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Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure Pathway (OPAL)

////Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure Pathway (OPAL)
Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure Pathway (OPAL) 2021-06-04T10:49:06-06:00

The Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) Pathway Program allows an educator  to teach at a school district for 2 years (nonrenewable, 2-year)  while being mentored and evaluated at a New Mexico Public School District, as well as, simultaneously complete the required teaching of reading course(s) and required licensure exams.

The OPAL Pathway Program is a program that is set up for individuals who obtained a bachelor’s degree in a non-traditional education program and is interested in teaching. **Under this pathway, educator can only hold one (1) licensure**

Initial License

  • $150 (non-refundable) fee,  and
  • Alternative Application via NMPED Online Licensure Portal; and
  • Official sealed transcripts Bachelor’s Degree including 30 semester hours, Master’s Degree including 12 graduate hours, or Doctoral Degree in a teaching field; and
  • A signed letter of interest to undergo the OPAL Pathway; and
  • A signed plan/letter from district supporting request for educator to undergo the OPAL Pathway (Must be on a school district letterhead); and
  • Register for background/fingerprints for “Teacher Licensure”.

Reading Methods Course Requirement:

Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education licensure requires 6 semester credit hours

Middle Level, Secondary and PreK-12 Specialty Area licensure requires 3 semester credit hours

Extension of Alternative License

  • A one-time extension may be granted if educator has not completed their alternative licensure program and/or lack exams during the tenure (2 years) of their license.
  • Please have your LEA (District/Charter) contact the Bureau Manager, Jessica Green at

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

  • Submission of Online Portfolio (Passing Score of Portfolio); and
  • Official sealed transcripts reflecting completion of required teaching of reading coursework; and
  • Copy of passing teacher exams; and
  • Successful completion of mentorship program (District/Charter must provide evidence of this)

Note:  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.

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.


NM PED Correspondence with Educators:

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

Teacher Testing Requirements

NM PED Licensure Transcripts Information

  • Official Transcripts: Transcripts must be sent via the university’s eTranscript services to 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.

All fees submitted are non-refundable


Page last updated June 4, 2021