What our Candidates have to say…

ASPIRE has been so supportive through my whole first year of teaching. I have had so many questions and issues come up and I know I can count on my ASPIRE Instructors to be there. They are supportive and always make sure that they are there to answer all of my questions.

Kiwi, ASPIRE Candidate


1. How do I know if I am eligible to teach in Colorado? 

There are three basic pathways to the Teacher Alternative License. To determine which pathway is right for you, use the guide below and visit the Colorado Department of Education website.

2. What is the salary for alternative teachers?

If you are employed as an alternative teacher, you will be paid by the employing district. Some of the programs allow the expenses of being trained and mentored to be deducted monthly from your salary. Salaries vary among school districts. Contact the schools or districts that you are interested in for this information.

3. What is cost of the program and how does it compare to other alternative licensure programs?

The cost of the ASPIRE to Teach® program is $5,750 plus a $250 non-refundable deposit due during enrollment. This includes access to all online modules with feedback from instructors, Professional Learning Community meetings, mentoring and coaching. Each additional year costs $2,000. The fee charged to the alternative candidate will vary depending on the designated agency. The Colorado Department of Education does not set or keep program fee information. Information about program costs may be obtained from the designated agency. Please note that the MA option for ASPIRE graduates is a separate program cost and not included in the above pricing.

4. What is a designated agency? 

Designated agencies sign your Statement of Assurrance of Employment (SAE) for your alternative licensure application. The agency also signs off on the initial licensure upon completion of the program. Designated agencies include school districts, charter or private schools, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations or a combination of these groups. CU Denver is the designated agency for ASPIRE.

5. What if a school district wants to hire me but doesn't have the funding for a full-time person? Can I participate in a program if I am only teaching part-time?

No. The ASPIRE alternative licensure program requires full-time employment.

6. When should I apply to the school districts?

This will depend on the district. A Statement of Eligibility (SOE) is required for employment and may be required for application to various districts. The SOE is valid for three years and can be renewed once. Applicants must meet current standards at the time of renewal.

7. May I be endorsed in more than one area?

No. You will be endorsed in one content area only. An additional endorsement may be added to your license at a later date, after you have completed your initial program.

8. What if I have a degree, such as in psychology, that does not match any of the listed endorsement areas?

Please apply to the program and select the content area in which you wish to be endorsed. If you are deficient in any coursework, CDE will notify you by mail.

9. When I submit my CDE application, may I include supplemental materials to verify competencies?

Yes. You may submit a copy of course descriptions, or provide information that directly pertains to your content area. These materials will not be returned. Please do not include the entire course catalog to document your course descriptions, or resumes, letters of recommendation or teacher evaluations with your packet.

10. Does ASPIRE alternative licensure include placement?

No. Alternative candidates are required to seek their own employment, similar to those who have completed regular preparation for licensure. CDE has a job website at www.teachincolorado.org. You may also want to check with individual districts for their job openings.

11. Is a statement of eligibility a license?

No. The statement of eligibility is used to indicate to a designated agency that you meet the state requirements to enter the program. It is not a license.

12. Does the CDE require that I send or include transcripts from each college or university I attended?

Yes. Transfer credits are often listed in bulk, without details for the courses included. The evaluators match your educational background to state requirements for the endorsement area. If you do not include all transcripts, your evaluation could be delayed.

13. What is the difference between the PLACE Exam and the PRAXIS II Exam?

They are both content-area assessment tests. PLACE was designed and developed for Colorado. PRAXIS II is a nationwide test. Recently, Colorado started accepting PRAXIS II in 5 content areas: Elementary Education (Test 10014 or 5014), English (Test 10041), Mathematics (Test 10061), Science (Test 10435) and Social Studies (Test 10081). Please check that the test for which you are registering is approved by the state of Colorado and that the test number is correct.

14. Why do I have to submit fingerprints?

To qualify for any type of teacher license in Colorado, the CDE requires each applicant to submit to the CO Bureau of Investigation (CBI) a complete set of fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a fingerprint based criminal history check (state and FBI records). While your school or district may require a fingerprint background check as well, this is different from the CDE requirement. Therefore, unless your school accepts the CDE fingerprint clearance report, you will need to submit TWO fingerprint cards to CBI: one for school/district and another for CDE licensure purposes.