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Become a Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher in Colorado

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers specialize in grades K-6, often teaching all the core subjects to their class. While some of these teachers may eventually specialize in a specific grade, they are usually qualified to teach any grade within this range. Learn about the necessary steps to become a fully licensed teacher in Colorado.

Colorado Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers Career Information

To become a certified elementary or kindergarten teacher in Colorado, one must navigate a number of steps. These include attaining a bachelor's degree, passing any required teaching exams and applying for your Colorado Teaching License.

Average Salary in CO (2018)* $53,400 (Elementary) $50,020 (Kindergarten)
Expected National Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7%
Education Required Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Elementary Education
Testing Requirements Praxis 5001
License Validity Period 3 years for Initial License
Advancement Requirement Complete an induction program with a CO school district

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earn Your Bachelor's Degree

To be able to ultimately get your teaching license, the program you choose must be accredited by the Colorado Department of Education. When looking through your options, the statement will likely be on the main page for the program. Unlike other some other states, students need not take the Praxis I exam prior to entering the program.

A bachelor's degree in elementary education can be attained in Colorado after completing about 120 credit hours. The mandatory credits will offer students various techniques in how to teach classes such as mathematics or social studies. Programs also include courses that deal with the classroom atmosphere one may experience, such as working with students with disabilities or students who are bilingual or who are not fluent in English. There will also be a few breadth requirements that vary from school to school. To eventually get your license, the program must also have a practicum component that will have you teaching students in the K-6 range.

Pass your Teaching Exams

One must the Praxis II exam to apply for one's teaching license.

The Praxis exam has four parts. One can choose to take all four parts together by registering for test 5001, or you can choose to register for separate subtests (5002, 5003, 5004, and 5005). Each subset has a qualifying score one must pass in order to get your teaching license. Both the mathematics and science subtests have on-screen calculators you can use during the duration of the tests. You are not allowed to bring in your own calculator.

Subtests Test Code Qualifying Score
Reading and Language Arts 5002 157
Mathematics 5003 157
Social Studies 5004 155
Science 5005 159

Source: ETS Praxis

Colorado used to require the PLACE exam, and a number of sites still state that requirement, but the exam has not been administered since 2017 and is no longer required.

Get Your Teaching License

Colorado has a tiered system for the licensing of teachers. The first stage is called the Initial License, this license is valid for three years. Once in the school, the new teacher is mentored and given continuous opportunities for professional development. After that, the teacher can apply for their Professional License.

Initial License:

Must have:

  • Bachelor's degree or higher from a state accredited college or university
  • Completed an approved teacher preparation system
  • Proof of student teaching or a practicum or an internship
  • Provided transcripts of both to get your official license, which must be in English
  • Passing scores from your Praxis II exam
  • An electronic copy of a government issued ID
  • Submitted your fingerprints (http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/fingerprints)
  • Passed criminal background check