The New Mexico Teaching and Certification Resource
To become a public school teacher in New Mexico candidates must earn a teaching license. The New Mexico teacher certification process is overseen by the New Mexico Public Education Department and is outlined below for those seeking information on how to become a teacher in New Mexico.
How to Become a Teacher in New Mexico
Like most states, New Mexico has a number of requirements that applicants must fulfill before working in the public school system. All teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a New Mexico teacher preparation program, and pass the required content and subject area examinations. Those who have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in New Mexico.
New Mexico uses a tiered licensing structure for educators. Newly-licensed teachers begin as Level I Provisional Teachers. New teachers must complete a Professional Development Plan (PDP) developed with the school principal. Completion of the PDP, a mentoring program, and at least three years of experience leads to Level II Professional licensure. Candidates may elect to pursue the highest level of licensure, Level III, by completing a master’s degree and three years of teaching at Level II.
- I want to be a teacher in New Mexico, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about New Mexico’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in New Mexico
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in NM through 20242
Anyone pursuing a New Mexico educator certificate must complete an approved teacher education program at an accredited school. You can find a list of approved programs through the TeachNM website.
Prospective teachers evaluating programs offered out-of-state or online should confirm that programs are accredited by that state’s regional accreditation body. There are six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education.
Additionally, many schools look for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation is a marker of excellence in teacher education.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in New Mexico.
The New Mexico Workforce Connection projects 64 average annual job openings due to growth and 171 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 32 average annual job openings due to growth and 84 average annual job openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 51 average annual job openings due to growth and 144 average annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in New Mexico through 2024.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 18,700 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in New Mexico.4 Within the state, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $58,410, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $52,800, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $54,590.4 The National Education Association – New Mexico provides more information on teaching careers and issues in the state.
New Mexico Teacher Education Requirements
The most direct way to fulfill the education requirements for becoming a teacher in New Mexico is to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete an approved teacher education program. It is highly recommended that candidates select a teacher preparation program approved by the state.
New Mexico Teacher Testing Requirements
The NMTA (New Mexico Teacher Assessments) are required for all applicants for New Mexico educator certification. The NMTA is comprised of the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills and the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary, Secondary or Early Childhood). Individuals applying for initial New Mexico teaching certification or adding certain endorsements must also take the Content Knowledge Assessment(s) in the certification/endorsement area of the subjects they wish to teach.
Additional New Mexico Teacher Certification Requirements
New Mexico state law requires that anyone applying for New Mexico teacher certification submit fingerprints for a state and federal background check. This process should be initiated by requesting a fingerprinting card from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
New Mexico Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once the steps towards teacher certification in New Mexico have been completed, candidates must apply for a license. The following documentation is required:
- Clearance of background check.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
- Proof of teacher preparation program completion from an approved school.
- Passing score on required knowledge and subject area examinations.
- Completed application for teaching certification in New Mexico.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
New Mexico has moved to an online system, the Professional Development Dossier (PDD), for applications and renewals. Visit the state’s Public Education Department for further details on New Mexico teacher certification.
New Mexico Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||Not available||Not available|
|Elementary School Teachers||9,330||$58,410|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||940||$60,050|
|Middle School Teachers||3,690||$52,800|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||570||$51,920|
|Secondary School Teachers||5,680||$54,590|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||1,160||$55,530|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||310||$56,230|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in New Mexico
Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in New Mexico?
Answer: To become a high school teacher in New Mexico, you must hold a license from the state. The requirements for the license include completing a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching. You must also have at least 24 credit hours in the subject you hope to teach and you must pass the New Mexico educator tests for basic skills, secondary teacher competency, and content knowledge.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. New Mexico Public Education Department: http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/index.html
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. New Mexico Workforce Connection: https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/vosnet/lmi/default.aspx
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Mexico: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nm.htm