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- Notes (including information about circumstances that may lead to denial of an application)
Prior to submitting an application to the Colorado Department of Education, each applicant must submit a complete set of fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint-based national criminal history check by following the steps below. You will have 30 days from the date CDE receives your fingerprint results to submit a complete application for a license or authorization. If you do not submit an application within these 30 days, you will need to submit another set of fingerprints for licensure purposes. You do not need to wait for results before applying, you can apply as soon as you have made your fingerprinting appointment.
Fingerprint results are valid the duration of your CDE issued credential, in most cases. If your credential lapses and you do not hold another valid CDE issued credential, you will need to submit a new set of fingerprints.
Important Note: Fingerprint results (and credentials) expire at 12 a.m. on the date of expiration.
Fingerprints must be submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under your assigned Social Security Number via one of the approved fingerprint vendors as outlined below. For more information on how to obtain a Social Security Number, visit https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/.
If you were fingerprinted for any other reason or agency (employer, school district, real estate, etcetera) , those results are not transferable and do not exempt you from this process. You must submit fingerprints specifically for CDE as outlined below.
As part of the background check process, CBI will forward the submitted fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You have the right to challenge the information contained in either the CBI or the FBI identification record. View details on challenging your criminal history record. Additionally, you may request a copy of your national criminal history record from the FBI. View details on obtaining your criminal history.
This process can take up to six (6) weeks depending on your submission method, though it usually occurs much more quickly. To check your background status, login to your COOL eLicensing account and go to the "My Profile" section.
Please note: CDE will not conduct a review of your fingerprint results until a complete and qualifying application is received.
You must have a COOL eLicensing account before submitting fingerprints to the CBI, so that we can update that account once the fingerprint results are received:
- Create your one, lifetime COOL account under your complete legal name, date of birth and Social Security Number (or tax ID). (How to obtain a Social Security Number.)
- You must have an assigned SSN (or tax ID) in order to establish your account.
- Include a personal email address that you check often. We highly recommend that you do not use a college or school district email address.
Your fingerprint results received by CDE remain valid for 30 days (if no qualifying application is received) or for the time in which you hold a valid CDE-issued license or authorization. In many cases, an educator who consistently maintains an active, CDE-issued education license or authorization will need to submit fingerprints to CBI for licensure purposes once. Field experience fingerprints may need to be resubmitted if you reside outside of Colorado for a year or more.
If you have submitted fingerprints for CDE credentialing in the past, but allowed all credentials to lapse - even if for one day - you must submit a new set of fingerprints to the CBI for current fingerprint results. This also applies to anyone who has placed a professional license on inactive status and does not hold another valid credential at the time of the reactivation request.
CDE reserves the right to evaluate all applications for adherence to fingerprint requirements and will notify applicants by email should any follow-up be needed.
CDE has two statutes for submitting fingerprints, one for obtaining a credential under the Educator Licensing Act and the other if you are a current student teacher being placed for field experience. Select from the following...
This is where the majority of folks will submit fingerprints when applying for a credential with us. Fingerprinting for CDE is for any application for an educator license or authorization issued by CDE pursuant to the Educator Licensing Act, 22-60.5-103 C.R.S. This includes both in- and out-of-state applicants (out-of-state applicants, please see the FAQs below for more information).
- You must submit an application via your COOL eLicensing account within 30 days from the date CDE receives your fingerprint results. If you do not submit an application within these 30 days, you will need to submit another set of fingerprints for licensure purposes. You can apply as soon as you have made your fingerprinting appointment and do not need to wait for the results to post to your account.
- You must include your Social Security Number (or tax ID) on your fingerprint submission. Your Social Security Number must match your account and visa versa, if they do not you may need to repeat the process.
Fingerprinting for field experience (student teaching) - For COLORADO traditional preparation students only*
This statute only applies to a small percentage of fingerprints submitted for CDE. If you are currently enrolled in a Colorado traditional preparation program* and will be completing field experience or student teaching, you may submit fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint-based criminal history check pursuant to 22-2-119.3 C.R.S. Your educator preparation program and/or the school district/BOCES that will be placing you will review your background information.
- This is a two step process. If you are a student teacher, you must submit prints under this statute and complete a Program form in your COOL eLicensing account at the same time. If you are unsure if your program is a Colorado approved traditional program, complete this form BEFORE submitting your fingerprints.
- Before moving forward, read the field experience information and complete the "Program" section in your COOL profile.
- CDE does not conduct a background investigation under this statute. We only pass any criminal history information on to your educator preparation program and/or the school district/BOCES in which you are placed. CDE can only conduct a background check when you submit a qualifying application for a credential.
- You must include your Social Security Number (or tax ID) on your fingerprint card submission or you will be required to resubmit.
- After you have completed your student teaching these fingerprint results can be used for your initial licensure purposes as long as you apply before August 1st following your program completion in the spring, or March 1st if your program concluded in the fall. If you do not, you will need to submit a set of fingerprints under the Educator Licensing Act (CDE licensure icon above) at the time of application.
* Colorado alternative preparation program students and candidates in a program approved outside of Colorado must submit fingerprints under the Educator Licensing Act (CDE licensure icon above) once you are ready to apply for a credential. When completing your required Program form in your COOL eLicensing account, the approved schools will be listed there. If your program is not listed there, then you cannot submit fingerprints under this statute.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I live outside of Colorado, do I have to come to Colorado to be fingerprinted?
A: No, after selecting the proper icon above, select IdentoGO . Many IdentoGO locations outside Colorado may be able to assist you in submitting to Colorado. Or, you may select the "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail" link and IdentoGO will convert your fingerprint card into an electronic submission. Prints must be taken on the FD-258 fingerprint card.
Q: I do not have a Social Security Number. How may I obtain one?
A: Visit https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ for more information and to initiate the process.
Q: Will CDE notify me when it receives my fingerprint results?
A: We will update your COOL account as soon as we receive the results from both CBI and FBI. You may check your background status by logging into your account and then click on "My Profile" where your status should be noted at the top of the screen. Most statuses shown are self explanatory, more information regarding a particular status can be found here.
Q: I submitted fingerprints for my district or for another job, can I use those for CDE?
A: No, you must be fingerprinted specifically for CDE.
Q: Can I mail a hard-copy fingerprint card?
A: Yes, but not directly to CBI or CDE. You must mail your FD-258 card to a CBI-approved vendor card conversion center, which at present is IdentoGO. Select the appropriate icon above, select IdentoGO and then select the "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail" link. For information on how to obtain a hard-copy fingerprint card, view additional FAQs. It should be noted that this method should be used as a last resort as it can cost you more, it will significantly increase processing time and if the fingerprints are rejected, you may need to repeat the process.
Q: Can I get fingerprinted at my local police department or Sheriff's office?
A: Most people will need to select one of the options above to schedule an appointment at an approved fingerprinting center. However, pursuant to Colorado House Bill 19-1186, if you work for a Colorado school district/BOCES/charter school and the district/BOCES/charter school is more than 20 miles from a fingerprinting center, your district/BOCES/charter school can request that fingerprints be taken by the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in that area. If you get printed outside an approved fingerprinting center, you still will need to select the appropriate icon above, select IdentoGO and then the "Submit A Fingerprint Card by Mail" link.
If your prints were submitted at one of the CBI-approved vendors via one of the icons above, processing time can take anywhere between a day to two (2) weeks (in rare cases). If you mail a hard-copy fingerprint card to one of the CBI-approved card conversion centers, the process can take up to six (6) weeks (longer in some cases). Login to your COOL account to check your fingerprint status.
- Do NOT mail fingerprint submissions to CDE or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). You must choose from one of the options above to submit a fingerprint card. Any fingerprint card sent to CDE is destroyed for security purposes.
- To view an overview of circumstances that may result in Denial, Suspension, Revocation or Annulment of licenses, click here
For questions, submit a Licensing Support Request form or call 720-739-3304 (7:30 am - 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday).