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Alternative Pathway - Principal Authorization

Preparing to Apply

Am I in the Right Place?

This checklist is for applicants who:

  • hold a bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited college/university;
  • have submitted an individualized alternative principal plan to CDE; and
  • have been approved to submit an application for a principal authorization.

If you have already completed a CDE-approved principal preparation program or hold an initial or professional principal license, please review the other checklists and make the appropriate selection.

Pathway to the Alternative Principal Authorization

To receive an alternative principal authorization, an applicant must, in collaboration with the employing district, establish an individualized alternative principal plan and be under the supervision of a professional principal license-holder. Additionally, the applicant must be employed as principal or assistant principal and be required to hold a principal license in order to fulfill the job duties.

Please review the "Obtaining an Alternative Principal Authorization" page to ensure complete understanding of the requirements needed to qualify for the alternative principal authorization and ultimately for the initial principal license.

Plan Ahead

  • You will need electronic copies of all documentation.
    ( Get Help with Document Scanning )
  • Allow ample time to request any third party transcripts or other documentation.

Application Fee:


Alternative Principal Authorization Expires:

3 years from date of issue



  • 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.

    View Fingerprinting Instructions )


  • 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.  If required for the endorsement you are seeking, your official transcripts must show a minimum of a conferred bachelor's degree.  ( 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.


  • Within the application you must include:
    • a copy of your individualized alternative principal plan;
    • a copy of your contract and a completed statement of assurance;
    • a copy of the approval letter from CDE;
    • 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 (all pathways):
    • Past criminal history
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Any issues related to licensure or employment

    View Self-Disclosure Requirements )

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.

Select the Principal application to  get started.

Register   or    Log In


For questions, email or call 303-866-6628.