How to Become a Teacher in Colorado

Anyone wondering how to become a teacher in Colorado should carefully consider the key guidelines and recommendations.

All states require potential teachers to fulfill a specific set of requirements, and Colorado is no exception. Although these requirements vary by state, they all require future educators to complete a teacher-preparation program. For teachers who already have a bachelor degree in their field, earning an advanced degree like a master or a doctorate via online degree programs in education can give them a competitive advantage for openings in Colorado.

If you’re just getting started on your path toward teaching in Colorado, however, you’ll need to know the basics, like how much opportunity is available and what you must do to obtain state certification.

Colorado Fast Facts and Figures for Educators

Known for its rugged beauty and its residents’ outdoorsy lifestyles, Colorado is also an excellent place to become a teacher. With a total population of nearly 5.2 million people, Colorado is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S., Forbes reports. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the state boasts 1,835 public schools and more than 800,000 school-aged children. With a public school teacher workforce of approximately 48,500 teachers, Colorado’s student-to-teacher ratio is 17.37. Although this is slightly above the national average, it provides strong opportunities for educators with the ability to manage larger classrooms.

First-year teachers in Colorado make an average of $32,126, according to 2012-2013 data from the National Education Association. Greater teaching experience and holding a master degree increases salary potential for Colorado educators.

Requirements to Achieve Colorado Teaching License

Initial Teacher License

After completing school, the first available license for Colorado teachers is the Initial Teacher License. This license is valid for three years; at the end of this period, teachers may renew the license or convert it to a professional teaching license. All applicants for the Initial Teacher License must hold the following credentials:

  • Education. Applicants must hold a bachelor degree or higher from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution.
  • Teacher-preparation program. To get a teaching license, you must complete an approved teacher-preparation program offered at an accredited postsecondary institution. Many teachers complete this requirement by receiving a bachelor degree in education.
  • Transcripts and other documentation. Applicants must submit transcripts and other documentation to ensure that they have adequate grades and have successfully completed required programs.
  • Professional competency. Demonstration of professional competency is achieved by completing 24 credit hours (based on the semester system) in a particular subject area. Alternatively, applicants may pass a state Board of Education-approved assessment in that content area.

Alternative Licenses

Many would-be teachers hold a bachelor degree but have not completed an approved teacher preparation course. Colorado offers an accelerated path for motivated individuals in this situation. Several Alternative Teacher Licensing Programs allow teaching candidates to work full-time in a classroom setting under the supervision of a group of teaching professionals. At the same time, they must work toward completing a teacher-preparation program. This alternative program provides individuals passionate about becoming educators a faster way to achieve their career goals.

Benefits of a Colorado Teaching License

With an unemployment rate of 6.9% as of April 2013, the Colorado economy is better than the nation as a whole, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). In particular, the state is adding education and health jobs, reporting a growth of 3.3% in this sector over the past year. Those determined to become Colorado teachers will likely have robust job opportunities in the coming years.

Another benefit of obtaining a Colorado teaching license is the opportunity to work with motivated, successful students. On average, Colorado students significantly outperform the national average on standardized tests of math, science, reading and writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This learning environment is great for teachers passionate about providing a high-quality education to students.

With numerous public and private colleges and universities in the state, Colorado has a wealth of educational opportunities for future teachers. It also offers great programs for continuing education credits, allowing licensed teachers to stay current with the latest trends in education. These opportunities make this an exciting time to become a Colorado educator.