Becoming a Teacher in New Mexico

Explore Program, Licensing and Job Outlook Data for 2016

Guide to Becoming a Teacher in New Mexico

For aspiring New Mexico teachers, ToBecomeATeacher.org has compiled all the information and insights required to make the best possible decisions about one’s future career.  To begin, anyone hoping to teach in New Mexico will need to complete the following critical steps:

1. Choosing a Program: First, you will need to find an education program that supports your budget and career goals.

  • Finding a program that fits your needs can be a challenge. What matters to you as a student? Is cost a major concern? Are you concerned about the program’s graduation rate or job placement rate? Asking the right questions upfront will ensure you end up in the program that is best suited to your needs and budget.

2. Planning for Licensure in New Mexico: To become a teacher in New Mexico, you’ll need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program and to write and pass the state’s required teacher licensure exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed an education program and passed the applicable exams, you will be ready to launch your teaching career in New Mexico.

  • It is always best to start by asking the right questions. Where do you think you would be most comfortable working and living? What are your lifestyle priorities and which region of the state can best meet these priorities? What are your salary expectations? Throughout this process, keep developing your resume, expanding your education and gaining additional teaching experience. Also, don’t be hesitate to network. Knowing local teachers and principals is the best way to find out about upcoming openings in your area.

Choosing an Education Program in New Mexico

ToBecomeATeacher.org understands that choosing the right program is never easy. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in New Mexico for 2015. Notably, our criteria reflects prospective teachers’ top priorities. For this reason, our rankings focus on total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and over all return on investment.

All the schools on ToBecomeATeacher.org’s list below are committed to excellence and have proven themselves to be among the very best places to pursue an education degree in New Mexico. Find out which schools rank best at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in education.

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 18 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 18232
  • Acceptance rate 63.21 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 29.06 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 16166

New Mexico State University-Main Campus

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 17 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 24880
  • Acceptance rate 85.2 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 43.71 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 19500

University of New Mexico-Main Campus

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 20 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 27384
  • Acceptance rate 64.58 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 47.03 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 20500

Navajo Technical University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 14 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 10360
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 58.98 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 0

New Mexico Highlands University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 15 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 16000
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 17.22 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 13624

Northern New Mexico College

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 15 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 16240
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 15.17 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 7750

Western New Mexico University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 14 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 18892
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 16.77 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 17658

University of Phoenix-Albuquerque Campus

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 15 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 42440
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 24.59 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 35500

University of the Southwest

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 15 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 57120
  • Average state starting salary$ 31960
  • Graduation Rate 17.27 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 27500

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How To Become a Teacher in New Mexico

New Mexico offers several routes to teacher licensure and each route is designed to meet the needs of prospective teachers at different points in the career cycle:

  • Pathway 1: For current undergraduate students, the most common pathway to licensure is to complete a bachelor’s degree in education in one of New Mexico’s many approved teacher preparation programs and to write and pass the state’s required teacher licensure exams known as the New Mexico Teacher Assessments.
  • Pathway 2: Another option is to complete a bachelor’s degree and then complete a program leading to teaching licensure; the state’s “fast-tracked program” enables aspiring teachers to acquire the additional qualifications required for teacher licensure in a condensed time frame and at some New Mexico colleges, all or most of the coursework for this route can be completed online. Once again, however, candidates must write and pass the required New Mexico Teacher Assessments.
  • Pathway 3: New Mexico also offers a pathway to certification known as the Online Portfolio Alternative Licensure. As stated on the New Mexico Public Education Department website, “The Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) is a focused, compact collection of
    documentation compiled by the teacher seeking initial licensure. The OPAL documentation is a
    collection of data (e.g., lesson descriptions, handouts, student work, video and audio
    recordings, photos) with explanations of that data written by the teacher…the entire portfolio is intended to provide evidence to determine whether a teacher is qualified to attain a Level 1 license through the alternative route.” This route is primarily designed for experienced but non-certified teachers (e.g., teachers currently working in a private school or at the college level who wish to become certified teachers in New Mexico).

What is the job outlook for teaching careers in New Mexico?

In 2015, New Mexico was home to 1,180 kindergarten teachers, 9,330 elementary teachers, 3,690 middle school teachers and 5,680 high school teachers. A 2012 report by the New Mexico Department of Labor Solutions projected that position for teachers at all levels will experience significant growth between 2012 and 2022. Jobs for elementary school teachers will experience the most growth at 2,430 position. In addition, the state will add 1,120 high school teaching positions and 980 middle school teaching positions. In some regions, including Albuquerque, teachers are expected to experience especially strong job growth over the next decade. In short, the job outlook for teachers in New Mexico looks extremely promising.

What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in New Mexico?

What online programs are available to potential teachers in New Mexico?

Fast-Track Alternative Licensure Programs are available at New Mexico State University and Sante Fe Community College. New Mexico State University also offers online master’s degrees in early childhood education and Spanish among other concentrations.  The University of New Mexico offers online master’s degrees in elementary and secondary teaching as well as educational leadership.

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