Requirements, Application or Status Check

By law, teachers must hold a current Colorado Teaching or Special Services license on or before the first day of teaching in a classroom or working with students as a special service provider. 


Types of Colorado teaching and special services licenses 

  1. Initial License: Issued to those who have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college/university; approved program verification form completed by your preparation program; and demonstrate content knowledge by passing the state-approved content exam (PLACE exam or PRAXIS II exam). It is valid for three years. For information, visit the CDE Content Exam website.

  2. Interim Authorization: Issued to an out-of-state applicant (teacher, principal, and administrator) who does not have 3 years of full-time out-of-state K-12 work experience or has not passed the required Colorado content area exam. The Interim Authorization is issued for one year and is renewable once. For information on the PLACE and PRAXIS exams, visit the CDE Content Exam website.

  3. Professional Teaching License: Issued to an initial license holder who has completed an approved induction program, is valid for five years and is renewable through documentation of either six semester hours of credit or 90 clock hours of activities or a combination thereof. Professional licenses are also issued to out-of-state educators who can demonstrate three or more years of continuous, successful evaluated teaching experience.

  4. Alternative Teacher License:  Issued to an individual who has earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and possesses subject matter knowledge appropriate for teaching in public schools; agrees to participate in an on-the-job, one-year, alternative teacher preparation program; is valid for one year and is not renewable. Visit TEACH Colorado for more info.

  5. Type III Emergency Authorization: Requested by a District when a licensed person with appropriate endorsements cannot be found. The license is issued to the individual, but is specific to the district, it is valid for one school year only, and is renewable only once at the requesting district's discretion.

  6. Temporary Educator Eligibility (TEE) Authorization: Allows individuals who hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university and are participating in a traditional preparation program for special education OR a special services endorsement (except speech-language assistant and orientation and mobility specialists) or completing additional that will meet Colorado's requirement for a full license/endorsement and employed by a CO school district, BOCES, or charter/facility school to serve in that area before program completion.


2023-2024 Educator Recruitment and Retention Program Application (Department of Education)

CDE's Educator Recruitment and Retention Program provides up to $10,000 in financial assistance toward licensure program fees for alternative teachers, educators with temporary educator eligibility, paraprofessionals and CTE instructors who commit to teaching in a shortage area for three years. The application for the 2023-24 school year will open Saturday, July 1. CDE will implement a number of shortened application windows throughout the school year to streamline the timeliness and efficiency of application processing and to improve communication about timelines. Dates for these windows, as well as updated guidance, forms and shortage list, will be posted on the program webpage by late June.

Effective July 1, 2021!

Colorado House Bill 21-1104 extended 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.

Five-year professional teacher, special services, principal and administrator licenses that were valid on July 1, 2021 automatically were extended by two years. Any professional development activities already completed during this cycle indeed will be applicable upon renewal at the end of the extended license.

Professional Development Activities Required for Renewal of Professional Licenses

  • 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.  English Learner PD Requirements - Information for Educators

I am a teacher that already has some relevant PD completed...

· The English Learner PD Standards Matrix must be completed and submitted with the professional license renewal application.

o    View a tutorial video on completing the matrix!

· Past PD can be counted, even if it was already used to satisfy license renewal requirements.

· PD does not have to be pre-approved by CDE to count toward this requirement.

· For a list of free PD opportunities by standard, please visit the Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education page.

· Of the 45 clock/contact hours CLD requirement, up to 10 clock hours (equivalent) of relevant work experience can be counted toward this requirement. For work experience, a signed letter from the relevant supervisory verifying the work experience must be submitted along with the matrix.

o    Relevant work experience is defined as implementing one or more of the standards as part of one's teaching assignment.

o    Educators who hold an endorsement in CLD, CLD Bilingual, LDE or LDE Bilingual are deemed to have already met this requirement.

I don't have any of the relevant PD completed yet...

· Teachers have the option to complete an approved English Learner Professional Development program to meet this new requirement and will be issued a single certificate to submit with their license renewal application.

· Only programs that satisfy the requisite 45 contact hours and address all elements within the required standards will be pre-approved by CDE.  

· An updated list of CDE-approved English Learner Professional Development programs can be found here.

I am currently enrolled in a teacher prep program or have recently graduated...

· Teachers will have the option to complete training through an educator preparation program to meet their English Learner Professional Development requirement.

· Upon completion of an educator preparation program that has been verified by CDE to meet the new standards, the educator will receive an Approved Program Verification (APV) form denoting that the educator has satisfied the new requirements.

Pursuant to SB 19-199, and Colorado State Board of Education rule, all principals and administrators and 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 to fulfill requirements of the READ Act. This is a one-time requirement for currently employed principals and administrators and educators teaching reading in a K-3 classroom in a school/district that received READ Act funding.

o    Important note: This pertains to all educators teaching literacy in a K-3 classroom, regardless of whether they hold a substitute, emergency, adjunct or interim authorization; an alternative, initial, professional license or teacher of record license; or no credential at all.

All teachers who provide literacy instruction to students in grades K-3 and reading interventionists K-12 must complete evidenced-based training in teaching reading. Below are the definitions of teacher and reading interventionist in READ Act Rule.

· Reading Interventionist: An individual employed to teach students and whose primary job duties include providing reading intervention to students on READ Act Plans during regular school hours to supplement core academic instruction and who is employed in any of grades K-12.

· Teacher: The professional responsible for the literacy instruction of the student(s) and may include the main instructor for a class, an instructional coach, Reading Interventionist (in grades K-3), special education teacher, Title I teacher or other personnel who are identified as effective in the teaching of reading and who has been employed to teach kindergarten or any of grades one through three.

· Principal: Any person who is employed as the chief executive officer of any school in the state that serves kindergarten or any of grades one through three.

· Admin:  Any school-based or centrally- or regionally-based employee of an LEP who is responsible for designing, implementing and/or providing professional development on the elementary literacy instructional program for kindergarten or any of grades one through three in any school or LEP in the state, and who is not the principal. This would include an assistant or vice principal of an elementary school. It also includes any employee of the LEP conducting observations of and/or providing coaching to a teacher providing literacy instruction in kindergarten or grades one through three.


More information for each initiative is available at CDE Educator Professional Development Requirements


PSD Resources

  • Visit the PSD PD Online Catalog for classes that may meet the special education and behavior health requirements.  PSD regularly offers classes in these areas.
  • Visit the Language, Culture, and Equity site for more information about the PSD pathway of classes for Cultural and Linguistic Diverse Education (CLDE) that is approved by CDE for the English Language Learner requirement. 
  • 2023 PSD - PSD Support for Evidence-Based Reading Training

Contact Information

Talent Team