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Aspiring Educators

Becoming a First-Time Educator in Colorado

Colorado educators make a difference every day in the lives of their students and the communities they serve. If you have the drive and commitment to become an educator, you'll find that there's an educator preparation program that meets your specific needs and experience.

Pathways to Becoming an Educator

There are two pathways you can follow to become an educator in Colorado.

Smiling teacher with young student

Path 1: Enroll in a college or university certification program now, then seek employment later

If you are ready to enroll in a certification program, there are many colleges and universities in Colorado that offer state-approved programs. Once you complete a state-approved certification program and all content requirements, you can apply for an initial educator license that will allow you to teach in the state of Colorado. 

Path 2: Qualify for an alternative teacher preparation program or an individualized principal preparation plan, obtain a position as a teacher or principal, then complete a certification program during your employment

Alternative educator preparation was created for aspiring educators who already have specific content expertise but need training to learn how to deliver instruction. 
For teachers: If you already have a bachelor’s or higher degree, you may be able to qualify for an alternative teacher license. This 1- or 2-year certificate allows you to teach while you complete a certification program. This license can only be issued once you are hired to teach in a Colorado school. 
For principals: If you already have a bachelor’s or higher degree, you may be able to qualify for a principal authorization. This is a 3-year, non-renewable certificate that allows you to serve as an acting principal while you complete a individualized preparation plan. This certificate can only be issued once you are hired as a principal in a Colorado school. 



For questions, submit a Licensing Support Request form or call 720-739-3304 (7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday).