How to Become a Teacher in New Mexico: Teacher Certification

These are the usual steps a person might take to become certified to teach in the state of New Mexico. Please check with your state to make sure you have the most up-to-date information about the certification process.

If you're curious, you can learn more information about New Mexico teaching salaries here.

New Mexico Initial Teaching Certification

  1. Go to college and earn a degree. It is a firm requirement. You don't need a specialization in education (although that may help with the transition and may help differentiate you from other applicants).
  2. Get some experience in teaching, even if it’s unpaid. It is required to have classroom experience such as student teaching.
  3. You’ll need to complete all three portions of the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA).
  4. Complete a background and fingerprint check. Call (505) 827-6104.
  5. Submit the following:
    • Complete this form
    • Current certifications (if you already have one)
    • $65 Application fee for each subject payable to New Mexico Public Education Department
    • $34 fee for fingerprint processing
    • Official transcripts, degrees, and school credits
    • Mail to:
      New Mexico Public Education Department
      Professional Ethics Bureau
      300 Don Gaspar
      Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501-2786
      (505) 827-6104
  6. Do you want to renew your New Mexico Teacher Certification?

Alternative New Mexico Teacher Certification

Instead of earning your New Mexico Teaching Certificate, you can earn the temporary certificate. The Alternative Certification allows you to teach without completing the normal process.

  1. You still need to earn your college degree.
  2. Consider the options for earning Alternative Licensure and chose the one which suits you best.
  3. Complete a post-baccalaureate alternative licensure program (face to face or online).
  4. Complete a portfolio (Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure - OPAL).
  5. Alterative License Options.


  1. New Mexico Teacher Assessments, http://www.nmta.nesinc.com/
  2. Mentorship for Beginning Teachers, Teach NM, http://teachnm.org/new-teachers/mentorship-for-beginning-teachers.html
  3. Fingerprint Background Check Information, http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Licensure/dl08/applications/All%20app.pdf
  4. Licensure, New Mexico Public Education Department, http://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/licensure/
  5. Completing Your Application for Continuing New Mexico Licensure, http://www.ped.state.nm.us/Licensure/dl08/applications/continuingall.pdf
  6. Alternative Licensure Options, Teach NM, http://teachnm.org/new-teachers/alternative-licensure-options.html

Teaching Schools in New Mexico

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