Transition to 5-year License

List of additional items that must be completed prior to move from the 2 year Level 1 alternative license to the 5 year Level 1 license:

  1. Proof of Passing Scores from a state-approved Portfolio and/or Required Praxis Tests***
  2. Proof of Alternative Licensure Program Completion****
  3. Email these items to

***New Mexico recently changed its Praxis requirements and is planning to phase out the majority of the tests by Summer 2024. Check the NMPED Portfolio / Praxis requirements frequently and reach out if you want 1:1 support to determine your requirements.

****The Online Portfolio for Alternative Licensure (OPAL) Pathway works a little bit differently from what is described above. If you choose this pathway (NOT recommended for those without prior teaching experience!) you will not receive additional training while teaching but will have to prove your competency by passing a Portfolio Assessment. You need to obtain permission from your school district to enter this pathway and will need to take 1-2 Teaching of Reading courses (depending on whether you are pursuing an Elementary or Secondary license).

Video Transcript:

Hello everyone, this is Missy Wauneka with Teach For America New Mexico here with a Teach New Mexico resource for you in our series called Licensure Low Down. The goal of Teach New Mexico in general is so that anyone who wants to become a teacher in New Mexico has easy to use resources to help you through that process. Today’s topic specifically will be moving from a 2-year level 1a license to a 5-year Level 1 License. We’ve got videos and resources for a lot of topics from the big question of “how do I teach in New Mexico?” to “what am I qualified to teach in New Mexico?” We cover all those things, but here we’re zooming in very specifically on the transition from a 2 year level 1 license to a 5-year level 1 license and there’s a key difference in this video compared to most of our resources, because most of our resources are geared toward folks who are becoming teachers for the first time whereas this resource is geared toward people who hold an alternative license and finished their training program and are moving to a 5-year license, so this year is for people who are already teachers. Sometimes you, you know, really focus in on that initial application and then at the end of two years you’re sort of like “didn’t I do everything?” and it can be a little bit hard to get your head back into “what do I still need to do to move from that 2-year to 5-year license?” Hopefully this video can help.

Let’s start with a few key definitions:

First, what is a 2-year level 1a alternative teaching license? This quote comes from the Public Education Department website, just like all of the information you see here.

A quick disclaimer: I should have said this up top. I am not an employee of the Public Education Department of New Mexico. I’ve just helped a lot of people get their teaching licenses and become teachers. The Public Education Department is our official licensing body in New Mexico. They have all of the official, most up-to-date information on their website. I’m just trying to share that information in videos and easy to use resources so that folks who want to become teachers can do that and get support through the process.

All right, here we go. So a two-year level 1a alternative teaching license is a “non-renewable two-year license granted to allow a person to simultaneously teach and complete face-to-face courses or online courses at an approved university or community college.” So your first two years of teaching you can also, nights and weekends, be attending a training program or completing other requirements to prove that you are a qualified teacher and then a 5 year “full” level one alternative teaching license is the license you get after you’ve provided the documentation that you completed your program and passed the required tests and so on.