Alternative Teaching Certification in New Mexico

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Alternative licensure programs are meant for those who wish to become teachers but have not graduated from a traditional teacher preparation program.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in New Mexico.

Alternative Certification Requirements


Education Requirements

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To enter an alternative teacher licensure program, you must meet one of these requirements:
  • Have a bachelor’s degree and 30 semester hours in a field of instruction
  • Have a master’s degree and 12 graduate semester hours in a field of instruction
  • Have a doctoral degree in a field of instruction
Once you meet these requirements, you may:
  • Complete an alternative program through a New Mexico institution, or
  • Complete Online Portfolio Advanced Licensure (OPAL) and 3 to 6 credit hours in the teaching of reading, or
  • Meet experience requirements in lieu of education (see below)
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You must pass the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills, the New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency for your area of licensure, and the New Mexico Content Knowledge Assessment for the area in which you wish to become licensed to teach.


Experience Requirements

If you have five years of post-secondary teaching experience and a post-bachelor’s degree, and complete the reading requirement and all other education/examination requirements, you are exempt from completing an alternative program of teacher preparation. In this case, you must also complete a one-year internship while working as a teacher.


Criminal History Background Check

Regardless of the route you take to teacher licensure (traditional or alternative), you must undergo a criminal history background check. After you call the Educator Ethics Bureau at 505-827-6649 and request a fingerprint card packet, take it to your local law enforcement agency. They will fingerprint you for a fee. Mail the completed fingerprint card packet along with your application for alternative licensure.


Contact Information

For information on alternative teacher licensure in New Mexico, contact the Professional Licensure Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department at 505-827-5821.