Questions about Alternative Teacher Licensure?

Frequently asked questions about the Alternative Teacher Licensure Program

How long does it take to complete this Program?

Every student moves through the Program at a different pace, but most students are able to complete our Program in as little as 4 semesters. 

Many of the classes in the Program are pre-requisites to each other, and will need to be completed in a certain order. 

We find students in our Program are most successful when they limit themselves to 2 classes a semester.

Does CNM offer ATL Program coursework on-line?

Not entirely. Although our classes are technology enhanced, we only offer some ATL Program coursework in a hybrid-format (50% on-line, 50% face-to-face).  Many of our classes are typically offered once a week, in the evenings, at CNM's Main and Westside campuses.

How much does the ATL Program cost?

CNM’s in-district  resident tuition rate is $62 per credit hour. 

There is a $45 registration fee every term one registers for coursework.

  •   General Education - Elementary (21 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,302.00
  •   General Education - Secondary (18 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,116.00
  •   Special Education (21 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,302.00

Are there other associated costs?

Yes, other associate fees include, but are not limited to, Fingerprint/Background Check process fees, Teacher Assessment exam fees, and NMPED Licensure application fees.

Is Financial Aid available to students in the Program?

Yes.  Students may be eligible for the Pell grant and are eligible to borrow at the 5th year undergraduate level.  Please refer to the Financial Aid information page for details about eligibility.

Am I required to complete the NES Essential Academic Skills tests prior to applying to the ATL Program?

Yes.  Regardless of degree earned or GPA, all candidates must have taken and passed the NES Essential Academic Skills: Subtest I: Reading, Subtest II: Writing and Subtest III: Mathematics in order to be considered for admissions into the Program.

Visit the NES website for information on exam dates, registration fees, etc.  Select CNM as your reporting school to ensure our office receives your official test results.

I have taken and passed the NMTA Basic Skills exam.  Am I still required to take the NES Essential Academic Skills tests to apply to CNM’s Program?

No.  Most individuals will not need to take the NES Essential Academic Skills tests if they have already successfully passed the New Mexico Teacher Assessments (NMTA) Basic Skills exam.

If you have taken and passed any NMTA exams , we ask that you provide our office with copies of your exam results for review. 

Also, if you have taken teacher assessments in other states, we will review this documentation to determine if it can be considered equivalent to the teacher assessments required in New Mexico.

The GPA from my highest degree earned does not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement.  Will this prohibit me from being considered for the Program?

No.  Individuals applying to the ATL Program who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement are allowed to take and pass an additional NES Assessment in order to supersede this prerequisite.

The NES Assessment a candidate completes to replace the GPA requirement is specific to the licensure area or content area for which they are applying to our Program.

Please contact our office at to determine what Assessment you should complete to replace the GPA requirement.

Can someone review my transcripts before I apply to the program?

CNM does not review transcripts prior to a complete application to the program. Applicants are encouraged to use the Endorsement Area handout to review their previous coursework to the best of their ability and complete the transcript analysis form with their application.  Any missing coursework will be highlighted during the application review process.

Can I get a job before I finish the CNM Alternative Teacher Licensure Certificate Program?

Yes. Upon acceptance into our program, students may apply for an Alternative Level I License. 

NMPED issues an Alternative Level 1 license for a total of 5 years.  However, all Program coursework and State required testing must be completed within 2 years of issuance.

If you are hired to teach on an Alternative Level I License, you will be the lead teacher of a class and will receive standard entry-level pay.

What is the supervised field experience/student teaching course like?

The Supervised Field Experience (SFE) course is to be taken as the last class in our Program.  All other ATL Program coursework and required Teacher Assessment exams must be completed prior.

Teacher Candidates must spend a minimum of 180 hours in a classroom working with students: individually, in small groups, and leading whole class lessons.

There is a separate, required application prior to conducting SFE.

This does require flexibility in scheduling or a leave of absence from a day-time job.

Can I transfer a New Mexico Teaching License to another state?

Yes, a New Mexico Teaching License has reciprocity in 42 states.  If you know you will be relocating to another state it is important to discuss transfer requirements with that state’s Department of Education.

What grades will I be able to teach with an elementary license?

With an elementary license you are eligible to teach grades K-8. In grades K-5, teachers teach all subject areas. In the middle school grades (6-8), teachers teach 1 (or sometimes more) content area classes (i.e. English or math). However, teachers must be “highly qualified” to teach core subject areas in middle school on an elementary license.

How do I know if I am “highly qualified?”

To be “highly qualified” teachers must pass a Middle Grades Assessment test in the content area, or have completed 24 credits of coursework in the content area.

What grades will I be able to teach with a secondary license?

With a secondary license you are eligible to teach grades 7-12. You are required to have at least one content area endorsement with the secondary license. The content area is the subject you will teach (i.e. English, art, math).

Can I add more endorsements to my license?

Yes. With your first endorsement, you must have 30 undergraduate credits in the subject area on a college transcript (typically, this is the candidates undergraduate major) or 12 graduate credits in the subject area, and you must pass a Teacher Assessment exam in the same subject area.

You can add additional endorsements, with either 24 credits in the content area, 12 of which must be upper division, or by passing the Teacher Assessment exam.

Does the coursework in this Program transfer to a Master’s in Education?

Because the CNM Alternative Teacher Licensure Program coursework is numbered at the “200” level, most institutions will not accept these classes  as graduate credit. 

However, Eastern New Mexico University does have a “bridge” program for students in the ATL Program interested in pursuing a Master’s in Education. 

Please contact Dr. Kathie Good at for more information.