Early Childhood Teacher Certification in New Mexico

New Mexico’s Early Childhood Education

New Mexico, known as the “Land of Enchantment” for its scenic beauty, earns below-average rankings for its overall public education system. It is ranked the 35th state in the nation, receiving an overall state grade of “C” in Education Week’s 2013 annual rankings. However, it earned its highest grade of “A-” in the Standards, Assessments, and Accountability category. Its early childhood education program is below average also, as 62% of New Mexico children did not receive preschool services in 2013, prior to entering kindergarten. This is one of the lowest percentages in the country. Though education funding is lacking in the state of New Mexico, there are still many opportunities for individuals interested in making a difference as a teacher in the state.

Requirements for Teacher Certification/Licensure in New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring and current teachers.

The four main options for teacher certification in New Mexico are as follows:

  • Approved Program: for applicants who hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have completed an approved teacher preparation program, as well as other requirements.
  • Reciprocity: for applicants who hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have either completed an out-of-state teacher preparation program or earned an out-of-state license.
  • National Board Certification: for applicants who have earned National Board Certification.
  • Alternative Licensure: for applicants who hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific subject area, and who have completed an alternative program through a college/university or the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL).

There are three different levels of licenses, depending on teaching experience. Salaries increase with teaching experience, as well. To apply, submit an application along with the other supporting materials, such as official transcripts, test scores, fees and more. The process takes eight to 12 weeks between May and September, and one to four weeks between October and April.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact the licensing office, should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.

Early Childhood Education Degree Programs

There are over 20 early childhood education degree programs in New Mexico

is a land-grant university offering a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Master’s and doctoral degree options are also available. The other campuses within the university system offer similar programs, as well.

has campuses all across the state and offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood/multicultural education and elementary education. Master’s and doctoral degree options are also available. Similar programs are offered at the branch campuses, as well.

is a public school that offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood/multicultural education and elementary education. Master degree options are also available.

is a Christian liberal-arts school offering a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood education, among other options.

Jobs for Teachers in New Mexico

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.


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Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. New Mexico Teaching Jobs is a premier national recruitment service for educators and administrators. It allows users to create online resumes, search job postings, correspond with employers, obtain information about job fairs, and more.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community, as well.

New Mexico’s Teacher Organizations

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of New Mexico sharing similar visions.

The New Mexico Education Association (NEANM) has 8,000 public school teachers and educators across the state. It aims to improve both the profession and local public schools. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The New Mexico Association for the Education of Young Children (NMAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It has six main chapters across the state and strives to help children birth through age eight as well as their families. The organization is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

There is also a variety of organizations for teachers focused on specific areas of interest, including the New Mexico Council of Teachers of English (NMCTM), New Mexico Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NMCTM), and New Mexico Science Teachers Association (NMSTA).

ECE Bloggers in New Mexico

The KRQE.com education page covers hot topics, issues and events in New Mexico schools, as does the KOAT.com education section. New Mexico teachers also share insights and information through their personal blogs.

Mrs. Mahoney Loves Kindergarten is a kindergarten teacher who blogs about teaching resources and differentiated instruction.


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Albuquerque Amy’s First Graders is written by a first-grade teacher who loves sharing instructional ideas geared towards visual, kinesthetic and tactile learners.

Joyful Pathways Accelerated Literacy is maintained by a kindergarten teacher who discusses reading, writing and language instruction.

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