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Out-of-State Endorsement FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Out-of-State Endorsements for First-Time Applicants

1.  Does Colorado have license "reciprocity"? 

Licenses never directly "transfer" to Colorado from other states or countries. While you may have heard the term "reciprocity" in reference to applicants who hold an out-of-state or out-of-country education license, the bottom line is that you must hold a valid Colorado educator license to work in Colorado public schools, and you cannot qualify for a Colorado educator license if you do not meet or exceed Colorado's requirements for the license you are seeking. That being said, Colorado licensing law does allow for some beneficial flexibility in the credential types that may be issued to educators who are licensed in other states or countries. For more information please visit our resource page.

2.  What is an Interim Authorization?

If you hold or are eligible to hold a license in another state, you may qualify for an interim authorization, which Colorado state statute allows to be issued in certain instances when a candidate meets the degree and program requirements, but still needs to fulfill additional requirements (usually a content exam or exams) for a full Colorado license. This authorization is issued for one year and is renewable once.

3.  What if I have an ESL/TESOL endorsement or something similar on my out-of-state license, with no other endorsements?

Colorado does not have an ESL endorsement; instead, we offer a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education endorsement, which is similar, but not an exact match. Too, the CLD endorsement does not stand alone and you must have 24 semester hours of specific coursework as outlined on our worksheet or complete a Colorado-approved CLD program. If you meet the requirements for CLD, you will also need to meet the requirements in another content area (either by degree or by taking and passing an approved content exam), so that we may issue you a license with both endorsements. Many applicants opt to take and pass the Colorado-approved content exams for elementary education (PRAXIS #5901 and PRAXIS #5205).

4.  How does a "middle grades" endorsement translate to a Colorado license/endorsement?

Colorado offers one middle-level endorsement: Middle School Mathematics (grades 6-8). If you hold a middle-level endorsement in any other content area and meet the degree and program requirements for that content area in Colorado, we will issue a license with either a grades K-6 specialization, grades 7-12 specialization or grades K-12 specialization (dependent on the content area).  If you are an applicant with a grades 4-8 specialization, or something similar, we will give you three options:

1.  Elementary endorsement, which will qualify you for grades K-6.  If you have a degree in elementary education and have more than three years of post-preparation, fully licensed teaching elementary education experience in the past seven years, you may obtain this endorsement with no content exam.  Otherwise, you must take the approved Colorado content exams or demonstrate content knowledge via the multiple measures options.


2.  Secondary endorsement, which will qualify you for one specific content area, grades 7-12. If you pursue this option, we will evaluate your transcripts to see if you meet Colorado's requirements for that secondary endorsement. You may refer to the worksheets we use to evaluate applications. If you do not meet the coursework requirements, you must take the approved Colorado content exams or demonstrate content knowledge via the multiple measures options.


3. You can pursue both, which would qualify you for elementary education grades K-6 and specific content areas for grades 7-12.  You will need to meet the criteria listed above in order to receive both endorsements.

5.  What if I have a subject-specific endorsement that Colorado doesn't offer?

Some out-of-state applicants have subject-specific endorsements like biology, chemistry, etc.  In these cases, we will evaluate your transcripts to see if you meet the 24-semester hour requirement as outlined on the worksheet for the general content area (such as "science (grades 7-12)") we do offer. If you do not have the coursework required by Colorado standards, you will be required to take and pass an approved Colorado content exam or demonstrate content knowledge via the mutliple measures options.

6. What is the difference between Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education?

In Colorado, early childhood education pertains to children ages 0-8, while elementary education covers students in grades K-6.  In the application, you will need to select the endorsement based on the grades or age levels you were prepared to teach. We then will look at your coursework to see which endorsement most closely aligns with Colorado coursework standards. 

7. My special education teaching endorsement does not match the Special Education Generalist (ages 5 to 21) endorsement.  What now?

Many out-of-state  special education endorsements are in specialized areas such as mild/moderate or severe needs. Since Colorado offers only a "generalist" endorsement, you will need to take and pass three Colorado-approved content exams -- and demonstrate 24 semester hours of applicable coursework -- to meet the endorsement requirements. First-time applicants for a Colorado teacher license may also demonstrate content knowledge via the multiple measures options in lieu of all or some of the exams.

8. What is the difference between "principal" and "administrator"?

In Colorado, a principal is a building leader.  An administrator is a district-level leader.  These licenses are distinct from one another and require a different preparation program for each.

9. Is a career and technical educator license the same as a teacher license?

No. Colorado career and technical education (CTE) authorizations have different requirements than teacher licenses and are issued on separate credentials. Visit the CTE in Colorado webpage for more information.



For questions, submit a Licensing Support Request form or call 720-739-3304 (7:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Friday).