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Questions about Alternative Teacher Licensure?

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Alternative Teacher Licensure Program.
How long does it take to complete the ATL 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 online?

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

During the Summer 2020, Fall 2020, & Spring 2021 terms all coursework will be available online.

How much does the ATL Program cost?

CNM’s tuition & fees are approximately $75 per credit hour for an in-district resident. Please see the CNM's Tuition Rates and Residency page for the most up to date information.

There is a non-refundable registration fee of $45 every term.

General Education - Early Childhood (21 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,344.00

General Education - Elementary (21 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,344.00

General Education - Secondary (18 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,152.00

Special Education (21 credit hours): tuition alone is $1,344.00

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. Every class requires textbooks which can average $150 per class.

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 CNM 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 or Praxis Academic Skills Assessments: Reading, Writing & Mathematics to be considered for admissions into the Program.

Visit the NES website and the Praxis website for information on assessment dates, registration fees, etc. Select Central New Mexico Community College as your reporting institution to ensure our office receives your official assessment 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 or Praxis Assessment to fulfill this requirement.

The NES or Praxis Assessment a candidate completes to satisfy the GPA requirement is specific to the licensure pathway they are applying to the program for.

If applying for Early Childhood, Elementary, or Special Education licensure pathway(s) you will need to pass a middle grades content knowledge assessment. 

If applying for the Secondary licensure pathway you will need to pass a secondary content knowledge assessment.  

View the NMPED Assessment Requirements for Educators PDF that provides a list of available Content Knowledge Assessments through NES and Praxis.  Direct links to the assessments are provided.  

Passing scores on content assessments will also qualify candidates as Highly State Certified and can be added as an endorsement to a teaching license.

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 1 License. 

NMPED issues an Alternative Level 1 license for a total of 5 years.  Initially it is granted for 2 years to allow time to complete our Alternative Educator Preparation Program which includes program coursework and State required assessments.  Once program requirements are met candidates must submit further documentation to NMPED to obtain full level 1 licensure.  NMPED will grant the remaining number of years to your Level 1 license.

If you are hired to teach on an Alternative Level 1 License, you will be the teacher of record in a classroom and will be evaluated as a Level 1 teacher.  You will also 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 Assessments 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 the entire class in lessons.

There is a separate, required application prior to conducting SFE that must be submitted the term before students are planning to take 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 “Fully State-Certified” (formally known as Highly Qualified or HQ) to teach core content areas in middle school on an elementary license.

How do I know if I am “Fully State Certified”?

To be considered Fully State Certified teachers must pass a *Content Knowledge Assessment in the content area, or have completed 24 semester hours of coursework in the content area. 

*On an Early Childhood, Elementary, or Special Education License you will need to pass a middle grades content knowledge assessment.  On a Secondary License you will need to pass a secondary content knowledge assessment.  

View the NMPED Assessment Requirements for Educators PDF that provides a list of available Content Knowledge Assessments through NES and Praxis.  Direct links to the assessments are also provided.

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 secondary license?

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

You can add additional endorsements, with either 24 semester hours in the content area, 12 of which must be upper-division, or by passing the Content Knowledge Assessment.

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 Kathie.good@enmu.edu for more information.

Western New Mexico University can provide up to 12 hours of credit towards a Master's Degree through Credit for Prior Learning.

Please contact SOE-CPL@wnmu.edu for further information.