Sponsored School Search


Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in New Mexico

There is a growing concern among educators in New Mexico about high school dropout rates and low test scores, according to Albuquerque Business First. In 2013 more than 300,000 students attended public schools in New Mexico. In 2010-2011, the high school graduation rate was calculated at just 63 percent statewide. Studies show a good education directly impacts a state’s economic growth. With over 30 percent of the students leaving high school, it is obvious why this statistic is concerning. What can you, as a prospective English Language Arts teacher do to help change this trend?

This question has become a focus of many who are involved in education across New Mexico. The discussion revolves around developing viable skills such as collaborating, critical thinking, and problem solving. Helping students prepare for a career and leaving school with lifelong skills is paramount. As a teacher you can help turn the tide. You will be able to instill good communication skills, reading and writing as well as critical thinking; all of which address the needs expressed. Teaching Language Arts is one of the foundations of educational success. To begin the process of obtaining a teaching license in New Mexico and start helping students find a better future, just follow these basic steps outlined below:

Complete Your Education
Pass State Exams
Apply for a Teaching License in New Mexico
Renew Your License

 


 

Step 1. Complete Your Education

In order to become a teacher in New Mexico, you will need to complete a teacher-training program that includes the minimum bachelor’s degree. Each program is designed to give you all the skills you need to be an effective teacher. Each grade level has its own educational requirements for training:

Early Childhood Education

Complete a minimum bachelor’s degree program in early childhood education. Your degree (from an accredited college) will need to have the following:

  • 36 – 42 semester units in an Early Childhood Education
  • 8 – 30 semester units of practicum and field experience including student teaching for ages in one of the following group:
    • Birth to third grade, third to fifth grade, or fifth to eighth grade
  • 6 semester units teaching reading
  • Complete a 150 contact-hour practicum and field experience at an age group different from your student teaching choice.

Elementary Education

Complete a minimum bachelor’s degree program in elementary education. Your degree (from an accredited college) will need to have the following:

  • 30 or more semester units in elementary education including a student teaching component
  • 6 semester units teaching reading
  • 24 or more semester units in the core study of language arts

Middle School

Complete a minimum bachelor’s degree program. Your degree (from an accredited college) will need to have the following:

  • 30 or more semester units in middle school education including a student teaching component
  • 3 semester units teaching reading
  • 24 or more semester units in language arts with the following requirement:
    • 12 semester hours of these units will need to be upper division courses

Secondary School

Complete a minimum bachelor’s degree program. Your degree (from an accredited college) will need to have the following:

  • 24 semester units in secondary education program including your student teaching
  • 3 semester units teaching reading
  • 24 or more semester units in language arts with the following requirement:
    • 12 semester hours of these units will need to be upper division courses

Find accredited colleges and universities in New Mexico for teacher preparation programs here.

 


 

Step 2. Pass State Exams

As a new teaching candidate, you will also have to pass state exams. In 2015, the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) exams were replaced by an equivalent test by the National Evaluation Series (NES) in the following categories:

Early Childhood Education

  • Pass the Basic Skills
  • Pass the Teacher Competency, Early Childhood Test

Elementary Education

  • Pass the Basic Skills test
  • Pass the Teacher Competency for Elementary Education test
  • Pass the Content Knowledge Assessment in Elementary Education
  • Pass the NES Essential Components of Elementary Reading Instruction

Middle School

  • Pass the Basic Skills test
  • Pass the Teacher Competency test (Elementary Education or Secondary Education)
  • Pass the Content Knowledge Assessment in English Language Arts

Secondary School

  • Pass the Basic Skills test
  • Pass the Teacher Competency test (Elementary Education or Secondary Education)
  • Pass the Content Knowledge Assessment in English Language Arts

Register for Tests

You may register to take the tests and obtain any pre-test information, study material, and read FAQs on the NES site specific to New Mexico.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for a Teaching License in New Mexico

The final stage for becoming a certified teacher in New Mexico is applying for your state license. The application process is as follows:

  • Fill out an application form. Don’t leave anything blank or make errors, as this will delay your application.
  • Gather all your supporting documents that are listed on the form. You will submit these when you send in your application.
  • Have a set of fingerprints made. The background check costs $75 (make check payable to New Mexico Public Education Department). You will need to get a cashiers check or money order. Request a packet by email at ethics@state.nm.us.

To pay application fees, determine what the current fees are for your application at the time you apply. You will need to send in a cashiers check or money order with your application. Personal checks are not accepted.

Send your payment, documents and application to the following address:

Professional Licensure Bureau
300 Don Gaspar (Rm. 101)
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Process Time

From May to September it will take as long as twelve weeks to process your application. October through April can take anywhere from one to four weeks.

 


 

Step 4. Renew Your License

There are three levels for teaching licensure in New Mexico. The first level will remain in effect for the first three years of teaching. When you have taught for three years, you will need to apply for a Level II license. The requirements include submitting a Professional Development Dossier (PDD).

Teachers going on to Level III may submit an additional PDD when they have taught at teaching Level II for three years.

For more information on the PDD and understanding the different levels of teaching licensing in New Mexico, visit the New Mexico Licensing and PDD webpage.

 


 

New Mexico English Teacher Salaries

According to New Mexico’s legislature one of the most important factors in a student’s success is hiring quality teachers. There are many other places around the country that are taking a pointed look at this one element as student performance continues to decline in schools around the U.S. In an effort to increase student achievement, New Mexico schools began looking at Value Added Models (VAM) that will affect how teachers are paid based on performance.

They introduced a new three-level career ladder for teachers that would pay teachers according to their experience, leadership efforts, and merited skills. When teachers are able to achieve greater points on their evaluations, they would also step up a level on the salary scale.

As an example, an English teacher at Albuquerque Schools at level one would start at $32,000. This starting pay holds true no matter what level of education you have (unlike many other schools who offer an initial bump in salary for a higher degree). An English teacher who remains a level one teacher will stay on par with all degrees of education until about year ten. At that time, the teacher with a doctorate will start to earn about $3,000 more than her counterparts.

The schools pay higher salaries to teachers as they move up the level. The English teacher at Albuquerque Schools at level II (with a BA) will earn $42,004 in her fifth year as compared to a level one teacher who will still be making around $32,000. Other schools around New Mexico may be similar, but use different language. Santa Fe schools step their salaries by tiers.

The new teacher at tier one with a BA, MA or PhD will start with approximately $32,000 a year. A teacher can then go on to tier two in her third year if she meets all the requirements at that time. She will then start to increase her earning power. At year six, she could once again move up a tier and realize the maximum salary available for a teacher with a BA in the Santa Fe schools.

For more salary information covering other cities in New Mexico, see the table below:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
50
47710
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
50
51400

Back to Top