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How to Become a Special Education Teacher in New Mexico

There are a few basic steps to becoming a special education teacher in New Mexico. Follow along with the article below to learn more about the education and exam requirements as well as licensing procedure and salary statistics for this job.

Overview of Teaching Special Education in New Mexico

Special education teachers play an essential role in the education system. Providing specialized education and support to students with developmental challenges, a special education teacher can have a big impact on the life of those they teach. In addition to the general teaching requirements within the state, there are a few specific requirements necessary to become a licensed special education teacher in New Mexico.

Education/Experience Required* Bachelor's degree; 30 semester hours in special education (including student teaching);
6 semester hours teaching reading (for individuals who enrolled in a college after August 1, 2001);
24 semester hours in the field of study to be taught
Exam Requirements* New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA)
Initial Licensing* $125 fee; initial application; official transcripts
Certification Renewal Period* 1 year
Requirements for Renewal* $95 fee; Continuing Licensure application; superintendent's recommendation for Continuing Licensure (on district letterhead)
Median Salary (2018)** $48,710 (preschool); $51,050 (kindergarten through elementary); $46,760 (middle school); $55,270 (high school)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)** 8% nationally

Sources: *New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description

Special Education teachers work with individuals affected by developmental challenges and help these individuals overcome learning roadblocks and improve the functioning of physical and emotional capacities. Working closely with students and parents, special education teachers play a large role in the daily lives of their students. Providing the support necessary to help individuals with developmental challenges learn how to navigate the world, special education teachers provide daily tutoring and guidance to their students.

Education Requirements

To become a substitute teacher in New Mexico the basic education requirements include attaining a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college and completion of 30 semester hours in special education, with a course component including student teaching. Additionally, New Mexico requires 6 semester hours teaching reading, but only for applicants who first entered any college or university on or after August 1, 2001.

You will also need to have completed 24 semester hours in the subjects that you will be teaching in.

Exam Requirements

To be qualified as a special education teacher in New Mexico you will need to pass the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA). The portions to pass include Content Knowledge Assessment in Special Education, Essential Academic Skills (Sub Tests I, II, III), and Assessment of Professional Knowledge Elementary or Secondary. A passing score of 220 is now required for special education teaching qualification in New Mexico.

Initial Application

To become a special education teacher in New Mexico you will need to fill out and submit an initial application along with your sealed official transcripts. There is a $125 processing fee associated with the initial application.

Renewal

To renew your New Mexico special education teaching license, begin by filling out a Continuing Licensure form. Enclosed with this form you will need to include a superintendent's recommendation for Continuing Licensure, written on your school district's letterhead. There is a $90 processing fee associated with the renewal application.