Alternative Teacher Certification Programs in Colorado

In 2009, the Colorado Department of Education made several changes to its approved alternative certification pathways. The department now divides such programs into one-year and two-year programs. In one-year programs, the candidate is the teacher of record for that school year. In two-year programs, the candidate spends the first year working with a mentor and the second year as the teacher of record.

Regardless of which option you choose, the CDE requires that you be employed full-time by a Colorado school district before you can begin an alternative preparation program.

Featured Online Programs:

Online programs may not be available in all states

Candidates start by filing an application for an Alternative Teacher License. This requires a bachelor's degree or above, demonstrated content proficiency and a clear background check. On approval, candidates are issued a statement of eligibility and may seek teaching positions. The Alternative Teacher License is available in a variety of K-12 endorsement areas and through numerous cooperative agencies.

One two-year program to consider is the Denver Public Schools' Two-Year Alternative Licensure Program/CASEL for candidates seeking special education certification. DPS runs this program in partnership with the Metropolitan State College of Denver. It isn't the only state-approved two-year program, but it is the one DPS prefers to work with in most cases. The CDE has reported special education as a critical shortage area for 2011-2012, so teaching positions in that area in particular should be plentiful.

A one-year alternative licensure program is available through the Mountain Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Leadville. Mountain BOCES works with 10 school districts and the Colorado Mountain College to deliver services such as alternative licensure. Candidates in the program complete a 225-hour training plan in order to receive a recommendation for regular licensure. Candidates also are evaluated twice during their first year of teaching.

Schools in Colorado:

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