Find an Education Path For Teaching in
New Mexico, (NM)

New Mexico requires students who want to be teachers to follow certain steps. The first step depends on how far you have progressed on the path toward reaching your goal. Please select the highest level of education that you have achieved, and we will offer guidelines to help you take the necessary steps to advance towards becoming a licensed teacher in New Mexico.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

The information below will help you discover the steps you should take to become a teacher in New Mexico.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

Freshmen entering colleges or universities must have a high school diploma or a certificate verifying that they passed the GED. Students who have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and want to continue their education, are eligible to submit applications for admission to four-year universities and to two-year colleges. The direction you choose and which higher education institute you are qualified to enter, will depend on many factors, including career goals, high school coursework and GPA, test scores and affordability.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Community colleges and other two-year colleges offer a variety of options for people with diverse goals, interests and needs. Two-year programs can lead to Associate degrees, certificates, credentials and job training. Community colleges have Early Childhood certification programs that qualify students to begin working with young children as soon as they complete the program and receive their certificate. Students at two-year colleges can choose to focus on completing general education courses that will meet the core curriculum requirements for a Bachelor’s degree program in Education at a four-year university.

  1. Some people attend community colleges to complete general education requirements they need to be admitted to a four-year college to continue their education. With their core courses finished, they can enroll in a Bachelor in Education or Teaching degree program and take upper division courses that will lead to a teaching certificate in New Mexico. Some New Mexico two-year colleges have programs that culminate in an Associate of Arts in Teacher Education with concentrations in Elementary or Secondary Education. Another option is the Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Multicultural Education, which qualifies students to apply for a Vocational Certificate or to transfer credits to four-year Bachelor’s in Education degree programs.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment shortly after graduation. A certificate or Associate degree in Early Childhood Education, may qualify you to begin working as a teaching assistant or child caretaker with infants, toddlers and pre-school children at Head Start, preschools, childcare organizations or before- and after-school programs.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree from a state- or regionally-accredited four-year university is the primary requirement for anyone wishing to apply to become a certified teacher in New Mexico. All teaching candidates must also complete and satisfy all state-mandated requirements before they can be issued a certificate to teach students in the state. These requirements can be met during your Bachelor’s degree program and include fulfillment of general education and Teacher Preparation requirements, and receiving passing scores on all parts of the New Mexico Assessments Tests. For an individual who wants to teach, but has a Bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, the steps needed to move forward on the path toward certification are determined in part by the prospective teacher’s undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include coursework and classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  2. The State of New Mexico requires teaching candidates to take all three sections of the New Mexico Teaching Assessments exam (NMTA). Before prospective educators can apply for licensure, they must successfully complete the Basic Skills test, the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency, and the Content Knowledge Assessment for each subject area or grade level for which the teacher will be licensed to teach.
  3. Earning a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you received your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied some certificate programs’ recommended academic requirements. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. Aspiring teachers in New Mexico who have not earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education can complete a their Educator Preparation requirements through a regionally accredited graduate licensing program or post-baccalaureate alternative licensure program. Completing a Master’s degree in Education that is combined with a Teacher Preparation program is another route toward certification. New Mexico has an option called the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure or OPAL, which is part of the state’s Transition to Teaching program created for people who have Bachelor’s degrees and work experience but have not completed a Teacher Preparation Program. Individuals on an Alternative Licensing track are still required to complete and pass mandated assessment exams before that are eligible to apply for a teaching certificate in New Mexico. Completing a Master’s degree in Education that is combined with a Teacher Preparation program is another route toward certification.
  6. New Mexico has different routes to follow on the road to teacher certification, but many of the steps and requirements are the same for everyone. After earning a Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, all aspiring teachers must successfully complete state-approved Teacher Preparation curricula, satisfy student teaching hours and any other fieldwork or internships, pass all mandatory basic skills, teacher competency, and subject area content knowledge exams, obtain recommendations from supervisors, mentors and professors and submit a completed application. When you have fulfilled all of these requirements, you will be qualified to become a certified teacher in New Mexico.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program

Prospective teachers can select from a variety of Master’s programs designed for individuals who want to teach in New Mexico. State-approved universities and colleges offer degrees such as the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), the Master of Arts in Elementary or in Secondary Education (M.A.), or the Master of Education in Bilingual Education (M.Ed.). Most graduate teaching degrees include both academic coursework and a Teacher Preparation Program, and completing the combined program will culminate in a Master’s degree and eligibility to apply for a license to teach in New Mexico. Graduates who already have a Master’s degree and a teacher’s license, and want to continue their academic education, may decide to pursue a doctorate degree in fields such as Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education or Early Childhood Education.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with a Teacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the New Mexico Department of Education to request an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Earning an Educational Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) may increase your opportunities for a better job and a higher income. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information necessary to discover the best university and education program to meet your needs.