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Licenses & Authorizations Glossary

The Licensing Office issues four primary license types – teachers, principals, administrators and special services providers – with one or more of 60-plus endorsements, pending license type and applicant qualifications. In addition, 12 types of authorizations, including 34 different Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentials are also offered. Listed below are the various licenses and authorization types with a high-level summary of the requirements for each. Detailed requirements for each license/authorization type can be found on a specific checklist associated with each application.

License Types

Alternative Teacher/Principal

(issued for 1 year, 2 years or 3 years, dependent on alternative program):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Demonstration of content-area knowledge (either by degree or Colorado State Board of Education-approved content exam)
  • Enrollment in a state board-approved alternative teacher preparation program
  • Employment as a classroom teacher

Teacher/Principal/Administrator/Special Services Provider

(Including superintendents or directors of special education)

Initial (issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Completion of an approved preparation program
  • Demonstration of content-area knowledge (by degree and/or exam(s), depending on content area)
  • Student teaching/practicum/internship

Professional (issued for 5 years):

  • Initial Colorado license-holder
  • Completion of a Colorado State Board of Education-approved induction program
  • (Out-of-state applicants may qualify with three consecutive years of licensed teaching experience)

Master (issued for 7 years):

  • Professional license-holder
  • Teacher: valid National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certificate
  • SSP/Principal/Administrator: portfolio review of documentation of ongoing professional development and training, advanced competencies or expertise, or outstanding achievements in their field

Authorization Types

Substitute (issued for 1 year, 3 years or 5 years):

  • 1-year: school district verification of high school diploma or higher degree and experience working with children
  • 3-year: bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • 5-year: valid or expired Colorado teacher license or valid out-of-state teacher license

Career and Technical Education (issued for either 3 years or 5 years):

  • Qualifications for the area(s) of expertise as determined by the Colorado Community College System’s board for technical education

Adjunct Instructor (issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university in a content area not available through an approved preparation program (ex., psychology, sociology, engineering, et. al.) or five years’ experience in area of specialization
  • School district verification of the need for the individual to provide students highly specialized academic enrichment in the area of expertise
  • Note: This authorization is meant to fill specific district and school-based needs. This authorization is available to individuals who are filling specific areas of content knowledge that are not traditionally filled through educator preparation programs. For example, a university professor who has a doctorate in macroeconomics is needed to teach a concurrent enrollment course in economics. Educator preparation programs do not have traditional educator preparation pathways for a teacher of economics. Another example, is a French literature teacher for an advanced placement high school class. Educator preparation programs do not have pathways for French literature, nor is there an endorsement in French literature. Individuals in situations such as these would for an adjunct authorization.

Adult Basic Education (issued for 5 years):

  • Associate’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Adult basic education training, coursework and experience

Educational Interpreter (issued for 5 years):

  • Associate’s or higher degree in educational interpreting or related field from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Passing scores on the EIPA written and performance exams

Emergency (issued for 1 year):

Teacher, School Counselor, Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, Educational Interpreter, Principal, Administrator (Superintendent)

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree
  • Enrollment in an approved preparation program that leads to fulfillment of the requirements for an initial license
  • School district verification of its need for the individual to provide students services that would otherwise be unavailable due to the lack of a fully licensed individual

Exchange Educator Interim (issued for 1 year):

  • Educator license or certificate from another country
  • Participation in a district-recognized educator exchange program

JROTC Instructor (issued for 5 years):

  • JROTC certification or JROTC program director certification

School Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (issued for 5 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree in speech-language pathology or communication disorders--or bachelor’s degree and 24 semester hours of specific SLP coursework--from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Completion of an approved SLPA preparation program and internship

Special Services Provider Intern (issued for 1 year):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Enrollment in a special services provider program requiring an internship

Temporary Educator Eligibility (issued for 1 year):

All special education fields and all special services providers (except school counselor)

  • SpEd fields: bachelor’s or higher degree; enrollment in an approved program
  • SSPs: degree appropriate for specialty; enrollment in an approved program or internship or registration for applicable exam

Interim Authorization (issued for 1 year):

  • Hold or eligible to hold a license in another state
  • Need to pass a Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam to meet Colorado’s content requirements

Principal (issued for 3 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  • Employment as a principal, assistant principal or like position for which a principal license is required
  • Participation in Colorado State Board of Education-approved individualized alternative preparation program designed by the school district and aligned to the Principal Quality Standards or enrollment in an approved alternative principal preparation program

Native American Language and Culture Instruction (issued for 5 years):

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university in an area of native languages or five years’ experience of verified, demonstrated expertise in a native American language of a federally recognized tribe and confirmation that the individual will be teaching in cooperation with a licensed teacher

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Professional Services & Educator Licensure
6000 E Evans Ave
Building #2, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80222
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Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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