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Alternative Pathway - Alternative Teacher License

Preparing to Apply

Coming July 1, 2022: An "interim authorization" option for alternative teacher candidates!

This checklist is for ...

Individuals seeking to participate in a Colorado alternative teacher preparation program under an alternative teacher license. If you already hold a Colorado teacher license and wish to apply for an alternative license/special education, please contact us so that an application may be started for you.

Not in the right place? Review the other checklists.

Before you begin:

  • Review "Alternative Teacher Candidates: What you Need to Know" to ensure you meet the requirements and understand the alternative licensure pathway and process.
  • If you have not yet secured a teaching position and/or enrolled in a program, you still may submit this application to determine whether you meet the requirements to participate in a Colorado-approved program as an alternative teacher.
    • Once confirmed, your application will reflect an "alternative license pending employment/program" status -- which can be verified by you, district HR representatives and alternative program officials.
    • You will have 60 days from the date of notification to secure a teaching position, enroll in a program and upload a completed statement of assurance (see below) in order to obtain an alternative license.
    • You will not be licensed to teach until an alternative license is issued.

Plan Ahead

Application Fee:


Alternative Teacher License Expires:

1, 2 or 3 years from date of issue, depending on endorsement area and length of program

Gather the Necessary Information/Documentation

You will need the following to submit a complete TEACHER application for an alternative 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.
  • Demonstration of content competency by way of the following:

Coming July 1, 2022!

Individuals who have not yet demonstrated content competency may qualify to participate in an alternative teacher program under an interim authorization. More details and a new application will be available July 1, 2022!

  • All prior work experience.
  • A completed Statement of Assurance form:
    • Complete the applicant/candidate section of the Statement of Assurance of Employment form;
    • Forward the form to your employing school district or BOCES for completion and request that it be returned to you.
    • Provide the form to your approved program representative and request that the completed and signed version be returned to you.
    • Read, initial and sign and date the bottom portion of this form.
    • Include this form in your application OR upload it within 60 days from notification of qualification to participate in an alternative program (see "Before you Begin" above).
  • 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 COOL 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 COOL account regularly for notifications on its status and/or to print a copy of your certificate.




Questions? Email or call 303-866-6628.