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Five-Year Substitute Teacher Authorization

Preparing to Apply

Am I in the Right Place?

This checklist is for applicants seeking a 5-year substitute teacher authorization.


  • a valid or expired CDE-issued Colorado teacher license (ECE-12). (Holders of Colorado SSPs, principal or administrator licenses and CTE authorizations should apply for a one- or three-year substitute authorization.) OR
  • a valid, unexpired (non-Colorado) teacher license.
    • Holders of the educator credentials (including alternative, special service, principal and administrator licenses), substitute authorizations, temporary licenses, post-secondary licenses, statements of eligibility, etc., do not meet the requirements for this authorization and should consult the other checklists.
    • Applicants who are eligible to hold an out-of-state license should consult the other checklists.
  • Important Note: Once an application is submitted, we cannot change the type of credential issued. Please be certain when completing the application that you meet the requirements for the type requested.

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.

Plan Ahead

  • You will need electronic copies of all documentation.
  • Allow ample time to request any third party transcripts or other documentation.

Application Fee:


Authorization Expires:

5 years from date of issue



  • Submit fingerprints 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.
  • Confirm you have a valid form of government-issued identification. 



  • Holders of valid, out-of-state teacher licenses must include a copy of the valid certificate



You will need to include all prior work experience:

  • Include employer/business name, dates of employment, reason for leaving, work addresses, supervisor names and contact information.



You are required to self-disclose and include documentation for the following:

  • Past criminal history
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Any issues related to licensure or employment



Once you have gathered all required documentation and have reviewed the rules governing the licensure process, you are ready to complete and submit a SUBSTITUTE application.

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.
  • CDE will not evaluate your application prior to receiving your background checks.
  • 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.
  • CDE will contact you within 45 days of receipt of your application (with qualifying background checks) to request any additional information required to evaluate your application. You then will have 60 days from the time of notification to submit the information, request consideration or withdraw your application, or the application will expire and you will need to reapply.
  • State statute prohibits the refunding of any application evaluation fee.
  • Once you have submitted an application, check your status regularly for notifications, updates and/or to print a copy of your certificate.

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For questions, email or call 303-866-6628.



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