State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - Colorado

April 2018


The data included in this 50-state comparison is specific to school leader preparation program and certification requirements. There may be additional requirements that are not indicated. For additional information, questions or comments, please contact Deven Scott at

Has the state adopted leadership standards? Yes. Colorado has adopted the Principal Quality Standards. 1 Colo. Code Regs. § 301-37:2260.5-R-6.00 through 1 Colo. Code Regs. § 301-37:2260.5-R-6.07
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? Colorado State Board of Education Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-2-109

Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. Professional education programs preparing principal candidates must align with the Principal Quality Standards. 1 Colo. Code Regs. § 301-37:2260.5-R-17.01
Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Professional education programs preparing principal candidates must provide a minimum of 300 hours of supervised field-based experience. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23-1-121 (West)
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? No state policy found.
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for an Initial Principal License, a candidate must:
  • Hold a bachelor's degree or higher from an accepted institution of higher education
  • Complete an approved principal preparation program at an accepted institution of higher education or an approved alternative principal program
  • Have at least three years of full-time, successful experience as a licensed or certified professional in a public/non-public elementary or secondary school in Colorado or another state
  • Receive a passing score on the state-board adopted assessment for Principal Quality Standards.
1 Colo. Code Regs. § 301-37:2260.5-R-3.03
What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants are held to the same requirements as in-state candidates. 1 Colo. Code Regs. § 301-37:2260.5-R-2.03
Is there an alternative route to initial certification? A school district may employ an individual as principal who does not hold a principal license, but has received a Principal Authorization from the state department of education. The employing school district must collaborate with the candidate in designing an individualized alternative principal program, which the candidate must complete while employed under the authorization. State policy provides additional requirements. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-60.5-305.5

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