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Initial Career & Technical Education (CTE) Authorization

Preparing to Apply

This checklist is for ...

Individuals applying for their first Colorado CTE authorization (not teacher license)

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.


  • Content Knowledge and Occupational Experience:
    • Each CTE endorsement area comes with a unique set of ways to fulfill content area requirements. Please review the appropriate CTE worksheet for all the requirements that must be met to obtain the CTE endorsement you seek.
  • Important Note: An initial CTE is not renewable. Coursework will be assigned at the time of issuance and will need to be completed in order to advance to a professional CTE.

Plan Ahead

Application Fee:


Authorization Expires:

3 years from date of issue


Gather the Necessary Information/Documentation

You will need the following* to submit a complete application for a career and technical education authorization:

  • A valid form of government-issued identification. 
  • A copy of an official transcript for every college/university attended. [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 completed CTE worksheet, which outlines all of the requirements necessary to obtain the CTE and endorsement area you seek
  • A completed verification of teaching form (when applicable). You may use this form for other professional educator experience, too.
  • A completed occupational experience form
    • You may also need employer reference letters, military discharge papers and/or W-2 or Schedule C forms
  • A score report for any Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam passed (when applicable)
  • All prior work experience
  • A copy any educator licenses held in another state (active or expired)
  • A copy of any state or federal registration, license, certificate or journeyman's card (when applicable)
  • 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 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 your COOL account to complete and submit a Career and Technical Education (CTE) authorization application.

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.
  • If for some reason CDE is not able to access all documentation in the application, the application will be deemed "incomplete" and CDE will notify the applicant via email and specify the information needed to complete it. This includes notification that we have yet to receive your background checks!
    • An applicant has 60 days from the date of this 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 on its status 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).