You are here

Fingerprint Requirements

Jump to:


Prior to submitting an application to the Colorado Department of Education, each applicant must submit a complete set of fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint-based national criminal history check by following the steps below. This requirement needs to be met only one time for CDE as long as you hold a valid credential (unless, under some special circumstance, you are instructed by CDE to complete another set of fingerprints pursuant to state law).

Fingerprints must be submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under your assigned Social Security Number via one of the approved fingerprint vendors as outlined below. For more information on how to obtain a Social Security Number, please visit

If you have received a fingerprint clearance through other agencies, employers, other states or government agencies you are not exempt from this process and must submit fingerprints for CDE licensure purposes.

Fingerprinting Process

As part of the fingerprint background check process, the CBI will forward the submitted fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You have the right to challenge the information contained in either the CBI or the FBI identification record. View details on challenging your criminal history record. Additionally, you may request a copy of your national criminal history record from the FBI. View details on obtaining your criminal history.

Once the CBI/FBI processes a fingerprint submission for a background check, they will provide those results only to the entity identified as part of that submission (see the "How to Submit Fingerprints if I am ..." section below). If you submit fingerprints for licensure purposes, the background check reports will be sent only to CDE. CDE will then update the status in your eLicensing account. 

This process can take up to 6 weeks depending on how you submitted your fingerprints. To check your CDE fingerprint/background status, login to your eLicensing account and then select the "Alerts" tab. A blank status indicates that we have not received the results; please keep checking your account, as your status is automatically updated one we receive and enter the results. CDE does not make any other type of notification other than the status shown on the "Alerts" tab within your account. You can view instructions on checking your fingerprint and application status here.

Please note: a background history is not reviewed by CDE's Enforcement Unit unless an application and the appropriate fees are received from the applicant.

Setting up your eLicensing Account

Create your one lifetime eLicensing account with CDE. 

You must have an eLicensing account before you submit fingerprints to CBI in order for us to process the results of your background checks once we receive them, and you must have an assigned Social Security Number in order to establish your account. (Click here for more information on how to obtain a Social Security Number.)

Without your eLicensing account, your results cannot be processed, requiring you to submit another set of fingerprints after you've created this account.

Always use a personal email address that you check often. We highly recommend that you do not use a college or school district email address. You may have only one eLicensing account, so if you already have an eLicensing account, please do not attempt to create another.

Validity of Fingerprints

Fingerprint background results received by CDE remain valid for a period of one (1) year. In many cases, an educator who consistently maintains an active, CDE-issued educational credential (authorization or license) will need only to submit fingerprints with their first application to CDE.

If you have submitted fingerprints for CDE credentialing in the past, but allowed all credentials to lapse* and have held no active credential for a period exceeding one (1) year, you must submit a new set of fingerprints.

CDE reserves the right to evaluate all applications for adherence to the fingerprint requirements and will notify applicants by email should any follow-up be needed.

*This includes any professional license holder that has voluntarily placed that license on inactive status for more than 1 year.

How to submit fingerprints if I am...

Select an option below to get started

Fingerprints for CDE licensure

Getting fingerprinted for any application for CDE

Fingerprinting for CDE is for any license or authorization (including substitute authorizations) issued by CDE pursuant to the Educator Licensing Act, 22-60.5-103 C.R.S. This includes in-state or out-of-state applicants (out-of-state applicants, please see the FAQs below for more information). These criminal history background reports come directly to CDE.

Getting fingerprinted for a private school

This is for those private schools that do not require licensure but where the governing board of the nonpublic school requires a fingerprint background check pursuant to 22-1-121 C.R.S. (If your private school requires licensure, follow the steps for CDE Licensure).

Fingerprint results come directly to CDE, however results of fingerprints submitted under this statute cannot be used for licensing purposes.

Getting fingerprinted as a non-licensed employee of public school district (bus driver, custodian, office staff, etc)

If you are employed in a public school district in a position that does not require a CDE license, fingerprints shall be submitted pursuant to 22-32-109.8 C.R.S. for your employing school district. Before beginning, you must obtain your school district's CBI account number which begins with CONCJ----. This CONCJ number can be obtained from your school district's human resources department.

Fingerprint results will go directly to your school district -- not to CDE -- and cannot be used for licensing purposes.

Getting fingerprinted for a charter school

If you are employed in a charter school, fingerprints shall be submitted pursuant to 22-30.5-110.7 C.R.S. for your employing charter school. Before beginning, you must obtain your charter school's CBI account number which begins with CONCJ----.

Fingerprint results will go directly to your charter school -- not to CDE -- and cannot be used for licensing purposes.

Some charter schools will require this in addition to any requirements needed for CDE, meaning you will get printed for your charter school and for CDE.

Getting fingerprinted for field experience (student teaching)

If you are currently enrolled in a Colorado traditional preparation program and will be completing field experience or student teaching you may submit fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint-based criminal history check, pursuant to 22-2-119.3 C.R.S. Your educator preparation program and/or the school district/BOCES that will be placing you will review your background information.

CDE does not conduct a background check investigation and is only a pass-through of criminal history information to your educator preparation program and/or the school district/BOCES placing you. CDE will only conduct a background check when you qualify for licensure and submit a qualifying application and fee.

Before moving forward, click here and read the field experience information and complete the required online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I live outside of Colorado, do I have to come to Colorado to be fingerprinted?

A: No, after making your selection from above, select IdentoGo as the vendor and select the link titled "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail." Many IdentoGo locations outside Colorado may be able to assist you for Colorado, click here for further instructions.

Q: I see that a Social Security Number is required, but do not have a one. How may I obtain one?

A: Please visit for more information and to initiate the process.

Q: Will I be notified by CDE when the results of my fingerprints have been processed by CDE?

A: While we will update your eLicensing account with this information, we will not contact you unless your fingerprints were rejected by the FBI (see the next question). To view your status in eLicensing, log into your account and click on the "Alerts" tab (view instructions here). If it is blank, we have not received and/or processed your results. Please check back often, as that lookup is in real time. Please do not call our offices asking about a fingerprint status as we update your account as soon as we receive results. Keep in mind that we must wait on both the CBI and the FBI before we post a status.

View "Alert" information

Q: What happens if my fingerprints are rejected by the CBI or the FBI?

A: If your fingerprint submission is rejected by the CBI, they will notify you. If your fingerprint card is rejected by the FBI, CDE will notify you via the email address you have associated to your eLicensing account. In either case, you will need to follow any instruction(s) that accompanies your notification. A rejection is generally related to the quality of the prints and has nothing to do with a criminal history that you do or do not have. If you were printed at an IdentoGO location and the prints were rejected, they will reprint you free of charge.

Q: Can I still mail in an older hard-copy print card?

A: Yes, but not directly to CDE or CBI. You must mail your card to a CBI approved vendor card conversion center. Click here for instructions to mail your card to IdentoGO. Select the best option from the choices detailed above and then select the "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail" link. For more information on how to obtain a hard-copy fingerprint card, view additional FAQs.

Q: Can I get fingerprinted at my local police or Sheriff's Office?

A: Generally no, you will need to select one of the options above to schedule an appointment at an approved fingerprinting center. However, pursuant to HB 19-1186, if you work for a Colorado school district/BOCES/charter school and the district is more than 20 miles from a fingerprinting center, your district/BOCES/charter school can request that fingerprints be taken by the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in that area. If you get printed outside an approved fingerprinting center, you still will need to select one of the options above and then click the "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail" link (IdentoGo only) and then follow the instructions on how to mail your card to a card conversion center.

View additional FAQs

Processing Time

If your prints were submitted at one of the CBI approved vendors, by clicking one of the options above, processing time can take hours up to 2 weeks (in rare cases). If you mailed a hard-copy print card to one of the CBI approved card conversion centers, the process can take up to 6 weeks.


  1. Do NOT mail fingerprint submissions to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). You must choose from one of the options above to submit a fingerprint card. If you send your fingerprints to CDE, for security reasons they will be destroyed.
  2. View an overview of circumstances that may result in Denial, Suspension, Revocation, or Annulment of Licenses.