How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Colorado

There are several authorization types for Colorado substitutes, and we will discuss the education and testing requirements for a five-year authorization.

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Substitute teachers in Colorado can apply for a one-, three-, or five-year substitute authorization, and the requirements for a one- and five-year are very different. Readers can learn more about the degree requirements, educational programs, and possible exams needed for this position.

Colorado Substitute Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Colorado Substitute Teachers (2017)* $30,495
Required Degree High School Diploma or Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; or Secondary Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Education of Young Children; Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects; or a specific Praxis subject area exam

Source: *Glassdoor

Step One: Complete Your Education

For a one-year substitute authorization, candidates only need a high school diploma. Experience working as a paraprofessional or other school employee who has direct, instructional involvement with students will replace a formal education. To better your chances of gaining employment, however, you may want to work towards a five-year authorization. This authorization requires the same education as licensed teachers. Official transcripts for this education are submitted when you apply for authorization.

An early childhood education program in Colorado may include courses in childhood language literacy, and curriculum design for children. On the other hand, an elementary education program may cover reading instruction in elementary schools, differentiating instruction, and methods for teaching science and social studies. Finally, a secondary education program's curriculum includes courses on education and society, adolescent development, and methods for teaching middle school and high school students. A semester of student teaching in a classroom of your chosen grade-level is also required.

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Step Two: Pass Any Required Exams

There are no testing requirements for a one-year substitute authorization. Colorado requires those seeking a five-year substitute authorization to be licensed educators, which means they must have already passed their licensing exams. If you wish to be licensed to teach children from birth to eight years old, you will have to pass the Praxis Education of Young Children exam with a score of 160. In 150 minutes, you will answer 120 multiple-choice questions and three short-answer questions. These questions are related to childhood development, assessing young learners, family and community, and developmentally sound pedagogy.

If you wish to be licensed to teach elementary school, you will have to pass the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects exam with a score of 155 to 159 on each subtest. You will get about four hours to answer 235 questions. This exam covers reading and language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science as they apply to educating elementary students in these topics.

Finally, if you will be a secondary teacher in the future, you will take a Praxis subject area exam to teach within your chosen field. This may include speech, social studies, math, and even English, just to name a few. The number of questions and required scores will depend on the specific exam.

Step Three: Pass a Background Check

All educators in Colorado, including substitutes, are required to submit their fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. They will complete a statewide check on your criminal record, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation will complete a federal criminal record check.

Helpful Link for Future Colorado Substitute Educators

Because those applying for a five-year substitute teacher authorization take the same tests as licensed teachers, the links below may assist you as you study for the Praxis exams required for either early childhood or elementary education.

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