How to Be Certified as an Environmental Educator

DEADLINE: April 15 and Aug. 19, 2024

See the Certification Program Plan for detailed information about the process, policies, and procedures.

STEP 1. Sign up for News and Updates

  • Download the certification planning guide below to familiarize yourself with the competencies and select the level of certification that is right for you. 
  • Complete the online general interest form. Applicants will receive notification and information about upcoming deadlines, trainings, and useful resources for building their portfolios. 

Please note: If certification fees are a barrier to participation, please contact [email protected] to discuss scholarship or payment plan options.

General Interest Form
STEP 2. Portfolio Development

This certification process is a competency-based program - one where the applicant will demonstrate what they know and can do through a portfolio.  Download the Portfolio Planning Rubric for the level of certification you are pursuing (Certified Environmental Educator or Certified Master Environmental Educator) to help you build your portfolio.  Portfolios can be developed at an applicant’s own pace or by participating in CAEE's Online Summer Course, Principles and Foundations of Environmental Education.

  • Certified Environmental Educator Portfolio Planning Rubric (Word or PDF)
  • Certified Master Environmental Educator Portfolio Planning Rubric (Word or PDF) *Revised April 2019

There are five themes that an applicant should be proficient in to achieve Certification: 

  • Environmental Literacy
  • Foundations of EE
  • Professional Responsibilities of the Environmental Educator
  • Planning and Implementing EE
  • Evaluation and Assessment 

Each theme includes competencies — statements of what individuals are expected to be able to demonstrate. An applicant must compile and submit pieces of evidence (e.g., essays, lesson or program plans, articles, videos) demonstrating mastery of the themes and competencies. 

*Remember, if you are completing a master level certification, you must submit evidence for each of the competencies.  If you are completing a portfolio as a Certified Environmental Educator, you only need to submit evidence that shows understanding of the theme as a whole.

STEP 3. Submit your Portfolio and Final Payment

When you feel your portfolio adequately addresses the competencies, submit the following:

  • Online Submission Form with payment
  • Current Resume
  • Completed Portfolio Planning Guide
  • Portfolio of Evidence demonstrating Mastery of EE competencies
  • Signed copy of the Colorado Environmental Education Code of Ethics and Standards for Professional Conduct (PDF or Word)

Portfolios can be submitted electronically to [email protected] or mailed to CAEE office in Denver:

1536 Wynkoop St, Suite 314, Denver, CO 80202

Email any electronic portions of your submission to CAEE.  Please note that CAEE keeps certification portfolios and does not return them.  Be sure to make a copy of your portfolio for yourself or keep any important originals and submit copies in the portfolio.

Online Submission Form

STEP 4. Portfolio Review

A Certification Peer Review Panel, composed of trained certified educators, will review each portfolio based on the rubric in the Portfolio Planning Guide.  Individuals appointed to the panel must exemplify high standards of professional judgment, competence, and integrity and are required to have Level 1: Master Environmental Educator Certification.  See the Certification Program Plan for more information on who will review your portfolio.

STEP 5. Notification

Certification will be confirmed or denied in writing from the Certification Peer Review Panel. In many cases, a portfolio is returned to the applicant with notes for which more documentation of a competency or theme is needed before Certification can be granted.  Applicants can expect to hear the results of the portfolio review within 3 months.
This certification program is a competency-based process.  In addition to the files above, applicants are encouraged to refer to the Guidelines for Environmental Educators in Colorado (CAEE 2005) for additional examples and specific information for each competency.