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How to become a licensed Substitute Teacher in Colorado!
How to become a licensed Substitute Teacher in Colorado!

Detailed breakdown of the options available to you in Colorado.

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Written by Scooter
Updated over a week ago

Colorado’s 3 types of substitute teacher licenses

The Colorado substitute teacher license is also known as an authorization.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) issues three types of substitute authorizations – the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year – depending on your educational background and experience.

The substitute authorization allows you to work as a substitute teacher in any Colorado public school district, BOXES, charter school, or CDE-approved facility school for grades K-12.

Here’s a comparison of each authorization type:

1) The Substitute Teacher License for Current Students

1-Year Substitute Authorization

This authorization allows you to be a substitute teacher for a year and is perfect for those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree or are just interested in teaching for a short time.

Requirements to Apply

  • A high school diploma or its equivalent

  • Proof of successful experience working with children

  • $50 application fee

2) The Classic Substitute Teacher License

3-Year Substitute Authorization

The 3-year authorization allows you to substitute teach in Colorado for three years and is ideal for recent college grads and career changers.

Requirements to Apply

3) The Experienced Substitute Teacher License

5-Year Substitute Authorization

The five-year authorization allows you to substitute teach for five years. It’s ideal for people who already have full-time teaching experience and are now interested in subbing.

Requirements to Apply

  • An active or expired Colorado teacher license (not special services, principal or administrator) OR an active out-of-state teacher license

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university

  • $90 application fee

Additional documents to submit in your application

You’ll also need to submit these documents for your online application regardless of your type of Colorado substitute teacher license:

  • Fingerprint-based background check on file with the CDE

  • Valid form of government ID

  • Previous work experience

  • Self-disclosure documentation of any:

    • Criminal history

    • Disciplinary actions

    • Issues related to licensure or employment

Where and how do I apply?

Set up your COOL (elicensing) account

Once you’ve gathered all necessary documents, log onto COOL (Colorado Online Licensing) to create your licensure account.

  • Create your lifetime COOL account under your complete legal name

  • You must have an assigned Social Security number

  • Include a personal email address that you check often

Your COOL account is where you will virtually apply for your authorization by submitting the required documents for approval. It will include the status of your application and background check.

Get a background check

To get your fingerprint-based background check, schedule a fingerprinting appointment with one of these approved vendors:

  • IdentoGo

  • American Bioidentity Inc./Colorado Fingerprinting

After your appointment, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will forward the submitted fingerprints to the FBI. Do NOT mail fingerprint submissions to the CDE or the CBI. They will be destroyed for security purposes.

You have 30 days from the time the CDE receives your background check to submit a complete authorization application. If you do not submit a completed application within these 30 days, you will need to submit another set of fingerprints.

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