How to Become a Teacher in New Mexico
Teachers have the power to make our country's future brighter, one student at a time. With that said, New Mexico is dedicated to finding the best teachers. Every state has different steps to becoming a teacher. The following steps will help you become a licensed educator in the great state of New Mexico.
Choose What You Want to Teach
The first question you must ask yourself is what kind of teacher you want to become. Do you have a passion for a specific subject or subjects? If so, you should consider teaching middle school or high school. If you prefer to teach multiple subjects at a basic level, you should consider teaching elementary school. Some of the classes and tests you will be required to take will depend on which level you wish to teach. If you are still unsure, you can learn more about educators and schools in New Mexico by visiting the Department of Education website.
Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in New Mexico
To become a teacher in New Mexico, you will need at least a Bachelor's Degree. In addition, you must complete a teacher preparation program that is approved by the New Mexico Board of Education. While in the teacher preparation program, your studies will focus on the subjects or level you want to teach.
If you are just starting out on your college career, then you are likely to be enrolled in a blended or joint program. This means that the program you choose will likely provide you with both a Bachelor's Degree and a teacher preparation program. Contact a school representative or advisor if you do not have a Bachelor's degree yet, so that you can make sure to enter the correct program.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
In order to become a licensed teacher in New Mexico, you must complete a teacher preparation program.
These educator preparation programs usually consist of fieldwork and a set curriculum. Some of the classes you take will likely focus on pedagogy, instructional methods for teaching various subjects, differentiated instruction, technology integration, and more. The fieldwork component usually consists of classroom observations, student teaching, and/or internships. You will learn how to create and implement lesson plans in order to teach in a way that is highly effective for diverse student populations.
As mentioned earlier, if you decide to become a teacher early on in your college career, this step can be completed while you are working on coursework for your Bachelor's Degree.
If you already have a Bachelor's Degree in an unrelated field or have not yet completed a teacher preparation program, you can complete an alternate or post-baccalaureate program. The program must be accredited.
Alternative Teacher Certification in New Mexico
If the traditional path to licensure does not apply to your situation, you can take an alternative route to teacher licensure in New Mexico.
Alternative Licensure Program / Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)
This state has two primary alternative pathways to licensure: complete a post-baccalaureate alternative licensure program or complete an Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL). These alternative routes typically allow candidates to teach on an intern license while continuing to work on their credential requirements.
Another option is for individuals who are dedicated to switching careers into teaching. This is the Master's Degree route. Many colleges or universities offer post-baccalaureate alternative licensure programs that are blended with Master's Degree programs in education.
Pass the Required Tests for New Mexico
Another important step one must complete before becoming a licensed teacher in New Mexico is to pass the New Mexico Teaching Assessments (NMTA). The NMTA are comprised of a Basic Skills examination and a Teacher Competency exam for elementary, secondary, or early childhood education.
Teaching candidates applying for initial teacher licensure or adding certain endorsements are required to take a Content Knowledge Assessment as well. Content Knowledge Tests offered in the state of New Mexico include:
- Elementary Education
- Special Education
- Educational Administration
- Language Arts
- Civics and Government
- Modern & Classical Languages (Spanish, German, French)
- Visual Arts
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
- Library Media, Family & Consumer Science
- Physical Education
- Health Education
Some universities or colleges may require you to pass all or some of these before entering or exiting a teacher preparation program. Talk to a program counselor or advisor in order to find out a school's specific requirements.
Apply for your New Mexico Teacher Certification/Teaching License
In order to apply for your teaching license, you will need to submit the following to the New Mexico Department of Education:
- Non-refundable application fee
- Completed application form
- Documents to support the application including passing test scores and official college transcripts
- Completion of teacher education program
- Background check must be processed by 3M Cogent. Here is more information on how to register for this.
New Mexico Public Education Department
Jerry Apodaca Education Building
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: (505) 827-5821
Find a Teaching Job in New Mexico
As soon as you have completed all of the required steps, you will be ready to start your career in teaching! You will be ready to impact the lives of children in New Mexico.
New Mexico Public Schools
The state of New Mexico is calling upon educators to consider what it will take to dramatically improve public education in New Mexico. Teacher candidates are encouraged to match their qualifications with the NMREAP online database for job postings in the state and submit their application package. Particularly in demand are teachers qualified to teach English, math, sciences, and special education.
New Mexico Teacher Unions
Public school teachers can join a union once hired. Organizations like AFT New Mexico and the National Education Association of New Mexico are strong advocates for teacher rights and educational reforms which make a critical difference in the classroom.
New Mexico Teacher Retirement Benefits
Finally, teachers who are ready to retire should be in contact with the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board. Pensions for teachers come through this agency whose mandate is to manage the retirement assets of the state's teachers.
New Mexico Private Schools
Some teacher candidates are looking for a slightly different work environment that the one offered in a public school. These teachers are encouraged to consider applying to New Mexico's private schools as well. Just over half of the state's private schools have religious affiliation, and on average, they boast a ratio of 7:1. The small class sized allow teachers to easily incorporate differentiated instruction into their daily lessons. A private school may or may not require teachers to hold proper certification, however candidates with teaching certification will be highly valued.
Teacher Shortage in New Mexico by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)
The following list of teacher shortage areas in New Mexico has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year
- Special Education
Number of Public School Teachers By Grade
The table below lists the number of public school teachers in New Mexico by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.
|Grade Level||Number of Teachers|
|Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers||429|
|Middle & High School Teachers||8,339|
|Ungraded Class Teachers||4,056|
Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013
Number of Private School Teachers By Grade
There are more than 160 private schools with an estimated 1,700 private school teachers in New Mexico. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.
|Grade Level||Number of Teachers|
|Elementary School Teachers||808|
|Middle & High School Teachers||201|
|Combined K-12 School Teachers||724|
Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012
Continue Your Education and Professional Development
Teacher professional development is an important part of the educational field. Teachers take their ongoing commitment to improving their practice and student achievement in classroom. Additionally, professional development helps teachers achieve their long-term career and salary goals. In addition to in-services, there are a number of ways to develop one's practice. Some of these include engaging in research projects, curriculum planning and development, and providing service as a mentor to new teachers. Teachers should ensure that their PD choices enhance subject matter knowledge, apply appropriate teaching techniques, enhance assessment methodologies, or provide tools to effectively manage individual student needs in a variety of classroom settings.
Professional Development in New Mexico
The Department of Education in New Mexico has created a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) to help teachers in the state advance through the 3-Tiered Licensure System. The Dossier requirements dictate professional development through 5 strands: instruction, student learning, professional learning, administrator verification, and evaluation. Teachers seeking more information are encouraged to contact the New Mexico Public Education Department Professional Development Bureau.
Employment and Teacher Salary in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico is actively recruiting for new teachers who are certified in languages, math, science, or special education at the elementary or high school level. This need is due to statewide shortages in those subject areas. New public school teachers make $31,960 as an annual salary - an amount that increases every year with growing tenure and additional certification. Teachers should note that districts like Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Rio Rancho experience acute need.
Salary Range$41,660 - $73,480
Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $41,660 to $73,480 a year in New Mexico. There are around nine thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.
Elementary School Teachers
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)
Salary Range$44,280 - $86,360
English teachers have a salary range between $44,280 to $86,360 a year in New Mexico, with over 230 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.
Salary Range$41,150 - $70,790
As a high school teacher in New Mexico you can expect to make between $41,150 - $70,790. There are around five thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.
High School Teachers
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)
Salary Range$52,120 - $96,790
In New Mexico, a history teacher's salary may range from $52,120 to $96,790. There are around seventy employed history teachers. Get more information about becoming a history teacher.
Salary Range$37,350 - $67,100
Kindergarten teachers in New Mexico, can earn between $37,350 to $67,100 a year. There are around a thousand employed kindergarten teachers. Read about what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher.
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Kindergarten Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2012)
Salary Range$37,350 - $91,460
As a math teacher in New Mexico you can expect to make between $37,350 - $91,460. New Mexico is home to about twenty thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.
Salary Range$17,810 - $60,440
P.e. teachers have a salary range between $17,810 to $60,440 a year in New Mexico. New Mexico is home to about 1000 p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.
Coaches and Scouts
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)
Salary Range$20,390 - $44,760
In New Mexico, a preschool teacher's salary may range from $20,390 to $44,760, with over 1,770 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)
Salary Range$32,190 - $99,670
As a school administrator in New Mexico you can expect to make between $32,190 - $99,670. New Mexico is home to about a thousand school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.
Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)
Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)
Salary Range$34,560 - $74,110
School counselors in New Mexico, can earn between $34,560 to $74,110 a year, with over 1,640 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)
Salary Range$39,560 - $72,780
School librarians have a salary range between $39,560 to $72,780 a year in New Mexico. New Mexico is home to about 630 school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)
Salary Range$39,900 - $85,830
In New Mexico, a special education teacher's salary may range from $39,900 to $85,830. New Mexico is home to about three thousand special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?
Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)
Special Education Teachers (Middle School)
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Middle School) (SOC Code: 25-2053)
Special Education Teachers (High School)
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (High School) (SOC Code: 25-2054)
Salary Range$17,280 - $27,300
In New Mexico, a substitute teacher's salary may range from $17,280 to $27,300. New Mexico is home to about four thousand substitute teachers. Read about what it takes to become a substitute teacher.
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Substitute Teachers (SOC Code: 25-3098)
Salary Range$17,770 - $30,260
In New Mexico, a teaching assistant's salary may range from $17,770 to $30,260. There are around seven thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)
Top School Districts Supporting Teachers in New Mexico
Teachers work hard every day and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in New Mexico that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. 33 school districts in New Mexico were analyzed with the top 10 school districts being featured below. The school districts were scored on several factors which represent how well a school district supports their teachers.
For more information on school district rankings, see our methodology page: http://www.teacher.org/school-district-ranking-methodology.
Continued List of School Districts in New Mexico
Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey