Preparing to Apply
Am I in the Right Place?
This checklist is for first-time applicants for a Colorado principal (not administrator) license only. If you have ever held a principal license in Colorado, please review the other checklists and make the appropriate selection.
1, 3, or 5 years from date of issue depending on qualifications
- Submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
- If you already hold a valid, CDE-issued educational credential and have consistently maintained an active credential (authorization or license) since you submitted your fingerprints, you can skip this step. We reserve the right to evaluate your application for adherence to the fingerprint requirements and will notify you by email should any follow-up be needed.
- 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 1 year, you must submit a new set of fingerprints.
- Confirm you have a valid form of government-issued identification. If you are using a photo ID issued by another state or country, please carefully review the identification requirements as additional documents will be needed.
( View List of Valid IDs )
- List the names and addresses of the colleges/universities you've attended.
- State statute requires that you submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. This would include any transfer credits that led to your degree earned. Official transcripts must show a minimum of a Bachelor's degree conferred. ( View Transcript Requirements )
- Transcripts from institutions outside the US must be in English or include an authentic English translation, and have been evaluated by an established credential evaluation service as selected by CDE for course equivalence. CDE currently only accepts evaluations completed by a NACES member.
- Three or more years of full-time, licensed principal experience within the past seven years OR a completed Approved Program Verification Form. If you have three or more years' post-preparation experience as a full-time principal (not on a substitute, emergency or temporary basis), please include in the application copies of all licenses (expired or current) that cover this experience. If you do not have three years of full-time licensed experience, please include a complete approved program verification form, unless your preparation program was completed outside the US (in which case verification of your program will be included on the NACES member-prepared course-by-course transcript equivalency report).
( Download the Verification Form )
- Out-of-state alternative applicants must also obtain an official signed letter from your State Department of Education confirming that you completed a state-approved program and the program requirements for the alternative program you completed.
- Obtain proof you have completed and passed the PLACE exam #80 or Praxis #5411 for principals. You do not need to include results for exams other than those specifically accepted by the state of Colorado. If you have not taken either of these exams, you can still apply. CDE will review your application materials to determine whether an exam is required. You can view additional information on reciprocity for clarification on what to expect from the licensure evaluation process.
- ( View accepted PLACE content exams )
- ( View accepted Praxis content exams )
- Your employment history will help determine the type of Colorado license you will be issued. It is critical that you include the information below:
- If applicable, obtain all copies of active or expired teaching licenses covering the years of experience you have had as an educator. Please note that a Colorado Principal license requires at least 3 years of licensed or certificated experience.
- Within the application you must include employment history for at least the past 5 years.
- Include employer/business name, dates of employment, reason for leaving, work addresses, supervisor names, and contact information.
- Include teaching experience from more than 5 years ago, if you have it.
- If applicable, obtain supporting documentation on the following:
- Past criminal history
- Disciplinary actions
- Any issues related to licensure or employment
Register and Apply
Once you have gathered all of the information listed above, you are ready to begin the online application process! Just register for the eLicensing system or, if you are already registered, log in.
Then, select the application titled "Principal" to get started.
For questions, email CDELicensing@cde.state.co.us or call 303-866-6628.