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Teachers from Out-of-State/Out-of-Country

Preparing to Apply

This checklist is for ...

Completers of out-of-state/out-of-country teacher preparation programs applying for their first Colorado teacher license (a substitute or other authorization is not considered a teacher license in this instance). 

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.


  • An earned bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the equivalent as determine by a NACES member organization-prepared equivalency report);
  • Completion of an approved teacher preparation program, including student teaching (note: you must hold or be eligible to hold a teacher license in the state which it is approved); and
  • Demonstration of content competency, either by degree, 24 semester hours of specific coursework and/or content exam (dependent on endorsement requirements for the requested content area(s))

Plan Ahead

Base Application Fee:


License Expires:

1, 3 or 5 years from date of issue depending on qualifications

Gather the Necessary Information/Documentation

You will need the following* to submit a complete application for a TEACHER license:

  • A valid form of government-issued identification. 
  • A copy of an official transcript for every college/university attended. [Unofficial transcripts are never accepted. Do not include them in your application.]
    • Of these transcripts, at least one must be an official, degree-conferred transcript from a regionally accredited college or university that demonstrates a bachelor's or higher degree.
    • Transcripts from institutions outside the US must be in English or include an authentic English translation and have been evaluated by a NACES member organization for course-by-course equivalency.
  • An approved program verification form completed by the registrar or certification officer of the college/university where you completed your program OR three or more years of full-time, fully licensed post-preparation teaching experience (not as a substitute, alternative, emergency, provisional, probationary, temporary or international teacher) within the past seven years in the content area(s) requested in the state of licensure. (You must hold a valid license with the endorsement(s) requested.)
  • Out-of-state applicants who completed an alternative preparation program but who have not yet accrued the three years' fully licensed experience post-preparation must also include an official, signed letter from the department of education in the state in which you completed the alternative program confirming that the program you completed was indeed state-approved. It must also outline entry and exit requirements for the alternative program you completed.
  • A score report for any Colorado State Board of Education-approved exam passed. (Contact the exam administrator.)
    • Do not include results for exams other than those specifically accepted by the state of Colorado.
    • If you have not taken any of the exams listed, please do not select an exam in the pull-down menu. CDE will review your application materials to determine whether an exam is required.
    • Our Credentialing Guide for Out-of-State Applicants provides clarification on what to expect from the licensure evaluation process.
  • All prior work experience.
  • Copies of all educator licenses (valid or expired)
  • Documentation for any self-disclosures related to the following:
    • Prior criminal history
    • Disciplinary actions
    • Issues related to licensure or employment

Then ...

  • Log in to COOL to create your licensure account (if you have not already done so.)
  • Submit fingerprints (via the dark blue "CDE licensure" icon) to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
    • Ensure you have a current background check on file. You have 30 days from the time CDE receives your background check to apply for a license.
    • If you have submitted fingerprints for CDE credentialing in the past, but allowed all credentials to lapse or did not submit within the 30-day window, you must submit a new set of fingerprints to CBI for licensure purposes.
    • The status of your background checks will be noticed in your COOL account and within your application(s).


Have everything ready to go?

Once you have gathered all required documentation,* have submitted fingerprints to CBI for CDE licensure purposes and have reviewed the licensure process, log in to your COOL account to complete and submit a TEACHER application.

*When submitted in an application, this information will automatically populate your COOL account profile and any applicable subsequent applications. Similarly, updating/uploading information in your COOL profile likewise will pre-populate future applications.

Final Reminders

At the risk of repeating ourselves, we again reiterate these important reminders:

  • You have 30 days from the time CDE receives your background checks to submit an application or you will need to submit a new set of fingerprints for licensure purposes at the time of application.
  • By submitting an application, you are verifying that you have submitted fingerprints for CDE licensure purposes, provided all requested documentation and answered all questions truthfully.
  • Within 45 days of receipt (usually far sooner!), CDE will evaluate the application.
    • Upon determination of qualification, CDE will notify the applicant and the corresponding certificate will be available for view or print in the individual's COOL account.
  • If for some reason CDE is not able to access all documentation in the application, the application will be deemed "incomplete" and CDE will notify the applicant via email and specify the information needed to complete it. This includes notification that we have yet to receive your background checks!
    • An applicant has 60 days from the date of this notification to cure the deficiency (i.e., provide the necessary information or submit background checks) or submit to the department a written request for reconsideration stating the basis for the request. Additional time is not granted to those who receive this notification due to background checks. Any additional deficiency noticed also will need to be cured within the original 60-day period.
      • Requests for reconsideration do not apply to background checks.
      • CDE will provide a written response within 30 days of any request for reconsideration.
    • An applicant who fails to cure the deficiency or request reconsideration within these 60 days will be deemed as having withdrawn the application, and such withdrawal shall not be subject to appeal or review.
  • State statute prohibits the refunding of any application evaluation fee.
  • Once you have submitted an application, check your status regularly for notifications, updates and/or to print a copy of your certificate.



Questions? Email or call 303-866-6628.