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OPAL 2017-12-29T14:36:36+00:00

A nonrenewable, 2-year license granted  allows a person to simultaneously teach, complete the teaching of reading class(es), teacher exams and complete the online portfolio. The Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) is a focused, compact collection of data (e.g., lesson descriptions, handouts, student work, video and audio recordings, photos) with explanations of that data written by the teacher. No one part of the portfolio fully represents a teacher’s work, but the entire portfolio is intended to provide evidence to determine whether a teacher is qualified to attain a Level 1 license through the alternative route. For more information please visit TeachNM.

Initially, once the applicant is licensed, they will teach on their license for the first year (160 days) collecting their classroom data. The second year, the candidate will register for the portfolio at OPAL Registration (The OPAL registration has a $320.00 fee that you will pay at the time of registration).


The OPAL is a program that is set up for individuals who obtain a bachelor’s degree in a non-traditional education program and are interested in teaching.


Initial License

  • $125 fee, cashier’s check or money order; and
  • Alternative Application; and
  • Official sealed transcripts Bachelor’s Degree including 30 semester hours, Master’s Degree including 12 graduate hours, or Doctoral Degree in teaching field; and
  • A letter of interest to undergo the portfolio process; and
  • Proof of registration to complete coursework in the teaching of reading (Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education requires 6 semester credit hours; Middle Level, Secondary and PreK-12 Specialty requires 3 semester credit hours); and
  • Proof of Registration for the following New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA):

Alternative Application

Alternative License NMAC Code

Renewal License

  • If your level 1 alternative license has expired, and you did not work as a classroom teacher on your alternative license, you can submit for a one time renewal. We will renew your license for the year(s) you did not work your license. Submit the following:
  • $125 money order or cashier’s check fee; and
  • Alternative Application; and
  • Notarized form for extension.

Alternative Application

Notarized Extension Request Form

Alternative License NMAC Code


Upon completion of the program, the candidate must submit the following documents to obtain full level 1 licensure:

  • On-line Portfolio
  • Official sealed transcripts reflecting course work
  • Copy of passing teacher exams

**You will be granted the remaining number of years to your license. Your license will still remain an alternative license; however, the number of years will reflect the level 1 teaching license. The word alternative and the five years on your license indicates that you successfully completed an alternative program.

Note: Your application will be returned if:

  • The application is not completely filled out, lacking a signature/date; or
  • The money order is not completely filled out or signed. The Professional Licensure Bureau does not accept other forms of payment.

Note: Delay of application:

  • Your application is lacking supporting documents listed in the above check list; or
  • If your license(s) has expired (and you do not have additional valid licenses on file), and your background was completed 24 months or more, you will need to complete a new background.

Note: NMPED Correspondence with Educators:

  • Consultants correspond by email; please check your spam/junk folder.

Teacher Testing Requirements

Early Childhood, Birth-3:

Elementary, K-8:

Secondary, 7-12:

Special Education, Pre K-12:

Specialty Grades Pre K-12:



  •  Official Transcripts: Transcripts must be sealed and addressed to 300 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM  87501 OR E-scripts can be sent by the university(s) to the attention of NMPED at the following email address


  • Official Foreign Transcripts Evaluations: Transcripts must be sealed and addressed to 300 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM  87501 (we only accept mailed foreign transcripts evaluation).
    • All foreign transcripts need to have a course-by-course evaluation completed. Click Here for a list of evaluators who are members of the Foreign Transcript Evaluation Services (NCAES). The Public Education Department does not require nor recommend NACES listed service members be used. There is no “official” organization or regulatory body for foreign credential interpretation or evaluation methodology in the US. It is based on commonly-developed and agreed standards of good practice.



Page last updated December 29, 2017