How To Become a Teacher in New Mexico


If you'd like to become a teacher in New Mexico, it's a good idea to begin preparation before you begin your schooling. Each state has its own laws regarding the process of becoming a teacher, so it's good to know the requirements necessary for the particular state in which you wish to teach. The information below is meant to be a guide for teaching in New Mexico. However, many states offer reciprocity, so if you already have your teaching certification in another state, you may qualify to teach in other states (just look under reciprocity).

New Mexico Teacher Certification Roadmap

Areas of Teacher Certification

New Mexico offers several teaching certifications. These include:

  • Education Administration Pre K-12
  • Blind and Visually Impaired B-12
  • Early Childhood Birth-Grade 3
  • Elementary K-8
  • Middle Level 5-9
  • Pre K-12 Specialty
  • Secondary 7-12
  • Secondary Vocational-Technical 7-12
  • Special Education PreK-12

Areas of Endorsement include the following areas. Click on each area for a list of requirements for that endorsement.

New Mexico Teaching Certificate Requirements

Requirements for receiving a teaching certificate in New Mexico include:

  • a bachelor's degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university
  • 36-42 semester hours of study in the field you wish to teach
  • 150 hours supervised field experience teaching
  • Fingerprinting and background check
  • Passing score on the New Mexico Teacher Assessments for basic skills and teacher competency

Program Specific Requirements

In addition to theses general requirements, there are specific requirements and alternative paths to qualification for a teachers license in New Mexico. Click on the program below to view these specific requirements. You may also wish to refer to the endorsement requirements above.

Education Requirements

Teaching in New Mexico requires a bachelor's degree with credits in your specific field. If you do not meet this requirement, here are the top online education degree programs that will allow you to complete the educational requirements to become a teacher in New Mexico.


New Mexico requires the New Mexico Teacher Assessments for Basic Skills and Teacher Competency. You are also required to pass Content Knowledge Assessments in your first teaching field. For the k-8 license, this is the Elementary Content Knowledge, even if you intend to teach middle school.


All applicants for initial educator licensure in New Mexico are required to submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check through the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Your fingerprints should be taken by a public law enforcement official trained by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS). These include the Department of Public Safety, the county sheriff, as well as state, municipal, campus, military and tribal police. Once you have your fingerprint card completed, submit it with your application for a New Mexico teacher license.

Certification Reciprocity

New Mexico offers teacher licensure based on reciprocity. You must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and you must hold a current, valid, standard teacher license issued in another state or country. You must also provide proof of having completed an approved teacher education program in addition to proof of a passing score on a teacher competency exam and and evidence of having satisfactorily taught under your out-of-state teacher license.

New Mexico will also offer teacher licensure based on reciprocity for those who possess a valid certificate issued by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

New Mexico Alternative Teacher Certification

New Mexico offers an alternative teacher certification to those who possess a bachelor’s degree with 30 semester hours in a particular field or a master’s degree with 12 graduate semester hours in a particular field or a doctorate degree in a particular field. In addition, you must pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) for Basic Skills and Teacher Competency and pass the appropriate Content Knowledge Assessments (CKA), AND complete an approved alternative program through an accredited New Mexico college or university

The New Mexico Troops to Teachers program offers assistance to qualifying military personnel who wish to transition to a second career as a teacher.

Become a Substitute Teacher in New Mexico

If you have a college degree but don't qualify for a teaching certificate, you may consider reading how to become a substitute teacher in New Mexico . You may substitute teach while you attain your teaching credentials through an accredited online program.

Teacher Jobs in New Mexico

NMReap Job Search is a free service designed to help educators find teaching jobs in New Mexico. The also offer a listing of New Mexico school jobs

Another great way to find a job as a teacher is to speak directly with the school district where you would like to teach. Here's an interactive map of New Mexico school districts by county. Just click on the county where you would like to teach, and you will be taken to the school district website. Call or email them regarding teacher positions at various schools within the district.

New Mexico Teacher Salary Information

Teacher salaries will vary by school district, level of education, and number of years teaching. The Clovis Municipal Schools publishes a yearly New Mexico teacher salary schedule that will give you an estimation of how much money teachers in New Mexico make. In general, teachers salaries range between $30,000 to $50,000 for teachers in New Mexico.

The following shows New Mexico teacher base salary based on levels of teaching license:

  • Level 1 - fewer than 3 years teaching experience = $30,000 base salary
  • Level 2 - 3 to 5 years experience = $40,000 base salary
  • Level 3 - 6 or more years experience + MasterÕs Degree = $50,000 base salary


Resources for Teacher Certification in New Mexico

New Mexico Public Education Department
Professional Licensure Bureau
300 Don Gaspar (Rm. 101)
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786
(505) 827-6104

TeachNM offers career resources for New Mexico school teachers and administrators.

Interested in how to become a teacher in another state? Return to the How to Become a Teacher main page, or click on one of these neighboring states below.