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Licensure Frequently Asked Questions

///Licensure Frequently Asked Questions
Licensure Frequently Asked Questions 2023-10-30T11:01:18-06:00
Printable FAQ

How can I contact the Professional Licensure Bureau (PLB)?

Phone: 505-827-5800, Option 1 for Licensure; Option 2 for Backgrounds



  1. How do I report improper or illegal behavior on the part of a school district employee?

1a. My license shows that it is pending on your database. What does this mean?

  • It could mean one of the following:
    • Your background check has not been received by our office;
    • Your background was received and your file is under review in our Background department Background Unit
  1. When registering for my Background Check through Cogent what ORI number do I use?
  • You would register using Reason Code: Teacher Licensure, ORI# NM920140Z
  1. I did a background check for the school can I use it for licensure?
  • PED does not accept background checks done for any other reason than “Teacher Licensure” using PED’s ORI #.
  1. Do I need to pay the $75 processing fee for the background check?
  • The $75 processing fee is an old processing fee. The current processing fee is $59 and that is paid to IdentoGO when registering online.
  1. How do I get fingerprint cards?
  • Fingerprint cards are only for out of state applicants and can be obtained by sending an email to including a complete name and mailing address.
  1. How long does it take for a background check to come back?
  • If you have been fingerprinted via Live Scan process PED will receive results usually within 72 hours after you have been fingerprinted. Out-of-state hard card submissions take 12-14 weeks to process; this does not include mailing time.
  1. How long are background check reports valid for?
  • Background check reports are valid for 2 years from the date the FBI processes them.
  1. I received a reprint notice, what do I need to do?
  • You will need to return to an approved fingerprint location and let them know that you need to be re-fingerprinted. There is not a fee for reprinting.
  1. What documents are required to clear my background and where do I get them?
  • Each arrest listed on the FBI report requires court documents to clear them. Based on the individuals charges, documents can come from district or metro court depending on the city/state the arrest took place. That is the first place to ask for documents for each arrest. Acceptable court documents are: Order of Dismissal of Charges, Completion of Sentencing, A letter from the court of record(on court letterhead), stating the file no longer exists or has been purged per court retention rules.
  1. What is a narrative?
  • It is a written explanation, stating in your words what occurred that result in your being arrested. Outline the details that resulted in the charges and the outcome after the arrest. Narrative must have your written signature (no electronic) to be valid for acceptance.
  1. Fingerprints were taken 10 day/weeks ago why isn’t it showing in the database?
  • To ensure all educators meet the required standards for licensure and employment,

NM PED Licensure Bureau has been diligently enforcing existing licensure rules and regulations.

Due to the increased diligence, NM PED Licensure has stopped opening licensure database files with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) results. Database files will now only be opened with an application. While we attempt to match background reports with new files daily, it is not always feasible. However, all new files will be matched no later than Friday afternoon of each week. Unmatched files will be held for 2 years.

  1. Request for copy of background was sent __ days ago and we still have not received a copy, why?
  • We have not received the FBI report or they have not applied for licensure and the results are in the unmatched files awaiting an application. AS of April 1, 2017 we are no longer sending background copies until they have applied for licensure and have a file opened.
  1. How do I get a copy of my background check report?

NOTE:  You must have a cleared background for Teacher Licensure to be eligible for a copy of your background.

Becoming Licensed

  1. What is a file number?
  • Your file number is the 6-digit number, which is the same as your license number.
  1. What is a complete application submission?
  • A complete application submission is an application submitted online through our eLicensing portal, which must be signed and dated. It includes official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (preferably sent by the college/university’s third party eScrip service to, and any supporting documentation as listed in the instructions on the application. Please use the check off list that is posted on each license type’s webpage to ensure completeness. If application is not complete, no license will be issued until all required documents are received and reviewed.
  1. What are the fees?
  1. What forms of payment are accepted?
  • As of May 1, 2020, we no longer accept Money Order or Cashier’s Check. Educators must now register in our new eLicensing portal and can pay online via credit card (Visa, Mastercard and Discover)
  1. Are the fees refundable if I am not eligible for a license?
  • No, the fee is an application-processing fee. It does not pay for a license.
  1. What address do I send my application packet to?
  • We no longer accept paper applications and money orders/cashiers check via mail. Educators must register in our eLicensing portal (if they haven’t already done so) to apply and pay online
  1. What if my application is not complete?
  • One of our consultants will reach out to you via email requesting the missing items. Incomplete applications will delay processing time so make sure to review your application submission before finalizing it in the online portal.
  1. What is the process once my application has been received?
  • A licensure specialist will verify the application is complete after verification of a current background is on file. A thorough review will take place next to ensure all requirements are met. The license will be issued. You can monitor your licensure portal account for updates to the licensure application 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  1. How long will it take for my application to be reviewed?
  • 20 business days absent any need for further review and follow-up by the NMPED and applicant
  1. How can I expedite the process?
  • There is not an option for expediting initial licensure applications except for Military/spouse personnel and veterans; however if a packet is received complete it will not delay the process further.
  1. What if there is an Error on 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:
  1. If I check “yes” to any of the “fitness” legal questions on the applications, what happens?
  • Your application is referred to the Background Bureau for further review, and you must provide all pertinent documentation to move the clearance process along; a signed narrative explaining each arrest, and certified court documents for each arrest listed on the FBI Report.
  1. Do I need a Social Security Number in order to be issued a license?
  • No, if you don’t have a valid SSN, the licensing system will generate a unique ID, and the application will be reviewed in the same order as those with a SSN

  1. How do I become an administrator in New Mexico?
  1. Does NM reciprocate administrative licensure from other states and/or countries?

  1. What are different ways to become licensed as a teacher in NM?
  • There are two options: traditional and alternative. Teachers who completed a traditional education program will follow the initial pathway for licensure. Individuals who complete a bachelors program not in an educational program have the option of following the alternative pathway. Click the following link for access to the different pathways to see what you may qualify under.
  1. I have an Alternative license through OPAL, and now want switch to Alternative Educator Effectiveness pathway can I do that and if so what’s the process?
  • Yes, you will need to write a letter requesting the change, and sign and date. Please mail the document to the licensure bureau.
  1. I have some questions about how to transition my license from an Alternative license to a Level 1 license? If you completed an Alternative program you will need to provide the following:
  1. How do I get an extension on my alternative license if I did not teach on it for the two years?
  • You would write a notarized statement stating the number of year(s) you did not utilize the license and we extend the license as such if your license is not expired.
  1. How do I extend my alternative license?
  • Your district and or higher education will need to request an extension on your behalf as long as you are in good standing and have not had an extension prior. The earliest we will accept alternative extension request is May of the year the license is due to expire.
  1. How many extensions do I get for levels 1?
  • You are only allowed three (3) extensions. **This does not apply to Alternative licenses
  1. Will the Licensure Bureau review my transcripts before applying?
  1. Does New Mexico have reciprocity with other states and/or countries?
  1. Do I have to submit OFFICIAL transcripts if I am reciprocating a license from another state/country?
  • If educators have an official copy they scan and email to us, please do so to OR if educators do not have a copy, then eScrip 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.
  1. I am reciprocating a license. What level of teaching license will I receive in New Mexico?
  • 1-3 years of teaching experience, you will receive a level 1 license.
  • 3-5 years of teaching experience, you will receive a level 2 license.
  • 6 or more years of experience and a master’s degree, you will receive a level 3A license (base salary $54,000).
  1. I received my degree from another state but did not get licensed there. How do I get a NM license?
  1. Is testing required?
  1. 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.
  1. I already have a NM license. I want a different license, what do I need to do?
  1. What is an endorsement?
  1. Can I add endorsements in language arts, history, science, or mathematics to an elementary or special education license?
  • Yes, core subject endorsements can be added to elementary, special education, early childhood, and deaf and hard of hearing licenses. An elementary teacher will continue to be authorized to teach in a self-contained classroom or in any of the core subject areas of: language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies in a departmental program without a separate endorsement in those areas. If teaching in a departmentalized setting, the individual must be considered Fully State Certified (formally known as HQT”), this means they must have a minimum of 24 semester hours in the core area or pass the middle level content knowledge assessment (CKA) in the core area.
  1. I’d like to get an endorsement on my license, what do I need to do?
  1. Will your office provide a list of the courses (class number or course code) I need for the endorsement?
  • No. Each college/university has their approved endorsement program of courses. This link will provide you with some guidance on the courses needed but you should partner with your local college or university to ensure you are taking the correct courses. Click on a specific endorsement to find general course listing.
  1. Will your office provide a list of the courses (class number or course code) I need for a teaching license?
  • No. Each college/university has their approved endorsement program of courses. This link will provide you with some guidance on the courses needed but you should partner with your local college or university to ensure you are taking the correct courses. Click on a specific licensure to find the licensure requirements or you can contact an advisor with any of our NM-approved alternative licensure programs.
  1. Why does the word alternative stay on my license after I completed the alternative program?
  • The word “alternative” remains on your license because you have Level 1 teaching license, which means a provisional license issued for the first five years of teaching that gives a beginning teacher the opportunity, through a formal mentorship program, for additional preparation to be a quality teacher, you gained this license through an alternative program. Once you move to a level 2, we will remove the word “alternative”. The word alternative and the five years on your license indicates that you successfully completed an alternative program.

Is there a three-tiered system for counselors, speech language pathologists, etc.?

  • Yes, there are 3 levels of license for most Instructional support providers.
  1. 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.
  1. If I am nationally board certified, do I receive a level 3 license?
  • No.
  1. How long do I have to stay at a level 1 before I can apply for level 2? How long do I have to stay at level 2 before I can apply for a level 3?

  1. 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, which will need to be verified on the superintendent verification form.
  1. Do you issue 1-year licenses for coaches to allow them time to complete the New Mexico Athletics Association (NMAA) coaches’ training program?
  • Yes. The NFHS First Aid/Sports First Aid/Athletic Training Program must be completed to receive the non-renewable 1-year license. The NFHS -NMAA Fundamentals of coaching training certificate 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).

  1. What is the three-tiered licensure system and the Professional Development Dossier (PDD)?
  1. When can I do my Professional Development Dossier (PDD)?
  1. When does the Dossier open and Close?
  • Open 7/15 and closes 3/31 of every year.  In order to get the raise for every school year one must have their Dossier submitted by 10/15 of every year. This also includes Advancements by National Board Certification.
  1. When should I start working on my Dossier?
  • Once you are a teacher of record of 3 years, you can begin registering at During this time, we highly recommend a teacher began thoroughly reading the dossier guidance document and collecting their student data to complete the template.
  1. What could I do to keep my license after not passing my PDD? Can I get an extension or renew my level 1 license?
  • You will need to meet with your school district. Your school district will need to request to re-open the dossier window. However, this may not guarantee an extension.
  • Must a level 1 teacher advance after 5 years?
    • Yes.

  1. How do I renew my licenses?
  • You will complete the following:
    • a. Renewal/Continuing Application (Admin/Teachers/Instructional Support Providers) and Renewal Application (Support Providers) through our eLicensing portal:
    • b. Fees – $130.00 – Administrators
    • c. Fees – $120.00 – Teachers or Instructional Support Providers
    • d. $35.00 – Athletic Coaches and $50.00 – Support Providers
    • e. Superintendent Recommendation Form- if you taught/worked any time during the life of that license OR
    • f. Notarized Statement- if you did not teach for the life of that license.
  1. When can I renew my license?
  • All licenses may be renewed within 6 months of their expiration date (earliest is January of year of expiration).
  1. I hold a level 2 or Level 3 license and I forgot to renew it, what do I need to do?
  • If lapsed less than a year- you need to provide a renewal application, fee, superintendent recommendation form, and complete a new background check for “Teacher Licensure” if more than two (2) years old.
  • If lapsed for more than one-year – you need to submit an initial application & fee; official transcripts if not on file, etc., provide verification of 5 years of experience during the life of the expired license, a new background check for licensure, and a Superintendent’s Recommendation Form from the last employer. Elementary teachers will need to complete the Teaching Reading exam and administrators will need to take the ED Admin exam. **If educator has current/valid licenses on file, then a new background is not required.
  1. I hold a Level 1 license and it is going to expire what do I need to do?
  • If you did not teach on level 1 license for the entire five years – you need to submit a renewal application, fee and a notarized statement indicating the years have not taught on your NM level license. An extension of the license for the years that you did not teach will be issued to allow you time to submit your Professional Development Dossier.
  • If you taught for the full 5 years you will need to complete a dossier to move to Level 2.
  1. For my renewal application, do I need to send my transcripts if you already have them on file?
  • No
  1. Can an extension be given to a level 1 teacher who has not taught in NM for 5 years?
  • Yes. You will need to upload notarized statement during your online application submission 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 and pass a dossier prior to the expiration of your license.
  1. If I taught all 5 years on my level 1 license and did not complete my dossier, can I receive an extension if my employing district/charter does not support me?
  • No, you will have to sit out for 3 years (or see next FAQ if your district/charter are in support)
  1. If I taught all 5 years on my level 1 license and did not complete my dossier, can I receive an extension if my employing district/charter does support me?
  • Please have your employing district or charter school contact  for a formal dossier extension request
  1. I only taught with the school for 1-2years, do I still need a superintendents recommendation form (level 2-3A)?
  • Yes, the only time you do not need to provide a superintendent recommendation form is if you did NOT teach/work for the life of that license.

  1. I need a copy of my license. What is the process?
  1. How do I change the name and address on my license?


Page last updated October 30, 2023