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Teaching is Changing Lives

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Teaching is Changing Lives 2024-04-02T08:48:17-06:00
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Why Teach in New Mexico?

Increased Salary

Professional Development

Free Tuition & Waived Fees

More Career Opportunities

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Teacher Stories

New Mexico National Board Certified Teacher Network (NM NBCT Network)

To check for upcoming events, register and/or pay go to the Calendar of Events.

The New Mexico National Board Certified Teacher Network (NMNBCT Network) began in 2001. A group of National Board Certified Teachers and other educational leaders met and envisioned a statewide network of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) working together to advance the work of National Boards in New Mexico.
The NMNBCT offers the following professional development opportunities for National Board Candidates (see calendar of events):

  • Component 1
  • Components 2, 3, 4 support
  • Candidate Retreats
  • Request Candidate Support (PLF)Candidates need to register and pay for each component separately Registration form and PLF/Candidate Agreement Form
  • Additional Readings of candidate work
  • Individual consults 30 min. virtual meeting with a PLF
  • Annual Conference
  • Foundations of Accomplished Teaching-Getting Started Class offered at the Annual Conference
  • Introduction to Accomplished Teaching Info session
  • Payment Plan (suggested payment plan for candidates and NBCT who are doing MOC)

Candidate Resources

Find Your Pathway to Teaching

I’m a…

Licensed Educator

Expired License Educator

College Student

Substitute or EA

Out of State Teacher

College Graduate/Alternative License

High School Student

Find Your Opportunity

Explore the Map

Find job opportunities in districts and charter schools across New Mexico.

  1. Click the red square icon to for charter school details, or click the blue district outline to search district details.
  2. Click on the district’s recruitment link to find open positions in that area.
  3. Click the popout icon in the upper left to filter districts and charters.

Educator Job Openings: High-Need Areas

Educators: Click on the link to search for specifc high-need vacancies.

LEAs: Have vacancies that need to be filled ASAP (especially in high need content areas, SPED, STEM, Bilingual?) Email list of vacancies and contact info to:

Teacher Stories

Teacher Residency Programs: Resident Testimonials

“[I have] long had a passion and a niche for working with children. Although I majored in English in college, I knew almost instantly I wanted to return to get my teaching license and give back to my community, my home, the state of New Mexico. I did so in a roundabout way, accepting a job and a two-year teaching license from an Albuquerque charter school where I taught 4th grade. Although with little to no support and no education experience, I chose to try my hand in teaching again elsewhere, accepting a job as an elementary educator for Tesuque Pueblo north of Santa Fe (Yes, I made the commute from ABQ!). Two years goes by fast when you’re teaching, and before I knew it, I had to choose between applying to UNM to complete a teacher licensure program, or continuing to work for the Pueblo and applying to an online licensure program. I couldn’t deny the fact I really wanted an immersive graduate experience, and so I chose the former. I remember reading about the Albuquerque teacher residency program initially and thinking, if only. If only I were younger and didn’t have to pay rent. If only I weren’t diabetic and didn’t need medical insurance. If only I didn’t have student loans to repay, I could join such a program as this. So how did I get here? How did I get into a rigorous mentorship residency where I receive real-time feedback and hands-on learning? A residency program where I get to teach students as I learn proven practices in HOW to teach them? Where I know exactly what to expect next year and what a classroom should look like, feel like, and contain because my mentor teacher did it first? Well, it appeared legislation had approved an increase in funding for the Albuquerque Teacher Residency Partnership (ATRP) program and residents were now making a livable wage for the year, enough to compensate for rent, living expenses, and even, insulin, if necessary. So, from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to live out my dream of becoming a teacher despite the obstacles I’ve faced, and letting me serve New Mexico’s classrooms NOW while I do so. It has been the most challenging and rewarding experience I have ever been a part of and is an endeavor I am honored to serve youth with for years to come.”

— Chelsea Hogan, Teacher Resident, University of New Mexico, ATRP

For more information about the Albuquerque Teacher Residency Partnership at UNM, please visit:

Leading Educators through Alternative Pathways (LEAP): Educator Testimony

“After 7 years in higher education administration and 12 years of working in the [for profit sector], I finally saw a window of opportunity in the LEAP program to do what I had always wanted to do: become a certified teacher. However, I couldn’t imagine being in a traditional classroom training program while in my mid-40s, but then I learned of the LEAP program. Affordable, rigorous, practical, and nurturing, the LEAP program was a perfect fit and guided me – giving me a clear path to become a teacher. Through LEAP, I was exposed to various philosophies, organization and communication skills, leadership training, and one-on-one in-classroom mentoring from experienced teachers. I received a full scholarship to NMSU’s certificate program, and am now getting an endorsement in TESOL. I love LEAP!”

— Renato Estacio, New Mexico educator

To learn more about LEAP, please visit:

Opportunities & Next Steps

I have a valid NM teaching license and am ready to teach! How do I find and apply for a job opening?

Find opportunities in districts across the state using this map tool. To apply, contact the district directly, or use their specific hiring portal.

I’m licensed but not teaching, what opportunities are available for me?

Retired teachers can come back to work within 90 days of retiring and still collect retirement benefits. Many districts offer signing bonuses and other incentives.

Other Resources

New Mexico Regional Education Application Placement (REAP)

Loan Forgiveness

Teachers for Tomorrow program gives qualifying teachers 0% interest when federal loans enter repayment.

Teacher Loan Repayment Program provides tuition reimbursement for high-need teacher positions.

I’m a college student, what opportunities are available to me?

Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship

This program provides up to $6000 to help off-set costs of tuition, fees, books and course supplies and living expenses.

Alternative Licensure

Alternative licensure is a year-long “fast-track” program that prepares teachers to be successful in New Mexico’s diverse classrooms.

Teacher Residencies

Residencies provide teacher candidates with a $35,000 one-year stipend while simultaneously being enrolled in wrap-around course work at a partnering college/university and being placed in a fully immersive year-long clinically-rich experience at a partnering school district.

Educator Fellows

Educator Fellows is a two-year program for individuals with a high school diploma who are pursuing a degree in education. Fellows receive professional mentorship and coaching, full benefits, and a tuition-related stipend.

I’m an Education Assistant or Instructional Aid, what opportunities are available to me?

Grow Your Own Teachers Scholarships

School employees looking to pursue careers in teaching in-state are eligible for generous scholarships to attend a public university or college in New Mexico to earn a bachelor’s degree in education.

Find out more about eligibility and applications at the Department of Higher Education here.

Educator Fellows

Educator Fellows is a two-year program for individuals with a high school diploma who are pursuing a degree in education. Fellows receive professional mentorship and coaching, full benefits, and a tuition-related stipend.

I’m applying to teach from another state. What level of teaching license will I receive in New Mexico?

  • 1-3 years of teaching experience = Level 1 license (base salary $50,000)
  • 3-5 years of teaching experience = Level 2 license (base salary $60,000)
  • 6 or more years of experience and a master’s degree = Level 3A license (base salary $70,000)

I received my degree from another state but did not get licensed there. How do I get a NM license?

Other Resources

License Reciprocation

Open positions + Sign-on incentives

I have a degree, but not in education. How do I become a teacher in New Mexico?

The Alternative Licensure pathway is a great choice for those who completed a bachelor’s degree in a non-traditional teaching field and wish to fast-track into education. Use your experience and passion from other fields in the classroom, without having to return to college for a four-year teaching degree.

Pathways to alternative licensure:

If you worked as a university professor or an administrator, we have opportunities for you, too. Look into our post-secondary experience opportunities to become a Prek-12 administrator or educator in a NM school district.

Learn about more opportunities here:

Alternative Licensure Programs/Opportunities

I’m a high school student, what opportunities are available to me?

Opportunity Scholarship

With the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, the New Mexico Lottery Scholarship, and more than 25 scholarships, grants, and college financial aid programs available, there are options for every New Mexican to pursue higher education without having to worry about the cost of tuition and fees. Click to learn more!

Educators Rising New Mexico

Educators Rising guides young people on a path from middle/high school through college and into their teaching careers by working with aspiring educators who reflect the demographics of their communities.

Educator Fellows

Educator Fellows is a two-year program for individuals with a high school diploma school who are pursuing a degree in education. Fellows receive professional mentorship and coaching, full benefits, and a tuition-related stipend.

Golden Apple Scholars Program of New Mexico

The Golden Apple Scholars Program in New Mexico is a teacher preparation program for high school seniors through sophomores in college. After applying and being selected, students receive mentoring from award-winning teaching faculty, academic and social-emotional support, job placement assistance, and experience teaching and leading in their own communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

New Mexico is a great place to teach, and we need great teachers! Here are just a few reasons you should consider becoming a teacher in New Mexico:

  • Higher salaries in the Four Corners region
  • Smaller class sizes than surrounding states
  • Upward mobility and graduated pay raises
  • Excellent pension and retirement benefits
  • Loan forgiveness, scholarships, and tuition-free education options
  • Vibrant, diverse population
    • In the top 10 states with largest Hispanic/Latino population
    • Home to 23 Native American tribes and sovereign territories
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive curriculum
    • Equity Council community leadership in each district
    • New Senior capstone graduation pathway prioritizes minority identities, voices, and experiences, as an alternative to standardized testing
    • Community-informed Graduation Profiles
    • Statewide social and emotional learning framework
  • Most regions offer low cost of living and affordable housing
  • Great climate and extensive outdoor recreation opportunities in all seasons
  • Ranked in top 10 states for highest percentage of public land and wildlife preserves

Beginning in 2022, the starting salaries of public school teachers have increased from $40,000 to $50,000; the minimum salaries for teachers in Tier 2 were raised from $50,000 to $60,000, and Tier 3 teacher salaries increased from $60,000 to $70,000.

New legislation raised the employer contributions to the Educator Retirement Board fund, so that teacher take-home pay is even higher. More information at

The current salary tiers in New Mexico are:

  • Tier 1: $50,000
  • Tier 2: $60,000
  • Tier 3: $70,000

There are two pathways to licensure in New Mexico: traditional and alternative.

Traditional pathway

Teachers who completed a traditional education program via a college or university degree will follow the traditional pathway for licensure.


  • Initial Application via the NMPED Online Licensure Portal + $150 application fee
  • Official sealed transcripts reflecting completion of an Elementary bachelor’s degree program from a regionally accredited college or university; and includes
    • 30 semester hours in Elementary education course work to include student teaching
    • 6 semester hours in teaching reading for those who first entered any college or university on or after August 1, 2001
    • 24 semester hours in a teaching field, e.g., language arts, social studies, math, etc.
  • Passage of PRAXIS exams
  • Register for background/fingerprints for “Teacher Licensure”.

Alternative pathway

Individuals who have a Bachelor’s degree not in an educational program can complete their teaching licensure through a two-year fast track program such as the Educator Prep Program, or by submitting an Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL).

Educator Prep Program


  • Alternative Application via NMPED Online Licensure Portal + $150 application fee
  • Official sealed transcripts Bachelor’s Degree including 30 semester hours, or Master’s Degree including 12 graduate hours, or Doctoral Degree in a teaching field
  • A letter of Acceptance into an Approved Alternative Teacher Education Program
  • Register for background/fingerprints for “Teacher Licensure”.

Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)

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


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

Learn more: How to Apply for an NM Teaching License

Special Education Teacher Training (SETT) is a 15-month program that enables new teachers to co-teach with experienced teachers during their first semester of teaching while completing coursework for Pre-K-12 Specialty licensure.

SETT Teacher Candidate Benefits

  • Earn Level-1 APS salary with full benefits
  • Assistance in applying for grants/scholarships to pay for special education licensure and TESOL endorsement coursework
  • Layered levels of support and mentorship for two years
  • Guaranteed employment with successful completion of the program

Visit the SETT page for more information

New Mexico has an ongoing, urgent need for qualified, quality teachers. Want to teach math? We need you! Want to support Native American students? Are you interested in working with students with disabilities or special needs? We need you! Are you bilingual? We need you too!

Positions with the highest number of teacher vacancies are special education and elementary education. The subjects with the largest needs are math, science, English language arts, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

New Mexico believes in supporting teachers at all levels of their careers by providing high-quality professional development.

Explore an array of supports for educators at all levels and objectives—from culturally and linguistically responsive education to multi-layered systems of support and more.

Canvas Catalog

Browse professional learning opportunities by subject.

Learn more

The NM Public Education Department believes in the strength of New Mexico’s diverse communities and in the inherent value of our multilingualism, resilience, creativity, culture, and compassion for one another. The newly released Comprehensive Strategic Plan details the strategies and actions PED is taking to achieve equity and excellence across four pillars:

  • Promoting a vibrant educator ecosystem
  • Supporting the whole child
  • Developing pathways and profiles of a New Mexican graduate
  • Closing the opportunity gap through asset-based supports

For more information, view the NM Public Education Department’s 2022 Strategic Plan.

Page last updated April 2, 2024