I understand the types of creative commons licensing, but does a creative commons license replace copyright altogether? If I file for a creative commons license for something that I want to make distributable but not alterable, do I need to copyright it in addition to the creative commons license, or does the license take care of all IP needs?
No, CC does not replace copyright.
A creative commons license is one way to use the copyright that you already have the moment you make an original creative work. Without a copyright, a creative commons license does nothing. You don't need to do anything to get a copyright.
However if you plan to exploit a work commercially, or want to be sure that it is well protected, you can gain additional protection in the US and some other countries by registering the copyright. US registration can be done online at this page. The benefits of US registration are described on this page.
Nor do you need to "file for" a Creative Commons license. by publishing or distributing a work with an indication that it is subject to a creative commons license, you have released it under that license and anyone may thereafter use it subject to the terms of that license. This is done with a statement such as "Released under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 license." Such a statement is often placed near the (optional but strongly recommended) copyright notice, but that is not required. if you wish to specify the form of attribution (for example to a specified pseudonym) or a URL to use in providing attribution, that should ideally be placed near the license statement. If the work carries a list of credits, those may be placed nearby as well, but need not be.