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Educator Professional Development Requirements

Effective July 1, 2021!

The recently passed Colorado House Bill 21-1104 extends the efficacy of professional licenses from five (5) to seven (7) years. Educators now are required to renew their professional license every seven years instead of every five. To do so, they must complete 90 contact hours of professional learning -- equivalent to six (6) semester hours of college or university coursework (or any combination thereof) -- within the preceding seven years.

For educators in the present renewal cycle as of July 1, 2021 (e.g., those who hold a valid professional teacher, special services, principal or administrator license), this means that (1) any professional development activities already completed during this cycle indeed will be applicable upon renewal at the end of the extended license and (2) all deadlines for required English learner, special education and behavioral health professional development activities also have been extended.

**Important note: Fulfilling READ Act expectations is not a licensure requirement and, as such, is not subject to this extension.**


Professional Development Activities Required for Renewal of Professional Licenses

While educators generally have carte blanche to determine which professional learning to pursue, they must, at a very high level, align those choices to their endorsement areas, the Colorado academic standards, educator quality standards, school culture and climate, leadership or student safety and wellbeing.

Three initiatives stipulated professional development for some groups of educators. Two of those initiatives require the professional development as part of the 90 contact hours for licensure renewal and one (READ Act) requires districts to assure their teachers’ completion of the professional development. In brief, these requirements are as follows:

  • As result of HB 20-1128 and HB 20-1312, educators must complete a minimum of 10 contact hours of training in special education and behavioral health, with at least one (1) hour in special education or behavioral health. This is a recurring requirement for licensure renewal.
  • Effective Sept. 1, 2018, the state board requires 45 contact hours of professional development regarding English Language Learners (ELL) for teachers who hold an elementary, English, math, science, social studies or middle-level endorsement. This is a one-time requirement for licensure renewal for these educators.
  • Pursuant to SB 19-199, teachers employed in K-3 classrooms in Colorado must show evidence of competency in teaching science-based reading or complete 45 hours of professional development for the READ Act. This is a one-time requirement for currently employed educators teaching reading in a K-3 classroom.
    • Important note: This pertains to all educators teaching reading in a K-3 classroom, regardless of whether they hold
      an interim authorization, an alternative, initial or professional license, or no license at all.

Click here to jump to a matrix outlining what professional development is required of which educators, by when, and who is responsible for meeting these recent educator professional development requirements. 

Special Education and Behavioral Health Licensure RENEWAL Requirements

Recurring requirement every seven (7) years upon renewal

Teachers holding professional licenses are required to complete a minimum of 10 contact hours of professional learning as follows:

  • A minimum of one (1) contact hour related to behavioral health that is culturally responsive and trauma- and evidence-informed; and
  • A minimum of one (1) contact hour related to increasing awareness of laws and practices pertaining to educating students with disabilities in the classroom, including but not limited to Child Find and inclusive learning environments.

Special service providers, principals and administrators are required to complete minimum of 10 contact hours of professional learning related to increasing awareness of laws and practices relating to educating students with disabilities in the classroom, including but not limited to Child Find and inclusive learning environments.

All educators whose professional licenses expire on or after June 30, 2027 will need to meet this requirement upon each renewal.

Click here for more detailed information.
 

English Language Learner Professional Development Licensure RENEWAL Requirement

One-time educator licensure renewal requirement

Forty five (45) contact hours of ELL professional learning is required of all educators holding a professional teacher license with an elementary, English, math, science or social studies endorsement (this includes middle-level endorsements, too). This requirement is mandatory regardless of what content the educator is currently teaching. These 45 hours may be used toward fulfilling the 90 contact hours for renewal, and an educator may meet the requirement by completing an approved program or by applying professional development or college coursework from any point in time.

All educators whose professional licenses expire on or after Sept. 1, 2025 will need to meet this requirement at the time of renewal.

READ Act Teaching Reading Professional Development DISTRICT Requirement

One-time requirement for educators teaching reading in K-3 classrooms (at the district level for districts that receive READ Act funding)

The READ Act requires every school/district, including charter schools, that receives READ Act funding to assure that each teacher employed to teach kindergarten through 3rd grade reading has successfully completed evidence-based training in the science of teaching reading by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

Rules approved by the state board in March 2020 (1 CCR 301-92) note the evidence-based training in teaching reading must include a minimum of 45 hours and must address the content of the educator preparation literacy standards referenced in the state board’s Rules for the Administration of Educator License Endorsements (1 CCR 301-101, 4.02(5)-4.02(12)).

Districts may demonstrate that their teachers have successfully completed evidenced-based training in teaching reading in any of the following ways (please visit  this web page for more information):

(a) passed a state board-approved assessment of knowledge required to teach reading; or

(b) successfully completed a CDE-provided reading training designed to meet this requirement; or

(c) provided documentation of passing a CDE-approved undergraduate or graduate reading course; or

(d) provided documentation of passing a CDE-approved district or BOCES reading course; or

(e) holds a state of Colorado endorsement as a Reading Teacher or Reading Specialist.

This requirement applies only to teachers in K-3 classrooms in schools/districts that accept READ Act funds. Although this requirement is not tied to a teacher’s ability to renew their license, once CDE confirms that a teacher has fulfilled the requirement, a designation will be added to the teacher’s license to allow ease of future reference for educators and districts. Educators may apply to add this designation at any time. Although school/district assurances must be made annually, this professional development requirement must be met only once and is required of all currently employed educators teaching reading in K-3 classrooms, regardless of license type.

Educators m ayalso use this professional development as part of their 90 clock hours toward professional licensure renewal credit. 


Matrix of Educator Professional Development Requirements

The following charts outline what professional development is required of which educators, by when, and who is responsible for meeting these recent educator professional development requirements.  

Responsible Party

Special Education and Behavioral Health

10 contact hours

Timeline: Professional license renewal on or after June 30, 2027, and every 7-year renewal cycle thereafter

English Language Learner

45 contact hours

Timeline: Professional licenses issued/renewed on or after Sept 1, 2018, in effect for renewal on or after Sept. 1, 2025.

READ Act Teaching Reading

45 hours

Timeline: Districts are responsible for ensuring all of their K-3 teachers have met this requirement by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year in order to receive READ per-pupil intervention funds.
Individual educators’ responsibility to renew their professional license X X  
Schools/districts receiving READ Act funding     X

 

 

Grade Level or Content Area

Special Education and
Behavioral Health

10 hours

Who: All professional license-holders renewing licenses that expire on or after June 30, 2027, and every 7-year renewal cycle thereafter

English Language Learner

45 hours

Who: Professional licensed teachers with an elementary, English, math, science, social studies or middle-level endorsement renewing licenses that expire on or after Sept. 1, 2025.

READ Act Teaching Reading

45 hours

Who: All teachers employed to teach or provide literacy instruction in grades K-3; by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year in order to receive READ per-pupil intervention funds.
Early Childhood (0-3rd grade) X   X
Kindergarten X X X
1st X X X
2nd X X X
3rd X X X
4th X X  
5th X X  
6th X X  
English X X  
Math X X  
Social Studies X X  
Science X X  
Special Education X   *
All Secondary Educators X    
All Special Service Providers X   *
All Principals, Administrators  X    

*These educator groups are required to complete the READ Act training requirement if they support reading instruction for K-3 students.

For general licensing questions, email the CDE Licensing Office.

For questions about READ Act requirements, email READ Act Communications.

For questions about the legislation related to Special Education/Behavioral Health training, email the Educator Development Office.