How to Become a Physical Education (PE) Teacher in New Mexico

In the state of New Mexico, physical education teachers must meet the academic and assessment requirements from the New Mexico Public Education Department for a specialty area license. Schools offering Exercise Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Information on Becoming a Licensed Physical Education (PE) Teacher in New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department categorizes a physical education license as a pre-K-12 specialty that must be added as an endorsement to an initial license. This initial license is a part of New Mexico's three-tiered licensure system for educators. The general criteria for attaining the level 1 initial license are summarized in the table below.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements NES
Certification Renewal Period Five years (Level 1 license)
Requirements for Renewal Level 1 license cannot be renewed
Median Salary (2018)$62,610 (teachers and instructors in NM)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (teachers and instructors nationally)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Academic Requirements for the Level 1 License

In order to earn an initial license with an endorsement in physical education, the prospective educator must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. This degree program must have contained at least 24 to 36 semester hours in Physical Education to meet the requirements. At least 12 of these semester hours must have been earned in the upper-division category of the course of study.

Assessment Requirements

The prospective physical education teacher will need to pass the National Evaluation Series tests in Essential Academic Skills, Physical Education and either the Elementary or Secondary level Assessment of Professional Knowledge. These tests are offered by Pearson Education Incorporated and while candidates are able to register for the tests online, they will be directed to approved testing centers to take the assessments. When registering, candidates must state which institutions should receive the test results.

Background Check Information

A background check is a requirement for educator licensure in New Mexico. To start this process, the candidate is required to register online on the Gemalto Information website and select Teacher Licensure as the reason for requesting the background check. Once the $44 fee is paid through the online portal, the applicant will receive a receipt they can take to an approved live scan location to have their fingerprints collected. These fingerprints will be used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to check the applicant's criminal history. For persons living outside of New Mexico, a Fingerprint Package can be requested by sending an email to

Application Process

To apply for the license, the applicant must submit a packet containing the completed application form, official sealed transcripts, the results of the background check as well as a cashier's check or money order for the application fee. The application fee for an initial license is $150 and the cost for adding an endorsement to a license is $120. The application form can be downloaded from the New Mexico Public Education Department website and this is where the applicant will specify that they would like to add the Physical Education endorsement to the initial license. The college or university can also send the official transcripts by email to The application packet must be submitted to:

Professional Licensure Bureau,

300 Don Gaspar Santa Fe,

NM 87501

License Information

The initial license is valid for five years and cannot be renewed. The level 1 license must be upgraded to the level 2 license if the educator receives approval from the school district superintendent, achieves a grade of highly effective on their summative report and has taught for at least three years on their level 1 license. The school district may grant the educator a license extension if they have not taught for all five years of their level 1 license. During this period, the educator is expected to meet the requirements for an upgrade.

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