Colorado ESL Teacher Job Description and ESOL Certification Requirements

Follow these four steps to become an ESL teacher in Colorado:

Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program
Take and Pass the Appropriate Content Examinations
Apply for an Initial Teaching License
Apply for a Professional Teaching License

According to the Colorado Department of Education, English Language Learners (ELLs) in Colorado are selected and evaluated through a five-step process, according to Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) standards.

The five-step process involves:

  • Administering accommodations during instruction and assessment
  • Evaluating and improving accommodation use
  • Setting expectations that ELLs meet grade-level academic content standards
  • Learning about accommodations for instruction and assessment of individual students
  • Selecting accommodations for instruction and assessment of individual students

CELP standards are supported by the Colorado Department of Education, which recognizes that all students must understand academic language so as to master the Colorado Academic Standards. The Standards are essential for preparing students in Colorado to become educated and productive citizens who are able to succeed in a globally competitive workforce.

 


 

Step 1. Complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program

To become an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in Colorado, you may choose to complete an approved educator preparation program. If you do not possess a current teaching license in Colorado, you may complete an approved teacher preparation program at the undergraduate or graduate level that includes all components necessary for initial licensure as an ESL teacher.

There are preparation programs in Colorado through a number of institutions of higher learning that meet this requirement, including:

  • B.A. in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education
  • B.A. in Elementary Education with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Endorsement

Current Teachers Adding an ESL Endorsement

If you possess a current Colorado teaching license, you may complete an approved educator preparation program that results in a K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. Many endorsement programs can be applied toward a graduate degree:

  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, add-on endorsement
  • Post-baccalaureate endorsement, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (endorsement) within an M.A. in English as a Second Language
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (endorsement) within an M.A. in Education-Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (endorsement) within an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Bilingual Education Specialist (endorsement) within an M.A. in Education-Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations
  • Special Education Generalist (endorsement) within a Master of Arts in Education-Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations
  • Special Education Specialist (endorsement) within a Masters of Education-Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Foundations
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education (endorsement) within an M.A.T. in Education

Note: You may also apply for the K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education if you complete a specific course of study that includes at least 24 semester hours of coursework (3 semester hours in each) from an accredited institution.

Alternative Licensure Program

If you have professional experience working in a field related to English language acquisition, you may apply for the Alternative Licensure Program. This program allows you to serve in a full-time teaching position while completing the 225 hours of instruction required by the Colorado Department of Education for initial licensure.

You can learn more about the Alternative Licensure Program and find a list of designated agencies that participate in the program here.

 


 

Step 2. Take and Pass the Appropriate Content Examinations

If you want to become an ESL teacher and achieve an initial educator license in Colorado, you must take and pass all appropriate content examinations:

  • If you have completed a traditional teacher preparation program, you must take and pass a PRAXIS II content examination in your specific content area (elementary education or a secondary content area).

 

    • If you have completed the Alternative Licensure Program, you must take and pass the Linguistically Diverse Education PLACE examination, which includes the following content areas:
      • Professional and Cultural Foundations of Linguistically Diverse Education
      • Instruction for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
      • Foundations of the English Language and Language Acquisition
      • Assessment for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

 

  • If you are currently licensed and have completed a program for K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, you do not need to pass a content examination.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for an Initial Teaching License or Endorsement

Upon completion of all necessary licensing requirements, you must apply for an initial teaching license through the Colorado Department of Education’s online system, which is valid for a period of 3 years.

You must apply for a primary endorsement in elementary education or a secondary content area, as the K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education can only be added as a secondary endorsement. However, if you completed an approved teacher preparation program and the specific coursework in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education, you will be automatically eligible for the K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education.

You may also apply for the K-12 endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education using the online system if you are a licensed educator.

 


 

Step 4. Apply for a Professional Teaching License

Upon completion of a Colorado State Board of Education-approved induction program, which may be completed through Colorado school districts, charter schools, and private schools, you may apply for an Initial to Professional Teaching License.

A professional teaching license must be maintained by renewing it every 5 years, during which time you must complete at least 6 semester hours of coursework.


Colorado ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives

According to MigrationPolicy.org, Colorado has an immigrant population that is approaching 10%. More than half of Colorado’s new foreign-born residents come from Latin America.

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act is a federally funded and state administered grant that focuses on offering comprehensive educational services to English Language Learners (ELL) in Colorado’s schools. This grant includes provisions for incentive pay being made available to teachers in conventional content areas who add an ESL endorsement.

Colorado offers teachers a competitive salary schedule, which ranges from an average starting salary of $40,610 to a mid-career average of $61,980 for more experienced teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Schools with a higher number of ELL students tend to offer higher salaries:

  • Denver – $49,755
  • Bolder – $58,734
  • Cherry Creek – $62,086

Average ESL teacher salaries for teachers in smaller areas:

  • Bennett – $ 38,044
  • Deer Trail – $ 36,771
  • Cheyenne County – $ 33,256

The table below shows detailed salary information for Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers’ in Colorado from 2013. The Bureau of Labor Statistics includes adult ESL instructors within this classification.

Area name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield CO
480
41410
Fort Collins-Loveland CO
Estimate Not Released
47370
Greeley CO
Estimate Not Released
33600
East and South Colorado nonmetropolitan area
180
24840

Back to Top