Colorado public schools have seen a continual rise in enrollment since 1988, according to the Colorado Department of Education. In this article, we'll explain the steps you can take to become a licensed special education teacher within the state of Colorado.
Special Education Teachers in Colorado
|Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Colorado (2017)*||$55,440 (Preschool)
$53,470 (Middle School)
$55,830 (High School)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree; specialists may require master's degree|
|Degree Field||Special education or education with special education concentration|
|Testing Requirements||Special Education Generalist PLACE 20 or Praxis #5354 AND
Elementary Education PLACE 01 or Praxis #5001
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for a Special Education Teachers in Colorado
First and foremost, to become licensed as a teacher in the state of Colorado, you must obtain a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited higher education institution. A teaching practicum or internship is required for licensure and is included in state-approved preparation programs. The early childhood special education (0-8) general teaching endorsement is available to those who complete an approved bachelor's degree with preparation.
To add a special education generalist (5-21) endorsement, it is necessary to complete at least 24 credit hours of college coursework that pertains to special education. Specific state-mandated topics include:
- Understanding Behavior and Affective Needs
- Differentiating Instruction for Learners with Diverse Needs
- Transition and Secondary Services
- Assessment and Identification of Students with Disabilities
Education for Specialist Endorsements
Colorado offers specialist special education endorsements for those seeking to go beyond the generalist level. The Early Childhood Special Education Specialist (0-8) endorsement requires an additional graduate-level degree or non-degree program in early childhood special education that includes field-placement. The Special Education Specialist (5-21) endorsement requires the candidate to earn a regionally-accredited master's degree in special education and complete an approved preparation program for specialists. Colorado also offers specialist endorsements for the deaf/hard of hearing and the visually impaired (birth-21); each requires a master's degree and specialist preparation including a practicum.
Testing Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Colorado
Testing requirements for becoming a special education teacher in the state of Colorado depend on the endorsement sought.
Early childhood (0-8) special education teachers do not require testing with the appropriate degree and preparation. The Special Education Generalist (5-21) endorsement, on the other hand, requires that candidates pass both the Elementary Education and the Special Education Generalist content exams.
To fulfill the Elementary Education testing requirement, it is necessary to pass the PLACE 01 or Praxis 5001 with passing scores in reading, math, science, and social studies. For the Special Education Generalist exam, individuals can show successful completion of either the PLACE 20 or Praxis 5354.
The Early Childhood Special Education Specialist (0-8) endorsement does not require testing with the appropriate graduate degree or graduate-level program and preparation. The Special Education Specialist (5-21) endorsement requires the candidate to have already earned the Special Education Generalist (5-21) endorsement. This means they are responsible for the two aforementioned content exams, namely Elementary Education and Special Education Generalist.
The endorsements for the deaf/hard of hearing and visually impaired do not require testing with the appropriate graduate degree and preparation.
Submitting the Application
When applying for a teaching license in Colorado, you must show proof of identification via a government-issued ID. It is also necessary to submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. While filling out an application, the applicant is asked to disclose past criminal history, disciplinary actions, and/or issues related to licensure or employment if applicable. Individuals must send in transcripts from every institution of higher education that they have attended. The fee for in-state residents is $90, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $110. Depending on the specialization area, documentation of either PLACE or Praxis exams will also need to be submitted.