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Learn more about the teacher certification and training process in the New Mexico region.

In order to teach in New Mexico, corps members must be able to obtain a valid Alternative 1A License. To that end, corps member must: 

  • Demonstrate that they have received a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Pass a background check
  • Take and pass the National Evaluation Series teacher exams required for their content area
  • Commit to a state-approved teacher preparation pathway

Most corps members teach with an Alternative 1A License for two years and then, provided they have fulfilled all requirements, receive the state’s Level One Provisional License.

Through partnerships with the University of New Mexico and Western New Mexico University, corps members have the option to pursue a master’s degree in education.

Becoming Certified to Teach

Will the New Mexico Teach For America staff help me obtain my license?

Our team will walk you through the process of submitting your initial licensure application, and we’re here to support you as you complete the licensure requirements over your first two years of teaching.

What documents do I need to provide?

Our team will communicate all the documents you need to provide and tests you need to take once you are accepted to the New Mexico corps and obtain your subject area assignment. In general, you will need to:

  • Take and pass the Essential Academic Skills test and the content-area test for your teaching area
  • Pass a fingerprint background check
  • Provide sealed copies of your degree-conferred transcripts
  • Commit to a licensure pathway and complete the associated requirement
  • Submit a $125 money order to cover the cost of the initial application

What pathways are available?

There are two main pathways to licensure.

The "Alternative by Program" pathway requires you to enroll in a state-approved alternative certification program offered by a local college or university. You obtain a license in exchange for your commitment to complete the program’s requirements (i.e. coursework) during your initial two years in the classroom.

The NMTEACH pathway requires less coursework; you are granted an initial license in return for your commitment that you will score “effective” or higher for two consecutive years on New Mexico’s rigorous teacher evaluation system.

What if I already have my license?

Congratulations! We can help you transfer your license to New Mexico if you haven’t done so already.

Will I need to take any coursework?

All licensure pathways in New Mexico require some coursework in the teaching of reading. After that, the amount of coursework you take depends on your licensure pathway. Total coursework requirements for licensure range from three to 21 credit hours, depending on the pathway.

My current GPA is below a 2.75. Can I still be a New Mexico corps member?

Our state licensure regulations require a minimum GPA of 2.75. If your GPA is lower than 2.75, you won’t be able to teach in New Mexico.

Will my license allow me to teach outside of New Mexico after my two-year commitment?

This depends on the licensure requirements of where you want to teach. Most states will reciprocate a New Mexico license if it is obtained by completing a state-approved teacher preparation program (the "Alternative by Program" pathway). Some states will reciprocate a license obtained via the NMTEACH pathway, but not all.

Graduate School

Is there a master’s degree option while I am in the corps?

Yes, you have the option to pursue a master’s degree. Most corps members seeking a master’s attend the University of New Mexico (UNM), which has campuses around the state. UNM’s program can be completed within two years, although most corps member members take three years to finish. Western New Mexico University also offers a three-year master's program.

While we can help connect you to master’s programs, it will be your responsibility to understand the master’s requirements and to enroll in and complete coursework.

Is it possible to complete a master’s degree at the end of two years?

Yes, it is possible but difficult. The University of New Mexico offers a sequence that can be completed in a two-year period, but most corps members choose to complete it in three years instead.

Can I receive master’s credit for completing Teach For America training?

In most years UNM will allow corps members to transfer in six credit hours for completing Teach For America’s summer training institute.

Is a master’s degree required?


Which universities are partners?

  • The University of New Mexico (UNM)
  • Western New Mexico University
  • Santa Fe Community College

Teach For America Training

The summer before you begin teaching, Teach For America New Mexico hosts a series of training events.

We begin our training with induction, a one-week program in New Mexico where you meet your fellow corps members and learn more about our region. We typically host induction in early June.

Following induction, you will attend a six-week training program at one of our national training institutes, where you will teach summer school under the guidance of our staff, learn pedagogy, and explore the root causes of systemic inequity. Our training this summer will likely take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, although we are still finalizing the location.

After your summer training institute, you will return to New Mexico, for an orientation period, where our staff will help you prepare for the first day of school.

Estimated Summer Costs

We will provide lodging and food during induction, institute, and orientation. You will be responsible for travel from your home to New Mexico for induction, and then from New Mexico to Oklahoma for your summer training,

Teach For America’s transitional funding awards help cover some of these expenses.


After the school year begins, you will be supported by a team of veteran leadership-development coaches. Our current team of coaches includes:

  • Emily Hoxie
  • Megan Wedderburn
  • Missy Wauneka

Coaches observe classrooms an average of once per month and provide support on skills like lesson planning and classroom management, and also help you develop the leadership skills that will allow you to succeed inside and outside the classroom.