Frequently Asked Questions about Licensure
Submitting an Application Packet for Licensure
What is a complete application packet?
A complete application packet is the application completely filled out/signed. It includes official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended, and any supporting documentation as listed in the instructions on the application. Please use the check off list included in the application packet to ensure completeness.
How do I pay and what are the fees?
A Cashier’s Check or Money Order made out to the Public Education Department (PED) in the amount of:
- $65 for initial teaching, administrative and instructional support providers
- $25 for initial coaches, substitutes, educational assistants and health assistants
- $35 for endorsements, except when applying for a license as that is included on the initial application
- $35 for renewal of teaching, administrative and instructional support providers, unless it has been expired more than 1 year, then need initial application & fee of $65 plus background check information (see Educator Ethics)
- $25 for renewal of coaches, substitutes, educational assistants and health assistants
- $29.25 for fingerprint processing
Are the fees refundable if I am not eligible for a license?
No. Fees are non-refundable. The fee is an application processing fee. It does not pay for a license.
What address do I send my application packet to?
Professional Licensure Bureau
300 Don Gaspar (Rm. 101)
Santa Fe, NM 87501
What if my application packet is not complete?
It will be returned to you so that you can gather the documentation needed and submit it back to us in a complete packet. This will delay the processing time as it will not enter our workflow until it is complete.
I know I don’t qualify__ but if I check off for other types of licenses and endorsements besides the ones that I qualify for, will you tell me what I need?
Checking off for licenses and endorsements you know you don’t qualify for will delay the issuance of the license(s) and endorsement(s) that you do qualify for. We will not tell you what you need but will refer you to the colleges and universities who offer approved licensure and endorsement programs. Completing an approved program is the best option. Read the rules to find the requirements: www.ped.state.nm.us
What is the process once my application has been received?
The monies are accounted for, the application packet is scanned into an imaging system and then it goes into workflow for review. Turn around time will depend on the applications on queue to be reviewed and the busy time of the year.
How long will it take for my application to be reviewed?
May to September 8-12 weeks
October to April 1-4 weeks
If I check “yes” to any of the legal questions on the applications, what happens?
Your application is referred to the Professional Ethics Bureau for further review and you must provide all pertinent documentation to move the clearance process along.
How can I check the status of my application?
You can call 505-827-6587 and select option 1.
How can I expedite the process?
Provide a complete packet and be patient. Calling consultants to check on status only delays the processing.
back to top
How do I become an administrator in New Mexico?
- Bachelor’s degree; Master's degree
- Completion of an approved educational administration program;
- Level 3A teaching license;
- Verification of having taught for 1 year while holding a Level 3A teaching license;
- Passage of the Education Administrator Assessment
Does NM reciprocate administrative licensure from other states and/or countries?
Yes. You are required to have a master’s degree, provide a current administrative and any teaching licenses, have completed approved administrative and teacher education programs, and provide verification of 7 years of teaching and/or administrative experience.
Must an administrator have a teaching background?
In most cases, yes. For those individuals coming from Higher Education, not necessarily.
back to top
Do you license higher education (college) teachers?
No. Higher education is governed by the Higher Education agency.
What are different ways to get licensed as a teacher in NM?
Option 1 – Approved Program
Possess a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university AND have completed an approved educator preparation program that includes student teaching, and pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) for Basic Skills, Teacher Competency and the Content Knowledge Assessment in the subject matter area. (For Elementary, it is the Elementary Content.)
Option 2 – Reciprocity
Possess a bachelor’s and/or a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university; possess a current valid and standard certificate/license from another state/country; provide proof of having completed an approved teacher education program (if the program is not contained on a transcript, you must provide documented evidence of the program you completed); provide proof of passage of a teacher competency exam for that out-of-state/country certificate/license, and provide evidence of having satisfactorily taught under that out-of-state certificate/license from the school and/or supervisor where you taught.
Option 3 – National Board Certification
Possess a valid certificate issued by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.
Option 4 – Alternative Licensure
Possess a bachelor’s degree including 30 semester hours in a particular field OR a master’s degree including 12 graduate semester hours in a particular field OR a doctorate degree in a particular field; pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) for Basic Skills and Teacher Competency; pass the appropriate Content Knowledge Assessments (CKA), AND complete an approved alternative program through an accredited New Mexico college or university OR complete Online Portfolio Alternative Licensure (OPAL).
Does New Mexico have reciprocity with other states and/or countries?
Yes. Limited and only for teachers and administrators.
Do I have to submit OFFICIAL transcripts if I am reciprocating a license from another state/country?
Yes. Foreign transcripts must be evaluated by a service for the purpose of equating to the U.S. semester hour system. See the list of accepted agencies at our web site.
I am reciprocating a license. What level of teaching license will I receive?
If you provide test scores and/or less than 3 years of teaching experience, you will receive a level 1 license (base salary $30,000).
If you provide 3-5 years of teaching experience, you will receive a level 2 license (base salary $40,000).
If you provide 6 or more years of experience and a master's degree, you will receive a level 3A license (base salary $50,000).
I received my degree from another state but didn’t get licensed there. How do I get a NM license?
You will have to meet NM licensure rules for the particular license. You are required to have completed an approved teacher education program and provide proof of passing the required NM exams.
Is testing required?
Yes. 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 k-8 license, this is the Elementary Content Knowledge even if you intend to teach middle school. The Licensure Bureau is will to review test scores from other states even if not coming under reciprocity.
I took the New Mexico exams but did not pass. How can I get a license?
We will not issue a license until you have passed all required exams.
Will you issue a one-year license to allow me time to pass the exams?
No. The “No Child Left Behind” Act does not allow for someone holding a temporary license to be in the classroom.
I already have a NM license. I want a different license, what do I need to do?
You can complete an alternative licensure program. You will have to meet the minimum course work requirements and testing requirements for the additional license. You can apply for a 3 year non-renewable internship license while you complete those requirements. There are pre-requisites you must meet prior to receiving this license.
If I am licensed as a secondary teacher and I take the elementary test, will I get an elementary license?
No. You must meet course work requirements for the license. We will accept up to 12 semester hours of general education credit from the secondary education program and the remaining 18 semester hours must be specifically in professional elementary education OR you can complete an approved alternative program in elementary education. You will be required to take the required teacher competency and elementary content assessments.
What is an endorsement?
An endorsement is a teaching field on a teaching license. Endorsements available are: visual arts, technology education, health, physical education, library media, psychology, history, geography, etc., language arts, reading, TESOL, science, information technology, business education, mathematics, modern, classical & native language, bilingual, family & consumer science, agriculture and performing arts.
Can I add endorsements in language arts, history, science or mathematics to an elementary or special education license?
No. We do not add core area endorsements to these types of licenses.
I’d like to get an endorsement on my license, what do I need to do?
You must submit an endorsement application with transcripts reflecting a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit in the endorsement area (teaching field); 12 of those hours must be upper division level ( on a special education or elementary license, the credits can be lower division) OR provide proof of having passed a content knowledge assessment in the endorsement area (teaching field).
Will your office provide a list of the courses I need for the endorsement?
No. Each university has their approved endorsement program of courses. We will only refer you to the endorsement competencies. The courses you take must address those competencies.
back to top
Instructional Support Providers
Is there a three-tiered system for counselors, speech language pathologists, etc?
No. The three-tiered system was designed for teachers only.
I have many years of experience in my field, do I receive a level 3 license?
No. All new applicants begin at level 1 regardless of the experience.
If I am nationally board certified, do I receive a level 3 license?
How long do I have to stay at a level 1 before I can apply for level 2?
You can renew a level 1 license at any time during the 3 year period of the license provided that you have been evaluated at least once while holding the level 1 license, have satisfactorily demonstrated the competencies and your employer recommends you for the next level of license. Please review the specific rule for your type of license at www.ped.state.nm.us under "Licensure" then "Licensure Rules" (click here).
How long do I have to stay at level 2 before I can apply for a level 3?
You can renew a level 2 license at any time during the 9 year period of the license provided that you have been evaluated at least once while holding the level 2 license, have satisfactorily demonstrated the competencies and your employer recommends you for renewal.
back to top
Support Providers (coaches, educational assistants, substitutes, etc.)
Must I be employed first before I am eligible for an educational assistant or substitute teaching license?
Not necessarily, but you are required to complete an Orientation Session with a local school district before a license can be issued.
Do you issue 1 year licenses for coaches to allow them time to complete the New Mexico Athletics Association (NMAA) coaches’ training program?
Yes. However, the 1 year license in non-renewable. The NMAA training program must be completed by the expiration date of the 1 year license. The license is issued for the school year (July 1 to June 30).
If I hold a teaching license, do I have to have an educational assistant license or a substitute teaching license to serve in those capacities?
back to top
Three-Tiered Licensure Systems
What is the three-tiered licensure system and the Professional Development Dossier (PDD)?
The three-tiered system is a system designed to attach base salaries to each level of teaching licenses. The 3-Tiered Licensure System includes annual evaluation and licensure advancement. The Professional Development Dossier (PDD) is the cornerstone of advancement for teachers in the 3-Tiered Licensure System. Teachers must complete the PDD in order to advance from Level 1 to Level 2 and to advance from Level 2 to Level 3.
Where can I get specific information about advancing through the three tiers?
At this website: http://www.teachnm.org/pdd.html
When can I do my Professional Development Dossier (PDD)?
Professional Development Dossier Submission Periods:
Submission Period 1
Starts February 1 at 12:01 am and ends March 1 at 5pm
Submission Period 2
Starts June 1 at 12:01 am and ends July 1 at 5pm
Submission Period 3
Starts October 15 at 12:01 am and ends November 15 at 5pm
The dossier can be started during your third year of teaching at the level of license you currently hold, which means you can begin during Period 2 of your third year of teaching under the standard level 1 license.
Is the three-tiered licensure system for teachers only?
Yes, and only if teaching in a NM pre k-12 classroom.
Must a level 1 teacher advance after 5 years?
Yes. As long as you have taught for all 5 years of the license.
Can an extension be given to a level 1 teacher who has not taught in NM for 5 years?
Yes. You will need to attach a notarized statement to your renewal application stating that you have not taught in NM for 5 years. Example: If you taught for 3 of the 5 years – you can extend the level 1 license for 2 years. Upon the 5th year of teaching, you will be required to complete a dossier.
back to top
Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT)
I am an experienced teacher and now my district has notified me that I am not highly qualified, what does this mean?
The “No Child Left Behind” Act has defined what a Highly Qualified Teacher is. You are required to either have passed an exam in your content area or have a minimum of 24 semester hours in your content area or be nationally board certified in your content area.
I was licensed prior to required testing, do I need to take an exam to be “HQT”?
Only if you do not meet the 24 semester hours in your content area.
back to top
How do I report improper or illegal behavior on the part of a school district employee?
Contact the Professional Educator Ethics Bureau at 505-827-6439.
My license shows that it is pending on your database. What does this mean?
It means that either you did not submit fingerprint cards and the fee to our offices for processing or you submitted fingerprint cards and an FBI Report has not yet been received. If you processed your fingerprint cards with your local district, it means the district has not submitted a copy of the FBI report for your file.
back to top
I need to renew my level 2 or 3 license – what do I need to do?
Same Level – You can now renew online. Visit www.teachnm.org
Lapsed for More than One-Year – You need to submit an initial application & fee, official transcripts, etc., provide verification of 5 years of experience during the life of the expired license and a Superintendent’s Recommendation Form from the last employer.
Taught but not for 5 years (level 1) - You need to submit a renewal application, fee and a notarized statement indicating the years you have taught or not taught and an extension of the license for the years not taught will be given to allow you time to submit your Professional Development Dossier.
Not teaching now but did teach under the license (level 2 or 3) – You need to submit a renewal application, fee and a Superintendent’s Recommendation Form from your last employer
Did not teach at all during the life of the license – You need to submit a renewal application, fee and a notarized statement indicating that you have not taught during the life of the license.
back to top
How can I qualify for an internship license?
With your application and fee, you need to provide our office proof of acceptance into an approved teacher education program or proof of eligibility to complete the Online Portfolio Alternative Licensure (OPAL) process or a letter explaining what you intend to do (already have a license, getting another, i.e. pre-k12).
Is the internship license renewable?
No. All requirements (course work and testing) must be met by the expiration date of the 3 year license.
There are absolutely no extensions on internship licenses!
Can experience earned during the life of the internship license count toward advancement in the three-tiered system?
No. Internship experience cannot count toward standard licensure.
If I receive an internship license in one area, can I switch to another?
You can switch; however, you will only have 3 years in which to meet all requirements for either of the licenses.
Do I need to teach for all 3 years of the intern license?
No. However, if you are pursuing Online Portfolio Alternative Licensure (OPAL), you must teach for at least 1 year as the teacher of record before submitting the portfolio.
What if I complete all of the requirements in 1 year?
You need only to submit official transcripts showing completion of the course work and a letter of completion if you are doing an approved alternative program. Exam scores should be on file.
back to top
What should I do if I am offered a job before I receive my license?
Make sure that you have submitted a complete application packet to our office and that you meet requirements for the license. You can review the rules that govern licensure at our web site under “Licensure Rules”.
back to top
Changes and/or Requests for Duplicate License
I need a copy of my license. What is the process?
Download the request form from our web site and submit it to our office. Please keep your license in a place where it can be easily located.
How do I change the name and address on my license?
Download the request form from our web site and submit it to our office by mail or email from the link on our web site.
What is my file number?
Your file number is the same as your license number.
back to top
Errors in Your License
What should I do if I receive the wrong license or there is something wrong with the license?
Report it to our office immediately by emailing Licensure Unit@state.nm.us or by sending it back to our office with a letter. Please do not call as we need proper documentation for our files.
back to top