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New Mexico Teacher License Renewal

Teachers in the state of New Mexico are licensed according to a '3-tiered' system. Read on to learn about what each level entails and the renewal or advancement requirements for each level.

Renewing Your Teaching License

Maintaining a current license is an essential part of a teacher's professional responsibilities. In New Mexico, there is a 3-tier licensing system. Each tier has different requirements and, in some cases, different renewal periods. The following article will describe the different tiers, what is required for moving up the levels, and what is required for renewing your license at each level.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree
School level-specific course work (Teacher Preparation Program)*
Exams Required NMTA Essential Academic Skills (Subtests I, II, & III),
NMTA Assessment of Professional Knowledge of Elementary or Secondary,
NMTA Elementary Education (Subtests I & II, for Elementary License),
NMTA Essential Components of Elementary Reading Instruction (for Elementary License),
NMTA Content Knowledge Endorsement in the first endorsement plus coursework (Middle and Secondary Licenses)*
License Validity Period Level I; 5 years, non-renewable,
Level II; 9 years, renewable,
Level III; 9 years, renewable*
Advancement Requirements At least 3 years teaching at Level I,
Annual evaluations based on a Professional Development Plan,
Documentation of annual observations, and a completed Summative Evaluation,
Graduate degree/certification (Level III)**
Mean Salary--All License Levels (2017) $59,060 (Elementary),
$54,720 (Middle),
$56,060 (Secondary)***
Estimated Job Growth (2014-2024) 8.8% (All Educational Services)****

Sources: *NM Public Education Dept., **National Council on Teacher Quality, ***Bureau of Labor Statistics, ****New Mexico Dept of Workforce Solutions

Moving From Level I to Level II

A Level I license is valid for five years and is non-renewable. A Level I teacher can apply for advancement to the Level II license after three years of teaching and must do so by the end of the five consecutive years of teaching. In order to proceed from Level I to Level II, the teacher must be observed annually, must create a Professional Development Plan (PDP) in collaboration with the school's principal, and must evaluate annually according to the PDP. The Level I teacher who is applying to Level II must also submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) demonstrating that they meet the recognized competencies for the next level.

Renewing a Level II License or Moving from Level II to Level III

Level II licenses are renewable after 9 years. A Level II teacher must submit an application for renewal, submit a letter from the Superintendent recommending them for renewal, and pay a fee. A Level II teacher can also apply to move to Level III after three years of teaching with a Level II license. In order to do so, they must have annual evaluations based on the goals set forth in their PDP, have documented annual observations, and complete a Summative Evaluation at the end of every three year period. In addition, in order to move to Level III, a Level II teacher must either complete an approved Master's degree program or get an advanced certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and must submit a PDD demonstrating their mastery of the necessary competencies.

Renewing a Level III License

A Level III license is the highest tier achievable in New Mexico's 3-tier licensing system. It is renewable every 9 years. At Level III, a teacher will continue to be evaluated through annual observations, annual PDP-based reviews, and a Summative Performance Evaluation every three years. In order to renew a Level III license after 9 years, the teacher must submit an application for renewal, submit a letter from the Superintendent recommending them for renewal, and pay a fee.

New Mexico Teacher Certification Requirements

All prospective teachers in New Mexico must earn a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution that includes 30 semester hours of coursework in Elementary or Middle education or 24 semester hours in Secondary education. Your coursework also needs to include 24 semester hours in a teaching field (all age groups) and 6 (Elementary) or 3 (Middle & Secondary) semester hours teaching reading.

Prospective teachers looking to work with all age groups must also pass a set of New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTAs):

  • Essential Academic Skills, Subtests I, II, & III
  • Assessment of Professional Knowledge of Elementary or Secondary
  • Elementary Education Subtests I & II (Elementary only)
  • Content Knowledge Assessment (Middle and Secondary only)