Alternative Teaching License Pathway

Thinking about teaching, but don't have a teaching license? The New Mexico Public Education Department's Alternative Teaching License pathways may be what you are looking for! NMPED offers other pathways for candidates who have a Bachelor's degree (or higher) but not a traditional teaching degree. There are multiple two-year programs for varying levels of experience.

The pathways include requirements for license-specific exams, coursework requirements, and varying completion requirements to demonstrate the competencies of classroom management, lesson planning, identifying special needs for referral, etc. For those with no experience, APS recommends acting as a substitute for a few months to get a feel for the classroom and to determine which age group is a good fit for each candidate.

  • Educator Preparation: University-based, a candidate applies for and is accepted to an NMPED-accredited program through a regional college or university. The university sets the schedule for the required exams and creates a course plan tailored to the individual.

  • LEAP (Leading Teachers through Alternative Pathways): For those with substitute or assistant teaching experience in a classroom setting. It's not university-based although SJCC does issue credit towards their Master's program for participants. After one year of training and mentoring through Cooperative Educational Services--while teaching--candidates are able to gain dual licensure for both General Education and Special Education and can use the second year to complete the required exams.

  • OPAL(Online Portfolio for Alternative License): For those with teaching experience, APS recommends OPAL. This pathway allows candidates to learn the competencies for the license type through observation and mentoring in their classroom as they complete the pathway requirements.

  • Post-Secondary Experience: If you have five or more years of full-time teaching experience at a college or university level (as the teacher of record, not an aid) and have a Master's degree or Doctorate, then the Post-Secondary Experience pathway may be the best fit. This pathway requires teachers to teach under a one-year level one license for 160 days.

Not sure which pathway is right for you? Check out this Pathways to Teaching flowchart

Separate from the pathway, applicants must choose a  license type

TEACHNM is a non-profit agency that helps candidates select and complete alternative licensed programs. People interested in Alternative Teaching Licensure can schedule a meeting to discuss the various license types and pathways. Especially for Secondary licenses, there are specific coursework requirements to teach specific subjects or “endorsements.”

"Getting Licensed to Teach in New Mexico"

Alternative Teaching License Pathways