Substitute Teacher Colorado Review| Requirements, Certification, Salary Substitute

Substitute teaching is one way to ensure a continuous learning process for students when their regular teachers are on any kind of leave. To qualify to be a substitute teacher, some states and countries require a license, permit, or authorisation, some others do not. However, in Colorado, an authorization or license is required to teach as a substitute.

In this article, we will look at the Education System in Colorado, substitute teaching authorizations and their requirements, salary, and other relevant information about substitute teaching in Colorado.

Education System in Colorado and Its Challenges 

The Education system in Colorado is run on a district basis. This simply means that the laws regarding education are made by each district according to their needs. There is a general contribution of funds by the state but it is primarily run by the districts. As with every other state or country, there are private schools and public schools. The Public School system in Colorado runs within districts governed by locally elected school boards and superintendents. While the Private schools are run by their owners. 

What are the challenges faced by the Education System?

The public schools are funded by the Government per head and receive little to no contribution from the child’s parents throughout the study of the child. In private schools, parents have to pay for all the services used by the child. However, there is a challenge faced by the public sector of education in Colorado. That is primarily funding and lack of teachers. This keeps getting worse in Public schools as funding keeps getting cut down by the Government.

Teachers have complained severely about low pay and the lack of teachers. This has led to more work for the available teachers and at a pay that is relatively not enough for them to take care of their families. Some teachers, despite their workload, take up more jobs to make ends meet. This all boils down to the education the students receive. A burnt-out teacher will not deliver so much for the students. Hence, a reduction in the quality of education received. 

What are the possible solutions?

One of the ways noted by Educators to combat this is by increasing the funding going to education. Increased funding will lead to better pay for teachers. Another way is by employing more teachers. This can either be by employing them full-time or having a lot of substitute teachers. Substitute teachers help to cover up gaps where teachers are not available.

Who is a Substitute Teacher?

A substitute teacher is an individual who covers or takes charge of the classroom when the regular teacher is on medical or any kind of leave. They can be employed either as a permanent substitute teacher or a temporary substitute teacher. Regardless of the contract of employment, there are authorizations that a substitute teacher should possess. 

Substitute Teacher Authorisations in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Education issues the authorization for substitute teachers in Colorado, and the Educator Licensing Division is in charge of issuing it. There are three types of authorisations/licenses the division issues out, they are:

  • 1-year authorisation 
  • 3-year authorisation 
  • 5-year authorisation 

Each type of authorisation has its requirements. We will look at the different authorisations and their requirements.

1-Year Authorisation 

This authorisation gives the holder the right to teach as a substitute for 1-year. Individuals who want to test the waters in the field of teaching can obtain this authorisation. Those who also want to teach in the interim can get this authorisation. The requirements for obtaining this authorisation are:

  • High school diploma 
  • Application fee ($50)
  • Evidence of successful working experience with children
  • Background check 
  • Fingerprint live scan 
  • Valid Government ID

Renewal can be done six months into the year or after the authorisation expires, and it is done by visiting the Colorado Department of Education’s e-licensing portal. There you submit your credentials including the one-year substitute verification form completed by the administrator or designee of the district you work for. After submitting your application form on the portal, it takes approximately two to four weeks for the authorisation to be issued.

3-Year Authorization 

This authorisation gives the holder the right to teach as a substitute for 3-years. Individuals looking for a head start after school or changing careers can obtain this authorisation. The requirements for the issuing of this authorisation type are:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited university or college 
  • Copy of transcript 
  • Application fee ($90)
  • Background check 
  • Fingerprint live scan 
  • Valid Government ID 
  • Work experience

For the renewal of this authorisation type, you will need your bachelor’s degree, obtained from a regionally accredited university; your official transcripts, signed, sealed, and delivered. Getting a renewed license after application takes approximately four-six weeks.

5-Year Authorisation 

This authorization gives the holder the right to teach as a substitute for 5 years. This authorization is suitable for people who are building a career in teaching. The requirements for issuing it are:

  • An active or expired Colorado teacher license or an active out-of-state teacher license 
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Application fee ($90)
  • Valid Government ID 
  • Work experience 

With any of these, you can be a substitute teacher in Colorado.

What is the Salary of a Substitute Teacher in Colorado?

The salary of a substitute teacher varies according to different research carried out by different data firms. There are $22, $24.30, $18.75, etc. This only means that variations are coming from location, district, and qualifications. Experience and probably the length of the contract determine the salary. 

Therefore, the average salary of a substitute teacher in Colorado ranges from $18.75 – $24.30.

What are Some of the Websites Where You Can Find Substitute Teacher Jobs in Colorado?


Indeed is one of the best job websites. It is currently in more than 20 countries and posts jobs from different countries. All you have to do is input the job title and your location, then it will filter the available jobs down to your search criteria. Aside from job posting, Indeed has a blog section that caters to the different needs of a job seeker and at different levels of employment/career. You can find different types of substitute teacher jobs on the website.


LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. It has a website and an app, all for the convenience of its users. The app makes it easier to create professional relationships and even strengthen the ones you have. You can search for jobs and internships on the platform. You can also learn new skills to foster a career change or succeed better at your current job. There are also videos and courses to prepare you for any type of job interview you may have. It is a one-stop-shop for everything concerning career. You can also find substitute teacher jobs in Colorado on the website.


Zippia was founded in the year 2015 and it is a website that aggregates job openings from different organizations and from the different nations they operate in. The system is automated to guide the visitor to search for jobs, find one, and still provide assistance if you need help with putting together your CV or Resume. You can find substitute teacher jobs in Colorado on the website.


This is a website that makes use of AI-matching technology to analyze user interactions and assist both users and companies search for jobs and to recruit qualified candidates respectively. On the website, you can find the salaries of different job types and levels and this helps you to know what is obtainable at the company and the job function you perform. You can find substitute teacher jobs in Colorado on the website.


This is another job website which has been in operation since 2003. Although it was bought over by the company that owns Indeed, it is still operational. On the website, you can find jobs from different areas around the world and can apply on the website for the ones you choose. You can find substitute teacher jobs in Colorado on the website.

Recruitment Agencies for Substitute Teachers 

Substitute teachers can either be independent, employed by districts, or be employed by substitute agencies. Each has its benefits and limitations. However, if you choose to be employed by a recruitment agency, here are some of them.


Kokua is an organization that believes in bringing together passionate guest teachers. They believe in connecting students with positive influences who can help children become the best version of themselves. If you are passionate about being a substitute teacher, you can visit their website and register with them.

Kelly Education Staffing

This is a staffing agency which has been in existence since 1997. The organization has been operating for over 75 years and has about 100 recruiters connecting people to their dream job. They provide staffing services starting from the sourcing, interviewing, and filling of schools with substitute teachers and any other staff you might need. You can register with Kelly Education by visiting their website.


ESS is a staffing agency that began in 2000 with about 17 partner districts and 150 substitute teachers. The vision of the organization is primarily to provide administrative relief to districts and proffer professional working opportunities to qualified educators. This, they are still doing today and you too can be part of their yearly success story. You can register with them by visiting their website.

Swing Education 

Swing is an organization that focuses on connecting reliable and high-quality substitute teachers to the schools that need them as their ultimate goal. To achieve this goal, they make use of technology to make access to substitute teachers easy for schools and vice versa. You can sign up as a substitute teacher or as a school looking for substitute teachers. 

TEACH Colorado 

This is an organization that aims to guide people who are willing to be teachers on their journey to becoming one. When you sign with them, they provide you with materials that will guide you on your growth path to becoming a professional educator.

How To Become a Substitute Teacher in Colorado

Having discussed all we talked about, it is imperative to look at how to become a substitute teacher.

Get a School Certificate

There are different levels of substitute teacher authorization and the one you are applying for has its basic requirements. The least certificate you can have is a high school diploma. This can be limiting, however, you should have it at least. So the number one thing is to get a certificate and that means finishing your formal education.

Get an Authorization/Permit

To be a substitute teacher in Colorado, you need an authorization. There are 3 different types depending on the qualifications you have. So, decide on the type of authorization you want. The Colorado Department of Education is in charge of the authorization; you can visit their website or go to their physical office to apply. 

Fingerprint Verification and Background Check

Part of the process is thumbprinting and running of background checks. A background check is down when you submit your live fingerprint scan. Using the fingerprint, the system checks if you have any criminal background. This is necessary as it helps to eliminate the chance of employing a criminal and avoid putting students at risk.

Health Check

Another requirement is a health check and the required test is a tuberculosis test. This is to avoid the spread of tuberculosis to the students in the course of teaching. 

Note: in the course of getting your authorization, you can also apply for substitute teacher jobs in the district. That is, you can register at the CDE as a substitute teacher under the district in which you choose to teach. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a certificate to be a substitute teacher in Colorado?

Yes, you need a certificate to be a substitute teacher in Colorado.

What are the different ways a substitute teacher can be employed in Colorado?

There are 3 ways you can be employed as a substitute teacher.

  • As an independent contractor or freelancer
  • As a district employee
  • As a registered member of a recruitment agency

What skills do I need to be successful as a Substitute Teacher?

Substitute teaching requires skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, attention to detail, active listening, discipline, ability to learn quickly, conflict resolution, etc. These skills help you navigate each job you get and manage the classroom.


Substitute teaching is a great career choice. It has its ups and downs, just like every other job. However, your interest in the field is what will keep driving you even when it gets rough. The shortage of teachers in Colorado has created a space for substitute teachers to fill and you certainly will get a job. 


Applying for any job requires a resumé or CV outlining your experiences and skillset. At Fasthire, we care about your career and want to help you secure the job of your dreams. For your CV or Resumé, you can contact us here and we will tailor one to fit the job you are applying for. You can also visit our blog section for tips on how to ace your interview.

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