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Alternative Pathways to Becoming a Teacher

EDUCVisual4.small.jpgMany individuals with bachelor, masters or doctoral degrees have an interest in  teaching but need to complete the necessary credential to do so.  Because returning to college to pursue a four-year degree in teaching is not always an option, alternative licensure is often a more appealing pathway to teaching.  New Mexico has two primary alternative licensure options: through post-baccalaureate alternative licensure programs or the Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL).  These routes also allow individuals to teach on an intern license while completing their credential requirements.

Deciding which option is right for you can depend upon a number of factors.

Alternative Licensure Certification Programs at Community Colleges

Alternative Licensure Certification programs at community colleges are designed with careered individuals in mind.  Often times our students want to make the transition to teaching, but are not ready or able to leave their current career to do so. We also have several students in our program that are pursuing a second teaching license in a different licensure area.  Courses are typically offered in a format conducive to full-time careers: evenings, weekend, or online, depending upon the program. It also provides a lower cost option to individuals, which can be especially important if you are still exploring the idea of a teaching career and/or already have a master's degree or higher.

The 10 Myths and Realities About Community College Teacher Preparation Programs

As community colleges emerged as a partner in addressing teacher quality and shortage issues, the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP) created this pamphlet to be used as a tool to communicate information about the community college role in education.


Master's Level Certification Programs

Individuals with a bachelor's degree, committed to the transition to teaching, may want to consider post-baccalaureate alternative licensure programs that are embedded in master's degree programs in education.  While this option may take more time and financial resources (balanced by greater financial aid available to master's degree students), the New Mexico 3-tiered Licensure System requires a master's degree or National Board Certification for teachers to advance to a Level III Teaching License.  We also encourage individuals interested in teaching in highly saturated fields such as secondary social studies or language arts to consider this pathway as it may enhance their credentials when seeking job positions.  Click here for a complete list of these programs in New Mexico.


Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL)

OPAL is structured for individuals that are currently, or will be, employed as a teacher in the licensure area they are seeking.  The OPAL route can be done independently (it does require registration in licensure specific reading courses) or individuals may also consider the Transition to Teaching program, which provides support for the OPAL route.

We are happy to help assist you in determining which alternative licensure pathway best suites your needs.  To do so more effectively, we ask that individuals attend an information session in which we address frequently asked questions about alternative licensure pathways, teacher licensure in New Mexico, and provide information about applying to our program.  Dates of the information sessions can be found at: .

NMTA Requirements Adding Endorsements to a License Teacher Licensure

For more information on teaching in New Mexico, go to: