). While serving as a teacher, alternative candidates put what they learn into practice immediately.
Please note: Alternative licenses are issued in one content area only. Only once alternative preparation has been completed and the individual has advanced from an alternative to an initial license can additional endorsements be added.
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 one (1) year of your original application date) once you have obtained a teaching position and enrolled in your alternative program.
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.)
- View the fingerprint submission requirements
Determine the content area you want to teach and if you are qualified.
- Choose an allowable endorsement area.
- For elementary and special education generalist candidates: Successfully pass the Colorado State Board of Education-approved elementary content exam
- For early childhood education candidates: Hold a bachelor's or higher degree in early childhood education OR successfully pass the approved elementary content exam OR the Colorado State Board of Education-approved early childhood education content exam
- For K-12 endorsements and secondary (7-12) endorsements:
- Hold a degree in the endorsement area from a regionally accredited institution; OR
- Have 24 semester hours in the endorsement area, as outlined on the content evaluation worksheets; OR
- Earn a passing score on a Colorado State Board of Education-approved assessment for the endorsement area.
- 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.)
- Learn more about teaching positions in Colorado
- Find a program by viewing the list of designated agencies for alternative teacher preparation (Be sure to select "alternative" in the drop-down menu under "type.)
- Download the Statement of Assurance (SOA) form (PDF)
- Review the top questions a candidate should ask a designated agency
Once you have completed at least steps 1, 2 and 3 above:
- View the checklist for alternative teacher candidates
- Apply for an alternative teacher license using the eLicensing system.
- 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.
- You will have 60 days to complete step 4 and obtain an alternative teacher license..
- Candidates whose account statuses reflect "alternative license pending employment/program" may submit a copy of a completed SOA by logging in to their eLicensing accounts and selecting the "you have missing documents" upload link.