Special Education Teacher Training (SETT)

The Special Education Teacher Training (SETT) program is a collaboration between Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF) to provide a supported alternative licensure pathway to attract and retain high-quality special education teachers in APS.

Application for 2024-25 Term is Open

Limited seats available 

Class Begins: Fall 2024
Best consideration: January 19, 2024
Early Acceptance: February 16, 2024
Application closing date: April 24, 2024

Apply Now

About the SETT Program

The SETT alternative teacher licensure program provides Teacher Residents (TRs) with the opportunity to co-teach with a Cooperating Teacher in a K-12 special education setting for a full year, learning the art of lesson planning, effective and appropriate pedagogy, classroom management strategies, and special education case management.

Being a special education teacher is a highly rewarding and meaningful profession in high need in our community. Our program is looking for diverse community members who want to give back and make a difference in the lives of students who are too often left behind.

Our program has five core values:

  • Critically Reflective Practice
  • Professionalism
  • Diversity
  • Multicultural Perspective
  • Collaboration

Program Details

TRs will apply for placement in the program by completing:

  • A CNM application,
  • A SETT program application
  • Transcript analysis, and
  • An interview.

Classes begin in the Fall 2024 semester. TRs will apprentice Monday-Wednesday and Fridays with their Cooperating Teachers. Thursday will be a release day from APS, which will allow students to take their CNM teacher preparation classes during the school day.

This is a cohort program and students will move through the classes and training together, creating strong teaching relationships. The coursework is a rigorous study of the foundations of special education, curriculum and assessment, classroom and individual behavior management, and literacy instruction.

After co-teaching for a full year, TRs will also complete coursework for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsement over the following summer. The next fall, successful candidates will run their own classrooms but will receive ongoing supervision from CNM faculty and APS Cooperating Teachers.

More details about the program timeline can be found on the Program Timeline and Application page.


  • Earn Level-1 APS salary with full benefits
  • Assistance in applying for grants/scholarships to pay for special education licensure and TESOL endorsement coursework
  • Layered levels of support and mentorship for two years
  • Guaranteed employment with successful completion of the program

APS teachers who hold a Level 2 or 3 license in Special Education can earn extra income and provide much-needed guidance to TRs by becoming Cooperating Teachers. Learn more about APS Cooperating Teachers or send us an email today at SETT_Staff@cnm.edu.


To qualify for the SETT program, teacher candidates must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university
  • Be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Successfully complete APS and NMPED background checks 
  • Agree to work as a special education teacher in APS for three years
  • Be a first-time teacher

Those who already have an NMPED teaching license are not eligible for the SETT program. Please visit our Alternative Teacher Licensure program page for other licensing options. 

Roles of the Collaboration

The Special Education Teacher Training supported pathway is possible through the collaborative relationship between APS, CNM, and ATF.

  • APS oversees the implementation of the SETT program in alignment with the partner agreements.
  • CNM facilitates the placement and education of Teacher Candidates.
  • ATF sustains the partnership work in conjunction with the APS Board of Education. 

All three entities work closely to support each other and the Teacher Candidate to ensure the recruitment and placement of high-quality educators who will bring skill, caring, and passion to complex, special education classrooms.