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Alternative Pathway - Principal Authorization

Preparing to Apply

Am I in the Right Place?

This checklist only 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 by CDE to submit an application for a principal authorization.

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.

Plan Ahead

  • You will need electronic copies of all requested documentation.
  • Allow ample time to request any third-party transcripts or other documentation.

Base Application Fee:


Alternative Principal Authorization Expires:

3 years from date of issue




To receive a 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 a Principal Authorization page to ensure complete understanding of the requirements needed to qualify for and the process by which to obtain a principal authorization and ultimately for the initial principal license.




  • Submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
    • Ensure you have a current background check on file. If you have submitted fingerprints for CDE credentialing in the past, but allowed all credentials to lapse, you must submit a new set of fingerprints to CBI for licensure purposes.
  • Confirm you have a valid form of government-issued identification. 


You will need to include the following documentation in your application:

  • A copy of an official transcript for every college/university attended. [Unofficial transcripts are never accepted. Please do not include them in your application.]
    • Of these transcripts, at least one must reflect a conferred bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • Transcripts from institutions outside the US must be in English (or include an authentic English translation) and have be accompanied by a NACES member organization course-by-course equivalency report.
  • Your individualized alternative principal plan
  • Your contract and a completed statement of assurance;
  • The approval notification from CDE (inviting you to submit an application)



You will need to include all prior work experience:

  • Include employer/business name, dates of employment, reason for leaving, work addresses, supervisor names and contact information.


You are required to self-disclose and include documentation for the following:

  • Past criminal history
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Any issues related to licensure or employment



Once you have gathered all required documentation and have reviewed the rules governing the licensure process, you are ready to complete and submit a PRINCIPAL application.

Important Reminders:

  • Important Reminders:

  • An application is deemed complete when CDE has received all required information, documentation and fees.
  • By submitting an application, you are verifying that the application is complete, that all requested documentation has been provided and that all questions within have been answered truthfully.
  • CDE will contact you within 45 days of receipt of your application should additional information be required to complete and evaluate your application. You then will have 60 days in order to submit the information, request consideration or withdraw your application, or the application will expire and you will need to reapply.
  • If we do not receive your background checks within 60 days of your application, your application will expire and you will need to reapply.
  • State statute prohibits the refunding of any application evaluation fee.
  • Once you have submitted an application, check your status online regularly for notifications, updates and/or to print a copy of your certificate.

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