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Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Colorado

Preschool teachers in Colorado are employed to direct educational programs of children from birth through eight years of age. If you want to become a preschool teacher in Colorado, you must complete the following steps:

Complete the Required Educational/Experience Requirements
Apply for an Early Childhood Teacher Verification Letter

Preschool teachers in Colorado—referred to as early childhood teachers—must meet specific professional preparation requirements set forth in the Colorado Preschool Program Act and enforced by the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS).

One of the largest employers of preschool teachers in Colorado is the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP), which, since its inception in 1988, has provided early childhood education to more than 291,000 young children in Colorado.

This program, which is governed by the Colorado Department of Education and funded by the State of Colorado, provides half-day or full-day preschool programs to children who meet specific risk factors. The CPP may be located in school district settings, community preschools, Head Start programs, or local child care centers.

In the 2013-14 school year alone there were 19,849 children enrolled in half-day preschool programs and another 1,000 children enrolled in full-day preschool programs through the CPP program. To date, 172 of the 178 school districts in Colorado participate in CPP.

Staff in charge of teaching young children in a preschool/early childhood setting must possess, at a minimum, a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA), an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education/Child Development, or a Child Care Professional Credential (CCP).

 


 

Step 1. Complete the Required Educational/Experience Requirements

If you want to become an early childhood educator in Colorado, you must possess at least ONE of the following:

  • A four-year bachelor’s degree in one of the following:
    • Early childhood education
    • Elementary education
    • Special education
    • Family and child development
    • Child psychology

OR

  • A bachelor’s degree in an unrelated area, AND:
    • At least 2 early childhood education college courses with at least one course being introduction to early childhood education or guidance strategies; AND
    • At least 6 months of verified experience in the care and supervision of four or more children under the age of 6 (teacher’s aide, teacher in a childcare center, elementary school, or preschool)

OR

  • An associate’s degree in early childhood education, which must include at least 2 early childhood education college courses with at least one course being introduction to early childhood education or guidance strategies; AND
    • At least 6 months of verified experience in the care and supervision of four or more children under the age of 6 (teacher’s aide, teacher in a childcare center, elementary school, or preschool)

OR

  • The completion of at least 12 semester hours of early childhood credits at the college-level; AND
    • At least 9 months of verified experience in the care and supervision of four or more children under the age of 6 (teacher’s aide, teacher in a childcare center, elementary school, or preschool)

OR

  • The completion of a vocational or occupational education sequence in child growth and development; AND
    • At least 12 months of verified experience in the care and supervision of four or more children under the age of 6 (teacher’s aide, teacher in a childcare center, elementary school, or preschool)

OR

OR

  • A current Colorado Level I credential or at least two courses in early childhood education from a regionally accredited college or university, with at least one course being in introduction to early childhood education or guidance strategies; AND
    • At least 24 months of verified experience in the care and supervision of four or more children under the age of 6 (teacher’s aide, teacher in a childcare center, elementary school, or preschool)

Regardless of the path you choose to become a preschool teacher in Colorado, you must be able to show you have achieved the required education credits in the field of early childhood education through a portfolio that demonstrates knowledge in:

  • Understanding parent partnerships
  • Knowledge of multicultural education
  • Early childhood development
  • Applying developmentally appropriate practice in the classroom

The following is a list of regionally accrediting organizations recognized by the CDHS:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools – The Higher Learning Commission
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges – Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Middle States Commission on Higher Education

There are a number of Colorado colleges and universities that provide degree/training programs that meet requirements to become a preschool teacher in Colorado. You can view a list of these programs here.

 


 

Step 2. Apply for an Early Childhood Teacher Verification Letter

Once you have completed the necessary requirements to become a preschool teacher in Colorado, you may apply for an Early Childhood Verification letter by completing and submitting an Application Data Form Early Childhood Teacher Qualifications to the center director for review and verification of your qualifications. Then you must send the application and all required documentation to:

Early Childhood Teacher Qualifications
CDHS, Division of Child Care
1575 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203

Once the Director has verified the information contained in the application, the Division of Child Care will issue you an Early Childhood Teacher Verification Letter.

Because licenses/certificates are not issued for early childhood teachers in Colorado, the letter serves as an indication that you are fully qualified. The CDHS maintains a list of all fully qualified preschool teachers in Colorado.

You can contact Sarah Herron at 303-866-5860 or at sarah.herron@state.co.us with any questions regarding the completion of the Teacher Verification Letter.


Colorado Preschool Teacher Salaries

Preschool teacher job growth in Colorado is projected to be 2.4% a year during the ten-year period leading up to 2013, according to the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment. This is a larger increase than that projected for all occupations in Colorado.

The number of preschool teacher jobs available each year is projected to be 385. 48.6% of these jobs will be due to growth. The remaining will come from replacing teachers who will leave the workforce. The total number of positions expected to become available during this period is 1,866.

The average preschool teacher salary in Colorado in 2013 was $31,152. This is about the national average. Entry-level preschool teachers averaged $21,662, while experienced ones earned $35,897 on average. The average 2013 preschool teacher salary in Colorado was the highest in the Boulder area as shown below:

Boulder – $34,056
Grand Junction – $32,812
Denver – $32,294
Colorado Springs – $28,732
Pueblo – $28,463
Fort Collins – $27,759
The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment provides data on the employment of Pre-K teachers in the state. 7,054 preschool teachers were employed in Colorado in 2013. 70.7% worked in social assistance, while 17.6% were employed in educational services. 1.9% were self-employed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 Colorado preschool teacher salaries for various regions of the state:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Boulder CO
500
34060
Colorado Springs CO
940
28760
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield CO
3410
32300
Fort Collins-Loveland CO
330
27780
Grand Junction CO
60
32850
Greeley CO
260
25820
Pueblo CO
150
28500
East and South Colorado nonmetropolitan area
210
32300
West Colorado nonmetropolitan area
350
30240
Northcentral Colorado nonmetropolitan area
340
31130
Central Colorado nonmetropolitan area
70
29210

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