Becoming a Substitute Teacher in Colorado: Requirements & Certification

Review the steps required to receive substitute teacher authorization in Colorado. Learn about the education requirements and types of authorizations available. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info for Colorado Substitute Teachers

Colorado has three different authorization certificates for substitute teachers (each with distinct requirements and renewal periods). In order to begin the application process, you must have a job offer for substitute teaching in any Colorado public school. The table below is an overview of education requirements, salary expectations, and job growth outlook for Colorado substitute teachers.

Minimum Education Required High school or bachelor's degree (depends on authorization level)
Skills Speaking, active listening, coordination
Authorization Levels One, three, or five year authorization
Average Annual Salary (2018) $32,360 (for substitute teachers nationwide)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% ('teachers and instructors, all other,' nationwide)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Apply for a Substitute Teacher Role Directly with a Colorado Public School

Each Colorado public school has their own unique recruitment process for substitute teachers. You can research the schools in your area by going to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website SchoolView tool. Once you have identified potential schools in your area, reach out to their administration offices to inquire about available substitute teacher roles and the relevant application process. You may also check online job boards for substitute teacher openings in Colorado public schools. If you are offered employment as a substitute teacher, you will be eligible to apply for a substitute teacher authorization from the CDE website.

Step 2: Get Your Fingerprints Scanned

In order to begin the online application process, you must complete a fingerprint scan and background check with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI). The CBI verifies both state and national databases to ensure substitute teacher candidates do not have a criminal record or prior convictions. The CDE website has a list of pre-approved vendors you may use to complete the fingerprinting and background check. Be sure to request a package that fills all requirements for a CDE licensure.

Step 3: Determine the Appropriate Certificate

The CDE has three authorization levels for substitute teachers depending on their educational background. Applicants who have held or who currently have a valid Colorado teacher certification, in addition to those who have current out-of-state teacher certification, are eligible to apply for a five year authorization. Those who have never held a teacher certification but have completed a bachelor's degree from an accredited university can apply to receive a three year authorization. Applicants without a bachelor's degree or prior certifications are eligible for a one year authorization (which limits their employment eligibility to a single school district). All three authorization levels can be renewed indefinitely, so long as the applicant continues to be employed as a substitute teacher by a school in the state.

Step 4: Complete the Online Application Process

Once you have completed your CBI background check, you may begin the online application process by going to the CDE website. Be prepared to list all colleges or universities you have attended as well as your professional history within the past five years with exact dates and job descriptions. The online application process will request that you upload electronic copies of all relevant documents including transcripts (make sure you have digitally scanned all documentation beforehand).

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