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Alternative Teacher Candidates: What You Need to Know

The alternative teacher pathway is intended to allow districts to hire candidates with specific content knowledge and who hold an undergraduate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and need teacher training based on the Colorado Teacher Quality Standards. Alternative teacher preparation programs can vary in length from 1 year to 2 years (though special education generalist candidates may take a third year, if necessary). While serving as a teacher, alternative candidates put what they learn into practice immediately.

Please note: Alternative licenses are issued in one content area only. Only once alternative preparation has been completed and the individual has advanced from an alternative to an initial license can additional endorsements be added.

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Using This Page

This page lists the steps you'll take to obtain an alternative educator license in Colorado. It also includes links to resources that help you complete each step. Resources will open in a new window or tab, depending on your browser settings.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the below expectations and timelines for alternative pathway applicants, as the alternative licensure process is quite different from the requirements for other types of credentials. Most notably: 

  • You must complete, at minimum, steps 1, 2 and 3 as listed below before you can submit your application to begin the alternative pathway. It is not necessary to fully meet the other requirements for an alternative license in order to apply.
  • Documents required for step 4 may be uploaded to your application at a later date (within one (1) year of your original application date) once you have obtained a teaching position and enrolled in your alternative program.


1. Complete Degree 

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Complete a four-year bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited college or university

2. Background Check

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Pass CBI and FBI criminal history background checks

  • As part of the background check, you must submit your fingerprints to CBI. (CBI will work directly with the FBI to obtain a national criminal history report.)

3. Choose Endorsement Area and Demonstrate Competence 

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Determine the content area you want to teach and if you are qualified.

4. Obtain Position and Find Program

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  • A classroom teaching position that matches the endorsement area you selected in step 3
  • An agreement with a state-approved designated agency that offers an approved alternative teacher preparation program
  • A statement of assurance (SOA) completed and signed by you, your district/employer and your designated agency

Note: Even if you have not yet completed this step, you can still submit an application to get started on the alternative pathway. (Please see the Apply section below for details.)


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Once you have completed at least steps 1, 2 and 3 above:

  • Applications submitted prior to a candidate's employment and program enrollment (step 4) will be evaluated to ensure content requirements for the selected endorsement area (steps 1, 2 and 3) are met. 
    • Determination of requirements met will result in an online "alternative license pending employment/program" status, which you, the candidate, employing districts and alternative programs may easily confirm through the eLicensing system.
    • You will have 60 days to complete step 4 and obtain an alternative teacher license..
      • Candidates whose account statuses reflect "alternative license pending employment/program" may submit a copy of a completed SOA by logging in to their eLicensing accounts and selecting the "you have missing documents" upload link.