Frequently Asked Questions About Out-of-State Endorsements
1. Does Colorado have license "reciprocity"?
Licenses never directly "transfer" to Colorado from other states or countries. While you may have heard the term "reciprocity" in reference to applicants who hold an out-of-state or out-of-country education license, the bottom line is that you must hold a valid Colorado educator license to work in Colorado public schools, and you cannot qualify for a Colorado educator license if you do not meet or exceed Colorado's requirements for the license you are seeking. That being said, Colorado licensing law does allow for some beneficial flexibility in the credential types that may be issued to educators who are licensed in other states or countries. For more information please visit our resource page.
2. What is an Interim Authorization?
If you hold or are eligible to hold a license in another state, Colorado state statute allows for an interim authorization to be issued when an applicant does not meet Colorado standards for the issuance of a standard license. This authorization is issued for one year, and gives the out-of-state applicant time to take and pass the appropriate Colorado content exam, if required. It is renewable once. This will be issued to you if you apply for an initial license, but have circumstances similar to those listed below. This does not apply to Special Service Providers.
3. I have an ESL/TESOL endorsement or something similar on my out-of-state license, with no other endorsements. What do I do?
Colorado’s version of an ESL endorsement is the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education endorsement. This endorsement does not stand alone and you must have 24 semester hours as outlined on our worksheet, and we will ask you to take and pass a content exam in another content area, so that we may issue you a license with both endorsements. Most applicants opt to take and pass the Colorado-approved content exam for elementary education (PRAXIS #5001).
4. I have a middle grades endorsement. How does this translate to a Colorado license?
Colorado offers a Middle School Mathematics (grades 6-8) endorsement only. If you hold a middle-level endorsement in any other content area, we will issue a license with either a grades K-6 specialization, grades 7-12 specialization or grades K-12 specialization (dependent on the content area). If you are an applicant with a grades 4-8 specialization, or something similar, we will give you three options:
1. Elementary endorsement, which will qualify you for grades K-6. If you have a degree in elementary education and have more than three years of continuous licensed teaching experience, you may obtain this endorsement with no content exam. Otherwise, you must take the approved Colorado content exam in Elementary Education.
2. Secondary endorsement, which will qualify you for one specific content area, grades 7-12. If you pursue this option, we will evaluate your transcripts to see if you meet Colorado's requirements for that secondary endorsement. You may refer to the worksheets we use to evaluate applications. If you do not meet our coursework standards, you must take one of our approved Colorado content exams.
3. You can pursue both, which would qualify you for elementary education grades K-6 and specific content areas for grades 7-12. You will need to meet the criteria listed above in order to receive both endorsements.
5. I have a subject-specific endorsement that is not listed on your website. What do I do?
Some out-of-state applicants will have subject-specific endorsements like biology, chemistry, etc. In these cases, we will evaluate your transcripts to see if you meet the 24-semester hour requirement as outlined on the worksheet for the general content area (such as "secondary science") we do offer. If you do not have the coursework required by Colorado standards, you will be required to take and pass an approved Colorado content exam.
6. I have a subject area not listed on your website. What do I do?
Some out-of-state applicants will have endorsements like psychology or communications, which Colorado does not issue. In these cases, we will try to determine the Colorado endorsement that most closely matches your out-of-state endorsement and evaluate your transcripts to see if you meet the 24-semester hour requirement as outlined on the worksheets. If you do not have the coursework required by Colorado standards, you will be required to take and pass an approved Colorado content exam.
7. What is the difference between Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education?
In Colorado, early childhood education pertains to children ages 0-8, while elementary education covers students in grades K-6. For out-of-state applicants, we first will confirm with your state the grades or age levels you were prepared to teach. We then will look at your coursework to see which endorsement most closely aligns with Colorado coursework standards. In most cases, this translates to grades K-6. If desired, you may take and pass a Colorado-approved content exam in early childhood education to add this endorsement to your license at a future date.
8. I have a special education teaching endorsement, but it does not match the Special Education Generalist (ages 5 to 21) endorsement. What do I do?
Many out-of-state applicants have special education endorsements that are specialized in areas such as mild/moderate or severe needs. Since Colorado offers only a "generalist" endorsement, you will need to take and pass two Colorado-approved content exams -- one in special education and one in elementary education -- to demonstrate competency. Both exams are required per state statute, though if you have three years of licensed experience as an elementary educator, that one exam requirement would be waived.
9. What is the difference between Principal and Administrator?
In Colorado, a principal is a building leader. An administrator is a district-level leader. These programs are distinct from one another and require a different preparation program for each.