Located at the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado is shaping up as a hot destination for teachers. Employment website Monster.com named Denver, Colorado as the seventh best city in the county for teachers. In addition, government data indicates teaching jobs at the elementary, middle and high schools levels should all see double digit growth in the coming years.
However, Colorado teaching certification is only available to those who meet specific education and licensure requirements. Keep reading to find out to how to become a teacher in Colorado and how online degree programs fit into the picture.
Can I Get an Online Teaching Certification in Colorado?
The State of Colorado offers two options to certification: the traditional route and an alternative path. In each case, classwork may be completed online although both options have in-person requirements, such as student teaching.
Traditional teacher certification in Colorado is typically pursued by those who don't have a degree yet. To gain initial certification, candidates must submit all the following to the state:
- Transcripts from an approved education degree program
- Results from the PLACE or PRAXIS II exam
- Employment history
- Criminal history, disciplinary action or other relevant information
Colorado requires teacher degree programs be state-approved for graduates to be eligible for certification. Currently, the state has approved 21 educator preparation programs, including several schools that have online degree programs.
Colorado requires teacher degree programs be state-approved for graduates before they can earn their certification. Currently, the state has approved 21 educator preparation programs, including several schools that have online degree programs.
Degrees from out-of-state institutions or online colleges may also be used for Colorado teaching certification but you should check with the Colorado Department of Education to confirm a particular school's degree will be accepted before you enroll.
While online degree programs aren't for everyone, many students value the flexibility they offer. In particular, students who have families or a job often appreciate the opportunity to study on their own schedule and from the comfort of their home.
What's the Career Outlook for Teachers in Colorado?
The future looks bright for education careers in Colorado. The following chart uses data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the number of teachers employed in the state, their average salary and expected job growth in the years to come.
|Position||Employment in Colorado (2014)||Average Salary in Colorado (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2012-2022)|
|Middle School Teachers||13,080||$50,540||20.2%|
|High School Teachers||16,180||$51,980||12.9%|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary||4,310||$52,510||12.7%|
|Special Education Teachers, Middle School||1,620||$51,510||12.5%|
|Special Education Teachers, High School||2,160||$53,970||11.8%|
Denver is the largest metropolitan area in the state and employs a significant number of Colorado teachers. For example, 11,410 of the state's elementary teachers worked in the Denver metropolitan area in 2014. These teachers also earned slightly more than the state average. Denver-area elementary teachers earned an average of $53,330 in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other metro areas which may provide numerous employment opportunities for teachers include Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
What are Colorado Teaching Specializations?
Colorado offers teachers the option to add endorsements to their certification. Currently, the state offers 46 endorsement areas including the following:
- Early childhood education
- English language arts
- Social studies
Endorsements can be earned by graduating from an approved program, completing a specified number of course credits and/or taking a content exam. The actual method of obtaining an endorsement varies by topic.
Denver is the largest metropolitan area in the state and employs a significant number of Colorado teachers: for example, 11,410 of the state's elementary teachers worked in the Denver metropolitan area in 2014.
Those pursuing the alternative Colorado teaching certification have fewer options but can still add endorsements. They can earn endorsements in early childhood education, elementary education and special education generalist.
In addition, alternative teaching candidates can use their undergraduate degree to earn endorsements. Colorado currently recognizes 19 specializations for alternative teachers, and they include the following, among others.
- Business education
- Family and consumer studies
Earning your Colorado teaching certification can be the first step toward a dynamic job in education. You can learn more by contacting the schools below to request more information on their teacher degree programs.
1. Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_co.htm#25-0000
2. Alternative Teacher Candidate FAQ, Colorado Department of Education, https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/Licensure_alt1_faq.asp
3. Initial Teacher License, Colorado Department of Education, http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof/checklist-initialteacher
4. Best Cities for Teachers, Monster.com, http://teaching.monster.com/careers/articles/1694-best-cities-for-teachers-7-denver-colorado
5. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm