Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Colorado

If you’re hoping to become a teacher in Colorado, this is the best place to get started. has all the information you will need to kickstart your teaching career in Colorado. This page describes the key steps you’ll need to take to be a licensed Colorado teacher and obtain a teaching position that meets your professional expectations.

1. Choosing a Program: The first step is to find a teaching program that supports your budget, short- and long-term career goals and future plans.

  • Finding an appropriate program that fits your needs is a critical first step. To ensure you select a program that meets your needs, explore what is important to you as a student and whether there is a specific specialization you hope to pursue. Then, start exploring potential programs. Before you apply, consider budget, location, graduation rates and any other factors that matter to you (see our rankings below for more information).

2. Planning for Licensure in Colorado: In Colarado, you will need a minimum of a bachelor degree and an appropriate post-graduate degree in education. You will also need to write and pass applicable certification exams; in Colarado, this means writing and passing the PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessments for Colorado Educators) exam for your level and subject area.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and passed the applicable exams, you can launch your teaching career in Colorado.

  • At this point, it is important to consider the type of teaching environment in which you hope to work? Are you interested in working in a city, small town or rural community? What are your lifestyle priorities? What are your salary expectations? During this stage of the process, you should also keep developing your resume, expanding your education by engaging in professional development activities and gaining additional teaching experience (e.g., by working as a substitute teacher). This will help you to enter the market with a competitive edge.

Choosing an Education Program in Colorado know that choosing the right program can be challenging. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented top education programs across the state. Using 2015 data, our team has analyzed total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, return on investment and much more.

Every school lists below has committed themselves to the pursuit of excellence and shown exemplary dedication to education of the highest caliber. These programs are Colorado’s very best. Find out which ones stand above the rest and best match your own priorities by reviewing the information posted below.

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How to Become a Teacher in Colorado

There are several ways one can become a licensed teacher in Colorado; the two primary pathways are outlined below:

  • Pathway 1: If you already hold at least a bachelor’s degree, the most common pathway is to complete an educator preparation program in one of Colorado’s colleges of education. In order to become licensed, you will also need to write and pass Colorado’s PLACE (Program for Licensing Assessment for Colorado Educators) exam. There are different PLACE exams for elementary educators and for subject specialists at the middle and high school levels.
  • Pathway 2: For candidates who already hold at least a bachelor’s degree and who wish to dive directly into the classroom, Colorado offers an Alternative Teacher Licensing Program, which enables qualified candidates with a bachelor’s degree to work in a classroom full-time, while completing their education course work on a part-time basis. Like any other teachers, candidates pursuing an Alternative Teacher Licensing Program must complete the appropriate PLACE exam for their level and subject area.

Colorado also has special pathways to licensure for teachers special education teachers, adult educators and administrators.

What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the State of Colorado?

In 2014, there were over 50,000 teachers in Colorado and a majority of the state’s teachers were trained in state at one of Colorado’s many approved education programs. Notably, job prospects for aspiring teachers in Colorado are likely to remain strong over the coming decades. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent to 12 percent rate of growth in positions for elementary, middle and high school teachers nationwide over the coming decade, with jobs for high school teachers experiencing the slowest growth and jobs for middle school teachers experiencing the highest growth. While jobs are expected to fall in some regions, jobs are expected to grow in both the South and West. Given Colorado’s location and current rate of population growth (in 2014, Colorado was the fourth fastest growing state), it seems likely that jobs for teachers will continue to grow at a faster than average rate over the coming decade.  

What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in Colorado?

What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of Colorado?

Colorado State University’s Global Campus has partnered with TeacherReady to offer 100 percent online education degrees leading to teacher licensure in Colorado. Colorado State University also offers a master’s degree leading to teacher licensure through its online program. Western Governors University, another accredited online postsecondary institution, offers online education degrees leading to licensure at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the state. The University of Northern Colorado also offers a wide range of education degrees leading to licensure through its online program.


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