Across the Street column: Have you ever considered teaching? |

Across the Street column: Have you ever considered teaching?

Joyce Rankin
Across the Street
Joyce Rankin
Larry Laszlo photo

Are we really in need of more teachers? The answer seems to be somewhere between “yes and no.” There are more full-time specialty teachers needed in specific areas like reading coaches, social/emotional learning, director of culture, behavior counselors, STEM, etc. However, there are so many teacher “titles” it might be worth your time to browse the list and see what type of teachers and credentials are available. Who knows? You might find an interesting part-time job.

Last month when Denver teachers went on strike, advertisements for substitute teachers reported paying $200/day, double the amount normally paid to substitutes.

If we’re in such need of teachers/substitute teachers across the state what might it take to entice retired or unemployed professionals to apply for part-time work as a substitute teacher? If you have any interest in this area, you can get all the information you need on the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) website. Curiosity got the better of me, so I accessed the CDE site and applied for a substitute teaching credential. Here’s what I discovered.

If you already have a college degree, you can apply directly for a substitute teaching license. There are a variety of licenses and authorizations.

Applications range from teacher, substitute teacher, career and technical education (CTE) authorization and initial authorization for adult education along with 53 additional titles. Each application has an automatic link to a checklist of requirements.

Every checklist requires you to include fingerprints from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Unusual as it may seem if you are in Denver and near the Capitol, this is the easiest part of the entire application. I “Googled” CBI and found an office two blocks from the Capitol. There was a list of appointment times 20 minutes apart with many available throughout the day. I set up an appointment in the next 30 minutes, filled out the online form, printed it, and walked over to the office. Within 10 minutes my fingerprints were electronically taken — no ink pad or mess — and sent off to CDE. Many local government entities in Colorado can also fingerprint.

You must have a valid government ID. A driver’s license or passport is acceptable although there are other suitable options listed. Then obtain documentation of any issues related to licensure or employment in the past or criminal or disciplinary actions, if applicable.

Once you have completed these steps, you’re ready to register into the “eLicensing” system. This is a one-time process, and all your requirements and scanned documents will be kept in your account for easy access. As soon as this initial registration is complete, you can finish your checklist and upload any scanned document requirements at your convenience. When I first accessed my “eLicense” account, I could see where the CBI had already sent in my fingerprints. I was then able to upload a scanned copy of my driver’s license, college transcripts (these took a few days to receive), and any other necessary documentation. The site even explains how to scan documents if you’re not familiar with the process.

It doesn’t cost anything to access the site and certification requirements, and you may be surprised to find out you can work at your convenience and help your local school district as a substitute teacher. By my calculations, the cost of obtaining the license will be paid by approximately two days of substitute teaching.

So here’s the catch. Your application can take up to six weeks to process. But wait, didn’t I do everything electronically? I’ll let you know when my certificate arrives, or if I was rejected for incorrectly filling out the forms.

Joyce Rankin is a member of the State Board of Education. The Department of Education is located across the street from the Capitol. “Across the Street” will appear monthly.

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