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Designated Agencies: Educator Preparation Program Authorization, Reauthorization and Adding an Endorsement

Welcome! If you’re reading this, then you’re interested in either:

  • Developing an alternative educator licensure program at a designated agency,
  • Participating in the Reauthorization Process of an existing program at a designated agency or
  • Adding an endorsement to an existing program at a designated agency.

On this page, you'll find a brief overview of the three processes. If you are looking to review a list of Educator Preparation Programs in Colorado, you can find that information in our Searchable Database.

A designated agency is a school district, an accredited non-public school, a board of cooperative services (BOCES), an accepted institution of higher education or a non-profit organization, responsible for the organization, management and operation of an approved alternative teacher program (C.R.S. 22-60.5-102 [10] and 22-60.5-205 [2]). Any of these entities may partner or collaborate together for the operation of an approved alternative teacher program. (For example, a district or BOCES may choose to contract with an institution of higher education already providing an approved teacher preparation program.) An individual’s successful completion of an alternative teacher preparation program leads to a recommendation for initial licensure by the designated agency providing the program.

The Colorado State Board of Education has authority to approve designated agencies for the purposes of operating one- and two-year alternative teacher programs to assist districts and BOCES that face a shortage of teachers and often struggle to find qualified persons to teach their students (C.R.S. 22-60.5-205 and the Educator Licensing Act Rules). Such programs shall:

  • decrease the use of emergency authorizations to hire individuals who do not have teacher licenses and, in some cases, have not received any form of teacher preparation, thus jeopardizing a school district's goal of providing high-quality education for each student; and
  • identify individuals with experience in areas other than education to help alleviate the teacher shortage faced by many school districts, so long as these individuals receive adequate supervision and education in teaching methods and practices.

C.R.S. 22-60.5-205 was intended to address teacher shortages in public schools. Thus, designated agencies must serve an identified need(s) of a Colorado school district(s) or BOCES. Designated agencies can create alternative preparation programs in numerous teacher endorsements areas. State statute does not allow alternative licensure pathways for Specialized Services professionals.

To address principal shortages in public schools, districts may create individualized learning plans for individuals to serve as principals under a principal authorization.


  • Multiple Measures of Content Competency is Live!

    • The Multiple Measures of Content Competency option is available to individuals applying on or after Aug. 1, 2023. Established in 2023 by Colorado House Bill 22-1220, Multiple Measures of Content Competency increases the number of ways initial teacher licensure candidates may demonstrate depth of content knowledge toward meeting requirements for their first Colorado teacher license.
    • Colorado House Bill 22-1220 has other implications around education preparation for candidates and programs. Visit the legislative updates website for more information about stipend programs.
  • Alternative Principal Program Authorization

    • At the Colorado State Board of Education's November 2021 meeting, the board approved the ruleset allowing designated agencies to offer an alternative principal preparation. This pathway is in addition to alternative preparation under an individualized plan presently in place and which will continue to be available.
    • Entities seeking approval for alternative principal preparation may do so during the timeline outlined below. This guidance document outlines the application process and all all information that will be required, which will include a completed matrix demonstrating alignment to the principal quality standards.
  • NEW! Authorization, Reauthorization, and Adding an Endorsement Guide available here!

CDE's Requirements for Initial Authorization of a Designated Agency

Initial Authorization Submission Timeline

Event Type
Application/Matrices Submission Timeline
Review of Submission Occurs
Initial Program Authorization        
Application: Jun 1 - Sep 1
Matrices Submission: Oct 1
Oct - Dec

CDE's Requirements for Reauthorization of a Designated Agency

CDE Reauthorization Goals

  • Evaluate alignment of educator preparation program content to the CDE Rules and Regulations.
  • Evaluate quality and depth of candidate experience so as to ensure CDE Rules and Regulations are met within the educator preparation program.
  • Evaluate impact of completers/teacher candidates on student learning
  • Provide opportunities for reflection about the educator preparation program and support a process of continuous improvement.

Guidance and Resources Supporting Reauthorization

Reauthorization Matrices Submission Timeline

Event Type
Application/Matrices Submission Timeline
Review of Submission Occurs
Reauthorization visits scheduled for September, October, November, and December
June 1
Jun - Sep
Reauthorization visits scheduled for January, February, March, April, and May
October 1
Oct - Dec

CDE's Requirements for Adding an Endorsement to an Existing Designated Agency's Program

Adding an Endorsement Submission Timeline

Event Type
Application/Matrices Submission Timeline
Review of Submission Occurs
Authorization of Adding an Endorsement Program
Spring Submission: Jun 1
Fall Submission: Oct 1
Spring Submission: Jun - Sep
Fall Submission: Oct - Dec




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